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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gardening for yourself

I am glad I learned a few of these rules on my own, or the state of my garden would constantly bother me. One of the best quotes. "Remember that a garden should be for your enjoyment! If that's not the case, begin to phase OUT some of the garden." I sometimes have to force myself to remember this.

Does Your Garden Overwhelm You? Try this!

I would be the first to admit that I'm behind on my garden blog reading. So it was only today, when I was supposed to be doing something much more necessary on the computer, that I discovered Does Your Garden Overwhelm You? Try this! It figures a maturing gardener would have such words of wisdom. [...]

(Via Cold Climate Gardening.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Garden-in-a-Bag

I came across this in my morning perambulations through my RSS feeds. I feel truly sorry for those people who must resort to these "gardening" methods, but also feel somewhat heartened that companies are finding some way of bringing nature back to the home, even if it is 20 stories up in a Manhattan high-rise.

If you need a quick gardening fix that requires nothing more than opening a package and adding some water, this might for you. Consider it "fast food" gardening, but without all the health issues.

Garden-in-a-Bag

Now it doesn't get much easier than growing fresh herbs, but I still totally dig these 'Garden-in-a-Bag' kits from Wishing Fish, which provide the dirt, nutrients, and seeds you need to grow herbs and plants right out of the packaging. Pop them open and add water and it won't be long before you have a believable excuse about why your entire office smells like chives.

Catalog Page ($8 - $10) [WishingFish via CoolHunting]

(Via Gizmodo.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hot-rod-style fire pit

This would look cool on almost any informal backyard or garden. Summer is here! Gather around the flames, boys, gather around the flames.

(Photo at the link below)

Hot-rod style fire pit

Xeni Jardin:

Artisan John T. Unger's recycled steel fire pits cost $450 and are highly badass! I realize this isn't a barbecue pit, per se, but -- hotdogs grilled over a hotrod-style bowl would be, well, totally hot. Link (Thanks Clive)

(Via Boing Boing.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Madeleine Bistro Opens in Tarzana

Crossposted from My Word...

This week our friends and fellow parents from school, Molly and David Anderson, have opened their new vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Madeleine Bistro. As a confirmed carnivore, I can tell you, this vegetarian cuisine is among some of the best food I have ever tasted. Any of you who know me personally understand just what a compliment this is!

Two weeks ago, Rosanne and I attended a "pre-opening" which featured a 6 course tasting menu of the many dishes that Madeleine Bistro will feature on their regularly changing menu. Even though I am a notoriously "picky" eater, and not fond of vegetables at all, I ate, and greatly enjoyed 99% of everything I was served. It was a wonderful meal on the scale of many of the fine restaurants in Los Angeles. The added kick of it being vegetarian was merely a wonderful extra. We both walked away that evening with one of the best food "highs" we have had in a long time.

My favorites from their current menus (linked below) include:

Thai red curry - Pan-roasted tofu with basmati rice cake, late spring baby vegetables
"Chicken"-fried seitan with Mashed potatoes, pan gravy, baby carrots, haricots verts
Cajun Caesar Sandwich - Blackened seitan, Caesar dressing, French roll, plantain chips
Madeleine club - Chicken-fried seitan, tempeh bacon, sourdough bread, plantain chips
Raw blueberry-lavender soup with Strawberry-kiwi-lemon sorbet terrine, macadamia tuile
Flourless chocolate cake with Whipped creme, raspberry coulis, creme anglaise

I also enjoyed several other dishes that are not on the current menu, including an artichoke risotto that was amazing. I look forward to being able to try this again in the future.

If you or your friends are into great food that happens to be vegetarian, please stop by Madeleine Bistro and enjoy yourself!

Lunch Menu | Dinner Menu

Madeleine Bistro
18621 Ventura Blvd.
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 758-6971

Dinner: Tuesday through Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Friday and Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Lunch: (beginning Wednesday, June 1st)
Tuesday through Friday: 11:30m - 2:00pm

Sunday Brunch: (beginning Sunday, June 12th)
Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm

Closed Monday

Monday, May 30, 2005

Passiflora

We have seen our garden's first Passionflower bloom!

I scavenged some seeds from a neighbors vine a few years ago and planted a few around the yard to see what would happen. Nothing, it seems, is what would happen. (SMILE) Then, out of the blue, or perhaps out of the ground, a vine sprang up in a large pot by the front door.

While the butterfly larvae have been well-fed by the vine, it hadn't put off any flowers. Then, a few days ago, Rosanne and Joe noted a single, lovely bloom. Joe tried to take a photo of it, but the focus was off. I went to take another, but it appears that the blooms close up during the heat of the day. I will grab one as soon as I can and post it here.

For more information on Passiflora vines, visit this Google Search.

Gazebo Plans from Black & Decker

If you are (MUCH) handier than I am with power tools, you might be interested in this online set of plans and directions for constructing your own Victorian-style gazebo. I wouldn't attempt it myself (nor do I have the space for it), but it seems nice that you can find information like this, for free, on the Internet.

Gazebo Plans

(Via del.icio.us/tag/garden.)

Gardening and the Long Weekend

There is something about a long holiday weekend that makes you want to get out into the garden. Of course, now I am a bit sore.


This is certainly not my favorite job. My arms usually end up feeling like jelly by the time I am done, but it only takes a couple of hours at the very most and then I don't have to worry about it again until next year.

Luckily, the weather cooperated perfectly this weekend, with temperatures barely breaking into the 70's. In years past, I have had to sweat it out in 90 degree temps, grumbling the entire time. Rosanne and Joe were also out visiting Nonna so it seemed like a great time to get it done. I put my iPod on and listened to podcasts the entire time I worked. That also made the time pass quickly. Nothing like getting a little knowledge while you do physical labor.

As I was finishing up the raking my neighbor stopped by to ask if he might take some limbs off a cedar tree that border our properties. It seems it was leaking sap badly and ruining the finish on his car. I really like these neighbors, they have helped us out many times in the past, so I had no problem with this. In fact, since the tree was crowding out some others and really didn't look that good, I thought we might just remove the entire tree. This is part of the on-going "editing" that has to be done here, thanks to the previous owner's dramatic over-planting.

After looking at the tree for a while, though, we realized it was too big of a job for us. We didn't have big enough ladders to reach the top and might end up injuring ourselves. So, it is time to pull out the checkbook and bring in the tree company, again. This is one expense I don't really begrudge as most of our trees are well beyond my ability to trim or remove. Still, it does get expensive.

Now that the azaleas are trimmed, I can see where the weeds have taken over the various paths, so now it is time to do a little digging and mulching to neaten that area and start the prep for our Italian guests (arriving in mid-July) and our big summer party.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Addressing garden landscape issues

I am somewhat blessed in that I don't have any major problems with my property. Sure, it is a bit shady and the tree roots have dried out some areas, but I don't have drainage problems, rocky or any other issues that would cripple my garden.

If your garden is not so lucky, though, this article can give you some pointers on dealing with the issues and building a garden even where it might not seem feasible.


It's Not a Problem, It's a Feature I've been talking a lot lately about working with the conditions you have and not fighting nature. David Beaulieu has a wonderful FAQ of Landscape Solutions for Problem Areas. If you think you're plagued by too much rock or a...

(Via Gardening.)