Thursday, August 25, 2011

Winnetka Farms.

Hello Friends,

Yesterday I was invited to one of the most fabulous places I have been to in a long time...Winnetka Farms.  Located in the very "settled" San Fernando Valley, Winnetka Farms is an urban homestead that has chickens, fruit trees, and lots of scrumptious Italian veggies.  Craig and Gary have put lots of LOVE into their farm and it shows. 

Artichoke in bloom.
 When one arrives, you are greeted to the front field of artichokes in full bloom along with various fruit trees.  The back 'yard' is filled with rows of Italian veggies and herbs along with dozens of fruit trees.  It is a gorgeous example of how farming can be beautiful.  The whole area (entire property) is heavily mulched. 

GARDEN REMINDER:  Mulch is a great way to improve your soil & conserve moisture.  It allows for desirable critters, such as worms, to make the uppermost surface area of the soil home.  It maintains an area of moisture and protection that is the perfect environment for plant roots.  Think of mulch as a protective blanket for the soil.  It protects & improves (the nutrient content, soil food web diversity) of your soil as it breaks it looks great! 

These are Barnevelder chickens.  This breed was selected due to its heat and cold tolerance.  Not to mention it's beauty.  Hens and eggs for sale!  Check it out online.

What a beauty!  She just caught a Japanese Beetle just before this photo.  Good girl.

These hens eat a diet of veggies and grain.  Chickens are omnivores and love to eat insects, grasses, etc, etc.
 Craig invited me over not only to see the farm, but to learn how they harvest their chickens and process them for dinner.  It was an amazing experience to see and experience first hand what it is like to take a living organism and see to it's humane death and processing from start to finish.  I have been a meat eater all of my life and I think it was important for me to be a part of the process.  I have a greater respect for all the pieces of the food web puzzle.  Thank you Craig for imparting your wisdom.

The lovely ladies of Winnetka Farms, Barnevelders.  The not as lovely lady (front and center) is the eldest in the flock.
  If you would like more information on Winnetka Farms, please use this link.  click here.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Farmer's Kitchen.

Hello Friends,

I attended an event hosted by Food Forward this past weekend held in Hollywood at the Farmer's Kitchen.   It was an amazing class all about canning those delicious summer tomatoes.  The women in attendance were shown how to prepare, cook and can summer's most revered fruit in local kitchen.  The Farmer's Kitchen is a local business that is dedicated to providing locals (and tourists alike) foods prepared with local, all natural ingredients and lots of love.  I encourage you all to check it out.  (I had my eye on the Peach Salsa!  Yum.)

It was a fun filled day of good food, hard work and lots learning.  Chef Evan Kleiman of Good Food taught us how to make a real Italian tomato sauce.  Master Food Preserver, Delilah Snell of Backyard in a Jar taught the group how to make Tomato Jam.  Fun fun fun.

I hope this inspires you to create magic in your own kitchen!  

Preparing the donated tomatoes for cooking.

Rainbow of delicious heirloom tomatoes prepared and ready to cook.

Tomato Art.

Evan Kleiman teaches us all how to make tomato sauce.

Tray of tomatoes donated by Scott Daigre of Tomatomania.  These were passed around to admire the various colors and flavors that tomatoes exhibit.  Yum!

More Tomato Art.

Tomato tasting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sherman Library and Gardens.

Hello Friends,

Do you like succulents?  A visit to the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar, CA is a MUST!  The gardens hold many horticulture treasures for the senses in its 2+ acres on the California coast.  I loved the whole place, but absolutely fell in love with their cacti and succulent garden brimming over with color and form.  It was also dotted with Epiphytes (that's right, I said it Epiphytes! is the Bromeliad and Cacti families that live without soil on cliffs or tree tops.)

I think one of the great things about visiting other gardens is taking home some inspiration for your own garden.  I hope these pics inspire you to create a piece of heaven in your own yard.  And the best part...succulents use very little water!  How cool is that?!

I hope you are inspired and will even visit the gardens themselves.  Check out this link:  Sherman Library and Gardens.

Upon entering the gardens you are greeted with this gorgeous pool and fountain.

And greeted with this adorable garden helper, doing his part to keep the place up.

Succulents along the stairs, why not?!  Looks amazing in person and adds that touch of magic to the garden.

Biggest Rhipsalis sp. I have EVER seen.  Yes, it could be called Cousin It.  I like to call it amazing!

This dry river bed is executed to perfection.  Talk about water wise!  It not only saves water but it 'saves' water by letting rainfall recharge the ground supply.  Genius!

Why not 'paint' a picture in your garden with succulents?

It is a canvas of plants and rocks.

Garden Art.

Here we have a mixing of plant types:  Bromeliads on the left and Succulents of the right.  Stunning.

Say cheese...  I could not help it...that is the biggest Furcrea sp. I have ever seen!  Wowsa.

Love this color and form!

Great plant combo!  Pennisetum rubrum, Orange Nemesia, Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial', and a Lime foliage Bacopa.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Colour, wonderful colour!

Hello Friends!

It is a beautiful Sunday here in Ojai, CA.  Spending multiple days here is a real treat.  I am sitting looking out over the green, Oak-studded mountains that are punctuated with dry, open spaces of dry grasses.  The natural beauty here is absolutely stunning!  As I drink in the natural beauty my mind wanders to another time I spend drenched in natural beauty of a different sort.... The Chelsea Flower Show in London, England. 

The following pics were taken in May of this year and represent just a taste of the botanical menagerie that is exhibited for events holders to see.  Please enjoy, and may the color of nature elevate your mood no matter what you are feeling at this moment... may your day be just a little (or a lot) more colorful! 

Oriental Poppy, Papaver orientale.

A bevy of tuberous Begonias along with a downpour of Delphinium.

Rex Begonias make great houseplants in bright, indirect light.

Chrysanthemum spheres.

Contrasting tulips make for a stunning display. 

Bougainvillea bonanza!

Bougainvillea come in a variety of color and sizes.

Lavander-a-plenty.  Yes, it comes in white and pink as well!

Asiatic lilies are real show stoppers.

Yeah, I have about 100 photos of these guys.  Gorgeous!

Streptocarpus sp:  a great houseplant that blooms year round!  A must have for any home.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Day in The LIFE...

Hello All,

Wow, this is finally a reality!  I have been threatening to record my Garden Journey for many moons now, and the time is now.  Welcome to life through my eyes.  I have been a gardener most of my lifetime and it has brought me countless hours of joy over the years.  Through this blog I hope to inspire, educate and impress those of you who are enticed with the natural world of plants.  I currently reside in a horticultural paradise, Los Angeles, California.  Join me on a journey of photosynthetic pleasure and enrich your daily life.  I hope you enjoy!

Valley Village, CA.  The Peacock Garden.
This garden is in it's first year!  Many more to come and much to be anticipated. 

Don't be afraid of color.  Isn't it wonderful!

Squash blossoms at their finest!