Sunday, October 26, 2014

Edibles and Flowers

I have gone back and forth over the years about what the garden should consist of. I had wanted to incorporate edibles in my garden for a long time. This year, I embraced the concept of Permaculture and continue to strive to create a food forest on my property. As I began redesigning my front garden last January, just before I became obsessed with Permaculture, I planned for and added Citrus for starters. As I thought about moving forward with edibles, I hesitated like I always do. Was the garden asking for edibles or more flowering plants?

 I thought about the importance of growing food, yet I seem to always come back to flowers as a peaceful and calming energy. I can't tell you how often I sit on my front deck quietly and simply absorb the beauty of the garden and feel its healing wash over me. I am not rethinking my attempts to grow more food; I am committed to it. However, I have come to the conclusion that my front garden should be dedicated to pleasing the flower spirits and my six senses and the bottom property should grow wild with fruits, vegetables and their natural companions. I feel relieved to have made that decision after all of these years!  I want to grow food to share and I want growing it to become a skill that I am adept at. It is a survival skill that we should all become knowledgeable about. But, a balance is the answer.

I came across a lovely blog by Rebecca Sweet from northern California, which reminded me about how and why I love the flower gardens. Healing. A garden soothes life's path.
This is her photo from her blog. Calming; isn't it?

I have the opportunity to sit either on the front deck where my view consists of trees and  garden or the back deck which gives me a view of the hills and the Oaks. I really can't see my new food forest which is still under construction unless I lean over the deck railing. But, I do have a comfortable chair below, from where I can look at my addition and dream. I am determining where to plant a wind break and know that I want a visual shelter from a neighbor which is pleasing from either side and a visual block from the underside of my post and pier house which is unattractive! I have fruit trees there with a backdrop of Leptospermum 'laevigatum' and a 'Ray Hartman' Ceanothus. I may plant about 3 more of the Leptospermum which will shelter the fruit trees somewhat and perhaps plant 3-5 'Snow White" Leptospermum to the rear of those. Springtime will be glorious!
I am dreaming about decks; one at the base of a future treehouse and the other; as a base for a miniature 'Gypsy Wagon" playhouse for the little ones. I'm thinking; power tools! I'm not too old to learn some building skills!
Lots to do before then!

All Hallow's Eve is almost upon us! I am enjoying my Pumpkins!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mid October

A topic that I have been meaning to address is a California Act called California Urban Agriculture Zones Act.

This bill was authored by San Francisco's Philip Y. Ting, in 2013.
The law allows municipalities lower property taxes on parcels of 3 acres or less if dedicated to growing food for at least 5 years. Many counties, including San Diego and cities such as San Francisco are participating. Lots that served no purpose otherwise, are now converted to vibrant small farms. However, there is a stipulation; no dwellings can be on those lots. It is designed to inhibit homeowners from seeking a tax break by growing food in their yards.
This makes no sense to me. The whole point to the act is to grow food for food security in a disaster and to gain access to healthy food. I see no difference if there is a dwelling on that parcel or not. In many areas of the USA, it is illegal to grow food in a front yard; it is considered an eyesore! We need to encourage food growth on all properties; even rentals. There are a variety of ways to grow more in less space. There are many books to guide the potential small farmer. I called Monterey County to ask about this act and of course, not only had they never heard of it, I was told that it was my responsibility to contact the author of the bill and that no; Monterey County was not a participant; big surprise. This is something that I think we should be looking into.

My daughter gave me this beautiful book for Mother's Day. What a wonderful way to spend ones' life; that which is depicted in this book. Whenever our weather cools enough to anticipate a long afternoon in front of the fire, this would be a lovely read for you; my readers. It is about Homesteading in harmony with nature.

I confess that I look toward Autumn all year, and now that it is here, I find myself waiting for Winter. I long for a fire in the hearth, many books to read, needlework, painting and napping. I am tired from the year past. I long for the season of rest. But, how can I dismiss my precious Fall with its Pumpkins and golden leaves?
As I was so close to Borchard Farms, in Salinas, two weeks ago, I treated myself, though I wish I had had the company of my little family. I could have just screeched when I saw all those Pumpkins and gourds laid out. My grandson would have been in awe of the giant giant Pumpkins!

Pumpkin Love

I am hoping that I can purchase and arrange for the delivery of my Alfalfa Hay this week. I am crossing fingers and toes that I can have a day off the week afterward to have help and spread it thickly over my garden. I do dwell on this, but it is very important in the garden's future health. I can hear the front garden crying out for mulch. Its poor soil; using the term loosely, is depleted and the water does not penetrate. 
Afterward, I can finally turn my attentions to the arts as the restful months approach.

These Agave, are what my life has been about lately. I never appreciated them until now. They really are one of nature's beauties. What I once thought of as ordinary, has become extraordinary. Also, the Monterey Cypress macrocarpa, which I overlooked as somewhat of a nuisance, has taken on a new personality. They are indeed majestic in shape and form, though can be a bit haughty!

This wasn't a bit fun watching men and crane unload these formidable trees. I wanted them placed in a perfect row. I won't repeat what was said to me!

What would be a blog without yet another photo of my beautiful Galahad and my favorite orange orbs!.

Happy Autumn!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


One issue that I want to address in this post, is the subject of: trusting in your intuition.
In many areas of my life, I have not hit the nail on the head; so to speak. But in the garden and in the arts, I developed a special trust. I think that when one can feel that way in an area or areas in life, those are the things that the person should pursue. The heart's path of following intuition is generally the right one.
As one creates and takes a path in life, there certainly are things to study and learn, but do not dismiss the importance of using your intuition.

In art I may struggle with the subject or method, but always trust that I will find my way in achieving my outcome, in time. I am slow and do not have the gift of spontaneity, but I know that I will get there.

I think about my fertilizing practices and think that if people watched me, they would question me. Long ago, I realized that though I have read the "rules", I simply feel what the plants want to be supplemented with. 
When a human is feeling depleted due to an on-coming cold, they feel the need for extra vitamin C- packed foods or supplementation of Adrenal Support when the body is overly fatigued and stressed. Plants show us signs of what they need and how they are stressed. I mix concoctions in dry form or in a compost type tea for the garden. It seems haphazard, but in listening, it feels right. 

Landscape design to me, is art, especially when I am not creating elsewhere. I do draw plans by hand if I must, in order to comply with City or County. I do not like to do that because my intuition doesn't come through that way. I love gathering ideas and walking the nurseries while selecting plants. I let the images of my vision fill my head and listen to the plants as they speak to me while in the placement portion of the project. It is like puzzle pieces falling into place. It is the most satisfying process and one that I always trust in.
At home, I sit and watch the garden for as long as it takes; even months, in order to hear what it has to say. I believe in the garden spirits or Devas. I am learning more about listening and then; following my intuition.

As soon as I can have Hay delivered, I will have help distributing it all over my garden in a nice thick fluffy mat. I have described this practice already. Then, an application of Cottonseed Meal will go over it for a light feeding of Nitrogen. That, with some odds and ends will finish off most garden chores until January.

Right now, my attention goes to everything Autumnal.