Sunday, August 30, 2009

White Flowers and 2nd Cabbages

Earlier this summer, or was it still late spring? a nice lady offered me a moonflower seedling. It began blooming this week. The flowers are about 6 inches(15cm) in diameter. They open at night like many night blooms and have a very nice perfume.
This next flower is shown much larger than life. It is old man's beard clematis. It is pretty invasive but at this time it's very nice. Not only are they pretty but like the moonflower, they smell very nice.
I still get a kick out of seeing mini cabbages sprout from where a large head was.
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Claude and Rasputina

Claude(formerly Claudius) is quite the lover. This shows him with Rasputina shortly before they actually mated. He takes his time.
Here's Claude the morning after. The little seeds are fennel.
Rasputina is in the same spot, almost hidden in plain sight
Just in case you haven't been following this blog this week, this is the SECOND liaison that Claude has had this week. He mated with Sylvia a few days before.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Mantises After

Claudius survived. I gave him the wrong name. Maybe I'll just call him Claude.
Sylvia is as hungry as ever.
Still hasn't laid her eggs. I wanted to believe it would happen sooner.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Praying Mantis Romance

Here's some nature. Claudius found Sylvia in her usual spot and well, these 4 pictures say enough.

They stayed like this for hours. As far as I can tell Claudius left Sylvia unscathed. I thought she might eat him but google sources tell me usually that does not happen. I also figured out that these are probably Chinese Praying Mantises.

I will be looking for an egg sack, also called an ootheca. Hopefully Sylvia will lay it close by.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Obscure Mailbox, Bumblebee Eater, Cypress Flowers, Rainbow Peppers

My mailbox is getting hard to find.
Sylvia likes to eat bumblebees. If you look closely at the leaf next to her arms, you'll notice a couple balls of pollen from a bee's hind legs. I guess she doesn't like pollen. I get mad at her but she can't help it. Mantises will eat anything that moves.
I stills get a kick out of these flowers and the lacy leaves.
Rainbow peppers are very pretty and VERY hot.
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Gabrielle and the Beanstalk

My backyard is chaotic. This beanstalk illustrates that pretty well. I wish I had somehow arranged it so it could continue skyward. I'm sure that if I had it could be taller than my 3 story house.

Scarlet runner beans are kind of amazing and hummingbirds LOVE their flowers.
My fairly neglected back porch tomatoes are thriving. These are super sweet and juliette. I think I might dehydrate some juliettes for later.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

About me and this blog

This is my homespun gardening blog. I started out trying to make it be instructional but have fallen into posting a million gorgeous pictures of my garden with lots of kitty pictures. This shows Abe the kitty looking cool.
I do emphasize edible plants but am a sucker for straight up beauty. I grow organic and try to do it as locally as possible which generally ends up being cheaper.

I welcome and seek comments from you and will try to answer any questions to the best of my knowledge. I try to give credit where it is due so will link to source I recognize as not being myself.

If you like this blog you will probably find it easiest to follow me on twitter which I have come to recognize as an excellent source of information both petty and deep. I hope that though my emphasis is on the pretty and I do tend to hide the ugly parts of my garden that you will find some depth to it too.

I tend to do things as cheaply as possible which often means recycling things like other people's trash. Here we have Sally the cat testing a wall I made from found bricks from here and there.
I am not a writer and my thoughts, being largely image driven tend to be scattered. I am a landscaper and if you desire my services, do not hesitate to ask if you live in my area, though at this point this blog is not really about generating business.

Oh yeah, my name is Gabrielle Marsden. I am smarter than most people and I've done and seen lots of interesting things. My politics as you might well imagine are left of center. I am an omnivore and value locally produced food more than organic. I have permaculture tendencies though I've only been checking it out recently. I am in my mid-40s and am not a tea-totaler. I speak only one language but have traveled overseas a little and even south of the equation once. My garden is in an urban suburb of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania.


My sidewalk is very lush. This 1st picture is my terrace which has filled out completely.
Next to it is my feral tomato. I am glad that it is a cherry tomato.
My yarrow is growing in well, and so are the weeds. Hrmph. Everyday, I weed it a little bit.
You may have noticed that I have let my garden spill out onto the sidewalk. Most pedestrians seem not to mind though some plants get a little trampled. It's not as bad as some hedges on my street.
The sidewalk makes some things easier. I don't have to search in the dirt for these seedpods.
One plant I have growing in various locations is nasturtiums. After a while they go to seed and when they do they tend to die out a bit and drop these seed pods. I might save some to plant next year. They are also edible if you pick them early enough.

I will let the seedpods dry out then break them open for the seeds inside. That'll be one less package of seeds for me to buy next year.
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Catching Up Eye-candy

It really is hard to keep up. Here's some non sequential photos that caught my eye.

This was the salad bowl. The beets were in it early on and though they are stunted are still lovely. Enough has survived in it to keep it pretty even though they aren't exactly thriving.
This is a good view of the 2nd crop of cabbages filling out. I get a kick out of this everytime I look at it.
These hops are glorious. It will be worthwhile to harvest them this year. Last year they were far less productive.
This is my 3rd post today! I intend to do one more post. I took too many pretty pictures not to.
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Racing to get a Photo

Whenever a hummingbird appears, I have seconds to snap a photo. This morning was better than most. I gave up stalking them months ago.

At this point they seem to prefer cypress vines.
She's looking at me.
Looking again, my auto settings made this overexposed but I like this picture anyway.
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Mantis Mania

This morning I saw 3 mantises! I am so pleased.

Yesterday I found this shedded mantis skin which makes me believe that the mantis without wings and the winged mantis are the same.
I feel like this mantis is my friend. I decided to call her Sylvia. The skin is hers.
This second mantis I have dubbed Rasputina.
I named this third mantis Claudius. I think he might be the same as the brown one i saw earlier who was missing an arm. I think they regenerate limbs. If I am wrong I might have 4 mantises in my front yard.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Red Cabbage Crop

I am not keeping up with my garden. This curb cabbage was starting to split. I harvested it but probably will not eat it given its proximity to the street.
I will however encourage a second crop. Notice the mini-cabbage heads on the side. If it heals they will grow.
Just like these guys here.
I know that cabbage is a cliche to some as far as ornamental vegetables go but I still get a kick out of them. And this is Pittsburgh, well actually Wilkinsburg and we tend to be 10-20 years behind most trends.
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