Life as I know It

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

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Version of the Chaos Theory

Do you want a simple (and not totally scientific) definition of the Chaos Theory? Well, I can reduce it down to one word. SPRING. Spring hit my garden, and it exploded with growth, seedlings, climbing vines, wildflowers, weeds, name it; I've got it, and it is out of control here.

Section of our front yard. Zillions of peaches and nectarines.

Each corner of the front beds boast handsome spears of silver artichokes (some of them are 6 feet tall)

Ten tall artichokes are producing like crazy. I can't get enough of them, and Jeff doesn't like them. Says they are too much work for too little food. I like the whole, satisfying act of scraping the leaf and eating the heart.
I run around at about 80 miles per hour. Don't do that because you'll soon find out (as I did) that you'll trip and do all sorts of horrible things to your body. The roses will bite you, the stone steps will remove your toenails, the hollyhocks will make a rash pop out on your sunburned arms, the stairs will trip you, and the constant lifting and bending will make you take to your bed with an ice pack and Ibuprofen. What a hobby.

Let's talk about weeds– you'll work on a patch, think it is totally clear, then turn around and find more sow thistle and dandelions that you somehow just didn't see the first time. And watch out; those over exuberant self sowing flowers that you thought you couldn't get enough of? YOU CAN get enough of them when they take over your carefully planned, mixed borders and turn them into a sea of love-in-a-mist (or? pick your plant) that tower over and shade everything.

They ARE glorious though.
Griping, no not really. Just stating facts, but I must also admit to loving every second of work. (I'll have to check and see if Jeff feels the same way. He helps me with all the heavy stuff.)

This pomegranate is blooming like crazy. I have high hopes for lots of fruit this year. This was the first fruit tree I planted here six years ago. Now there are 66. Jeff keeps saying that we don't have room for more, but I usually find another few inches of sunny space for ones I can't live without.
Ok, I'm a permissive parent. Hollyhocks are coming up everywhere... is borage, but who can get enough of this? It is popping up in containers too. Green lacewings deposit their eggs on borage, and the voracious young (aphid lions) of the lacewings love to eat aphids.
The delicious kitchen garden with a peek of my studio doors in back.

The borders around the kitchen garden entice children and birds. I am accustomed to Robins taking these berries, but lately the Scrub Jays have really been chowing down on them. These are delightful little fraises des bois.

Delicious and easy-to-grow chives are always a part of my borders.

Edible Sweet William flowers in the kitchen garden (aka potager) .

I plant Cecile Brunner roses wherever I garden. These sweet, thumb-sized flowers fill the air with their scent.
The back yard is crowded with figs, grapes, apples, apricots, kumquats, Mandarin orange, Washington navel orange, loquat, strawberries, nepeta, poppies, blanket flower, salvia, red osier dogwood and more. Heaven for me.
Sorry I've been away so long, but too much has been going on. I finished my article for Country Gardens magazine, and I just finished writing all the captions for the photos. I think the piece will be coming out in the Fall issue. I'll let you know as soon as I know. The piece is fun and shows a bit of the inside of our home. The bad is that I had just been in the hospital with a drug reaction to sulphur and my face literally looks like a pink pumpkin. I could barely open my eyes in the photo, so please excuse the way I look. Yikes.

If you'd like to see me with my normal face, please join me at the Curious Cup Bookstore, a wonderful, independent book store in Carpinteria, California, on Saturday, June 2 at 2:00 p.m. for a demo and booksigning. (Click here for more upcoming appearances.)

I've also been working on other assignments, reviewing books for a university to help them decide if they want to publish the book, and finishing my middle grade novel. I have about 10,000 words to go.

My granddaughter Sara has been totally involved in the process of my writing this and listens to every word, then adds comments, asks salient questions, and really helps me write from the viewpoint and with the voice of an eleven year old. I love the process of writing; it is similar to the process of gardening.

One of my favorite writing quotes is:

"Better to write for yourself and have no public,
than to write for the public and have no self."
Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)

Our WINNER of the fantastic antique quilted cow pillow is  Julie Marie of Congratulations, Julie Marie.  (e-mail us your mailing address) Julie Marie is a member of the Grimy Hands Girls (and Men's) Club so she'll receive a bonus gift.

Sending love across the miles,


P.S. Please visit my newest Lowe's Creative Ideas blog posting. Also visit Dee Nash's great posts, well heck, visit them all. They're filled with great ideas and inspiration.

P.P.S. I just attended the Cayucos Street flea market. We arrived late because I have this feeling that if something is meant for me, it will be there. And it was! This mid-1800 paint box if filled with raw minerals, a glass mortar, the slab of Stoke-on-Trent ceramic tile for mixing paints, a bottle of gold dust, and a slate pencil. I feel so lucky to have found it.

Look at the lovely writing and the beautiful blue pigment. Amazing.


Pondside said...

Whew! What a lot is going on in your garden right now! We are weeks behind you at this point in time - but I'll enjoy your garden here, and mine when it burst forth.
Sorry to hear about the drug reaction - that's what sulpha does to me too - awful!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

We've just returned home for late spring/ summer and our gardens are full of weeds and need a lot of attention. It's on my "to do" list.

How nice that your granddaughter works with you (and listens). Sounds like you've got a jewel there Sharon.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ I just love, love, love your gardens. They are full of wonderful and lovely enticing things.

You and your gardens inspire me.

What a fantastic find at the flea market, so perfect for you.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Unknown said...

I always find the word control in the same sentence as garden a bit funny. The plants and weeds did seem to appear overnight this year. I so enjoyed this tour of your gardens and reading of your latest activities. Do be careful, gardening in a hurry is very dangerous and I do hope you have gotten past the nasty allergic reaction. I can only imagine the perspective of an 11 year old, I bet there was more than one smile as you listened to her. Congratulations on the paint box find. It was meant for you.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i sure can identify with this post! but i give up on the weeds. i've learned to live with them. i wish i could grow artichokes and pomegranates. my fraises des bois have naturalized ans spread all through my gardens. the birds love them.i am off to the garden center today for more plants! one handed gardening has been a unique experience! your flea market find is too cool!

Lori in Indiana said...

Oh Sharon, what wonderful chaos! It looks just wonderful.

Blessings -

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Sharon,
Oh my, your garden is a piece of heaven!
I would love those artichokes!
And the endless array of flowers, and strawberries, what a lovely spot to behold.
I wish I had knew about the give-away that is so cute!
Hugs friend and good luck with all your many happenings!

Carol said...

Dear Sharon, I love your theory about chaos and Spring! I so agree and as for weeds . . . I had to get out of the beds a long time ago. I have a sea of 'weeds' and the worst is a bishop! I love nigella too but alas cannot grow it here anymore except in containers. Beautiful selections of free spirited flowers . . . some of my favorites too. Those tiny starry flowers of borage are wonderful. Artichokes and pomegranates . . . ah, you have the climate! Figs, apricots etc. Wow! You are running at 80 mph . . . do be careful. Gosh, the sulphur allergy sounds dreadful . . . I hope you are OK now. Love your new/old paint box . . . I imagine the old paints are pretty toxic . . . Take care!

Susan said...

I so miss California gardening and my lush gardens. My garden, here in the Pacific Northwest, is just coming alive after a very chilly spring. The peonies are so far behind in blooming!
Can't wait to see your article in Country Gardens--I'm starting a new book on paper gardening that will be out next September, so I'll just have to imagine all the beautiful flowers I have grown (in a past life):-D Love you, XOXO

Vee said...

You know how to fill a post, Sharon! Your yard is beautiful and lush...the garden responding to all your tender loving care...I did not like the sounds of the fall...ripped off toenails...oh my...and in the hospital, too, for a reaction to meds? You do pack a lot into your life as well. Hope that there's time for Maine. Off to visit Lowe's.

Kay's flowers said...

So good to see you again. I am back also. I can't wait for your article to come out in Country Gardens and your chaos is glorious! Oh to be in such chaos. We are enjoying the wildlife in our backyard so much this year so I know how much you love yours. I would love to come to your book signing.....maybe someday.
Have a wonderful week.

Robin Larkspur said...

I would like to come to your garden and pitch a tent, then live off the land! LOL! Beautiful, Sharon!

Julie Marie said...

Good morning Sharon!... sooo many wonderful things in this post... but I will start out by saying a big THANK YOU! for drawing my name in your giveaway!... I am so excited that I won the darling quilted cow pillow, I can't wait till she arrives home!!!... and I love being a member of your grimy hands girls (and mens) club!... My hands have been extra grimy lately, as my garden is in total chaos too... and I am loving every minute of it! How lucky you are to be able to grow artichokes, I absolutely love them too... I remember when my daddy was stationed at Ft. Ord we went though Castroville and bought lots of them to bring back home...your kitchen garden is just wonderful too,and all of your flowers the prettiest ever... Cecile Brunner has got to be one of my most favorite roses of all... your paint box find is such a treasure, so happy it was there waiting for you... and I am excited for your article in Country Gardens magazine, I know it will be wonderful... Well, I have almost written a book of my own here... love your quote by Cyril Connolly as well... thank you once again for drawing my name... Hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day, xoxo Julie Marie

Larkrise garden girl said...

Hi Sharon, I hope your getting better quickly. You poor thing.I loved all the wonderful photos of spring!

rebecca sweet said...

It seems misery does love company! I've been scrambling the past few months, trying to keep up with my garden and life, and reading about yours makes me feel oh, so much better. It's nice to know I'm not alone! Wishing you much energy to continue tackling your wonderful projects. You're such an inspiration to me! XOXO - Rebecca

Anonymous said...

Sharon my sympathy goes to you with the sulfa reaction--I too am allergic to sulfa drugs and it is a miserable reaction.
Your lush garden reminds me of mine at this point in Va. It is quite humid today-otherwise I would be out there working to control natures exhuberance.
Martha Ellen

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

What timing!

I am taking a break from WEEDING to read my favorite blogs.

This year especially it seems the weeds are winning... as are the trees trying to take the property back as part of the forest. :(

I'm in the midst of lots and lots of baking for my son's dessert wedding reception but hubby and I are also getting the lawn and garden ready for our out of town family visitors (what weeds we will put up with is not what we want friends and family to see!).

My garden is finally beginning to look like I want it now that it is in its' fourth season. Plus I've learned a lot from what failed in the past.

Much affection being sent out to you! Better turn on the oven and bake more cupcakes, I need between 200 and 250.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Darling girl, thank you for the link love. You know how much I love your writing. I'm sorry you had a reaction. Sometimes, the drugs are almost worse than the problem aren't they? No, probably not. :) You were very fortunate to find that beautiful set. I reminds me of the quilts I found which were from the 1940s. I just knew they were mine. One sits at the end of my bed.~~Dee

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting to plant up here in New England, so not much to do yet. I remember never getting a break from my gardening in the south. Love that flea market find - luck you! Great pics- Be well.

Pat said...

Your gardens are a piece of paradise here on earth - wish we lived closer - my husband would wait until the dark of night and take some of those gorgeous artichokes...too bad your Jeff has no interest in them...we even ordered an entire box from Castroville, CA last month - what a treat!

Your life sounds like a whirlwind right now - take care of yourself & be sure to enjoy those exquisite pink roses.

Pam G. said...

The list of your plantings is enough to make me starving-oh for so many fruits and veggies at my fingertips! and all the lovely where but S. Calif. does all that happen.
Bee Balms have taken over my gardens and some kind of fake oniony things-ugh! love bee balms because of the humming birds but I've almost decided to give over a plot to them and move everything else!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

My Cecile Brunner is going to be beautiful as well this year! Dear Sharon, hoping you are feeling better. Always love the garden tour. Can't wait for the Country Gardens article. One of my favorite magazines! Take good care and keep living life! xxoo Nancy

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Sharon, thanks for the garden fix! My own secret garden is based on much of what you have shown us on your blog. You are my muse. Will you do another garden video again? Please?

Carla said...

Sharon, your garden looks lovely. Our front yard is covered with citrus and perennials too. Much like you, I plant where I see an empty spot. Have a beautiful day!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Donna, YES, this is so funny, I JUST walked through the gardens and photographed them, but darn it, I always see MORE WORK wherever I look.

So, thanks for the nudge to do more videos. Hope you will like it next week.



queen of the castle said...

Thank you for sharing your garden! I look forward to your posts.

My three foxglove decided to send out runners and totally take over my garden this spring. My husband spent a whole afternoon helping me dig it out!

Paula said...

It has been pouring rain for three weeks here, hence I have not been in my garden at all. It is still covered with spruce boughs, but the plants (and weeds) are coming through. I guess I need to gird my loins and put on my rain gear and get out there!

Here's what you do with the extra artichokes: Put them in a box and send them to ME! We love artichokes, and they are horribly expensive here!

Lydia said...

Hugs for a healthier rest of the year. Know what you mean about the wisdom of slowing down. One year I broke my arm pruning the roses. Darn deadline. But the neighbor boy came down and I taught him how to finish mine- and now his mom has a grade a helper in that department.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

What delightful difficulties and precious problems you have!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Your garden sounds like Heaven.
My 2 year old garden at the edge of Tennessee/Kentucky border is all I can handle.
You have so many wonderful plants that do not grow in my area.
Love reading your sharing..

Marguerite said...

I feel much the same. Spring and chaos go hand in hand! Once the weather decides to warm then watch out because so much will happen so quickly and there's no keeping up.

Priscilla Palmer said...

Dear Sharon,

The mid-1800 paint box is so beautiful ... you have to feel all sunny inside when you look at it!

My garden is going through a different sort of chaos right now. In south Florida, it is time to wind down and only have hot weather crops planted. Which means that my cucumbers and squash which were planted too late in the cool season, are undergoing attack by powdery mildew and pickleworms. I've sprayed with my special Neem Oil spray concoction (quart of water, 1/4 tsp. Neem oil, 1/4 tsp. Coconut Oil) although I think I got to it all a little too late. All part of the Education! Better luck next time, although the squash and cucumbers that were harvested beforehand were pure delight on the tongue.

Happy Gardening, Priscilla

My Grama's Soul said...

YOU, my friend......ARE A GARDNER.....EXTRAORDINARE!!!

Love that paintbox


Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Hi Sharon, I jumped over from Julie Maries blog. So happy to meet another gal who likes getting her hands dirty. Just something about the feel of that dirt. Boy do I love it. If your garden is chaos, I'd say it's pretty darn good chaos. Everything looks lovely. My hubby says the same thing about Artichokes. However, when I dig out the heart he's always ready for a bite. Happy to meet you. I am now a new follower.

Betty said...

Oh, how nice it would be to have sun-burned arms! It's jolly cold here today as we approach winter. I'm really enjoying this sunny post and will continue to be warmed by your your pictures and words during the coming months:)
Keep well and enjoy your lovely garden.

Privet and Holly said...

Loved the tour
and am a bit in
awe of what can
be grown {and so
early!} in California.
Our daughter's top
picks for college are
all in CA, so I am
hoping that I will
be spending quite
a bit of time there
beginning Fall 2013!

Can't wait to see your
Country Gardens article.....


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Suzanne,

I'm not sure when the Country Gardens article will be released, but I know it is a Fall piece. I think they release early though, like in August.

That would be GREAT if she decided on California. Maybe we'd meet in person.



kj said...

my gosh sharon, i 've just realized you have three other careers i didn't even know about. you know how to juggle, that is certain.

i LOVE artichokes and i can hardly believe you have an abundance in the same way i will have august tomatoes. i wish i could sit at your table. i would bring dessert and peet's major dickinson coffee and as much good gossip as i could carry.

your garden is a feast. no more tripping though, please. slow down! i mean it!

your Cecile Brunner rose reminds me of the little prince.

and maine?

love love