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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Sometime in the summer of 2011 I received 2 artichoke plants in a blog giveaway from

They were planted in the ground in the fall, and one of them sported a healthy artichoke that we did not harvest and sported a very beautiful flower. Over the winter and the most recent and abundant spring rains, the artichoke plants are thriving. Actually one of them is doing really well, whereas the other is just starting out. I am wondering if the smaller one is set at higher level in the ground and all the water that it is getting is draining off into the more healthier plant just below it.

The struggling one

The bigger of the two plants

And there was a vision

Over the years, both Guru and I have had a fascination to have a really massive Buddha statute in our garden. That wish came to fruition this past week(end).

Over the last couple of months or so, I made a resolution to steer clear of unnecessary shopping, and I did that fairly successfully. I happened to stop by a store to return a few things that had been in my car forever. I accidentally spotted this massive Buddha statue and fell in love with it. I didn't buy it, not figure out even how much it was priced for, but mentioned it in the passing to Guru. Friday evening we decided to check it out assuming it would be too pricey for us to buy in any case.

It turned out to be marked down significantly, because it was super heavy and 6 people had purchased it but never took Buddha home. After much debate, we made the purchase, and went back to pick him up on Saturday.
He is happily placed under the Oak tree in the backyard. (facing east and on a couple of stone pavers to keep him off the soil). We also picked up a couple of tuned wind chimes (one of which you see here)

 As we went around, on the shelves, hidden in the back, I spotted another Buddha statue (just the bust), a rather sharp looking one might I add. With a fairly cheap price tag, we decided to buy that one too. Here is a comparison against the original one I had.

We set it out under the Maple in the front yard. A concrete cinder-block as a base and river rock piled up all around. Ideally we could do with some more river rock to go around. That will have to wait the weekend. In the interim, here is what it looks like.

A headstart to 2012

When I talk to people (mostly Indian) that have no idea about gardening, the most common question is "do you have to start from scratch each year?". I am assuming that tomato plants in tropical climates never die like they do here in winter, and hence the question.

It has had me thinking for a while and thanks to the very mild winter in 2011, I actually did one such experiment. As you can see in the picture below, my Eggplants continued to survive in the raised beds in February.

I also dug out some of y pepper plants that i could not protect in the planter beds and kept them in the porch.

Now that the weather has started to warm up, I put them back into the raised planter beds. They seem to be thriving well. Hopefully they have a decent head start into the season and I have some yummy eggplants and peppers in spring.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New(er) trellis

After multiple tries at getting the trellises set up in 2011 (read here), we decided to let go of the biodegradable twine and switch to a more permanent solution i.e. a coated galvanized wire. The coating help us set up the trellis fairly quickly (unlike the biodegradable twine that was super difficult to thread through the eye hooks). Hopefully, even if the coating weathers off, the galvanized wires hold up for a few years. Considering how expensive they are, they better last.

All the seven beds now have the new wire trellises and are ready for the emerging seedlings.

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
~ J. Lubbock

After thinking about it for over a year, we finally decided to get a pair of "Chaise Lounge". We set them up on the concrete patio and have been thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and getting some much needed rest.

Bloom Time - April 2012

New Hydrangeas added to the garden

Calendula Officinalis

The potato tree that was recently moved out of the pot and into the ground (nice sunny location). It still needs some pruning it get it back in shape. (These are original to the house and had been badly pruned over the years)

The eerily gorgeous Borage (notice the tiny Caterpillar)

My Jasmines aren't blooming

Almost everyone that has winter Jasmines seems to be overloaded with blooms. Mine are just barely blooming. What is causing me more heartache is the fact that there is a lot of browning at the base of some of the plants. Did the dry winter lead to this (we promptly turn off the irrigation when the first rains start in winter)?

This one is from the same time last year (early April 2011)

Friday, April 13, 2012

More Fuchsia therapy

It is the time of the year when the local Costco is flooded with plants. Yet again, the Fuchsias were there. With the Rohee's Blacky from last year dead, and all the crazy stuff happening this month, some Fuchsia plant therapy was in order.

Two new varieties were added to the collection,

.........and I have vowed never to let them sit out the winter.

The original Fuchsia from this house that was languishing in a crappy plastic pot was transferred to a nice big ceramic planter and is so lush and healthy...and sporting some new blooms