Life as I know It

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

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tiny Salad Gardens

The weatherman predicted storms for the week, but every day when I awoke I found sunshine and not a cloud to be seen. Yesterday was a different story. Gray clouds billowed against the mountains, and the new petals on some of our fruit trees whirled past me like snowflakes.

A gray day is a perfect time for planting

Too cold for a nightgown and so I wore my best robe, which I had promised NOT to wear in the garden. I always wipe my hands on my "work" clothes. My professional spoon trowel, which was once my Grandmother's, is used for most of my transplanting and working in pots.

Jeff worked hard to get our last Santa Rosa plum into place. It wasn't a matter of simply digging a hole though; it entailed digging out a network of salvia roots that needed some axe work. But finally, after an hour of back breaking sweat-time, he got the tree in and set. It looks like a 6' tall pencil with a couple of nubbins, but I'm already envisioning a fresh plum dripping sweet juice as I bite into it (in a few years).

Looks pitiful now, but it will be magical in a few years. I seeded poppies all around the base of the tree

I hurriedly planted two kumquats in large terra cotta pots and surrounded them with dianthus and mache. I use the flowers in my salads and baking. I planted another two troughs with mini salad gardens filled with edible viola and various lettuces, and another two pots with kale and parsley. Around the bay tree my friends Susie and Ellis Bassetti gave us as a housewarming, I set out more lettuces and violas and the only inedible thing in the kitchen garden, Cambridge blue (that wonderful sky blue) lobelia. I just need to have that trailing down the sides of the pot and spilling like a pool onto the soil. They self sow readily, and I always have dozens of little volunteers surrounding the bay.

A big terra cotta pot holds a salad garden and the bay tree given to us as a housewarming gift

Today is the un-birthday, birthday party for my grandson Asher. His wish was for a big, red (his new favorite color) cake. So I baked great Aunt Audrey's red cake and did my friend Susan Branch's cream cheese frosting (from Heart of the Home), which I tinted red too. Sparkly red sprinkles topped it off. I hope he loves it.

Remember that there will NOT be a get together at Susan Branch's farmstand tomorrow. And a good thing that was cancelled. It rained burros and ponies today and more is forecast for Saturday. Join us all on February 20th for an old fashioned tag sale, book signing, and an offering of GREAT homemade foods presented by Amy O'Kane, Ellis and Susan Bassetti from Cambria, and more.

Until next time I send love out to all of you,



Erin | Bygone Living said...

What a lovely blog you have! :)

PamKittyMorning said...

Ohhh so pretty. I'm looking forward to the farmstand sale. I love a nice visit to that area.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Gosh and all that with an inherited spoon~trowel! amazing!

Your plum tree will be amazing I am sure, You have got me craving plums now and they are totally out of season here!

Have a great weekend,

Sarah x

Dawn said...

I love the kumquat trees, and what a lovely idea to surround the bas of potted trees with little flowering plants and herbs. Thank you for all this potted plant inspiration...we are hoping to move later this year and there is a large terrace at our (hopefully) new apartment. I would love to have a potted garden there.
Miss hearing from you...I think you're pretty busy what with the new book coming out. Kary told me some nice old stories, and I feel like I know you so well already.
I also looked at pictures of the area surrounding Christmas Cove and hope with all my heart to take a trip there someday. So beautiful.
Have a lovely weekend dear friend!
xo Dawn

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

I love your gardens Sharon! All I see right now is white stuff! I am anxious for Spring! Hugs, Cindy

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I love your little salad gardens. I have a bay tree that I just love. Got it when it was about 6" high and it's now about 4' high. I love using fresh bay leaves in cooking.

I'm sure your grandson will love his red sparkly birthday cake.

Have a lovely weekend in spite of the wet weather.


Comfrey Cottages said...

everything looks so green and inviting there sharon! very nice plant choices and growing containers etc. i just tried kumquats for the first time last week when my husband brought home some from the store. yum! i especially liked the peel in my tea:) i don't plant trees and plants that can't take our illinois winters as i have no where to overwinter them! we have 6 mature trees around our home and our neighbors have several so sunny windows are at a premium and the kittys commander those:) even the basement is out as kittys roam there also and i am afraid all that lovely soil would be too big of a temptation!lol i sure do love reading about all your lovelies though and so glad you get to have them:) big herbal and honey hugs dear:)

Brittan said...

Oh I am missing gardening so much, I need to order seeds to start some seedlings for the cold frame... Thank you for showing the picture of your bathrobe... I do the same thing, I am always wearing whatever I have one (even if it is nice) in the garden. Andy is always reminding me to change and I always say "just a second", but then it is too late and the cloths have some sort of dirt on them. I have just decided that whatever I buy for clothing will at some point have dirt on it and that is ok! Have a great weekend
p.s. I love your expression about it raining burros and ponies! That made me laugh!!!

Zuzana said...

I love terracotta pots.;) They are so beautiful in contrast to the green plants.
To me it is amazing to see these pictures, as we are under heavy blanket of snow.;)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

OMG, Sharon! A Calendar of Salads! We have to compare collections! Wish I could be with you on February 20th. Will be with you in spirit. Almost finished with your book and will be highlighting my favorite chapters soon! xxoo Nancy

Lori ann said...

oh my goodness!what a joy it is to be here Sharon. I've come from Karys farmhouse kitchen. I must say this once a day(or more!) but what a blessing blogging is. I have mostly all your books, not the newest yet. my favorite is Sunflower Houses (which i made with my children every year, thank you so much).
Where is the February 20th tag sale and book signing being held? I would love to come.

Your gardening is inspiring me to get out in my own, i go out in my bathrobe too!
♥ lori

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Sorry Lori ann, I can't just assume that EVERYONE knows where the tag sale is going to be.

It will be on Lopez road going from Arroyo Grande, California to Lopez Lake. It is at Branches Market, which is Susan Branch's old farmstand market. We will have antiques, collectibles, food, and Sue's books, and mine too.

The event starts at 9 A.M. It is raining SO hard today I am just thankful that we canceled.

Oh thank you for the comments about my first book, Sunflower Houses.


Lori ann said...

thank you! ☺

♥ lori

Patti said...

Hi Sharon,
I love the four seasons that we have in PA, but right now I'm wishing I lived closer to CA so that I could attend the tag sale and book signing. I hope everyone has a great time!

Happy Birthday to Asher!


Mozart's Girl said...

Hi darling Sharon! What a bee-yoo-ti-ful post! I'm sitting here with a cold, trying to pluck up coursge to step into my dull, damp garden & prune my old roses...which sorely need it, so that they can start to flourish again for the Summer that will surely come! You've inspired me & I'm thinking where I put my muddy old gardening shoes! So lovely to have this insight into your garden & your life. The cake sounds wonderful velvet is my favourite, Brits don't like it (suspicious of the colour...) so no one eats it when I make it! Maybe I'll make cupcakes instead & eat one a day...:-) Wishing I could join you all that the farmstand & hoping that the rain STOPS! Love you, Rachel xox

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

In the past day or two I've received a few e-mails (and comments) that I am off the radar screen. So sorry that I've been out of touch. I am trying to balance family, book obligations, writing, gardening, and life in general with time spent on my blog.

How do you all do it? Produce beautiful and touching postings, yet keep up with life? I try to devote myself to my blog friends for about an hour a day yet sometimes I feel like I could work 8 hours a day and not keep up with such a fast moving world.

Let me know how you feel about this.

Sending love, love, and thanks for your wonderful e-mails,


Comfrey Cottages said...

i can never keep up with blogland sharon! i only get to read here and comment there as i can fit it into my life schedule. would love to keep in better contact with all my blog and internet friends, but impossible! sending you hugs and just do what you can when you can is my motto with it:)

Aunt Jenny said...

I just love your terra cotta pot salad gardens! I am limited to sprouts right winter outside here for awhile longer. Next month I will start some seeds and more in April. YOur posts always make me homesick for the gardening part of the central coast! Have a wonderful week!!

Lydia said...

Your writing made me HUNGRY!

Abby said...


Happy Monday Hope you are having a great day

Most important I wanted to tell you how much I adore your blog. Your a gem.

I have just started a new blog called Certified Organic Recipe and I would love if you might consider offering a organic recipe post. Thanks so much.



Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Lovely to follow you around the garden. I hope Asher's un-birthday part was a success. How could it not be with such a cake. Bear loves red velvet cake, and we'll be celebrating her next month. His cake reminded me of hers. It's 22F here now, but the snow didn't stick, and the days keep getting longer.~~Dee