Blog Author
(view profile)
Recent Entries to this Blog Is It Really.....?
Posted: 16 Mar 2015
Flowers, Perennials and Weeds
Posted: 06 Oct 2014
Planted My First Fairy Circle
Posted: 29 Aug 2014
Winter Squash
Posted: 28 Aug 2014
Pot Garden and Hugelkultur in the Last Days of July
Posted: 30 Jul 2014

All Entries

Jewell's Blog

Ramblings from the Puget Sound

Is It Really.....?

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:18 am

Is it really almost the first day of spring?
Is it really raining after a week of gorgeous weather and work?
Are the dandelions really trying to go to seed before I've had a chance to do ant weeding?
Was it really October the last time I wrote in my blog?

The daffodils are blooming!
The magnolias are blooming!
The neighbors willow tree is chartreuse green!
The rain is heavy and the day is gray with the flowering trees bright!
Bright yellow
Bright white
Bright pink
Soft pink
Soft lavender

Lots of color with new grass, sweet dandelion leaves
Old blooms still bright from hellebores and heathers

Today's flowers ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Hellebores ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Where have the months gone?
Work is my joy as much as my garden. Like the garden there is always so much to do and so little time. Students I have been concerned about I have volunteered to tutor before school, making a busy day even fuller.

Laughing Yoga? Yes, a class a week. It has been interesting to see how your body and brain reacts to laughter even when it is forced. My exercise is gardening and laughter yoga now :D.

The benefits of laughter yoga are here if you are interested No jokes, just laughter. It is always interesting to see new people giving it a try. Laughing yoga is not what many think.

Have also entered into the world of aromatherapy. Accidentally introduced by staff that are very attached to a particular brand of essential oils. Never one to follow a lead or believe the preacher I have now a nice small library and apothecary to fit my needs. Another fun little hobby.

Well the Sun is trying to peek out for a moment, so will grab the trowel and see if a few weeds will relinquish their grip on the earth. Happy day to all.

This blog entry has been viewed 232 times

Living in a Temperate Climate: Don't Do This Any Where Else!

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:27 pm

It all started with a little watering.

Moved on to harvesting the floppy flowers of the elephant garlic (need to move those to the backs of the beds or under shrubs. The flowers are pretty but the leaves look ratty.) and a few more garlic bulbs.

Elephant garlic ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The lambs ears flowers were laying down.

Now I am beginning to feel guilty because the bees have been thick on the flowers of both. Oh well, there are already sooo many unweeded volunteers from earlier bee activity on flowers that their keepers should be happy.

Dear, oh dear. More dead heading of the phlox needed. Darn, I really should move them and find the path again.

Where's the shovel?

Yes, this plant can go there (dig, and move). And that plant plant can go there (dig, and move). How about another plant in that spot (dig, and move). Where the heck did that start come from? (dig, and move). Yeh gads, I've moved five clumps. That's enough for now. I have a hole to fill.

The pink flowering strawberries will soon fill in ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

And gosh darn, those mini iris need to be thinned out of the path.

Mini iris need to be thinned out of path ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Guess that is enough for the moment. Got another chapter to read on my homework list.

Sorry for the poor photos but my iPad doesn't take good shots on sunny days.

Our weather has been in the high 70s F getting up to low 80s F on a really warm day. This means most of the day is generally cool and around 4PM it it's the high temperature for a half hour or so. Our evenings cool off to the low 50s although last night our low was 57.

My version for of a 'normal' summer in the south Puget Sound of Washington state has temps generally in the 60s with night dropping down into the 40s. Maybe a week or two all summer into the 70s with a day or two in the 80s. Rains spring until August. August through October being dry.

It is generally not this warm for extended weeks like this year. We have had over a month of delicious heat. Unfortunately it also makes our area prone to extreme fire danger.

This blog entry has been viewed 210 times

Textures and Colors

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:37 am

Today was the neighborhood garden walk and yard sales. Purchased a little oil painting of an abstract apple for my kitchen for $2. The painting needs a highlight or two in the right spots, but over all the colors were perfect for this room.

Funky abstract oil painting of apple ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

It was fun seeing several yards where paths wind through flowers and veggies intermixed with fruit trees and bushes for focal points. Lots of wonderful edible landscapes a few with chickens artfully included. It is amazing what can happen in small spaces with creativity and amazing little or no grass. Unfortunately these little gardens are impossible to photograph, but I came away with a want list for a few more plants.

When I came home with the sky bright and unusual temps continuing in the 70s and 80s i couldn't help but notice the shadows. I have been also observing the textures of the garden. Here is a back corner I especially like in the shade garden.

Pallets, mirror, ivy, pigsqueak, ferns, bricks ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The autumn and native sword ferns play off the rounded leaves of the bergenia. The pallets mimic the silver of the bricks. Underneath is a planting of hostas and hellebores with entirely different textures.

Hosta fragrant bouquet ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Hellebores and dead nettle ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I was lucky to get a variety of silver leafed plumeria inter mixed with the regular. Separated it is a stand out in the shade. For comparison the old and the new.

Regular plumeria ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Silver variety plumeria ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The phlox are still blooming. They are needing regular deadheading as some plants are winding down.

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The yellow flowers continue

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

And a few others too

Just beginning fall anemone ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Stargazer in hostas ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Calendula ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The shade and shadows make there own textures. Bamboo and winter squash shadows.

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Winter squash bed ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Panorama of veggie and flower garden ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Even my old gargoyle has an aging texture...namaste.

Cast in shadows ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

This blog entry has been viewed 224 times

Shinrin-yoku: “Forest Bathing”

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:23 pm

Found something new that scientists are just cuing in on but many gardener's have known forever. Being in nature has great benefits. They are saying that being among the trees is calming and pleasant. In Japan, they call it shinrin-yoku: "forest bathing." A fifty minute walk in the woods has wonderful healing qualities.

There are a number of studies showing higher cognitive abilities, immune boosting affects, lowered stress hormones (helps with depression and stress) and, lower glucose levels (for those with pre diabetic symptoms) and a handful of other benefits.

Have you had your dose of a woodsy walk?

Morning Meditation ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden ) Just two of many articles on the web.

Last edited: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:36 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 236 times

Gardening Can Have Different Faces

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:42 am

Fall is always a crazy work time for me. No matter how much time I spend in spring and summer setting curriculum, files and spreadsheets the influx of new students in fall over whelms the daily necessities of the job and Federal paperwork.

I absolutely love what I do and love the kids I work with. As a special education teacher in an elementary school no year is ever the same. We have a high mobility rate and 70% or more of our students live in poverty. Many are working families at minimum wage jobs. Many of the children's only meals are gotten at school some days. No matter how our country bashes teachers and the school system I feel like I work with some of the best teachers that are the most caring, hard working people around.

Tonight was a fund raiser, a spaghetti feed put on by staff and community members. Staff sold, donated and bought meals and deserts as well as donating time well beyond their regular work day. This is just one of many things that staff does throughout the year to extend and tie the school and community together. Our Arts and Craft Night is the next 13 hour day. Before that many of the neediest families will get food boxes for Thanksgiving and some will be taking home backpacks with food for getting through the week-ends.

This group of hard working professionals apply for grants, use connections to community organizations and dig into their own finances to make sure students and their families can have the necessities for school. Fund raisers like tonight's also go to fund field trips and school equipment. The thing is, I don't believe that the school I work at is any different than any other school. It isn't a job that is done for the money. My husband makes double what I do, and we would be in a total different situation if we had to live on only my salary. There are far too many teachers I know having to work two jobs.

With funding cuts and economic tough times please don't complain about schools. Go to your local school and volunteer to read with a student or two on a regular basis. You might be surprised at the change it can make for a child and maybe you too. It can be like tending and watching your garden grow.

This blog entry has been viewed 477 times

Night Soil, Composting Toilets, Social/Political Correctness

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:54 am

I think I first started coming across alternative methods of dealing with human wastes when I was looking for creative outdoor sheds. The small house movement seemed to have cleverly built small spaces. Who would have thought that looking for what is basically an adult play house would lead to introspection about human bodily waste?

My granddad had an outhouse out on his property away from the house, next to the horse corral. Those are now pretty much illegal except for a few Forest Service ones in national forests. The composting toilets are finding a niche. From what I can determine the human litter boxes with fans are preferable to sheds with holes in the ground.

I read, saw (you tube) one household's small living space with an illegal (for this municupality) composting toilet. Thinking of all the trouble and expense of adding a second bathroom to our old home I can begin to understand the appeal.

In the arid southwest they have city/county codes defining acceptable composting toilets. A small community, I believe in Spain, separated urine and feces at the community latrine for garden and composting. What about cholera, parasites and other unhealthy aspects of human waste? Somewhere I read two years of composting takes care of that, but I'm not sure it was a reliable site. But how does that compare to my grandad's outhouse?

In many parts of the world night soil was a part of agricultural practices. The actual practices were more of a fermentation of the waste than composting from what I read. (Tying in with my bokashi. Actually this may have lead to my discovery of using the bokashi method of recycling household wastes, but I can't remember for sure.). When I first heard about the use of night soil I thought the poor farmer's just took it out to the fields and dumped it every day. Actually the night soil was collected "and stored in large ceramic tanks or water-tight slate-lined or concrete pits." They added livestock manure and fermented mulch like what I am doing with table scraps.

As fresh water becomes less plentiful I wonder if my/our attitudes about mixing human wastes with heavy metals (what happens at the sewage treatment plant) will change. If many sewage treatment plants are recycling the waste to turn it back into drinking water is there a better way? Why don't we think of better ways to conserve water? As a society we have gotten so removed from our own bodily functions that even the use cloth diapers for babies is unheard of for a generation now.

I guess I just find it all baffling. I also understand my own cultural aversion to peeing in the garden LOL. Grandad's outhouse was also fine in the summer, but scary in the long, cold winter nights. Composting toilets fad or wave of the future. Read the last link before you decide. As one forum writer reminded me, "the grass is always greener over the septic".

Edited: Laura Allen's composting toilet system is explained in this YouTube video.
Guess I have an 8 year olds fascination with poop and pee

Last edited: Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:46 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 736 times

Always Knew I Was Dizzy

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:44 pm

This is no time (but then there never is a good time) to be dizzy. Actually it is vertigo and I am seeing a physical therapist tomorrow. Hoping to get the world on a solid footing then and get back to work. The garden has lots to do with things popping out of the ground and crying out to be dug, cleaned up and/or be transplanted.

I wobble out to the backyard several times a day with an excuse that the dogs need a potty break. Actually it is for my own break of fresh air and a short sit to hear the birds and squirrels among the city noises. If I take my time I can scrape some moss off the bricks and place it on the new shade garden beds. Little things I wouldn't normally take the time to do.

Am making plans in my head. Leveling one small area, terracing another. Maybe a pallet of bricks and some bark to be delivered. How should we lay out the gazebo area and is it too early to get it out? Have had a foot of snow in April in the past, so had better wait.

Oh we'll, it is all in my head and it won't be long before it all comes together as best as it might. Gardening is a process and never a end is always changing.

This blog entry has been viewed 240 times

Good Year Ending....sigh

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:50 pm

Fall passed me by without my grabbing onto the time and making the most of it. Too many photos missed and moments spent sitting in the comfort of buildings working away, or resting/wasting away time. Fall colors were bright for the Pacific Northwest with a very long fall.

sweet woodruff and red Japanese maple ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

bark, red Japanese maple ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

fall anenome ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The fall flowers held on forever! I've gathered and spread seeds heads in new beds. Hopefully they may sprout and bloom within my lifetime.

Lost my rescue dog, Kota to heart disease. Decided to down size from dobies to something smaller. Rescue dog Amber came into our lives. What a charmer! She had extreme knee problems and had her first surgery before Christmas.

Amber ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Almost didn't do a Christmas tree, but decided on a small one and got out the butterfly decorations to adorn it, and the rest of the living room (house plants and all).

butterfly Christmas ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Butterfly decorations and branches ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Life has been very good to us this last year and am looking forward to another gem of a year as my garden/life plans unfold. Best wishes for all and may a very good new year be unfolding for all.

This blog entry has been viewed 284 times

To Buy Local or Mail Order?

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:40 am

I am too cheap to often buy plants mail order, but last year there were two plants that I felt "I just have to have them!" They were the miniature pampas grass and the double helleborous "peppermint ice".

( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I have had wonderful successes with bulbs the last couple of years mail order. I found daffodils that were spectacular to me. Frilly and of colors I had not imagined in daffodils.

Close-up of Sir Winston C. ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Rosey Cloud double daffodils ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I got both the pampas grass and the hellebore. It has been a bit disappointing with the pampas grass that will take at least another year to mature sufficiently to be placed where I would like it to go. Even then it will not be very big. The hellebore plant is blooming this year, but is still much smaller than other seedling plants I have moved around the yard. I still find it unique and a great addition to the yard. It's just that the pictures had led me to believe it was much more doubled and the color was pinker than it has turned out to be.

Helleborus 'Peppermint Ice' ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

dwarf pampas grass ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Maybe next year it will come into its own. The hellebore was pricey. For the same price I was able to get three much bigger plants this spring at the local nursey for the same price. Not the same variety, but more doubled and the varieties of color were perfect for me.

Helleborus Orientalis "Mardi Gras Double Mix" ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I realize that there is a lot in a name and I was buying the name, but last year I had a hard time finding doubled hellebores. This are lots of choices. Of course nothing beats the little old seedlings that turn into nice sized plants with a little time and free of charge.

Seedling helleborus transplanted last year ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

helleborus seedlings transplanted the year before last ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I am sure I will have another weak moment and buy plants online or from a catalogue, but I am beginning to believe local is better. Still learning after 40 years of puttering in the soil. Still changing my mind seasonally.

This blog entry has been viewed 1486 times

Time Slip Sliding Away

Category: Ramblings | Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:13 am

I am sitting here at the computer putting off doing work that I should be doing (doing the weekly budget, correcting papers and school work, housework, and yard work).

paperwork *sigh* ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Instead I am looking through those professional and imaculate looking gardens that abound out there on the Net. What a nice way to spend a Sunday morning.

Sitting here in my pajamas and worn out cashmere sweater I'm feeling comfy and cozy as I browse the Net for new-to-me blogs. Gardening blogs, of course. I'm feeling a little depressed looking at perfect gardens, and perfect houses with perfect plants and a few that are only slightly not so perfect. But none are on the scale of mess that mine are. The dobies have their toys strewn around the living room. Why did Santa bring them more stuffed squeaker toys? Didn't they have enough?

Ciara ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

The slip covered upholstery is wrinkled, and covered in pet hair. Then there are the paper products that are stacked in the vicinity of the stove for fire starters. Maybe they should go out to the recycling bin. Oh, that is too far to walk and entails going outdoors. Maybe later.

Kota ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

If I am going to walk it should be to go get the vacuum and take care of the dust bunnies and garden soil that's made its way inside.

Outdoors. (*deep sigh*) There are some piles of leaves that never quite made it to the garden beds. Then again there are some leaves that never quite made it to the piles of leaves. Between work and freezes and torrential rains the yard is a sorry state. Ciara, our digging dobie has probably created new craters out in the orchard area, and hopefully not in the garden beds or paths. The wind storms have knocked fir branches to the ground that have mostly made it onto beds. I still need to pick up plastic starter pots that were strewn around multiple times from storms. Need to solve that persistent problem this spring. One of the shelf units for plants refuses to stand and lays rejected on its side...again. Things that need to be done....sometime later (*another deep sigh*).
But then again I must be thinking spring and garden and yard. (*happy thoughts*) Can spring fever start about now? I haven't even made it through fall yet. Emotionally I am still in autumn with clean-up to do and preparations needing to be made for winter. Some how I have manage to emotionally skip a season this year without seeing the passage of time.

relaxing ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Instead I think I should go find that good book I had put down and slip off into another world...just for this afternoon.

This blog entry has been viewed 2102 times

You're reading one of many blogs on
Register for free and start your own blog today.