17 July 2015

Bloom Original Watercolour Painting


I have a new painting to share with you all in the online shop. "Bloom" is an original watercolour, with some beautiful 'natural' typography details in the limbs of the tree.


This summer, I have been focused on 'blossoms' in my day-to-day gardening -- ensuring that there are enough flowers for the bees, and encouraging bees to buzz into my gardens and pollinate my vegetables for a successful harvest. It was only a matter of time until they showed up in my artwork again.

The organic flow of the tree was perfect to incorporate words and emotions into this painting to inspire its viewers.
"Bloom" - Original Watercolour Painting
The original painting is available in my online shop, and it is part of a small painting mini-series 'Written in the Trees'.

Shine is also a part of this series:
"Shine" -Original Watercolour Painting

09 July 2015

Cherry Goodness!

I went to the local U-pick and grabbed up about 10 lbs of cherries this week (yummy!). I had originally went last week for strawberries, but it was bummer crop and just picked enough to do one batch of freezer jam. Cherries is where it is at this summer!

They were so plentiful, it was easy picking! I brought home my bounty, and processed a bunch of them into canned cherries. I had wanted to do this last year as well, but my canning supplies that I had ordered did not arrive by then. This year - I was all over it! I got about 11 jars, and made sure to leave plenty for fresh eating this week :)

I cannot wait till winter to have these summer time gems still available to us :)

08 July 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden Update!

We have a lot of goodness going on in the garden right now! While the snap peas are almost done for now (saddening, I know); a lot of new vegetables are coming close to being ripe!

I pulled out my first carrot of the season. Isn't it so pretty! Totally planting rainbow carrots again next year! The earwigs, and other critters ate the tops of a lot of the carrot seedlings again this year, so again this year we have an 'okay' crop. It's not horrible, it's not fantastic. It's about half what I started with unfortunately. I was hoping to freeze some for the winter for soups, but I think there will be just enough to eat fresh. I guess we will know better as the summer progresses.

The zucchini is blossoming, and looks like it's about to set with produce. I can already count three potential zucchini - so folks be warned: the zucchini plague is closing in on us. But we must admit, it is wonderful to be so fortunate to get such bountiful harvests...I will just have to bestow this bounty on unsuspecting persons hehe.

The spinach has been done a while, and I've pulled up all the plants but a handful. I've let them fully bolt with hopes that I can get seed from them later. And, the blossoms will be good for the bees.

My broccoli is just about ready. Now comes the tricky waiting game - you don't want to wait too long and get yellow blossoms instead! My plan to plant two 60-day and two 80-day varieties also backfired, as they are all coming ripe at the same time. I will just have to freeze some of them. All of the heads are good, healthy sizes with the exception of one.

We also have the beginnings of tomatoes! Yippie! All plants are setting well. The indeterminates are growing like crazy (as they should), and the determinants are bushing out like crazy (as they should). Last year, I used an electric tooth brush to give the blossoms a 'buzz' to get pollination going - as a lot of blossoms dropped to poor pollination. This year, I've just been giving all the plants a good 'shaking' each time I go into the garden, and that seems to work just as well - and a lot less work. It is a tomato jungle again, but I don't care - I love it!

07 July 2015

Rainbow Succulent Pastel Painting Progress

I bet most of you were wondering where this piece disappeared to? Well, it been sitting where it started this whole time - on my art easel just waiting for me to pick up a pastel again. This past week, I did and finished another succulent in the composition.

It was good to be using the pastels again - and even better just being in the art studio. Work and garden life have kept me super busy, and I was so happy to have a moment to sit, listen to music, sip some wine and work on some art. I'll openly admit: it will probably be another year or two till this slow-as-molasses piece is complete. Oh well ;)

22 June 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden update!

The garden has been extra lively this past week - all that rain we got followed by a beautiful hot day of sunshine, really made things explode! Today is another sunny day, and I'm sure when I get home from work, things will have grown a whole bunch again. You can see I've moved my eggplant plant to this first bed, instead of the second bed. It needs a whole lot of sunshine, and it was just getting a whole lot of shade when the broccoli got bigger. It's in a happier place now :)

My purple mist peas have reached beyond the trellis / chicken wire and are breached over the fence and just doing their own thing. There are mammoth sunflowers in front of them, growing with them, and supporting them (preventing them from falling forward into the garden).

They are bringing the bees into the garden, which was super important to me this year, especially after last year seeing only ever one bee in my garden, and having tons of failed pollination. I tried to take a picture of a bumble bee buzzing around inside a blossom, but he ended up being quite territorial, and buzzed at me until I backed up, and then continued with its work. What a camera shy bee!

The purple flowers are gorgeous, and I especially love that they are giving way to purple peas! Something beautiful and edible!

Aren't those pods gorgeous! And so easy to find amoung the greenery! Just have to wait for them to plumb up with those precious peas! I will definitely grow these again next year - if not for the peas, than for the blossoms, and their ability to attract the pollinators in so well.

These little seedlings are a bit late - they took ages to come up - but I am most excited for them. They are watermelon plants! Nothing tastes better than home grown watermelon! As you can see, something has nibbled on them - I've seen earwigs, slugs and sow bugs around, so it's really any one's guess. Since I had given up on these guys germinating outside, I had actually started two seeds inside. I will just keep those ones inside a bit longer, protected from the bugs, and see what happens to these ones. But yea! Watermelon!....maybe....

Almost all my tomatoes are blossoming, and of the ones that are, most have more than one cluster set on the go. I have learnt my lesson from last year, and despite knowing there are bees around this time, I've been giving them a little shake everyday to get the pollen into the middle of the flower for more successful fruit setting. I've already notice a tiny, tiny tomato here and there.

The lettuce has gone crazy. Literally crazy. This is my fault. We had tons and tons of spinach, and I was so focused on using that before it bolted (which it is doing now in these hotter, longer days), that I ignored the lettuce, and now we have lettuce overload. Just means we will be eating tons of super healthy salads! Above the lettuce, are a row of beets that are doing wonderfully.

If you follow me on instagram, you'll also know my broccoli (the early variety) is coming up to head. It's just super small right now, but it will grow. Trust me. :)

With the newer vegetables that have been coming ready, we have gotten more varied harvests. I must say I am loving the bok choy, and will likely plant more of it next year (despite the flea beetles loving it as well).
Right now we are eating: bok choy, lettuce, spinach (finishing up), radishes (only a couple left), and snap peas. Yummy!

13 June 2015

Oh She Grows: Reaching Heights

The gardens are really starting to green up now. So far we have harvested kale, spinach and radishes for the past week or two. And beginning this week, we harvested our first batch of Bok Choi and our first round of lettuce :)

It was so sunny, and hard to get a 'nice' picture of the garden, but this will give a nice overview, and I'll go into detail :)

We have marigolds a plenty this year to keep the pests at bay, and the rabbits - we have seen 4-5 large adult rabbits hopping around on recent nights.

The broccoli plants are huge, and the purple pod peas and sunflowers have grown taller than the side trellis.

We even have our first purple pea blossom! :)

Our sugar snap peas are giving us pods - yummy!

The spinach, beans and peas are doing great - despite the pests :)

The bok choi has bounced back, and newer leaves don't have garden flea bites in them.

We have our first pepper growing, and more blossoms on the way!

The lettuce is beautiful and coming along so well! Because of the spinach, I've been able to let it grow a little bit more before harvesting, as we have had the spinach and kale for early spring salads.

The mixed beets have beautiful leaves, but it will be a long while until they are ready to pull out. I pulled out some of the smaller plants to thin the row, and we ate the leaves in a salad.

The tomatoes grow more every day, and I've already had to go through and prune back the suckers on the indeterminate varieties. I've decided to let the determinate varieties branch out as they want - since pruning them is just decreasing my yield.

I've been spending a lot of time weeding and doing pest control, but it's just so relaxing after a long day at work. When there is nothing to do in the gardens, I sort of wish for something to pop up so I can stay out there ;)

04 June 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden Troubles

My garden has been growing wonderfully - but it cannot be all peaches and sunshine (I guess). Above is what was my butterfly garden - a handful of perennials to help encourage and feed butterflies, especially the Monarch. Something last night thought they were not quite a fan of the plants and dug them all up. Didn't eat them. No footprints in the soil. It was just bizarre.  I just put them back where they were, and hopefully they stick. We think, something tried to eat them, and didn't like them. Oh well.

We also have flea beetles eating my Bok Choi - it's not killing the plants, but it's not making them pretty. They are also after the radishes. I think they are eating my carrots in one bed too - and those they are killing. Luckily, I planted carrots in three different spots - and the other ones are untouched. I tried a spray that I found online, but it burnt some of the leaves. So tonight, I sprinkled diatomaceous earth everywhere, hoping that will keep things in line.  I have no issues with them last year, but I'm planting a lot of different things this year.

Now onto the happy stuff!

My cucumelons (above) are the tiniest, cute as button seedlings. I hope they make it :)

My purple pod peas, and sunflowers are over two feet high in some spots :) And you can see the broccoli really flourishing (reminds me, I need to start seedlings for fall planting...).

We have been eating radishes from the garden in plenty - I have staggered plantings, so it seems there are always some ready for salads :) We have been eating lots of spinach and kale too!

My first sugar snap pea has gone to pod :D I cannot wait for these! I have a feeling they won't make it to being cooked - they are such delicious, crunchy snacks.

Most of my tomatoes have buds. I remember last year though, that the first set of blossoms never set fruit - but I'm still crossing my fingers that these do!

So gardening always has some up, downs and minor battles. But it is so rewarding.

If you have any tips to deal with these flea beetles, please let me know! :)