Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Has Arrived in My Garden-1st blooms of 2011

Despite the fact that it is barely 48 degrees for the high temps today and we had a mix of snow, hail, and rain this past weekend, my daffodils are finally rearing their beautiful faces to bloom. I resolved to plant more early spring flowers in my garden next year so I won't have to wait so long for my first bloom. My wish list is if I only had a place to put them. Hmmm I may need to do some rearranging in my garden beds.
Narcissus 'Ice Follies'

With their cream outer petals and yellow centers, these daffodils are great companions for all colors of bulbs, perennials, and annuals.

Yes it was worth the wait. I look forward for more to come. Don't daffodils just say SPRING to you? What's blooming in your spring garden?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Put a Little Spring in Your Vegetable Garden

Sometimes life gets so hectic and crazy and challenging that I lose my focus from enjoying the simple things of life. When I find myself in these situations, (many of them out of my control), I have to refocus on the blessings that bring me joy! Joy is in the journey, even with it's disappointments and heartaches. If I wait until situations are perfect, I will miss the sunrises and sunsets, chirping birds, babies laughing, emerging flower buds, long walks, little wet kisses, warm embraces, and most importantly... LOVE! So for now, I'll focus on something that brings me great joy...GARDENING! I am still amazed at the miracle of a tiny seed emerging into a plant that will give me baskets full of delicious fruit and vegetables.

I don't know about you, but every winter I wait with anticipation to plant vegetables in my garden. We have a very short 2-2 1/2 month period of time that we can grow spring vegetables here in Utah before planting our summer crop. I also have limited space in my raised beds, so I thought this year I would plant veggies with a shorter maturity time, so I could rotate my spring veggies for summer ones come mid-May. With the exception of snow peas, (they have a longer maturity time), I planted short season vegetables. I will sow the bed that currently houses the snow peas with delicious carrots the beginning of July. They don't need to be planted till later anyway.

I like to keep a garden journal of my vegetable garden because just when I think I'll be able to remember what I planted in a particular bed, come next year I will have forgotten. I draw out my garden beds on graph paper and record the variety of vegetables I've planted. Another reason I keep records is to remember to rotate my crops so I have less problems with diseases. After the vegetables are harvested, I record my success or failure with a particular plant or variety, so I'll know whether I want to plant the same plant next year or not.

Vegetables I chose this year were 'Neon Lights' Swiss chard, 'Melting Sugar' snow peas, and 'Cherry Belle' radishes. I planted Swiss chard a few years ago but didn't really know how to prepare it, so my family didn't eat it. I vowed to try it again this year and find other methods of preparing it so they would eat it. Besides, isn't it a beautiful vegetable?

Have you priced lettuce in the store these days? It's outrageous! In a couple months (cross my fingers), I'll be able to harvest my own. I planted several varieties. I prefer lettuce with a CRUNCH! That's why I chose an all season romaine mix ('Little Gem', 'Rosalita', 'Craquerelle du Midi', Forellenschluss, and Rouge D'Hiver'). I also planted Baby Romaine, and Bibb.

Okay, it's not time to plant carrots in my garden just yet, but rather than planting my ususal 'Red Nantes' carrots, I thought I would be a little more colorful and creative and plant Kaleidoscope mix and 'Chantenay' varieties along with the old standby, 'Red Nantes'.

As you can see, there is nothing growing in my vegetable garden right now except chives. I planted my seeds and hope to see little sprouts coming up soon. Now if I can just keep those darn stray cats out of my beds! They like to dig around and use them as a litter box. Rrrrrr!

My chives are loving the cool temperatures. They'll be blooming soon. I like their mild onion flavor.

In a few months my garden will be filled in and growing delicious vegetables like these, but until then I'll try to enjoy life even with its bumps in the road. Enjoy the journey! Thank you garden blogger friends for your positive comments and correspondance. It brightens my day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reminicing About Paradise-Part 2

If I can't be in Hawaii, I might as well reminice about it. This post is part 2 of my 20th anniversary vacation on the beautiful Hawaiian islands. Like I mentioned in part 1, we (my husband and I) went to the Hawaiian islands almost four years ago. The images on this post are of Maui, Hawaii. We stayed in Kihei, which was actually on the drier side of the island, so there was much more sun and less kind of vacation! This photo was taken our last night on the island. My husband and I drove to this beach and shot these beautiful sunset images. Aaahhh! If I could squish my toes in the warm sand and walk along the beach with my sweetheart again...good memories!

My husband and I discovered this garden when an older couple we were chatting with earlier that morning on our walk, recommended that we visit. I'm so glad we decided to take their advice and see it for ourselves. If we ever make it back to Maui, this will be on our list of places to visit. There was a restaurant on the property that overlooked the gardens, but unfortunately it had just closed after lunch. The next five photos were taken there at Maui Tropical Plantation.

Birds-of-paradise and ginger plants were just a few of the tropical vegetation on the island.

The gardens were like a beautiful park--tropical style!

Don't the burgandy plants look like fire coming out of the ground?

Some of the hibiscus were amazing! Just look at the detail in this flower! Thank goodness I brought my camera along this morning on our many photo opportunities.

One of my husband's co-workers told us about this beach, called Red Sand beach. It was located in the little town of Hana. As you can see, the sand and rock were red. It was a bit of a remote beach. I guess that's why we came upon a few sun-bathers bathing in the nude. Oops! photos of that!

This beach was called Waianpanapa State Park. The unique thing about this area was the black sand beach from the lava rock.

We loved to watch the sunsets at the beach. God has created such beauty on this earth!

There were so many plumeria trees on the island. The trees themselves were not that impressive, but the smell of the flowers was sweet and heavenly.

More plumeria just outside out condo. Plumeria is a common flower used to make beautiful leis in Hawaii.

This was my favorite beach on Maui, called Big Beach. It had warm white sand, a long beach area, and beautiful turquoise water. If you ever have the privilege of visiting Maui, hopefully you will visit some of the sites I've mentioned. Aloha garden friends!