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Jewell
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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

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Jewell's Blog

Ramblings from the Puget Sound


Winter Squash

Category: Summer | Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:08 pm

The winter squash took over their bed, the adjacent woodland and blueberry beds, and were turn back from crossing paths in all directions. They even attempted to enter the shed. What a mess of mildewed vines, some finishing their cycle.



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



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



This morning I harvested a few of the hardened off squash. Marine air this morning and they keep suggesting showers but it has been an unusually dry, hot summer with consistent 80 degree weather.



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



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



The bees love the blooms which are still plentiful. Sometimes there are as many as six bees in a blossom. They come early in the morning when the cool temperatures make their flight look like it is in slow motion. The bees appear to be coating themselves in pollen since some slow flyers are golden in color. Amazing. I was careful harvesting the squash so that the vines could still provide blooms for the bees.



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


Funny thing is my husband and I are not big squash eaters. I'll keep some of the butternut (we love the texture and natural sweetness hot off the grill) and one or two others, but most are going to the food bank.



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





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Pot Garden and Hugelkultur in the Last Days of July

Category: Summer | Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:07 pm

My potted runner beans have suffered from insufficient watering.


Runner beans ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )
I reused potting soil from last year. The leaves had lacked the usual bright green and have had to supplement with epson salts. This seemed to be the miracle cure and helped them look healthy again. Of the two pots I replanted in old soil the pot with volunteer foxgloves in it looks the healthiest. The healthier pot doesn't have the die back like the one shown. I am thinking companion planting helped both for nutrients and shading the soil. It doesn't seem to dry out as quickly.

We have noticed all that greenery from the runner beans has a lot of moisture and has been a remarkable temperature control. The inside of the shack is usually a few degrees cooler inside because of the shade and cooling affect of the runner beans on the outside.


Base shows lack of watering ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I also planted up pots with beans, peas and kale. The plants are hiding my potting mess and are starting to provide meals. It is amazing what can be grown anywhere there is sun, soil, and water.

Ghetto pot garden ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


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

Planting in pots has certainly given us some nice dinners of greens we wouldn't have had otherwise. I am curious to see how the kale does that is planted in the same pots as the green beans and peas in the ghetto garden.

I feel the Hugelkultur has been a success. Next year I will try to be more organized when planting it out though. This spring and summer I just kept sticking in seeds and starter plants until all the bare ground was filled. Now it is a hunt to find produce. In winter when I tidy and mulch I am also putting in some masonry bricks for stairs/steps in at least two areas. Right now I feel like I am climbing a mountain to reach some produce. It is a lot more ground space with the rise in elevation and I am too short to reach the top areas easily. Over all I feel it has been a success despite the dog digging up parts of the hill twice.

Here are some things growing on the Hugelkultur. Other veggies not shown are two varieties of kale and chard, walking onions, cabbage, all winter eats.


Hunting for lemon cucumbers. Lunch every day includes a few. ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


Tomatoes. August eats ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


Lots of mustard greens ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


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


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


Lots of winter squash ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )



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


The big bad green Hugelkultur mound.


Food in a pile ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Hope your gardening experiments are working out for you too.






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July Flowers

Category: Summer | Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:20 pm

Just a few blooms for 2014.


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



Nasturtiums in the squash ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )



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





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Berry Time

Category: Summer | Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:08 pm

Berry time is a little late in my yard this year. We usually get our first blueberry close to The last week of May, not June. That is just fine because I have never seen so many berry on the producing blueberry bush.


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

That one bush will keep me busy picking berries most of the summer. The other three blueberry bushes have been revitalized by a hard pruning last summer. They are now three times the size they were before. Next year those bushes will be great producers too.

The last two years I have bought two blueberry bushes each year. The first two bushes are already three to four feet tall. With judicious pinching back we will hopefully be freezing much more of the blueberries we consume.

A berry that takes a little more work, but we enjoy are the raspberries. Unfortunately they are easily damaged by rain. We had some measurable rains today. This week and most of the spring I have been managing the new raspberry plants that sprout all around the parent plants. Some are even six feet away. They are still tasty, just a lot more work than blueberries to maintain.



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




The last berries we have are strawberries. They produce the least and I am just not very successful with them. There are a variety of reasons. Lack of light and warmth might contribute to part of the problem. Slugs are another problem, but using shredded cedar mulch has helped a lot with those varmints. But the cedar doesn't help with the main varmint ......


Varmint in berries ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )



Max....his guilty look ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

How could I refuse him strawberries? Someone needs to pick the lower berries.






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What's Happening Today

Category: Summer | Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:27 pm

Busy morning cleaning up the raspberries. Some sort of rodent had been driving Ciara the dobie crazy. She had dug trenches. She would lay in wait and charge the bushes. Her lunges had broken the raspberries down. Whether it was moles, or mice, or something larger I am not sure, but area is now cleaned, more open (no hiding critter spots) and the holes that were dug are filled in. Also potted up five raspberry plants for co-workers since I head to work tomorrow.

A box came yesterday. Mini bearded irises arrived. I planted the mini iris I had ordered in the spring. I had forgotten that I had ordered them. There are three varieties and they are all fragrant.


New mini iris ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

It was time before a beak so I walked around checking out what's new in the blooming department.


Blaze roses in front yard ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


One fall anemone...very early ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


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


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


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

Then it was time to tackle a project that has taken me some time to contemplate...two years. The rain barrels. I finally got the bricks and figured out how to level the area one barrel would be placed. Sledge hammer was needed to break up some left-over cement that had been dropped in that area. Gutters were trimmed up, flow piece installed. Need to pick up a strainer and a run-off pipe, but am happy with the result.

It has been a challenge to plan for the rain barrels. The how and where to set the rain barrels up took some thought since our lot slopes from back to front. Of course our house is at the front with the roof line dumping primarily to the front of the lot. Some plants will be getting a little summer water that they usually don't get. Can't really water the part of the yard I would like, but every drop helps.


First rain barrel almost ready ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Now it is time to clean up and think about what we will have for lunch.






Hydrengea beginning to bloom ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )





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Maintaining a Garden Through Time

Category: Summer | Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:20 pm

Last week-end we are took out an Alberta Spruce in the front yard. It was one of the first trees we planted on this city lot after we moved in. It had been a little live Christmas tree that had moved from rental to our current home all those years ago. As Alberta Spruce tend to do with age, it repeatedly tried to revert to the big spruce tree that its genes were made up of. It was time for it to be removed. As we deal with the needles and pitch that go with its removal I began thinking of all the changes our front yard has had through the years.


Alberta Spruce trying to go to its natural form ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

We moved to our little home in 1983. It was basically a bare lot with a lot of blackberry brambles and some very old plantings of rhubarb, horseradish, elephant garlic, autumn crocus. We found a few other gems hiding in places around the yard that hadn't been mowed more or less kept up for a few seasons. Pulling brambles and mowing the yard we discovered several fruit and nut trees. Before long the yard became a grassy oasis perfect for children running around. We had an asphalt drive way laid and wire fences are planted with ivy to become hedges that surround most of the yard. The neighbors plant baby fir trees on the south side of our lot.

The front yard had a huge rambling rose that took over half of the front yard and not much else was there. We removed the rose bush by cutting it at the base of a ten inch trunk. Its sprouts are still around. On that side of the yard a four-way cherry is planted shortly after the removal of the rose.


old rambling rose ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Fast forward a decade and the back yard has ducks in the orchard, garden beds close to the house for veggies and berries. The front yard had two more semi-dwarf fruit trees: granny smith apple and a four-way sweet cherry tree. Interlaken grapes stretched across the south side of the house. The fir trees block the neighbors and begin shading a portion of the lot. The tree in the front yard provides cherries that are wonderful and a neighborhood gathering place during the first days of summer. The front yard changes from grass to flower beds to grass again as the cherry tree changes the microclimate of the front yard. Plants come and go, but the hellebores have found a home they like and provide starts for beds through out the yard. The apple tree also adds summer shade, but the apples are not quite right for our climate. I've never figured out the right time for picking the apples and they often provide fodder for the birds in the winter and spring. Salal, lilies, Pacific bleeding hearts and deer ferns provide a little oasis beneath its limbs that shade the walkway to the front door.

I have had a love affair with heather during the last decades.


White heather - the honey bees love it ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I love its seasonal flowers, especial in winter. I've learned it can get shrub high as it starts to cover the kitchen windows. I've learned that heavy trimming can kill it. One heather goes and new varieties are introduced until I have heather blooming throughout the seasons. Path ways between them are wooly thyme, then Irish moss and finally filled in totally with California poppies. Rock borders are placed around brick pavers as they are placed year each year until they wrap around the house.

Another few years pass and the cherry tree in the front yard is gone.

I am told there is no such thing as a semi-dwarf cherry tree and now I believe it. Maintaining the four graphed cherry varieties and keeping it off the house was too much work. The children who used to pick its sweet cherries are growing up fast too. The cherry tree's twenty-four inch trunk is left. It is about a meter tall and is drilled for mason bees. A shade garden with hellebores, bleeding hearts, a variety of ferns and woodland plants had formed a bed under its branches. The woodland plants had a bit of a shock having their leaves unprotected during the summer months.


first spring after murdering the cherry tree ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Two Japanese maples are slowly adding shade back to this part of the yard. A hardy hibiscus and heathers flourished with the added light.


now with new paths and a few more years added to the Japanese maples ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Unfortunately so did some weeds. With such a large bed it was time this year to reestablish some sort of paths to get in and maintain the area. That part of the yard has once again had some transformations.

With the removal of the Alberta Spruce it is clear how big the heathers on that side of the yard have become.


Oh, my! The heathers are almost as tall as me! ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Time to do some weeding, trimming and path laying here too. Volunteer heather plants and gayfeather bulbs need some readjusting to their placement. Ivy hedges need a good trimming. Gardens are ever changing. Once I always felt that I had a hard time getting a plant to grow and prosper. Now I weed plants that I would have loved to have bought or had given to me a few decades ago. Like me once a plant has found a home they are happy and prosper there.


Bye-bye Alberta Spruce.... new place to plant? ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )





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