Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ah Spring–Nursemaid to My Garden Dreams

Every Spring morning is full of adventures and discoveries. My wall of single (for the hummingbirds) Indian Spring hollyhocks is thriving, but in my tiny herb courtyard, the hollyhocks have a bad case of rust, for which, I have to admit, they are famous.

I turned to my friend Nancy Hillenburg's recipe for healthy hollyhocks, which I included in my book Trowel & Error.

Early in the morning (before the sun is high and hot) make a mixture of:

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 Tablespoon canola oil or horticultural oil
1/2 teaspoon of soap
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 gallon of water

Blend all the ingredients, pour into a spray bottle, shake thoroughly, and apply to the top and bottom of leaves. I remove diseased leaves and throw them into the trash, not the compost or worm bin. I don't want the problems spread throughout the garden.

Beds of lavender and California poppies bordered by nepeta are thriving and filled with the sound of bumblebees rolling around in the poppies' golden blooms, like kittens in catnip. Many of the new fruit trees are in bloom now, including the diminutive Pink Lady apple, the Bonanza peach, quince, Fuji apples, Panamint nectarine, plucots, citrus, Kafir or wild lime, the Shinseiki Asian pear, Tropical King peach, and too many more to name. It feels like Paradise here, and I appreciate it more each morning when I step outside.

I have already written over 100 pages of my new book and have completed about 100 illustrations. It is a joyful task for me because I know that many parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors will share my cooking, growing, crafting, and traditions with the special children in their lives. Our hopes and future depend on the healthy and well-rounded children we nurture and love.

Sending Spring blessings out to all of my family of nature lovers and gardeners. Dig in and Grow!