Monday, January 30, 2017

Bob and the Market

Conversations with Bob: Market

Took Dad to the market and he stopped abruptly just inside the door.
"Wow! Look at all this stuff! It's amazing! The color and choices...It would take you all day just to figure out what you want."

My father, Bob, has the kind of dementia that makes him a time traveler from the 1950's. At ninety he has no short term memory. Consequently it is like hanging out with someone who sees the world as a futuristic, amazing place. Luckily, he sees beauty everywhere.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bob on Coffee Steam

Conversations with Bob  - Smoke

Well really steam. I set a cup of steaming coffee in front of my Dad.

Bob,  "Look at that smoke! Isn't it beautiful. Look at the way it swirls, and curves, its movement. It's fantastic!"

My father, Bob, has the kind of dementia that makes him a time traveler from the 1950's. At ninety he has no short term memory. Consequently it is like hanging out with someone who sees the world as a futuristic, amazing place. Luckily, he sees beauty everywhere.

Monday, January 9, 2017

It's January - What to do in the Garden?

It's January, 

What to Do in the Garden?

For me January is the time to dream about and plan my garden. Much of the mail or online ordering can be done now.  There are some outside activities however...

1. Check to make sure that all your  plant protection devices are still in place and working well.

2. Prune the apples and pears.            


3. Cut back dead foliage. 

4. Plant dormant trees and shrubs.

5. Roses: Prune and Plant Bare Root Roses

6. Spring flower bulbs and garlic may still be planted if you can get them in the ground.

7. Harvest the remainder of root vegetables and leeks. 

8. Order any Spring perennial plants like keep snow off of your greenhouses, hedges and shrubs. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Plant of the Week

Rhubarb is one of those old-fashioned plants that some folks may not know much about or how to use it. It would be a shame to leave off adding it to your garden. Rhubarb is such a beautiful plant and deer resistant that I have added it to my flower garden.  It’s large leaves makes a great addition to the edges or the rear of landscape areas. I know a rhubarb salsa that will knock your shoes off .  One of  the easiest and tastiest thing I make for Christmas is Rhubarb Liqueur. 

Why Grow Rhubarb?
Besides having a ready ingredient for jam, jellies, pies, crisps and other tasty treats, rhubarb is drought resistant, hardy, tasty and good for you.  Rhubarb is also loaded with Vitamin K, which supports bone growth and is a brain neuron protector. Rhubarb also contains C, A, and B Vitamins, with the added bonus of pantothenic Acid.  It is also one of the best sources of Calcium, up there with salmon and spinach. 

This beauty is also a much more versatile food than it is give it credit for. 

How to Grow:
Get a clump of rhubarb that has been divided from a friend or nursery, as it is generally not sown from seen. The celery like stalks are the food of the plant as the leaves contain oxalic acid and should not be eaten.  The crimson varieties are sweeter. 

Mature time:   This depends on how big of a piece of Rhubarb you have planted, but generally do not pick any of the stalks the first year.  

Planting:  Choose an area about 3 feet diameter for each plant at the edge or back of your garden in a sunny location unless you are in the hotter climates, choose a sun-in-the-morning spot.  (Rhubarb will do best in the milder climates).  Cultivate the area, digging in well-rotted manure or compost. Plant in early spring or in milder climates plant in the fall.  Dig a large enough hole to spread the crown and roots.  

Ph: 5.0-6.6 – Slightly Acid 

Watering:  Keep watered the first year and water only in very dry spells. Crowns can rot if ground is kept too wet.  

Growing: Keep bed weeded. You can mulch to weeds under control and to keep ground moist.   Side dress with manure or compost in Spring and Fall.  Cut any seedpods that shoot up near the base of  the plant. Rhubarb is not easily discouraged, with only minimal care plants will thrive. Divide about every 5 years or so.

Harvesting: Take a sharp knife with you and cut at the base of the stalks at least and inch thick.  2nd year, be mindful to leave at least half the stalks. Take as many of the stalks you want after the 3rd year.   You can also twist and tug the stalk. Remove the leaves before coming in the house.  Stalks can be used Spring to late summer.  But Rhubarb is most tender in the Spring.  Rhubarb freezes well.

Rhubarb is not for just sweet things anymore! Check out these recipes: 

Go to the link above or Basically: 
Place coarsely chopped rhubarb in a wide-mouth jar. Add vodka, Grand Marnier, and cooled sugar syrup; stir. Screw lid on tightly; let stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks or until all the color leaches out of rhubarb. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Ridiculous, Silly, Goofy, Garden Gnomes

Those Ridiculous, Silly, Goofy, Garden Gnomes

My daughter and I have a running gag, we sneak a garden gnome into each others garden and see how long it takes for us to find it. Over the years the same garden gnome has gone back and forth a couple of times. And, (True Confessions) I'm ashamed to say that now I have some warm and fuzzy endearing feelings for garden gnomes. Oh No!

Just remember, in Iceland people believe in Gnomes and Elves. You just never know, they may be real!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Bob Conversation

January;    Conversations With Bob!  

My father, Bob, has the kind of dementia that makes him a time traveler from the 1950's. At ninety he has no short term memory. Consequently it is like hanging out with someone who sees the world as a futuristic, amazing place. Luckily, he sees the beauty everywhere... well almost.

Shuffling up to my house Bob stops and looks amazed, "Wow!  Your flower gardens really having a rough time! What happened?"

Me, "It's January."

Grow Herbs! Plants of the Week


Growing herbs is one of my favorite things. Plant them close to your house to pick fresh and tasty herbs to add to dishes.  Herbs are hardy, easy to grow and they add so much to the taste of food. Here are some ideas and tips on how to grow herbs.

Starting Your Herbs
First make sure the spot you pick has sunshine and well drained soil. Add a bit of compost or fertilizer.   Pots may be used and have the advantage of being moved to more prominent areas when herbs are in bloom, however herbs are healthier in the ground.  
In cooler climates place herbs in full sun. If you live in hotter climates consider placing herbs under a tree where the plants can receive morning sun, about 4 hours,  but then has a reprieve from afternoon blazing sunlight.
Prepare soil by digging down about 12 inches to loosen dirt and amend with compost.  A lot of herbs are perennial and this will be the only time you will have to get this right, so make sure the soil has good drainage. Feel free to add an inch of compost to top dress as well.
If you are starting your herbs from seeds, make sure to follow the directions on the package for your area and plan to place in garden bed at the correct time for your zone.
You can also purchase healthy plants from your local hardware store or online. Just make sure you start with healthy, happy plants and don’t be tempted by the end of year bargains. Oregano, Mint and Rosemary are best put in the ground as plants.

Hardy Favorite Herbs;

Bay: One of my favorites, this herb is so versatile, much more than for soups and beans. Bay is hard to propagate, so purchase small plants. Must be grown in pots and brought in for zones higher than 10. Loves sun and does not like to be overwatered.

Rosemary: A perennial in zones 8-10 and if you mulch it you may be able to overwinter in northern regions as well. great to be planted in a pot.  This can be used for so many dishes, especially chicken or lamb and it can be used fresh or dried.  Bees and I love its blue flowers in the spring.  How to Grow: Full Sun, tolerates rocky and poor soils, but must have good drainage. Likes alkaline soil

Oregano/Sweet Marjoram: A hardy perennial that will make it through harsh winters. It like to sprawl. Sweet Marjoram is better suited for growing in pots. They are very similar herbs, so I only grow Oregano. These herbs are a must for Italian cooking. I love adding Oregano to my crackers along with Thyme.

Mint: Best gotten as plants. There are so many different varieties and flavors. Mint is a great plant to get from friends as it sends out runners and it easy transplanted from just a small piece of root. Mint is one of the hardiest plants going and can thrive in almost any soil. Just make sure to corral it as it loves to spread out and can take over quickly.

Cilantro/Coriander:  A hardy annual herb that should be grown from seed in succession plantings every couple of weeks in full sun.  You can keep it from bolting if you keep it trimmed frequently. This plant may self sow if left to seed. The seeds may be harvested when pods start to turn brown.

Lavender: Bought mostly for it’s fragrance and flowers, this fairly hardy evergreen bush is also edibe. In some European countries, it is used as a insect deterrent. Lavender loves the sun and will do well in a drier soil as long as it has good drainage.   It is best to purchase plants. Deadhead flowers after blooming.

Sage: There are a variety of flavors of sage, that range in in colors from dusty green to bright red (pineapple sage). Some are hardier than others. Sage loves sun, dry, well drained soil that is not overly rich. Buy as a plant or propagate as a stem cutting. Can grow quite large up to 3-4  feet. Lovely for Chicken or Lamb dishes.

Thyme: A low sprawling, woody plant that has tiny little leaves that are not only great for cooking, but are known to boost your immune system. Thyme goes with almost any dish. There are many varieties to choose from just make sure to get a variety good for cooking and not just ornamental. Grow in full sun. Thyme likes sandy, well drained soil with a bit of organic matter. Buy plants or get from a friend who Is dividing their patch.

Whether you are growing herbs indoors in your kitchen window or outside to add to a flower or vegetable garden, herbs are worth their weight in gardening fun.

Cady has always played in the dirt. She loves sharing her passion of gardening with the world and helps run a website helping gardeners to get outside any time of year by selling greenhouse kits. Browse their selection now at