Photo: Turn your Face to the Sun



Turn your Face to the Sun, originally uploaded by Ben Heine.

This photo from Flickr is a great reminder that Spring (and Summer) are on their way. Hang in there!

Via Flickr:
© Ben Heine || Facebook || Twitter || www.benheine.com
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A sunflower field I captured near Sarlat in France

The above photo has been shot with the Samsung NX10
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For more information about my art: info@theartistery.com
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Sweet Message

A poem by Katie Gabrielle

sunny flower in my garden
may I speak
I beg your pardon!
you fill the air with
joy and love
a beauty
from heaven above
children count
your petals many
until soon
there just
ain’t any!
come again another time
your sweet message
is sublime

Grass cleanup: Before and After

I wrote a few days ago, and made the Grass video, about the overgrown grass that was taking over the front garden. Today, I spent about a half hour focusing on one section of those paths. Applying my 10-minute Gardener methodology (LAUGH) I selected just one small section to attack today. I wasn’t going to try and do everything, just this one small part of the pathways. This served me well as I was able to see a big difference with just a little work.

In the past, I have used my Loop Hoe to remove the grass, but today I found that using my hands seemed to work best. This may have been because the grass clumps were so big. I was able to grab a large section of it and work it back and forth to get it out, roots and all. In some cases, I was able to get my fingers under the large mat of roots and roll it up, almost like you were rolling up sod from a lawn.

I was able to combine this project with one other, too. I have meaning to pull the flagstones from these paths for years. They aren’t really needed and tend to disappear under the leaf mold. As I pull the grass from each section, I am also pulling up these flagstones to be used elsewhere in the garden. I plan on refurbishing the short walls in the back garden (which were made from discarded concrete refuse) and I think topping it with the flags might dress it up a bit.

Looking at the pictures below, I think you will see that this cleanup was pretty effective. I will most likely proceed the same way with the rest of the paths. Looking over how much I cleared today, though, I probably have another 8-10 hours of work ahead of me — unless I can get the wife and boy to lend a hand.

Grass Before Grass After

Click for large images

Roses in April

Roses in april

Roses in April 2011

Video: Grass: A Short Essay

grass-essay

Can’t see video? Click to watch on YouTube!

Download “Grass: A Short Essay” – iPod Ready Format

Book Giveaway Winner!

A winner has been chosen in our book giveaway contest for March. Facebook Fan Page member Minibox Farm has been selected randomly from the list of members from the Gardener’s Notebook Fan Page.

Join the Fan Page and watch the blog here for upcoming giveaways.

 

Review: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas

Elsewhere Online: Project Noah App Lets You Learn About Nearby Wildlife and Plants

I love when someone puts the iPhone to good use. Here is one that uses the Internet access, camera and GPS to help your explore your world.

Projectnoah

Project Noah is directed at kids, but I think anyone would find it interesting. You take photos and tag plants and wildlife along your travels and share them with other Project Noah users. Having trouble with identification? No problem, post it anyway and let the community help you figure it out.

Project Noah App Lets You Learn About Nearby Wildlife and Provide Worthy Research Yourself: “Project Noah App Lets You Learn About Nearby Wildlife and Provide Worthy Research Yourself

Kat Hannaford — This could be an app that makes you relinquish control of your iPhone and see the nearest kid around you begin a lifelong journey in wildlife appreciation. The free Project Noah app lets you snap photos of a plant or animal and submit it to find out details on exactly what it is, and what it’s good for.”

(Via Gizmodo.)

Read the entire article

I Like This – April 1, 2011

What I’m Reading… Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon

You don’t have to be a proponent of survivalist training to understand the joys of preserving what food you are giving so you can enjoy it later, usually when the food would not be available otherwise. Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It runs the gamut of preserved foods. The title says it all and then you add in salad dressing recipes, beverages, candy and more.

As with most food books I read, this one has many paper markers sticking out of the binding. There are many things I plan on trying, given half a chance. The section on making your own butter and cheese caught my eye immediately. I have been exploring making my own cordials and hard cider, so a little cheese to go along with them would be a great next steps. Of course, as harvest time arrives this year, I will be well prepared to save some of the abundant fruit for those long Winter nights in the form of jams and jellys.

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon from Amazon.com

I first heard of this book from Eric Rochow over at Gardenfork.tv. He followed some of the recipes for making his own cheeses.

How to make cheese, ricotta cheese, queso blanco: Gardenfork.tv

Product Description from Amazon.com

Do you relish the joys of hot toast spread with your own homemade butter and jam? Love to dazzle your friends with jars and tins of choice goodies–all created by you? The kitchen is a paradise for crafty cooks, and whether you’re a newcomer to the realm of amateur artisanal edibles or a seasoned food crafter on the prowl for your next batch of appetizing challenges, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It has recipes galore for you (75, to be exact).

Projects range from perfect pantry staples (Butter, Crackers, Pasta) to festive giftables (Toasted Walnut Brandy, Lemon Curd, Peanut Butter Cups); some give quick gratification (Mayonnaise, Rumkirschen, Potato Chips), while others reward patience (Gravlax, Ricotta Salata, Kimchee). Practical prep-ahead and storage instructions accompany each recipe, several give variations (like Caramelized Onion and Thyme Butter–yum), and most share ideas on how to use it, serve it, and give it away.

Complete with color photographs and the accumulated wisdom of author Karen Solomon’s years of food crafting, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It is your one-stop resource for turning your culinary inspiration into a pantry full of hand-labeled, better-than-store-bought creations

Karen Solomon is a food and lifestyle writer and veteran culinary tinkerer and food crafter. She is the author of The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to San Francisco, a contributor to San Francisco magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, and a former editor and columnist for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has also contributed to Chow! San Francisco Bay Area, the SF Zagat Guide, and dozens of Bay Area and national publications. She lives with her partner, son, and food-focused dachshund in (you guessed it) San Francisco, California. Reach her at www.ksolomon.com.

Question: What are your garden planting plans this season?

Chime in on this Facebook Question on the A Gardener’s Notebook Fan page…

Agn question

Click to Answer

What I’m Reading…The Wild Garden by William Robinson

This is a new edition of Robinson’s Fifth Edition of 1895 edition along with extensive expanded material. There is a long commentary on the original work and dozens of amazing photographs illustrating Robinson’s concepts on “The Wild Garden.” The new material, including the lovely photographs, are by Rick Darke.

I have what is best described as a woodland garden here and there are some excellent ideas to be applied here.

The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition from Amazon.com

Product Description from Amazon.com

 

William Robinson’s revolutionary book, The Wild Garden, envisioned an authentically naturalistic approach to gardening that is more vital today than ever before. First published in 1870, The Wild Garden evolved through many editions and remained in print through the remainder of the author’s lifetime (1838–1935). In the book, Robinson issued a forceful challenge to the prevailing style of the day, which relied upon tender plants arranged in rigidly geometrical designs. In sharp contrast, Robinson advocated for the use of hardy, locally adapted native and exotic plants arranged according to local growing conditions. Robinson’s vision was inspired by his first-hand observations of natural habitats in Europe and North America, and he put his ideas into practice in his own garden at Gravetye Manor in West Sussex. The Wild Garden was ground-breaking and hugely influential in its day, and is stunningly relevant to twenty-first century gardeners and landscape stewards seeking to adopt sustainable design and management practices.

 

In addition to the complete original text and illustrations from the fifth edition of 1895, this expanded edition includes new chapters and 125 color photographs by award-winning photographer and landscape consultant Rick Darke. His new material places wild gardening in modern context, underscoring Robinson’s importance in the evolution of ecological design and illustrating an inspiring diversity of contemporary wild gardens.

The potent combination presented here makes this new edition of a timeless classic an essential resource for all who wish to know how we have arrived at our present understanding of gardens and what opportunities lie ahead. As will be immediately clear to anyone who leafs through this book, Robinson’s urgent message continues to resonate.