July 31, 2015



Ah, one of the best things about summer is the abundance of delicious fruit!

But sometimes you end up with some fruit that is getting a little too soft and squishy.

That means it's fruit compote time!


Don't forget to try my easy fruit compote recipe using any combinati...

July 30, 2015

Well it's that time of year when the Alameda County agricultural department hangs interesting objects in our fruit trees to check for any bugs/pests that shouldn't be in the area, potentially threatening California agriculture.


In the past, cardboard pheremone traps we...

July 21, 2015

Here is our first bud on the Munstead lavender plant we bought last year. It looks so nice and fresh, on the verge of opening up to provide food for bees and sometimes hummingbirds.  For a long time this lavender plant didn't look like it would thrive.


But here again,...

July 18, 2015



In the late spring I always plant scarlet runner beans. These plants produce large green bean pods. If you let the beans dry up on the vines, they are great in soups. Or you can pick them earlier and prepare like any string bean.


But I tend to just like to grow them...

July 18, 2015

 Genovese basil



I always grow basil in backyard container pots every summer because I just LOVE basil! And I particularly love Genovese basil. They do very well in containers and thrive in the summer heat as long as they get some water several times a week.


One of my...

July 18, 2015

Dahlia surprise



Sometimes you just get some delightful surprises in your garden. This bright orange blossom is growing from a dahlia plant that somehow is growing in our container pot of Genovese basil. It is growing next to the container pot of yellow zinnias. Hopefu...

July 17, 2015

Sunshine blueberries



The  only plants that we are watering during the drought are growing in container pots in our backyard. They can't get ground water so we are always monitoring them, especially because most of them are feeding the pollinators. And a few of these p...

July 12, 2015

 During the dry and warm summer months hummingbirds will frequent your nectar feeders more often. Now that a lot of those lovely spring flowers are drying up, we  are cooking more nectar again.


The recipe: 1 part white cane sugar to 4 parts water. Pour the ingredi...

July 11, 2015

 Sapphire salvia resurrecting


A little tragedy happened in the backyard - the mammoth sunflower has been destroyed!

At some time the other day, some critter apparently jumped on the flower head and broke it off. I came home to a stalk of leaves and no flower. We suspect...

July 6, 2015


As I mentioned in an earlier post, this summer we have a Mammoth sunflower growing in a large container pot in our backyard. Apparently they can grow to 10 or 12 feet tall (hence the name), but it looks like our mammoth is "special". Not only is it the shortest sunflo...

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bees in the bay breeze

For years I have been sharing ideas, gardening tips and recipes  with family, friends and colleagues.

And now I'd like to share them with you!


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