Category Archives: flowers

Happy Spring

This is the 3rd day of spring.

My granddaughter Nora turns 2 today. Two years ago this week, California started the lockdown. I canceled my flight to be with my daughter for her giving birth to Nora. We waited and waited. It was her first birthday when we finally got to see her. Her 2nd birthday party will be the first indoor party we’ve had since the pandemic. It’s very exciting. We look forward to spending time with both Autumn and Nora.

My spring garden would like to sing to you.

“The first bloom of spring always makes my heart sing.” – S. Brown

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” – Ellis Peters

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot, and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” – Susan Bissonette

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” – English Proverb

Happy Spring to You!

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SoCS – If I Had a Bigger Garden

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “if.” Linda invited us to start our post with the word “If.”

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If I had a bigger garden, I would plant more fruit trees and vegetables.

I have a good size garden and am grateful for all the flowers in my garden. My picture folder showed my garden was barren in 2003. I planted the flowers and trees a few at a time for the last eighteen years. I set a mental budget for gardening and didn’t spend too much money each year. Probably I spent the most this summer when I replaced many annual to perennial flowers.

Flowers in My Garden

I also tried to see what grows well in my garden. Some part of my garden gets full sun all day, while other part gets either the morning sun or evening sun. After we planted the Cypress trees in the backyard, they block the sun in the winter as the earth tilted.

Another factor about gardening is the soil and watering system. Hubby is in charge of the sprinkler system. He also takes care of the lawn while I take care of the flowers. He installed the sprinklers according to the needs of the lawn. As a result, some flowers get too much water, and some don’t get enough water. Well, I have to improvise and make change now and then. I don’t mind doing that. What I did was to plant the flowers that need more water in the areas that have more sprinkler heads and planted the flowers that don’t need so much water in the areas further from the sprinkler heads. Of course, I could ask him to add sprinkler heads in some areas.

I started with one patch of Lily of the Nile (African Lily). African lily can withstand drought because of its large, fleshy roots. Roots spread and fresh shoots grow. I transplant them on several spots and the sixty feet wide slopes in the back yard behind the retaining wall, spaced them every eight feet in eight patches. The photo below is in the front yard.

Lily of the Nile (African Lily)

When we renovated the front yard, I bought ten rose bushes, and they turned out to be in different shades of pink. Then I felt in love with the white iceberg roses and bought ten bushes.

Throughout the years, I planted different flowers. As mentioned above, I experimented with the kinds that do well in my garden. The flowers above and below included in this post are what I currently have.

Year-round: Geranium, Hibiscus, Pentas, Periwinkle (Vinca) Lantana, and Snapdragon

Spring: Freesia (yellow and purple) and Clover

Summer: Daylily and Sunflower

Winter: Cyclamen and Camelia

I have planted the bulbs for Daffodil and Iris, hope to see the flowers next year.

Fruit Trees

So far, I have two plum trees, one apple tree, and one orange tree. We hope to plant a dwarf lemon tree, blackberries and raspberries. Berries are invasive, so I need more planning before planting them.

Vegetables

I planted kale, orange and green bell pepper, and squash. They are not ready to harvest yet. I love to grow more vegetables if I had a bigger garden.

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

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SoCS – If I had a Bigger Garden

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Ordinary

Our theme this week is the Ordinary, hosted by I. J. Khanewala. There are many places, moments, things that we would say are ordinary. We may be surprised when the ordinary takes a turn.

My husband, Lynton and I started out this summer like any previous ordinary summers. Even though we didn’t take international trips, we took a couple of local getaways trips. We visited the grandkids. I took advantage of the summer colors and got some new flowers.

Lantana and Vinca

As soon as the summer rolled around the corner, things became a domino effect and tuned into an extraordinary summer. It was almost unstoppable without affecting the long-term effect.

There was an old 10’x8’ metal shed in the backyard. We had it for fifteen years. Lynton and I assembled it together. It was a major project we worked on it without getting upset with each other. I did my part, laying out all the nuts and bolts and parts. When Lynton assembled the panels, I handed him whatever he needed. I helped to hold the panels when he joined them together. The shed reminded us we could work together. What’s the big deal? It’s a big deal when two professionals live under the same roof. We could do our own things separately, but it takes extra consideration when working on the same project.

Finally, the shed was ready to retire. It leaked. The wooden floor was rotten and partly collapsed. We needed a new shed. We moved out everything from the old shed. Lynton demolished it.

I wanted a risen shed which is sturdier. I set a budget, but after looking for all the models, we picked one which cost twice as much as my initial budget.

“We better have a slab for the foundation. I wouldn’t be able to make a good leveled wooden foundation,” he said.

We got two quotes, but neither showed up for the job. It was a chance meeting when Lynton talked to a cement guy at a gas station. He came to give us a quote. He and his crew did the slab.

The section of the wall behind the shed bulged and threatened to collapse. We asked the cement guy for a quote. His quote was more reasonable than the one we got years ago. We needed a new wall, eventually. It would be hard to do it afterwards because there were only a few feet between the shed and the wall. We decided to have it done.

The guy and his crew demolished the wall, dug two feet deep and two feet behind the wall to pour cement for the foundation. All the dirt dug up was piling up on our lawn. It took them six weeks to build the wall.

The new retaining wall in front of the slope and the cypress trees

Lynton put the new shed together almost all by himself. I only helped to hold up some panels when he joined them together.

The shed has several windows and many skylights
The new shed sitting on a six-inch high slab

The soil in the backyard was hard after six weeks without water. We nurtured the soil and waited for the summer heat to die down. Then Lynton put in the new seeds for the grass. The grass in the above photo is new grass.

While the back yard construction was going on, I replaced many of the annual flowers to perennial. I picked the flowers for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Lantana was not my favorite flower because I thought it was not artistic. But it’s butterfly food. I raised 20 butterflies in the summer. Milkweed is for the butterflies to lay eggs. The adult butterflies need food, so it made sense to plant some flowers for butterfly food. Now I have pink or orange mixed colors, purple and yellow single color Lantana on the slope, in the backyard and front yard. They’re ready for the butterflies next year.

I planted more Sylvia for the bees because I need the bees to pollinate the plum and orange blossoms. I went crazy getting the Pentas when it was on sale. Not only the butterflies, but the hummingbirds and bees like them also.

Lantana
Sylvia
Pentas

For two months, the backyard was like a war zone. I’m glad the work is over. There shouldn’t be any more home improvement projects for the backyard for the remaining years we live in this house.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Ordinary

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #154 One Photo Two Ways

This week, Tina would like us to think about the various ways we create the images and show the same subject captured using different approaches.

I love visiting my daughter’s family in Portland, Oregon, especially during spring and autumn seasons. During my previous visit in May, my daughter and I went on walks once or twice a day. It was amazing to see the beautiful blooms in the neighborhood. I especially admired the rhododendrons and irises. The rhododendrons in my California neighborhood are bushes, whereas in Portland, they grow into trees as high as a two-story home.

The first photo is a close-up of the flower. As we walked further away from the plant, I took the view of the entire plant.

My other favorite flowers are irises of all kinds of colors. I gravitated toward darker purple and lilac colors. The name of this purple iris is Eleanor Roosevelt. The first photo is a single flower and the second shot is the patch of irises.

In my teaching days, I only went to the zoo on field trips for the students. My daughter and her friends have annual passes and take their kids to the zoo often. One of my favorite animals is giraffe. I took several shots following the giraffes as the three of them roamed around in their areas. I only captured the two that seemed to stay together.

There is an elementary school with a playground right across from my daughter’s house. Playgrounds are open to the public after school hours. Autumn’s favorite is climbing the net climber. It’s interesting to watch her trying to climb to the top and down when some ropes are close and some further apart. Autumn is an enthusiastic climber.

Nora is a good helper to her dad in gardening and mowing the lawn. She mowed the entire lawn by herself!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #154 – One Photo Two Ways

Thank you for reading. I always appreciate your generous comments. Please click HERE if you would like to participate.

Have a wonderful Day!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #148 – Spots and Dots

Ann-Christine’s Photo Challenge this week is Spots and Dots. She wants us to have fun with it! But, also recognize and enjoy the different interpretations, meanings and importance of these two little words. Spots and Dots. Because even if they are small…they can make a big difference.

I came back from a delightful Mother’s Day week visiting my daughter and the grandkids. My daughter Mercy talked with Autumn about Mother’s Day celebration and Autumn understood the relationship of mothers. She said, “My mommy is a mommy. You’re a mommy and you’re my mommy’s mommy. I’m not a mommy.”

Autumn loves to have the undivided attention of grandma. She has a huge appetite for books. On the days when she didn’t go to school, I read about ten books to her after breakfast. Then she played for a little while. Her latest favorite was building a fort with tunnels. She took out all the cushions from the couches to build the formation and covered them with blankets. She didn’t want my help but wanted me to watch (with attention).

Apparently, she has nap time at school, but she doesn’t take naps at home. Mercy wants her to have quiet time when Nora takes a nap. It’s also the time when Mercy takes a nap. It takes a lot of energy to care for a toddler and a baby.

There are boxes of books from my teaching days. I pick the age-appropriate books with me on each trip.

After the quiet time, I read another ten books to Autumn. She likes to listen to the same books over and over again, especially the books with longer text. She picks up more details of the stories from each repetition of reading.

The day is getting longer, and the sun doesn’t go down until about 8:00 p.m. We take the kids to a school playground across the street from the house. The neighbor next to the school has a home farm with chickens and six or seven goats. Many kids love to feed the goats.

After the walk or playground time, we read several more bedtime books to Autumn. She would ask to read “one more,” but we must be firm, otherwise, we’d be reading all night long.

In the afternoon on Mother’s Day, my daughter’s family, joined by another family went to the zoo. Autumn wanted to see the Polar Bear and carried the white stuffed bear with her. The Polar Bear was in the water under the cave for a long time but swam outside for a little while. I was glad that Autumn was not disappointed.

Nora turned one-year-old in March, so she is learning to climb the stairs and playing with different toys. She loves to follow her big sister and does the same thing. During the several days of my visit, she learned to do new things. It’s amazing to see the kids making so much progress at these ages.

There are many small dots of progress in the child development but in a long run there’s a huge impact in one’s life these small dots make. Research shows the first two years of a human life make the fastest and most growth within the shortest period compared to the remaining life span. As parents and careers, we could facilitate and make the small dots and spots colorful ones in the kids’ lives.

Mercy’s orchid plant
Spots at the zoo
More spots at the zoo
This gorgeous guy was in another garden showing off his spots and dots

This is Autumn at the zoo. How many dots and spots can you see?

Nora was fascinating to watch all the spots and dots flowing in different directions. She was trying to catch some of them.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful week ahead!

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