The unexpected find of a mini-harvest makes the road weary traveler joyous.
Five thousand two hundred plus miles and instead of going home the most straightforward way I wanted to thread through the hills and back valleys. No more city travel for me. So Jeff and I drove country roads over the Temblor Range (yes, as in earthquakes), and...
I stopped to pick up acorns, to smell the scent of the golden California hills, and...
then we drove through the rippling grasses of the Carriza Plains...to HOME!
We opened our gates and found Paradise. Citrus in bloom, my beloved pineapple sage in red regalia, the Mexican sage flaunting its royal purple, and hummingbirds...they were everywhere. They scolded and chittered as we walked the pathway toward the kitchen door.
I awoke before sunrise the next morning and took my ritual garden greeting walk. Before I knew what had happened it was afternoon. Mud splattered my nightgown hem. Slippers were black with soil. Buckets were filled with weeds, and mini harvests were piled along walls, in baskets, and on my tables. Hummers zipped past, narrowly missing me as they swerved and dipped at the plentiful blooms. This table is loaded with lavender past its prime picking time, but it will be used to start fragrant fires.
My succulent mosaics, started last spring, are thriving and glorious.
Speckled Swan gourds (seeds from Baker Creek Heirlooms Seeds) are confused. They're blooming now, in November, as is my Pink Lady apple tree.
The last of the 'Painted Lady' runner beans from Renee Shepherd at Renee's Garden Seeds. These beans bloom in a two tone salmon and cream. The flowers are delicious in salads.
The mini bench awaits a couple of grandchildren. The peppermint pelargonium wafts its delicious scent when the children sit down. What a great sensory memory for kids. Oops, what happened to the edge of the photo?
I was sad to find that all my fraises des bois, which I've had for 30 years, were burnt to nubbins during the 112 degree heat wave in October. YIKES. The little strawberries were a gift from a friend many years ago and I have moved them wherever I've lived. Does anyone have any starts I may have shared with them from my garden??
I can't help stuffing my pockets with exquisite acorns. Look at all the shapes and sizes. In answer to a question from a loyal reader, yes, I have ways to keep my collections in order. I try to find interesting old print cases, which I fill with shells, leaves, etc. This print case, in old green, has celluloid tacks dividing the segments, and is painted a dark green. I'm using museum putty to hold the acorns in place and will mount this on the wall of my studio.
As I work I pick up fallen fruits and look for any that are ready to be picked. The mockingbird, who reaches the figs and grapes JUST as they're perfect, eyes me from his perch on a bare branch. Can you see the lemons, pineapple guavas, kumquats, Fuji apple, Pink Lady apple, and one miserable fig. My son Noah picked 40 pounds of figs this summer. Our caretaker Shay picked many fruits all summer long. Meanwhile, I was in Maine, loving every minute, missing not only my garden, but also my harvest!
Two volunteers who sprouted from the compost I add to all my beds.
No more travel for awhile, except for my bi-annual get together with all my best girlfriends from grammar school and junior high school. We're meeting at the Ojai Valley Inn in just a couple of weeks.
Many assignments are due now, and please do check out my new posting on Lowe's Garden Grow Along site. I am working on the beginning of my new bird book for Workman Publishing, which is due on June 1st and will be released in 2012. If you have any ideas about what I should include for 5 to 9 year olds just beginning to learn about birds, please let me know.
Sending love across the miles to my faithful friends,