Archive for the ‘garden desktop’ Category

This week’s Garden Desktop doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Well, actually, wait, it DOES. Several hills, in fact!

This past weekend I finally shucked the beans I had drying on a table out on our porch. There are big white and brown Painted Lady beans from the side yard. These did so well, and are so delicious, that I will grow them on ALL the carport pillars next year, rather than on just one. The hummingbirds love the half-white, half-red flowers, too.

The big pink/red and brown beans are Scarlet Runner beans, whose all-red flowers are so popular with the hummies that they fight over them! They are wonderful to create a shady arch or temporary patio cover. I’ve been thinking of pulling up a couple of the foot-square pavers on our back patio and planting Scarlet Runners there on arches, to make a little afternoon nap nook. I have to figure out first if it will shade the veggie garden beds, though. I don’t want that!

The smaller rounder beans are the heirloom that I call Monte’s Italian, the nth generation of those given to us by our photographer and diver friend Monte Smith. They hybridize readily, so this year we tried to be careful about growing them away from the other beans. Even so, we got a few crosses with the Scarlet Runners, as shown by some of the pink rounded beans, and possibly with the Painted Lady as well– the beans are usually a creamy tan color with one to three small dark-brown streaks, and some of them are suspiciously paler, and more similar to the Painted Lady beans in color.

Last year’s bean drying, didn’t take a pic of this year’s.

I saved bean seed earlier in the year, and made sure to save from long, well-formed, plump pods with a minimum of 5 beans per pod. I was usually able to save 2 or 3 seeds of a 6 or 7 pod bean. Last year I just shelled them all and picked out the plumpest beans, and then realized “doh!”, I was only selecting for part of the story!

As always, feel free to use and share this Garden Desktop. It’s okay to link and publish with a link back and/or attribution, and to use in print for personal or nonprofit use. There’s a 1280 x 960 version for larger desktops too.

Read Full Post »

Today’s garden desktop celebrates some of the finer things in garden life– delicate strawberries, a baby fancy bi-color squash, and the aptly-named “Fairy Tale” eggplant. Enjoy!

Higher-resolution versions available by request, leave a comment here if the one at FlickR isn’t large enough for your desktop. I’ve stopped posting the 1080 versions by default.

Read Full Post »

There’s nothing like dahlias for summer bouquets. Long-lasting, intensely colorful, and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Best of all, they’re easy-care perennials that will come back for you year after year!

Read Full Post »

I didn’t take many pictures on my trip to Seattle and to Eugene, as I was in ‘real life’ mode, and not really being a spectator. I also spent most of my time hanging out with folks, rather than touring public gardens. Well, next time! But I had a great time, and wanted to share a few garden-related pix with y’all.

Gray’s Nursery was breathtakingly blooming with walls of hanging petunias and spectacular frontage plantings. I had to go in and tell the manager that I’d never seen such a gorgeous display outside of National Parks! I also wish I’d had a wide-angle lens to truly convey the splendour of it all. I stood in the parking lot (out of traffic, of course) for a long time looking at the huge walls of color.

I tried a number of different exposures and angles to try to get a nice desktop-type shot of the petunias, but it was mid-afternoon and brightly sunny. At last, a petunia desktop, which currently adorns my laptop, and is here to brighten your day at work.

I was completely impressed by the numbers and varieties of huge trees on the streets here. Most were types I recognized, but some, like this one, are unfamiliar. Is this a chestnut? Or are those some kind of persimmon? If you know what this is, please let me know.

While a truly iconic Eugene street scene would feature bicycles, I couldn’t resist snapping this adorable classic Vespa scooter, parked on a curving curb between two great cafes (Sweet Life and Planet Eugene). The sky and the scooter were the same color, and seemed part of one piece. Olympians getting an iced chai to go?

Read Full Post »

I’m really fond of thyme, and even more so of citrus-flavored thyme. This lime thyme started out as a 4-inch pot in 2003, and was then planted in the ground, where it became a large clump. When we had to move planters for the neighbor’s fence, it turned out that the thyme was right where the fence would go. I was able to uproot it in a cluster and re-pot it. Here is 1024×768 lime thyme desktop.

Harvest thyme in the morning, before the sun hits it, and let the sprigs dry on a saucer or in a colander. It’s easiest to strip the tiny leaves from the stems when thyme is partially dry– when fully dry, the stems break, and you end up with little sharp bits in the thyme. Here’s some English thyme I harvested this past fall, next to some variegated sage.

English thyme, lemon thyme, and variegated thyme are all pleasant additions to one’s garden beds, where they will provide welcome spring greenness and summer flowers that draw the bees. In sunny, hot portions of the Bay Area, put thyme somewhere that it will get some shade, preferably in the hottest portion of the day. A deep pot, which lets thyme trail over the sides, makes it easy to relocate your thyme to compensate for the area’s somewhat extreme seasonal sun and temperature changes. Thyme loves dampness, unlike many other herbs, and does really well in a self-watering planter.

Read Full Post »