Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flowers, gardens and more

My beginning flower garden
Since I've got a garden now and spend a fair amount of time in garden stores these days, I have been overwhelmed with the beauty of potted flowers, as well as being unable to keep from purchasing them. I've got these two as the beginning of potted plants for my new front porch. We get more sunlight here than we received in our old apartment, and I'm excited to have lots of pretty flowers greet me as I come and go. Everything is also green and blooming everywhere I look. The Pacific Northwest receives a lot of rain, but we get an abundance of lush greenery in return.
Clint's plot, mine in the middle, and Nate's
More and more of my garden plot is being filled in. I've got beets, cabbage, lettuce, and sugar snap peas coming up, with edible flowers taking up the rest of the room. I learned from a gardening book about borage, an edible herb. Never having heard of it before, I went to the garden store and got the last start they had.
Borage in front, nasturtiums behind
The borage plant is interesting. It should attract bees and beneficial insects. It grows the prettiest star-shaped flowers (which taste like cucumbers, they say). The little fuzzy purple things on the top will be flowers quite soon, I think. Here's what I found on line about the herb:
Borage is actually a somewhat gangly plant, but you barely notice it because the star-shaped flowers are so vibrant. They’re a true blue, hanging in downward facing clusters. Even the fuzzy white buds are attractive. Both the flowers and the leaves are edible, with a cucumber-like flavor. Use the leaves while they are young, because as the plant matures, the stalks and leaves become covered with a prickly fuzz.
The most attractive part about the plant (other than the flowers) is the fact that it is virtually problem- and pest-free. It's also supposed to discourage aphids, which were the bane of my gardening existence last year. Nasturtiums are also edible flowers, and I surreptitiously foraged some from one of my garden neighbors last year. Now I should have plenty of my own.

I don't know when I will be able to get down to Snohomish to make another skydive, since the bridge on I-5 collapsed just a few miles south of Bellingham on Thursday. The 71,000 vehicles that travel on that part of the interstate will be forced to use one of three narrow roads as a detour. Here's an interesting article about the collapse. I have driven over the span many times and was astounded when this happened. The Ski to Sea event is being held here in Bellingham tomorrow, and I wonder how people will manage who are coming from the Seattle area. I'll stay off the interstate myself, at least as long as I can. On that link I see they have alerted participants.

The event is really fun, a relay race with seven different events. The canoe part has two paddlers; the other parts are all one person. From that link:
A team consists of 8 racers (2 in the canoe leg) for the seven race legs (Cross Country Ski; Downhill Ski/Snowboard; Running; Road Bike; Canoe; Mountain Bike; Kayak).  A racer can only be on one team, and only complete one leg.  
I know some of my long-time followers have thought I would probably end up doing one of those legs on a non-competitive team some day, but I've decided I would MUCH rather cheer on the winners, drink beer, and take pictures as they finish and ring the bell. Here's my post from last year's race. Please, stay safe this holiday weekend. I'll be remembering my missing loved ones.


  1. oh the event tomorrow sounds like fun....yikes on a bridge collapse...will go read that you will be trying one of the flowers to confirm they taste like cucumbers right? smiles...its cool that it attracts the good insects and repels the bad...

  2. and everything here is so green...took a 3 mile hike (ok, you can stop laughing at the length...i was with a good friend celebrating his 80th bday)...and it was so lush with new life and growth...smiles.

  3. Wow, everything looks deliciously green! I've never heard of this herb - and will now make sure we add it to our garden.

  4. Gardening rapidly become an addiction (or it has for me). And I love your green lushness. Jealous thoughts.
    The collapsed bridge sounds super scary - I will check it out in a minute.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. i thought of you and a couple of other wash. bloggers that had mentioned skagit valley in their posts. and today another bridge in missouri. the travels are bad enough for this weekend...

    glad your gardening is doing well so far this year. you're beginning to sound like a pro!

  6. I want to plant flowers so much I can hardly stand it but I have no sunny locations. Am thinking of going over to son's & planting a whiskey barrel there.

  7. Love your garden and patio plants. Hope they continue to grow, free of pests. I have never heard of eating edible flowers. Let us know how you like them. News about the bridge collapse reached Hawaii. Hope nothing like that happens here!

  8. I'd heard of the bridge collapse but hadn't really considered that it was so close to your neck of the woods. You're practically Canadian. It's a shame that it disrupts transportation so extensively but I'm glad that nobody was seriously injured.

    It sounds like you'll have a wonderful weekend. Can't wait to see those photos as well as those of your star-shaped produce. :)

    Enjoy and be safe!

  9. I hadn't heard of the bridge collapsing (will go off to read about it next) but glad you are safe.

    I'm not big into annuals but I do love to see them flourish as yours are. Every year I try to create a beautiful porch with them, but unfortunately I don't have the time or inclination to be as nurturing as they need me to be. Which results with me having dead plants.

  10. I find your accounts of gardening very interesting. I am in too much a rut with my gardening. I use the same seed and grow the same plants year after year. Non of the experimenting for me!

  11. Borage is an interesting plant. Some farmers have been growing it commercially in our area for the oil it produces. But I cannot recall anything else than that.

    The misadventure on I-5 was, I'm sure, terrifying to those involved. I glad no lives were lost.

    And it sounds like you're having a gran time with your garden this year. I hope you have a good crop.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

  12. Your garden & flowers look great!
    I've never heard of borage, either. Looks & sounds very interesting.

    I hopped over to read the article on the bridge. I had heard about it initially, but hadn't yet got up to date on the info. I'm sure glad that everyone was ok. Interesting about the Bailey bridge! One of my uncle's specialized in those in the military.

  13. The potted plants are so pretty, Jan. like you, I wouldn't be able to resist buying more. It looks like they are happy where you have them!
    I read the article that your led regarding the bridge collapse. Scary! I cannot imagine the fear I would have felt if I was in one if the two vehicles that plunged into the water. I'm glad that no lives were lost.
    Your garden plot looks great. I have never planted beets, and I love them! It is something I should plant. Great to know that they grow well for you.
    I always learn something when I am here with you at your blog. I had never heard of borage. How interesting to read the benefits of planting it!
    I smile when I see how green and lush your area is. It is a bit of paradise.
    Hugs from me to you....

  14. I figured that collapsed bridge would put a crimp in your sky diving plans. What a misfortune for so many people.
    I'm always interested in your gardening. One word of caution - nasturtiums are aphid magnets. If they get too bad, you'll just have to pull them out, but they should protect the rest of your plants.

  15. I will link to the bridge in a minute. I love the bright greens in your garden and what a lovely new herb to read about. I have never heard of this one before. Great info. Looking forward to your photos of the fun event.

  16. Warning--flower gardening is purely addictive.
    I had heard about the bridge on TV and it seems most of our infrastructure is rather brittle from age. So glad no one was hurt.
    Enjoy that event as a spectator.

  17. I was talking to a friend of mine who has a big suburban yard, and he was telling me he grows most of his plants (inclu. tomatoes) in pots. Keeps them away from the animals and in general makes them easier to grow. Maybe that's the ticket. Anyway, I think I need to get me some of them Borage plants. They sound perfect!

    Heard about your bridge. Jeez! May you not suffer too many traffic headaches.

  18. Yes I read about the bridge and thought of you! Scary that such a thing could least no one was killed. That bridge closing will cause a traffic snarl for sure.

    Your containers of plants are very pretty..and your garden is coming along.
    Aphids are the pits..hope you escape them this year:)

  19. Sounds like the Borage will be an important part of your garden!

  20. I had to go read about the bridge collapse. So glad you're safe. There was a huge collapse in Minneapolis a few years back and have been several more around the country. Getting scary to cross bridges!

    Your patio looks so inviting! I have never heard of that borage plant or growing flowers to eat, but I hope you don't have the issues you did last year. It is so lush there! A delight for the eyes. :)

  21. Your veggie and flower gardening sounds so alluring it makes me want to play in the dirt. I'll go sweep some dead leaves off my deck and maybe the urge will pass. I should explain that I have to compete with the deer for any vegetation in my yard so I can only envy those with vegetable and flower gardens. Keep us posted.

  22. Your flowers all look so lovely! I bet you are really enjoying them. I look forward to hearing all about your other garden. I had committed to a community garden plot, but then, when I got sick, I knew I just couldn't make a commitment that require all that care this year. I hope I can get a spot next year. I was excited about doing it.

  23. Green is good. The endless gloomy skies and rain of the last few weeks is getting tiresome though...:)

  24. I was reminded about the bridge on the news this morning. I'm thinking about you on this Memorial day DJan. I know you have lost loved ones so unfairly.

  25. Your beginning flower garden on the front porch is cheerful and I look forward to seeing the expansion over the coming years.

  26. Your garden is looking good DJan. Borage is a new plant to me but one I will be looking for at the garden center. I wonder if I planted it near my roses if it would help keep the aphids off them.

    I had wondered if the I-5 bridge collapse would affect you. I had forgotten it is your main route to Snohomish. Hopefully they will have some sort of fix in soon.

  27. I wondered about you as I read about the bridge collapsing. Glad you weren't near it when it happened.

  28. Just stopping by before I have to immerse myself in our China Photo Album for everybody.

    Your garden is looking wonderful. The Borage looks very interesting. I just know you'll have a bumper harvest.


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