Leather Neck

Friends, I have a garden themed post to share with you today.  Lately, I’ve been planting, tending, harvesting, but mostly weeding OMG it never ends!   I’d love to get my hands on some chipped untreated clean wood to mulch so that the weeds will be more manageable.  They just keep coming back.  There’s one weed in particular that’s driving me nuts.  It’s known as Stork’s Bill and Pinweed.  The scientific name is Erodium moschatum – earlier on, I thought I’d let them be as it seems the beneficial insects like them.


But there is a ridiculously small window of time before this sucker goes to nasty seed, and it looks as if  I’m missing the train on this one.  The pointy corkscrew seeds are everywhere, including Pupusa’s fur.

ContadinaK_041714_JThis little terrier mix, AKA The Lizard Huntress, loves to go exploring.  In fact, she’s so “into it” these days that I can’t ever get her to pose for the camera.  The biggest reason I am frenetically weeding is that I’m worried that one of these pointy seeds will end up in her eye.  So the past few days, I’ve been pulling these suckers like nobody’s business.  Oh my aching back!  I need the good mulch!!!  Despite the weeding mania going on right now, I am enjoying myself tremendously, and am honestly starting to believe, experientially, that there is sooooooo dang much more going on out here than I can see.

Without further ado, shall I take you on a small tour of what’s growing on at Il Giardino?

ContadinaK_041714The poppies are blanketing the garden right now.  This year, these all got started when they were ready, having self-sown.  Several of the  plants have massive basal stalks, nearly an inch in diameter.

ContadinaK_041714_DMmm mmm mmm!

ContadinaK_041714_CA few plants seem to have mutated, and instead of black splotches, sport this translucent white… Cool.

ContadinaK_041714_BThe culinary sage that I showed budding on my facebook page is now in full bloom.  Wowza do the bees lurve sage!  Must plant more.

ContadinaK_041714_EThis spring, I started several snapdragons from seed.  This one has developed an especially striking color, and the next chance I get, I think I shall start, in full force, dozens of these.  If you are interested, this variety is called Twinny Bronze, and were acquired from Park Seed.  They are growing just shy of a foot in height.

ContadinaK_041714_FDid y’all know I recently attended the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show?  I learned so much at the workshops they offered.   As I got off the Caltrain my first day there, I met a woman who confessed that she successfully grows tons of peonies here in San Jose!  What?!!!  So when hubbie and I, at a recent outing of domestic bliss to Costco, discovered gorgeous peonies for sale, we decided to pick up just a few.  I will let you know how they do here.  So far so good.  Isn’t this one glorious?  It’s huge!

ContadinaK_041714_GI’ve got some kale going in the pic above, with Dragon’s Tongue Mustard Greens in the top left corner.  This patch has been harvested several times already.  I must say, I’m really impressed by the germination rates for seed that I’ve ordered from Territorial Seed Company, quite satisfied.  Look at the leaf close-up!!!

ContadinaK_041714_HWhoa mamma!!!  See the connection between the focus of my mixed media work and my love of nature?  Vascularity is what I’m all about!  These greens are good juiced, but I’ve liked them most sauteed and thrown into a quiche!  Delicious whipped up into a pesto, as well.

ContadinaK_041714_IThe raspberries I planted last year look like they will give me some fruit this year.  This bush gets only morning sun here, but seems to be pretty happy.  Hubbie is building some sturdy cages so that we don’t have to share these treats with the birds.  I hope he’s done crafting them before the fruit mature hint hint…ContadinaK_041714_K

So I didn’t plant nearly enough snap pea seeds this spring.  Next year will be a different story.  We’ve gotten enough to steam for a few meals, but what’s been most fun has been snapping a handful off the vine, pulling my man aside to silently nibble on the fresh, juicy pods with me.  Looking forward to the nutrition and tilth that the stems and leaves will add to the soil once I turn them in.

I’ve been spending loads of time out back the past week or so.  The back of my neck got sunburned and is now peeling, gross!  If I don’t start slathering on the sunscreen, I’m going to develop an attractive leather neck!  And I may have to start gardening in a bathing suit in order to even out the farmer’s tan that hubbies finds so amusing.  He has made some jokes about the tan lines, but I can’t mention them here 🙂  Luckily, I’m able to laugh at myself, because the jokes are pretty darn funny.

I hope you enjoyed my post.  If you are interested to know from where it is that I find my inspiration, this is it, folks!


13 thoughts on “Leather Neck

  1. You have a gorgeous garden, so fun looking through everything. My tulips are barely up as we have up and down temps in SD yet so your garden makes me hopeful of things to come. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love your garden..AND..all the work you put in! Fond memories on the storks Bill, altho I did not know what they were called. As a kid (91 yrs ago) we used to cut a slit in them and insert one into the other and make scissors. Oh for Memories! Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden!

  3. Love the garden…just got back from visiting the Napa Country Iris Garden today. Just had to bring three more bearded iris to add to our current collection. My hubby put in a raised garden and we filled it up already…can’t stop now every time we see something that catches my eye just have to have it. It’s a beautiful ride going there it’s by Lake Berryessa. Great day. They are starting with peonies also but knowing that they attract ants keeps me from planting them in my yard. I love your poppies!


  4. Vascularity indeed!! What a great example.
    Thank you for showing us your stunning garden, what a spectacular array of colours (those poppies are just stunning!)
    I can totally see why it inspires your art, wonderful!
    Now, a little order from me…. SUN PROTECTION, SPF 30 MIN!! Seriously, your skin is precious & you’ll avoid ‘leather neck’ & more!
    Ok, I’ll sshh now, sorry about that… Lol.
    Beautiful post! :))

  5. Loved your photos of your garden. I have grown flowers and herbs, but not veggies. I’m impressed with those sugar snap peas! All of it is beautiful! Please wear strong sunscreen!

  6. I’m extremely jealous of the beautiful things growing in your garden. Love those poppies! We just got rid of the last of the snow here and temps have been cold. But on the upside the sun is shining and I can see the tulips and hostas popping up!

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