Posted in gardening, Gardening Journal 2020

Garden Journal 7-23-2020

Last minute post.  We had a surprise visitor today and I got sidetracked.

The grandies have gone home and the silence is deafening…  The Edible garden is producing plenty of tomatoes and the cucumbers are looking randy.  Thee are green beans galore, but the bell peppers are a bust.

Ahh!  The flowers…

Keep on Growing…

Posted in Garden Journal 2019, gardening, Gardening in Spring, Gardens at Sonnystone 2019

Weekly Garden Journal #7

Wow, can you believe it’s been 7 weeks since I started planting?  I am thrilled with how it’s all growing, but honestly, it’s the mix of rain and sunshine that has made this year so pretty.   Experience teaches that you work harder in the years that are less productive, so I have to give credit, again, to Mother Nature…  I’m just her assistant…

The Edible Garden


Butterfly bushes, Viburnum, grapes

The daylillies are breaking into bloom

I’ve had two of my grandies staying with me this week, so I’m grateful for the night-time showers.  I’ve noticed that having the kids around all the time is as exhausting and exhilarating as gardening, but with a lot more giggling.

Keep on Growing…

Posted in Gardening in Spring, Gardens at Sonnystone 2019, Growing Every Season

New Beginnings

Every year we watch as the green returns to the grasses and the trees bud, checking the temperatures, measuring the rains…  I look out the windows and plan the planting, imagining a summer garden lush with flowers and vegetables.  The containers are pulled out of the shed, emptied and cleaned, ready to be filled.    The porches that have served as storage are now serving as cozy sitting areas where we rest after our labors.

This Spring has been the best we’ve had in years, meaning there have been no hard frosts (or snow!) to kill the tender buds of the dogwoods, magnolia, and redbuds and they are now flourishing.  The daffodils came out in exuberant droves, the forsythia and quince bloomed in an abundant array of beauty.

The pollens are also prolific and my sinuses are blooming with snot…  Mornings sound like a TB ward around here as I clear my throat from the night’s drainage, but I can live with it just to be out gardening in the Spring.

The average last day of frost in these parts is April 15, but I’m still leery of planting vegetables.  I remember too many Derby Days (first Saturday in May) wearing a coat and winter hat and have learned to be patient.

Just to tide me over, I bought a small 4-pack of Roma tomatoes, Big Bertha and California Wonder peppers, an a sweet cherry 100 and put them over in larger pots.  They should be the right size to plant in about a month when I can plop them in the (warm) ground.

Cilantro and arugula have been put into buckets. Peas have been planted behind the young asparagus.

There is plenty of clean-up to be done.  I have moved everything out of the East garden–mostly daisies, a few coreopsis–and it is ready for a new vision.    I have daisies coming out the wazoo, but they don’t fit in with the plan for my Bird Garden, so they’ve been relegated to the front porch area and over in the North garden. There are a lot of leftovers…always a challenge.

 For now I’m going to plant my four pots of lavender in front of the hydrangea.

I started gardening 26 years ago when my daughter went off to college, the dog died, and I needed a hobby.  Inspired by the old farmers I was visiting as a home health nurse, it seemed to me to be the best way to Live, connected to the earth, giving and taking with the seasons.  It started with some herbs, some tomatoes and green beans.  It grew to water features and compost bins and thyme-covered paths. I have failed too many times to count, but never did I fail to grow something…and that was enough to keep me going.   Every year, sure as Spring, I return to the Garden and fall in love…

Clearly, nature calls to something very deep within us.  When I am in the garden, whether or not the thing grows is not the point; whether the garden is symmetrical is irrelevant.  The weeding and the watering or just the admiration of the season is All.

The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.  …. Oliver Sacks

Gardening has changed my brain, I’m certain, and has built pathways directly to my Soul where we are All One. You and me and all Living things and all meditations and all prayers and all art and all songs are the Same working together as One in the Moment that is the Only Moment:  Now.

I’m so happy to be back at the blog, as well.  I hope you’ll enjoy spending some time in the Sonnystone Gardens with me this Growing Season.


Posted in 2018, gardening, Gardening in Autumn, Indoor Gardening, The Conservatory

The Conservatory

As you can tell, I haven’t posted a single-solitary-thing on this blog since 7/29/18…  If you follow The News from Sonnystone Acres you already know that we built an addition to connect our kitchen porch with our laundry room/shed (in these old houses you have to learn the art of re-purposing).  It has polycarbonate walls and ceiling, is attached to our porch, and is used as a greenhouse or sun parlor, so it qualifies as a conservatory.  I’m thinking of Clue…and  the candle holder…and Miss Scarlet…


I don’t have much confidence in my ability to actually grow things in my conservatory, even though I’m pretty good with houseplants.  As a result, folks often remark that I have a green thumb and to that I say Ha!  I did once get some fungus growing under a fake nail, but that is as close as I’ve been to even understanding the term.

What I know is that some houseplants are hardier than others and therefore able to withstand being forgotten for a while if they’re in the right spot.  Since Most of my indoor plants are 5-10+ years old, they are now like pets to me.  I know how much sunshine they like, how often they get thirsty, and have repotted them all at least once.  Still, they surprise me with their persistence…


In the same way, I”m hoping to fill the conservatory with plants that Want to Live so they can survive my inexperience.  I’ve got herbs! mints, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.  I’ve got flowers! begonias, lavender, and rudbeckia.

For once I’m looking forward to winter and having my own little piece of sunshine right outside the kitchen door!


Posted in 2018, edible garden, gardening, Gardening in Summer

Garden Diary 29 July 2018

The month of July is always full of grandies enjoying Camp Sonnystone.  The garden takes a back seat, but we did manage to pote our buckets around and keep everything as watered as we could…well, almost everything.  Despite our best efforts, the lack of rain combined with the heat took its toll.

After the Jose’ fam left, we surveyed the damage and brought in whatever veggies we could, which was plenty.  Most of the yellow squash had bit the dust (literally) earlier, but there were 3 zucchini producing.  The tomatoes were covered with ripening fruit and the bell peppers are (still) carrying on.  I ended up freezing a dozen quart bags of zucch and squash, though, so I’m happy.  Now there’s one more zucchini on the last plant.

I had to take down a tomato that suddenly went yellow on me, and the better boys have slowed down, but I’m hoping they’ll get started again.  I still have dozens of tomatoes, even after making a huge greek tomato salad and slicing every chance I get.

I’ve harvested 4 pots of basil and made an ice cube tray of pesto.  There’s a pound or so of onions, and some chive put up.  Casey’s barrel of potatoes only produced a handful, but the experiment gave us great ideas of next year.

Oh, and that’s a jar of lemon verbena leaves, ready to be transformed into tea, or infused into some nice vodka.

I’m really grateful, as I know many gardeners have had worse seasons and I do have a lot to show for my work.  It’s just that vegetables are a bit of a gamble.  Yet each year I learn something new.

The flowers, though….  daisies, rudbeckia, roses (!), pineapple sage, butterfly bushes… they are blooming, attracting the birds and bugs and making me smile.


Casey has started a Major New Project, and I’m planning an August Extravaganza of sorts…  You’ll want to read about it over at The News from Sonnystone Acres…



Posted in gardening, Gardening in Spring, The Edible Garden 2018

Garden Diary 5 June 2018

Thank-you, Alberto, for dropping a whole lotta rain.  From 5/29 to 6/3 the plants jumped from…well, look!

The edible garden is earning its keep, scoring a First with a lovely Better Belle followed closely by 3! Big Berthas.  A dozen tomatoes are on the Better Boys and Celebrity.  The cherry tomatoes are blooming all over the place.  I’m especially proud of the zucchini and yellow squash.  I’ve had so many Fails with them in the recent past.  When we lived over on Harmon Ct. they grew like crazy, and I’ve stubbornly persisted in trying to replicate those years.  It looks like this might be My Year with the Squash.  I don’t want to jinx myself, though, and rile up the squash bugs that are just looking around for a cocky gardener to bring down.

It really was a Whole Lotta Rain, possibly too much for some of my containers, so I’ve moved stuff around in my usual OCD manner.  I’m still not done….Will I ever be?  Do I want to be?

We are taking a break and heading up to camp at Harmonie SP for a couple of days.  I’m ready to cook some foil meals,  hike some easy trails, soak my clothing in Off!, and sit and stare at the campfire…


Posted in 2017, Gardening in Autumn, Photo Blog

Autumn Photos

and all at once, summer collapsed into fall…          Oscar Wilde

The colors are slow to change this year, since our muggy-hot temperatures wore out their welcome.  We’ve spent the last week or so bouncing around freezing, so the yellows and oranges that I love are becoming more plentiful….on the ground!  Still, Fall is a beautiful Season…

Larry Garcia Gnome and his brother, Daryl, still maintain their tree-home down the hill…

My nasturtium has been amazing this year, blooming still…

Warm colors, cool temperatures…a month before we have to start scrambling for Christmas…I think I’ll sit back and have another cup of tea…







Posted in 2017, edible garden, Gardening in Autumn

All done but the eating…

All that’s left is the basil, sage, rosemary, and that patch of garlic chive in the corner…

It was a wonderful garden season, and I learned a bunch of stuff I was already supposed to know:

  1. It’s all about the soil.  These beds were filled with fresh promix in the Spring.  All the difference…
  2. Square-foot gardening really doubles your space, but don’t crowd the squash…
  3. Mark the transplants clearly or you’ll never figure out which tomatoes are which until they fruit…
  4. Even though Casey put out the soaker hoses as I requested, he watered with watering cans…  It worked fine.

We’ve cut back the hydrangea and butterfly bushes so we can see out the windows.  The roses are not to be pruned until late Winter, early Spring.  I do need to cut back the perennial herbs, but no hurry.

I feel a little sad, but restless to move on to Autumn weather and colors.  We’re already planning for next year’s edition of the gardens.  For now, though, it’s time to sit and enjoy the harvest…


Posted in 2017, edible garden, gardening, Gardening in Spring, growing

Still growing…

3 weeks + 3 days post planting…

My zucchini/squash are fruiting like crazy!

I’m still a little leery about a few of my tomatoes, but this husky cherry and 2 romas are strong!

I already have 3 bell peppers ready to harvest— that’s 2 more than I had all year last year!

I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of green beans soon.  I have planted a second crop to keep us supplied…

My Cousin Jimmy gave me these banana trees.  I think the grandkids will love them, though I have no idea (yet) where I’m going to plant them..

I finished up this morning, planting some containers, a Black-eyed Susan vine, Lavender, and the green beans.  I trimmed the basil and now have a lovely lot of fresh pesto to smear on my toast.

I hate to tell you, but my roses look like crap.  I failed to have Michael water them while we were gone and they’ve been suffering ever since.  I have fed and watered them, talked sweetly, and I have hope.  A gardener has to have a Lot of Hope.

Now it’s time to sit on the porch swing and relax…