2008 Garden Show

Kevin and Robin and I went to the 2008  Northwest Garden Show today. It’s a yearly tradition and we always enjoy ourselves. Usually I take a camera and snap lots of pictures. This year, because I’ve mislaid the charger for my camera, I didn’t bring one. It was as pleasant as usual but nothing you can’t imagine from browsing other pictures. The show has seminars and what-not that we never attend; we go to browse the jaw-droppingly large vendor room, and to take in the garden exhibits. There are somewhere around twenty large show gardens meant to simulate what you might do with your backyard. There’s a similar number of container gardens, about the size of a small porch. There’s an ikebana exhibit, and  bonsai, and gardens made from junk by high school students, and tiny box gardens made by elementary school classes.

This year was the first year that I felt so familiar with the show that I recognized that certain styles of the large exhibit gardens were always in the same place on the floor. Every year, there are trends in the gardens. A theme is assigned to each show, but I’m not convinced it really makes the trend. The first year we went, there were a number of fantasy gardens– canopied beds in the midst of forest glades, fairytale picnics, and so on. This year, the trend seemed to be ‘vegetable gardens’. I wonder how pretty the salad garden would be once you started making salad from it? But they did nice things, anyhow. My favorite garden, though, was one that focused on the elements of stone, water and fire. I’m not sure if there was any actual vegetation but it used a lot of polished basalt, with a firepit (complete with fake fire) set in a stone nook among fog-filled pools. It felt like a hot spring retreat build on top of a lava flow. It was beautiful and peaceful.

Every year we daydream about the various garden decor we see in the vendor areas. We’re both in love with water features, and with statuary, and with abstract metal sculpture. There’s a place that sells stone mask thingies to hang on walls. Usually, we also buy a few plants. This year, we picked up a reversible pair of pirate overalls for Robin– sized for 18 months so he should be able to wear them for a good long time if we adjust the straps and roll up the cuffs.

Kevin carried Robin along the ikebana rows. I looked at them from afar while staying with the stroller; they were on a bamboo flooring that the stroller didn’t like. I love looking at ikebana and floral displays. If I’m ever rich, I want to have regular updated floral arrangements.

We came across blank books with sculpted covers. It’s amazing what you can buy at a garden show. Of course, the first year we went there, we bought a painting. Every year, I look for the bird cages that I see so often in the display gardens. I’m a sucker for weird old birdcages. I’d collect them if I could find somebody who sold them. But instead this year, I found somebody who sold these gorgeous textured stoneware teapots. I didn’t get one but teapots and birdcages and clever little boxes all trigger my DO WANT urges. I don’t know why.

Robin was awake and interested for much of the garden show. That was fun. As usual, I left the show enthusiastic about my own garden plans. I think I’m going to do a lot of digging this year.

Swing the spinning step

On Friday, after we were late for the prenatal appointment, Kevin took me out to buy his mother’s birthday present to me: a porch swing. In his usual fashion he wouldn’t tell me what we were shopping for until he sat me down in one at the hardware store. On Saturday, he and Raymond assembled it. It’s lovely. And it’s already getting use; after gaming we hung around it and talked about the session, and Raymond has used it and I had lunch on it today. It’s so much better than the hard plastic chairs we’ve had.

I flooded the strawberries that weren’t thriving and now they’re doing much better. I guess they just don’t need water, they need LOTS of water.

Today, however, Dante dug up one of my container squash plants. It made me angry for too long. I replanted it, along with a backup squash, since they’re supposed to be really sensitive to having their roots disturbed. Later, I decided t0 come inside and do something or other and I figured I should bring the dogs in, since clearly the dirt temptation is too much for at least one of them. Dante often runs away when it’s time to come in, until I deepen my voice at him. But this time, Hannah didn’t want to come in. She fled from me like she flees from a bath. Except with a bath she’ll eventually walk into the tub herself, if bullied enough. But I had to pull her inside by her collar, and she resisted the whole time. Very difficult. Times like that, I seriously consider just letting the dogs do what they want, except that I don’t want to set bad precedents. It’s a pain in the butt.

I continue to have lots of extremely detailed dreams. I should really be writing them down more than I am.

Please don’t take my sunshine away

At last. At least a week of sunshine, with temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, is predicted. Today, it is 70 degrees and lovely. I did all my transplanting, my tomatoes and my pepper and my squash and my pumpkins, all of it. Now, I am worn out. But I feel so alive and energetic even so. I’ve spent a long time waiting for the warm days to come again, so long that I’d forgotten that I was waiting for anything at all. Last year, when I thought about my life after Microsoft, in the new house, I mostly thought about summer. I’m looking forward to watching my plants stretch and grow in the sun, reaching up to the sky, blossoming, putting forth tasty fruit. I’m excited about farmer’s markets and barbecues and finally owning an air conditioner. I’ll read the last Harry Potter book in the July sun. I’ll smell roses warmed by the summer heat. I’ll feel Zod kick my ass. I’m barefoot and my feet are dirty and that’s just fine.

Some of the strawberries are blossoming already. The ones I ordered from Territorial Seed seem to be doing much better than the random package I picked up from Home Depot, even though the Home Depot ones are supposedly the June-bearing ones (while the Territorials are all-season-bearing).

Eat it

I feel yucky, headachy and nauseous. I really wish I had more appetite on a regular basis. The RNP assured me that not gaining weight is fine for a woman of my size, and I’m not really worried about the baby that much, but I have to think that not getting enough to eat is contributing to how I feel most days.

Anyhow, today I am apparently twenty weeks pregnant. It’s still too cold for our garden to grow most days; the tomato plants are outside but untransplanted and kind of static, and the pumpkin and squash are still inside but growing slowly unless I provide extra heat. I’m still not feeling Zod move on a regular basis– the best I usually get is a kind of super-awareness of my belly and I think that comes more from shifting positions.

We went for a long walk Sunday evening and took a wrong turn. It was a beautiful evening and I really didn’t mind it, until we had to climb some hills to retrace our steps. That made my abdomen give some funny twinges, and Kevin told me, Raymond and the dogs to stay put and then he struck out on his own and returned with the car. It inspired some interesting thoughts inside about guilt and responsibility but the end result was mostly overwhelmed by how cool Kevin is. And it was a great walk until the end.

I finished the Sabriel books and reread Going Postal and Bridge of Birds. An old friend of Kevin’s is in town this week and I think we’re supposed to see him tonight. I hope I feel better.


Squash-types have sprouted.

Pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash. Tomatoes are outside getting hardened. Wish I could tell them apart. May end up planting more than I originally planned in trash bags, just because I can’t tell the varieties apart. At least I labeled the squash-types.

Am I delusional because I’m working on a garden for this summer?

I’ll post pictures of easter cupcakes at some point.

Why am I so easily worn out?

Still not done with IF thingie, IFers. Sorry. Not forgotten about. Something to do with insecure PHP variables supposedly.

Just planted the everbearing strawberries. They arrived a few days ago, a bit early, and I wanted to get them into dirt and water.

That Carouselchain story is still basically not done. It started out well, went along for a while, and once I started having real trouble with it the writing took a turn for the worse. Now all that’s left is a climax of sorts and I even know what it is but I’m plagued by doubts that it’s lame. I think I should write it anyhow so I can put it in the ‘to be edited’ pile rather than the ‘to be finished’ pile but it’s so easy to find distractions.

While I suddenly seem to have lots of ideas for stuff that is totally experimental or a tried-and-true nonsale (like poetry), Kevin has been gently nudging me on the road of novels. I think I can start up TFN 2 again. I hope. What I think and what turns out to be true have so little in common these days, with regards to my writing.

It continues overcast here. Dante likes to chew on the peat pots I got for my seedlings, sometimes with seedlings inside. I need to get him more officially sanctioned chewbones.

In the name of writing, I’ve been exploring national tourism sites, building a list of ‘well-known features/attractions of a country’.

Cooking, sleeping, very bad housekeeping, American Idol, Disgaea 2, shouting at dogs, visiting seedlings, reading books on decorative painting, thinking about writing, scribbling bad poetry. Running errands. Coughing up breakfast and a lung. That about sums things up. Expect a pregnancy-themed post Monday afternoon, if my doctor actually manages to keep our appointment.

I’m so damn embarrassed by this– by what a gentle person would call writer’s block. So damn ashamed.

Gardening in Renton

I ordered my kitchen garden from Territorial Seed Company today. The gardening I did in Kirkland was really useful in picking stuff out this time around. From experience, I know that I just don’t like growing salad greens. In the space I have easily available, I just don’t think I can grow enough to feel like it’s worthwhile. I want enough of whatever I grow to fuel multiple meals!

So, this year I’ve ordered pumpkins, three varieties, to put in the ground in the remnants of a raised bed a previous tenant left behind. I’ll excavate it and refill it with a topsoil and soil conditioner mix. I think I should be able to fit six plants in without being too greedy. I grow pumpkins because they’re fun; I only regularly eat pumpkin in the seed form. So I have an ornamental variety, a carving variety and a seed-eating variety.

I’ve also ordered tomatoes. I don’t eat tomatoes from the grocery very much but they’re also fun to grow and I absolutely love fried green tomatoes. I have three varieties there as well, a sweet cherry tomato, a medium variety that supposedly grows very well in this area, and an heirloom variety that is supposed to be huge, tasty and ugly. They’re all going to go in some of the large pots I brought with me from Kirkland.

I also have a variety of zucchini and a variety of summer squash, which I grow because they’re fun and I love to eat them up. They also go in large pots.

Finally, I have two varieties of strawberries, an everbearing variety and an alpine. They also go in pots, although I got enough alpine seed to scatter in interesting places around the lawn; they make very very tasty groundcover and the feral ones held their own against the groundcover battle that stole our lawn in Kirkland. From experience, with the pots I have, there will never be enough everbearing at any one time for any amazing cookery, but a handful of them will make an astonishing breakfast picked straight from the vine.

I also decided to order a variety of early jalapeno. I’ve tried and tried to grow peppers every year I’ve been gardening and never succeeded but I had an unallocated medium pot and this was a variety I hadn’t tried before. Hope yadda yadda and maybe the local microclimate will be better!

The orange tree I got has a couple of fruit set, although previous sets all fell off. Since I purchased it a few weeks ago, it’s lost a lot of leaves and yesterday I trimmed off the branches it’d abandoned. The leaf-loss doesn’t worry me much because it was clearly sacrificing leaves and flowers that couldn’t get enough sunshine, from its greedy point of view. I know it’s greedy because the meyer lemon tree right next to it gets the lesser share of sunshine from that window and its pushing up new branches and preparing to bloom even on branches a foot away from the window.

I also have some basil, cilantro, parsley and chives seeded indoors at the moment. And we trimmed the heck out of the apple tree but hopefully it will still produce fruit.

Shiny kitchen, growing plants, shameful honesty

Shiny shiny. Kevin’s fault. Work of a weekend.

We got a new houseplant yesterday, a peace lily. I also got an orange tree and a Meyer lemon tree! Well, I say tree but they’re both tiny bushes at the moment. Well, I say tiny but they take up all of Kevin’s dressertop. I dunno if they’ll actually bear fruit, but the window they’re in is a second-story south-facing window that gets the most light in the house. So we’ll see. Still, the orange tree was in bloom already, and oh my goodness orange blossom is intoxicating.

We also got some humidifiers, a big one for upstairs and a small one for downstairs. They’re just the evaporative kind but they definitely make the house a more pleasant place. Between the trees and the bedroom humidifier, Kevin’s actually managed to convince me to close my bedroom window, which hasn’t happened in many years. I’m really sensitive to the smell of stale air!

I wish I had more to report than that, especially on the writing front. Aren’t you all tired of that mantra? I sure am. Okay, here’s the thing.1 Clap your hands if you DO believe I can have a finished new Carousel Chain story fresh for reading here by Friday morning. Er, and post here as well, or else the little fairy might not hear you.

“Just think, with a tiny portion of your daily Internet interest-allotment, this starving artist can earn her keep for the week! No charity has ever asked for less, and no gift will ever do more!” 2

1I clearly don’t care about disappointing myself*, but maybe I’ll shy away from disappointing other people. Possibly. If there are enough of them that I can’t dismiss it as a fluke.

2For less.

*And this is not the time to fix my self-esteem. That’s better done when I’m producing, anyhow.