Monday, March 31, 2008

You Have Our Permission

THIS WEEK, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY PLAY HOOKY. I mean, if that's something you've been considering. This week, Spring is happening so fast, you need to be out there with your mouth open and your tongue sticking out to catch the falling Spring sunrays, or you might miss them.

If you need permission, I'm happy to provide that. Sloopy the Peach Tree (above) is also happy to provide any necessary encouragement or signing of permission slips. So is Franz the Gnome.


This week is going to be Garden Week. I'm going to behave like a proper Serious gardener, and work, and work, and weed, and clear, and clean, and be rad. 

Friday, March 28, 2008

Good Friday

"We make music with our trumpets, but you must listen with your nose."

I HAVE A MIDTERM tomorrow, so this shall be just a short salute to a couple of the best things they got goin' these days: flowers and puppies.

Above is Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi.' Below is Dogyus sleepyus.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Treat Her Like a Ladybug.

What more could we possibly ask of a bug but to be cute, nice, not bite, and have a song? 

Nothing. But still, Ladybugs give us more

Ladybugs also eat bad bugs that hurt our garden, like aphids.

In conclusion, Ladybugs are tops.

Only thing about ladybugs: They look bad when they're babies and teenagers. You think you went through an awkward stage in junior high? Imagine looking like a teenage ladybug.

I told you they look bad.

I have killed them before in ignorance. I assumed something that ugly must be bad. That's usually how it seems to work in the garden. (See: white grubs, mealybugs, scale et al.)

Now I know better. This morning while weeding I discovered a bunch of them on the weeds I was pulling, so I had to leave them be. I need these guys. Teen ladybugs eat more aphids than adults.

Like junior high kids, these ladybugs were at all different stages of transformation. Some looked like children, some had really bad taste in music, and some seemed completely lost in their own unknowable world of metamorphosis.

Some were "awkward in-between."

Some looked almost completely grown-up.

Some looked like straight-up badasses. 

To all of them, I say:

PS: I will be playing music today at 4 pm Pacific Time on!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ask A Bee.

YOU KNOW the Onion column "Ask A Bee"? 

It's concept comedy that always brings a smile. Not that you can actually read the whole thing more than once. 

Staring at a bee in my lavender, I often get to thinking about the nature of "free will."

No, seriously.

A bee, much like the advice columnist for the Onion, seems strictly programmed for certain behaviors — so strictly programmed, you might say the bee has a bit of a one-track mind.

Ask A Bee about your ungrateful grandchildren, and he answers, Enable protocol "seek POLLEN"/Must harvest POLLEN for HIVE.

Yet if you ever sit in your garden and really just watch an individual bee on a lavender plant, you will start to notice how its tiny legs navigate the awkward surfaces of the blossoms, and its tiny feet struggle to find stability. You will notice how it must react kinetically to an infinite variety of circumstances. The bee is no drone!

The bee simultaneously does and does not have free will.

To bee, or not to bee? 

What about c)Both?

Sitting in a garden, watching a bee, or watching the birds gathering twigs and string and fluff for their nests now, or even watching plants grow, the whole notion of Free Will starts to sound fundamentally Who Cares. 

Maybe the garden and all of its inhabitants, from the bee to me, are programmed for certain behaviors. Yet look how free and beautiful they are!

"Considering our beauty and fragrance, we feel we deserve a better name than Common Stock. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated." 

I'm not talking politics. I'm just talking flowers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eat flowers.

"Dig my rustic beauty, man."

MORE SECRET DISNEYLAND information: Most of the plants in Tomorrowland are edible. 

As with every nuance of Disneyland's design, there is a unified field theory behind this. 

My teacher, who worked at Disneyland for seven years in the horticulture department, explained it to me briefly. It has something to do with the idea that in the future, overcrowding will force us to eat our gardens. Type of deal. 

Tell you what: Considering the newly outrageous price of groceries/gas, I think Tomorrow may have arrived early. Last fall, I planted my first edible "raised bed" — four boards screwed together to form a box — just for fun. Now I find it is saving me money and trips to Vons!

I didn't really know what I was planting, so it's been a series of surprises.

Maybe the biggest surprise regards broccoli: Guess what? Broccoli does not smell bad at all if you eat it fresh. It takes several days in the fridge to develop that stenchy situation.

I also discovered that Romaine lettuce grows flowers if you let it! Incredible!

My fave-rave is the arugula. And guess what: The buds and flowers, which are almost crunchy, are the sweetest part. I sprinkled them on a baked yam, and it was very yummers. I don't know why arugula buds aren't sold with the greens. It's the coolest feeling in the world to eat a flower. Even cooler to enjoy it. I mean, lots of flowers are edible, but not really fun to eat. 

"the thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be afraid"

Another surprise is a certain unidentified plant which tastes like a much spicier arugula, with tiny yellow flowers. It might be wild arugula. I adore it. It is also now growing as a weed all over my yard.

It's funny: Sometimes the only difference between a weed and an herb is whether it's growing inside or outside the box.

"I been weeding/for a girl like you..."

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Strawberry Is Born

So, guess what: I made a strawberry!

And double guess what: I picked it too soon. I bet that's a common mistake with first-time berry people. But it was so cute and fucked-up and shrimpy. I couldn't resist.

Action shot:

I nibbled the strawberry a tiny bit, and it was tangy, not sweet. 

Still, it was my Very First Strawberry Ever. It seemed too special for me to just eat it myself. So I went over to see if the Gnome wanted it. 

The Gnome became hypnotized. So I decided to give it to Sir Toby, who will eat anything, and who really deserved the honor more than any of us.


My strawberry had a short life and a happy ending.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Disneyland Pansies.

"You may call us pansies; we will not be offended in the least."

The pansies, a.k.a. Viola x wittrockiana, are in crazy bloom at Disneyland. I thought you should know.

Spring is here.

"Yes, I know I look like a fried egg. But please, don't say it to my face, as I am proud and tender."

WE'RE IN the in-between time, when winter and spring are entwined, and wintery blooms bask in springtime sunlight, like daring redheads grabbing their moment by the pool. This is the short interval when Los Angeles is mild and buttery, like this Iceland Poppy, a.k.a. Papaver nudicaule.

I still can't believe I grew this flower. I would take all the credit, except God knows and I know who Really Did It. I imagine growing an Iceland Poppy is something like making a baby. You marvel at what you seem to be creating, yet you wonder at where the heck it came from.

It's Poppy time!

Poppy Party.