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Stress Relief

These past two months have been filled with stress after stress. First, my husband, the OUSD teacher, received his pink slip, along with 1/3 of all the teachers in Oakland. About a month ago, that slip was rescinded, but two weeks before that I found out that my near senile boss had advertised my job. Not that I was looking for jobs at the time, I was good at my position and enjoyed the work, the ridiculous old man accidentally showed me proof of the ad himself. One of my many roles was to draft the occasional e-mail for him, so he asked me to do that for him on that Monday and I see a response to his ad at the top of his inbox (he’s an old man who doesn’t really understand e-mail). Even more shocking, two weeks later, I was able to quit for a new position and resign. After receiving my two weeks notice, he let me go back to work for three hours and then came into my office to escort me out.

But for the past week and a half, I’ve been at my new place of work – God, I hope this one will work out. I’m working for a landscape design and construction company in Berkeley – 5 Elements Design.

This could be a dream come true…! And the end of our problems…?

During all of this, I’ve found comfort in working in the garden and house. Next time I post, I’ll try to show some of the house. It’s just hard to show the slow slow progress that I’ve made in plastering the front room. But the garden has changed quite a bit in this month.

The lawn is firmly established, about 60%-40% grass to weeds.

The plant beds are slowly creeping around towards the upper area.

About a month ago, you could see the ladybird poppies and lupine, the stars of this area.

The horned poppy seedpods add a nice structural element.

The lupine grew shockingly fast, from a tiny 6″ puff to 3 feet with blooms in two months. But it grew too large for its place, so last week I pulled it out and pruned the lavender next to it and moved it into the vacant spot.

Three flower stalks already rising up.

This spot isn’t shining anymore but the lavender will fill the area nicely and of course, next year the daffodils will still have room to come back up.

The yellow grass-like stuff laying there is debris and seed heads from the some annuals I hope will reseed.

These two sad looking plants, I planted just next to the pink Dianthus above. I started these from seed a year and a half ago, letting them die back three and four times, not watering them, and not repotting them until a few weeks ago when I decided to finally pay them some proper attention.

These two filled out very quickly after being planted in my garden clay.

Now they’ve gone from scrawny and sad to beautiful pink Echinacea (with a little more growing, they’ll look great from every angle).

About my most favorite photo I’ve taken so far.

Down closer to the house and my neighbor’s garage, the wildflowers are completely faded now. I’ve cleared most of this already and collected tons of seed. I’ll have more wildflowers next year but positioned around perennials so that I don’t have totally wasted looking areas next year.

Just about ready for seed collecting

Already the perennial monkeyflower is starting to fill in that bare area.

Mimulus aurantiacus ‘Pt. Molate’

There’s also a very small buckwheat and milkweed that aren’t quite photo ready. I’ve left just one of the wildflowers standing because of the peculiar way the bees were acting around it…

Native Long-Horned Bees

I think this is Gilia capitata… and well the bees apparently like to use it as a bed… or drugs den. I can see them there everyday, completely stoned and oblivious to my presence. I can move the flower heads around, brush the bees themselves a little and all they do is twitch their wings or move their legs a bit.

Then, there’s the new bed next to the garage which has filled in very nicely. The trellises are completely covered by the nasturtium vines I bought from Annie’s.

Along with Hosta, Geum, Mother Ferns, Geranium, etc.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum peregrinum) ‘Canary Creeper’

From this angle, the vines are just what I wanted – a beautiful pop of yellow on blue. However…

As this is an annual, it was bound to happen

The lower you look the worse it is. I’ve decided I’ll be changing the vines next year, I really love the reddish pink bougainvillaeas or maybe a clematis. But no more yellow, it sounded nice and looks good up close but from far away it looks too much like yellowing leaves.

The little hostas are flowering quite prettily, not sure what type they are.

Unknown small Hosta

Geranium pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’

Then there’s our first attempt at edibles. My husband has a great weakness for rhubarb pie so here we are. One month ago, we had this.

Rhubarb ‘Glaskin’s Perpetual’

Now we have this! What ridiculously huge leaves. The two lettuces I tried between them, I’ve ripped out now – turns out they were a bitter type, not something I’d like.

Getting far to big to stay in the half wine barrel

We’ve put the half wine barrel up in the back right of the yard where we plan on putting more edibles someday. Then, two weeks ago, I dug up and divided a very old Salvia leucantha and planted 5 large divisions along the fence here. I can just imagine how beautiful the line of them will look next year.

A minty wall of purple salvia next year



2 thoughts on “Stress Relief

  1. Holy Schmoley! What a roller coaster ride!Your garden looks great! If you wanna cone over to our place to meet the bees, let us know.

    Posted by . . . Lisa and Robb . . . | September 7, 2011, 5:08 PM
  2. Well, look at those long-horn bees snoozing on the Gilia! 😉 I love your photo. I've never seen them all napping on a flower together, but I've read the males can frequently be found doing just that. They have no hives to go home to at night, so it's probably safety in numbers at night. Does look like a rough night out with the lads though! I still have my globe gilia seeds here, as I didn't manage to plant them for last spring. Now I'm definitely going to sow them for next year. I'll be curious to see we find any snoozing long-horns on them!

    Posted by Curbstone Valley Farm | September 16, 2011, 8:02 PM

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