Archive for February, 2011

Chalkboard Art

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 18, 2011 by PickMeYard

I’m straying from my usual topics today to show you some chalkboard art that my daughter and her friend worked on.  I think it’s just too cool.

Finally, a reason to jump on the bed.

I painted one of the walls in my children’s bedroom with chalkboard paint that I bought at Home Depot.  It seems like the chalk dust would settle on the beds that are pushed up next to the wall, but I haven’t had a problem with it yet (I painted it about 5 years ago).  My kids and their friends are always creating works of art on it.  My original plan was that Grayson would use the chalkboard to practice spelling words and other school related things.  That never happened.  It’s always been used for fun instead. (The chalkboard paint comes in many nice colors, not just black).

The girls drew picture frames, a light switch, an outlet and a chandelier.  I got the idea from a clothing catalog, forwarded the idea onto them and … voila.

The dots at the top of the chalkboard are painted-on dots with glow-in-the-dark paint.  The dots spill over from the ceiling which is covered with “stars”.  When the lights go out at bedtime, the kids feel like they’re sleeping under the stars.  They dots are barely visible during the day on the ceiling, but they’re a bit noticeable against the black chalkboard paint.

Come grow with us!

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Cool Cosmic Carrots

Posted in Edible Roots with tags , , , , on February 16, 2011 by PickMeYard

We planted purple carrots this year called ‘Cosmic Purple’.  We ordered the seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but they can be purchased lots of places. 

A bunch of Cosmic Purple carrots.

The funny thing about these carrots is that it seems like somebody painted them purple.  When I scrub them with a veggie brush, the purple comes off and they’re orange underneath.  I’m careful not to scrub them too hard.  My kids think they are the bomb.  Edible, purple roots.

See... the purple comes off.

That's a fake snake in the background.

Sliced up Cosmic Purple carrots. Aren’t they beautiful?

These beauties are delicious and definitely jazz up a boring, old salad.

Come grow with us!

Florida Roses

Posted in Flowers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by PickMeYard
The roses on the left are ‘Belinda’s Dream’ and ‘Mr. Lincoln’ on the right.

About 3 years ago, I decided to create a fragrance garden in our yard.   The focal point is a beautiful michelia champaca tree.  I have gardenia bushes and several edible jasmines too.  However, nothing overshadows the beautiful rose bushes.  They’re always the shining stars of the fragrance garden.  They bloom all year round in Southwest Florida.

My favorite roses to grow in our hot and humid zone 9b are ‘Belinda’s Dream’ and ‘Mr. Lincoln’.  They’re grafted onto ‘Fortuniana’ rootstock and grow great in Southwest Florida.  They both bloom constantly and have a heavenly fragrance.  Click here for more information on Florida rose rootstock.

Mr. Lincoln long-stem roses from my fragrance garden.

I dead-head my rose bushes constantly, so they do require maintenance.  This allows them to focus their energy on growing more flowers.      They require a lot of fertilizer in Southwest Florida too.  It’s recommended to feed them monthly.  I use a time-release fertilizer on them, plus lots of rabbit poop and old coffee grinds.  It is ideal to plant them in full sun.  Nelson’s Florida roses  are my favorite choice.   

I only have two varieties of rose growing in my garden, but I have several bushes of each.  I always have extremely fragrant blooms to bring inside for our enjoyment.  I love that I don’t have to buy fresh flowers all the time.  My daughter likes to nibble on the petals and I don’t have to worry about what they’ve been sprayed with.  Since I grow them, I know  they are completely free of chemicals and she can munch to her heart’s content.  Sometimes I add the petals to a jar of sugar.  It gives the sugar a lovely and light floral flavor.  I use the petals as garnishes too.

When I think of roses, I think of the designer Betsey Johnson.  She absolutely adores roses and centers most of her designs around them.  Her colors are influenced by the rose as well.  My 4-year-old’s favorite dress is by Betsey Johnson.  I’ve never met anyone as inspired by the rose as Betsey.

A photo I took of Betsey Johnson in Jamaica in 1990 (I think). She's so fun!!

Betsey Johnson.

Betsey decorates all her surroundings with rose inspired designs and colors, not just clothes. 

Julian Lennon in a villa decorated by Betsey Johnson at Round Hill, Jamaica.

I love this photo… it’s one of my favorites.

 Roses are nostalgic for me and for so many others.  It’s no wonder that it’s one of lifes greatest symbols of love. 

My daughter smelling a 'Belinda's Dream' rose... right before she ate it.

Happy Valentines Day!

Come grow with us!

Happy Gardener

Posted in Fruits of our labor with tags , , on February 7, 2011 by PickMeYard

We now have more food than we could possibly eat growing in our garden and that makes me a happy gardener.  I added lots and lots of manure to our garden this year and it has made the soil so wonderful.  I found some friends that shared their manure and I took as much as I could get.  I ended up with horse, goat, chicken and rabbit poop.  Great stuff!  We have our own animals so we have manure for our garden, but I wanted a truckload full to jump-start our garden over our winter growing season.

Rabbit manure can be added straight to a garden without having to compost it.  Plants love rabbit poop.  The other manures need to be dried out for a while before they’re added to the garden.  There are some good reasons to compost it.  Do I do that?  Ummm… yeah, sure. 

The weather in Southwest Florida has been wonderful and heavenly.  We were the warmest spot in the nation last week.  It all works out fair in the end though… we get hurricanes.  For now, we have bragging rights.  I’ve found it difficult to sit at my computer to compose a post for my blog because I’ve spent every moment outside.  We’ve been picking gobs of strawberries,  romaine lettuce,  peppers,  tomatoes, nasturtiums,  collards,  napa cabbage,  beets,  onions and turnips.  I’m picking up a tray of ‘Florida 47’ tomatoes today to plant more before it gets too hot. 

Our beautiful hens have been giving us fresh, delicious eggs.  We have a doe (on loan) that is giving us 4 cups of milk a day and our bees are loaded with honey to be harvested.  The ‘to-do’ list is long, our business is overwhelming and we are tired, but we are enjoying and appreciating every minute of every day together.  We’ll sleep when we’re dead.  (I’m probably repeating myself here, but I have to keep telling myself this).

Our family garden.

A honeybee on our potted Persian lime bush. The bush variety is meant to be grown in a container.

This is a strawberry that is being grown in a pot. It's a plant left over from last winter. Most of them perished in our intense heat last summer.

These are newly planted strawberry plants. I planted 250 this year. This summer, I will find a way to protect them. They're the 'Sweet Charlie' variety.

This is a 'Cosmic Carrot' from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They're really delicious and definitely very pretty. The kids think they're awesome.

A young cauliflower that is maturing.

Brussel sprouts forming. They're super-duper delicious stir-fried!

Young kohlrabi. This is my first time growing this.

Lots of carrot tops. The cat in the background is guarding his catnip.

Romaine lettuce, some cabbage, heirloom tomatoes and dandelion.

Yummy nasturtiums. I've planted them everywhere this year.

Johnny-jump-ups are jumping up everywhere. I love that!

Enjoying the fresh air...

... and the warm dirt.

C'mon cat, this is a family blog. He's our 'farm cat'. He keeps all the animals safe from the lizards.

 Come grow with us!