What do you do with a garden full of basil?
Make pesto, of course!
I made a big batch of pesto earlier in the week and I’ve been using it in recipes all week long. We’ve been having pesto appetizers, pesto on sandwiches, and pesto on our pasta. It’s so fresh and yummy! I just love it! Once my daughter got over the muddy green color, she fell in love. My son loves any type of food you put in front of him, so it wasn’t a hard sell for him.
I’m sad to say, I can’t even share my pesto recipe with you. It was one of those – a little of this, a little of that – type things. I put as much basil into the food processor as I could fit, added garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. I added salt to taste and called it good. How’s that for a precise recipe? Thankfully, we’ve had a pretty dry summer, so I’m sure there will be more basil to come!
There are few things that make me quite as happy as harvesting food right from my garden and serving it to my family. Tonight was Salad Night. I ran out to the garden and picked a couple heads of lettuce.
My only problem with picking lettuce from my garden is the bugs. We don’t use any chemicals in the garden, which means bugs. I wash the lettuce, leaf by leaf. Then I lay it out on a towel, and inspect each leaf for bugs as I tear it up to put in the salad spinner. Once in the salad spinner, I wash it again. Did I mention that I’m not a fan of the bugs?
My daughter is getting a little tired of salad. Tonight she asked, “Are you really picking lettuce for salad AGAIN?” My son and hubby, on the other hand, LOVE Costco’s Chinese Chicken Salad. (I never said it was a fancy homemade salad!)
My son was so excited for the salad that he finished washing the lettuce and assembled the salads for us. That’s my kind of dinner – no running to the grocery store for lettuce and having someone else make my dinner. It was all perfect until everyone took off just in time for clean up. I knew it was too good to be true!
In late July and early August you will find my garden at its happiest. Everything is starting to bloom and my garden hasn’t been destroyed by lack of water, or the trampling of little feet. (Who am I kidding, my kids both have giant feet!) It’s pouring down rain here today, so I thought a little garden tour was in order.
I’ll start with one of my absolute favorite plants. Meet Annabelle.
Annabelle Hydrangeas are known for the big mopheads that they produce. There are so many flowers on these plants that I am forced to cut more bouquets than I have places for in my house. I know, it’s a tough problem to have.
Annabelles love lots of water, like all hydrangeas, but they are not fans of the pounding rain. I’m dreading what today’s rainstorm is doing to them right now. I usually gently shake them off after it rains, but I’m sure I will have lots of broken branches. The rain makes the mophead very heavy and pulls them to the ground.
I planted some basil up near the house this year, and it has been very happy there. That corner bounces the heat around and it acts like a little mini green house. Keeping the old watering can there reminds me to keep it watered. I tried purple basil there again this year and it didn’t last. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong with that variety.
My vegetable garden is very herb heavy this year. I noticed that most of the “fun” fruits and veggies haven’t worked very well, so I decided to plant what I know works well in this space, considering what we use the most.
This year’s garden is very basil and cilantro heavy. I use those two herbs a few times a week.
We planted lots of lots of lettuce. Some varieties are kind of wilty, but the Romaine lettuce is pretty crisp. We eat a lot of chicken Caesar wraps this time of year.
I finally have a few zucchini starting! See that little baby right there?
My hubby’s request this year was a couple of blueberry bushes. I have two bushes that didn’t make it through the winter, so I bought this one in early Spring. The blueberries are ripening! A few more weeks and we’ll be ready for
some blueberry cobbler a small handful of berries.
My dahlias make me happy. (Thanks Carpooler Michelle!) You are supposed to dig up dahlia tubers every year, store them indoors, then replant them in the spring. I don’t have that much patience, so I leave them in the ground and feel lucky when they don’t rot and actually produce beautiful flowers. Again, I’m not looking forward to seeing what today’s rain has done to this pretty flower!
I have several varieties of hydrangeas around my yard. This one is changing. This is the only stem on this plant that produces this type of flower. They rest are lacecaps. I talked to someone at Wight’s Nursery about why this is happening and she said it is not possible to have a plant change from a mophead to a lacecap. I listened politely, but I have the proof right in my yard. I have no idea why this plant (along with a few others) are mutating this way. Weird.
This little area by my shed, along the fence, has been my most recent garden project. The fence is really ugly, so I needed things to hide it. It get very little sun, if any at all, and it’s slightly sloped. This is only year two for these plants, so I know they will fill in in another two years. It’s filled with hostas, and a few other shade perennials.
Last years I added three honeysuckles and I love them! I just need to figure out how I’m going to attach them to the fence so they will cover some of the ugliness.
My little wagon, in front of the shed looks like it needs a bit more fertilizer, but the flowers add a little color.
The front of the house is starting to bloom as well.
These are the plants we stole from the cemetery. Ok, we didn’t really steal them. We bought them in the first place, and took them down to the graves of my step-dad, father in law, grandpa, and grandma. After a week, the cemetery workers come around and collect everything to put in the dumpster, regardless of condition. So, my mother in law runs down just before they are about to toss my pretty flowers and collects them for me. Isn’t that good thinking?
*Funny side story – One year my mom, grandma, and I went down to the cemetery to pick up the plants before they were thrown away. There were lots of people around, so when my mom and grandma went to get the plants I yelled from the car, “That one’s pretty too! Whey don’t you grab it too!” My mom was mortified and I was cracking up laughing.*
Here are a few more hydrangeas from the front of the house. The top one was supposed to be a white mophead, and over the years this is what it has changed to. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s weird!
I bought a little Blue Star Creeper a few years ago, and it has taken off. I love that you can walk on it and it bounces back. My house NEEDS plants that bounce back. The front yard is home to the basketball hoop. The Blue Star Creeper sees lots of action.
Finally, we have the hanging baskets and window boxes. I try to get these planted a little before Memorial Day. They are tiny little starts when I buy them, and fill out nicely by July. I will plant these baskets as long as I live and I don’t ever think I will change flowers. I plant Bacopa, Geraniums, and Petunias every year. I think they make my house happier.
I guess they make me happier too!
I get so excited each week when my friends at LeapFrog update the Learning Path app and website. New activities are posted every week and the app will even sort them out by age of your child. This week there are a few different activities I’ve written and photographed on the website. (Squeeeel! I get SO excited to see me work on LeapFrog!) One of my favorites is the Grow Your Own Pizza activity.
My Lemonade Stand thematic exploration is also on there. This was one of my favorite activities to take the photos for. Lemons and lemonade are just so pretty.
My Summer Sensory Garden was my favorite activity of ALL TIME to put together, and now my garden bench looks so pretty.
I hope you’ll stop by the LeapFrog Learning Path Website and check them out. I also have a LeapFrog Pinterest Page where I post some of my favorite activities from the website.
This has never happened in my entire gardening lifetime, friends. I plant tomatoes in my garden every year and, more often than not, I will get a few tomatoes before the first frost. Most of my tomatoes are usually green in September and October due to lack of sunshine and heat in our lovely Pacific Northwest weather.
Well, this year, it’s actually SUMMER! Bees will buzz. Kids will blow dandelion fuzz. And I’ll be doing whatever snow does in Summer…. oh, wait… sorry. I guess I still have Frozen in my head.
Back to those tomatoes.
Seriously, tomatoes just don’t get ripe around here. I’m quite gleeful. Yes, I said gleeful. There is nothing better than a garden-fresh tomato. The flavor is absolutely nothing like a store bought tomato. I’d start planning all of my tomato based recipes except my youngest loves tomatoes too and they seem to disappear every time she walks outside to visit the garden.
The other day I was noticing how much I love the lighting in my backyard as the sun is going down. It makes me want to run outside and take pictures of anything and everything that grows in my yard. Then I remembered that I do that over and over again. Since no one at my house cares too much about the photos I take, I post them here. You, my friends, are the only people who really care what’s growing. Well, maybe you don’t really care, but I’m posting them anyway.
The strawberries at Biringer Farm are ripe for the pickin’, but mine are just babies. I will patiently water them and move them around my yard, chasing sunlight, until they are ripe.
My baby tomatoes are as cute as can be! This is the Sweet 100 variety and I can’t wait to eat them as a snack. I’m hoping I get to them before the little tomato monster in my house. My daughter eats them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Seriously, she eats a bowl of cherry tomatoes along with her yogurt in the morning. As much as I love tomatoes, they just aren’t a breakfast food in my book.
If anyone has any idea what this pretty flower is called, please let me know. I have forgotten the name but I love the way it blooms all Summer long. The hummingbirds love them too.
My cilantro is growing strong! I’ve already used some to make pico de gallo and added a bit to our BBQ chicken pizza.
Romaine lettuce is one of my favorite varieties of lettuce to grow each year. It’s almost ready and I can just about taste our chicken Caesar wraps.
Ooh, I love these pretty little flowers. This is a perennial geranium that was given to me by Carpooler Michelle. The dainty little flowers make me happy.
Snapdragons are one of my favorites! They usually don’t last too long in my yard. Between the kids and dog, they get knocked down pretty quickly. But, on the bright side, when they break off I take them inside for bouquets.
It’s not the whole yard, but this is the area that’s the prettiest when the sun is going down. I played around with my 50mm lens while I was out there. I’m still not sure if I like the level of blur in the background of most of the pictures. I guess it’s a personal preference, but I had a good time wandering around the yard and playing with my camera. Maybe I should start taking pictures of other people’s yards, so you don’t have to see mine all the time!
We’ve had an absolutely beautiful week, here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had weather in the high 70’s and sunshine every day. I’ve taken the opportunity to work in the garden during every spare minute.
The vegetable garden isn’t looking lush and beautiful yet. I have cold weather veggies starting, like lettuce and parsley. On the left, I have sections for zucchini, mini pumpkins, parsley, salad blend lettuce, cilantro, chives, and romaine lettuce. In the back right section I’m trying
to feed the squirrels again this year sunflowers again.We’ll see how those go. I may need advice from my cousin the hay and corn farmer, who is planting 60 acres of sunflowers this year. (My inner photographer is jumping up and down with excitement at the idea of taking pictures in 60 acres of sunflowers! Farm-cation, here we come!) Finally, the front right quadrant will be tomatoes and basil. I don’t plant those until June because our weather is usually so wet that they rot right in the ground.
The back side of the yard is filling out nicely. This is mostly daylillies and black-eyed-Susans, with an Endless Summer hydrangea thrown in here and there.
We’ve had enough rain to make my garden look quite lush and green. Now I just need a bit more sunshine so the flowers will bloom.
I really don’t like Rhododendrons much, but there are a few around my deck and help fill the space. One of them died this year, so it needed to be replaced. (These plants are nearly impossible to kill, but somehow I managed!)
My little helper enjoyed running around barefoot in the grass, but stopped long enough to help me plant some flowers and herbs for the potting bench.
It’s one of my favorite parts of the yard right now.
She even helped me water a bit. Unfortunately, we won’t need to be watering at all this weekend. The weather has changed and God is taking care of our watering needs for the next few days.
One of my friends was telling me that her goal is to grow enough food in her yard that she can tell her kids to go out and pick their own snacks and meals all summer long. I love it! No dishes, no snack bags and garbage around, and no mess to clean up. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
That big dirt pile isn’t exactly moving itself! Well, it’s kind of moving itself because my hubby was shoveling away while I took my youngest to piano tonight. I don’t think I’ve even moved half of the dirt that he has. I’d say I’m still earning my keep though. I’ve been pretty sweaty and dirty the past few days.
My plants are so happy with their new outfits!
Never mind the fact that my stupid tulips are popping up, one at a time, or the fact that their petals are falling off. Remember, this post is not about my garden. It’s about the dirt, Friends.
While we were outside shoveling tonight, we heard a funny tapping sound. We spotted this little guy making a hole in our tree. Although he’s pretty cute, he is VERY annoying when he tries to attack the chimney or the siding of our house. This tends to happen at about 5:30 am, on a Saturday. I’m hoping Woody Woodpecker will find a new home.
Back to that dirt.
I absolutely cannot wait until I can get the rest of my garden planted. After the rainiest April on record in Seattle, we’re ready for some sunshine, warm soil, and time to get our hands dirty.
Want to know the best surprise ever? It’s coming home to a giant pile of dirt that needs to be hauled to the backyard.
You think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m really not. I’ve been dying to have some dirt delivered but we can’t seem to get a dry stretch of weather. Well, it’s all sunshine in the forecast for the next few days! I mentioned to my hubby that it would be smart of us to order our dirt and spend the next few evenings moving it, while the weather was cooperating.
Ask and you shall receive!!!
It’s almost like Christmas! No, wait… it’s almost as good as the Mother’s Day gift my hubby bought for me last year – the pressure washer was definitely the best gift ever. Dirt is a close second. Hauling dirt is a sweaty (and of course dirty) job, and we’ve barely made a dent in the pile. At least we have dry weather for a while!