Eating and Sleeping in the Garden


Mona the Cat dangles her foot while trying to stay cool during our recent heatwave.

Moving a blog from one platform to another takes time. I dreaded working through this process, and now, I’m simply overwhelmed by it.

The list of required changes looms large on my list of lists. Days continue to pass by me but daily I’m trying to learn a new trick here at my new home while I’m still cleaning up over at the old blog.


A bloom on a Hypoestes phyllostachya (aka Polka Dot Plant).

Recently I’ve been collecting seeds for Milton’s Garden Menagerie and I’ve been taking notes on where to find more seeds in the coming weeks.

This Polka Dot Plant is a plant I grew from seed this past winter and I hope to collect its seeds in September.

(I just love this plant.)


Lilies in a friend’s garden in August.

Garden tour season is in full swing. I’ve been trying to get out to see more gardens but my physical therapy is taking up a lot of my time. (I cannot begin to express how much better I’m feeling after back surgery.)

Sometimes I’m amazed that I’m just seeing some gardens for the first time, but life has been keeping me busy these past few years.


Maurice the Cat trying to sleep through the heat.

My garden is still in the middle of a major redesign. As I remove plants that have underperformed for me—rather than shop for new ones to fill the space—I’m just enjoying the emptiness.


Zucchini Salad: fresh uncooked zucchini, fresh Italian parsley, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

Recently, Paul Bonine of Xera Plants Inc invited us over for dinner and we had the pleasure of returning the invitation to him this past weekend.

It was terrifying to have him over because my garden is such a wild mess, but the conversations he and I had as we walked through my own urban jungle helped me so much.

I badly needed guidance.

(He brought me some seeds too.)


My breakfast in the garden à la John. Eggs fried in brown butter, polenta, and a side of prickly pear.

The next morning I awoke recharged and refreshed. I went out to the garden to weed and John made me breakfast with a side of prickly pear.

If you’re new (or a veteran) to this blog, you may not know that my oft-used online handle Ficurinia is Sicilian dialect for ‘prickly pear’.

It was his first prickly pear experience—and he like it.

Good to know since he married this Ficurinia 11 months ago today.

Preparing the Annuals for Fall and Winter

As the nights continue to cool, I know that the garden will have to adapt soon to its fall and winter movements. The willow arbor will lose its leaves, and like many of the other tree and shrubs, I will admire its bones for awhile. It is also time to begin considering the fates of many of my annuals. This is a job I never like much.
Unknown Begonia.

The Begonia cuttings I received last year in the mail from another gardener will either be repotted or I will make cuttings from them again. If I am able to save some of their seeds, I will do that too. I will miss them though, so I will also try to keep them indoors under lights if possible. This year for me really has been the year of the Begonia. (This is only one of the five different types I was sent and they all grew so beautifully.)

Unknown Coleus.
Capturing Coleus seeds can be tedious but I will make an attempt this year with all of the different ones I have and there will be many cuttings of them all winter in the windowsills in the kitchen. Some can also be kept as a houseplants, and I may do that again this year if I have the space.
Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata.

When the houseplants all begin to move back indoors the house seems to get smaller and smaller. That’s when I really have to begin making decisions that are difficult. It’s a bit like being the queen in Alice in Wonderland and I feel like I have to say “Off with their heads!” ad infinitum.

Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’.

It will be off with their heads for a few of these gals this year, but at least they will go into the flower press. Up until now I have been pretty bad at saving Fuchsia plants over the winter, but I think this year I will make an attempt after pressing the blooms.

Unknown Petunia.

These fancy hybrid Petunias grown from seed will have to hit that big compost pile in the sky. You can’t save them since in this case there are no seeds to be saved.

Dark leaved white Begonia semperflorens and a Polka Dot Plant Hypoestes phyllostachya.

These two will survive the winter by having their seeds stored. I know for a fact that both are viable and I am happy to grow them again next year.

Impatiens glandulifera candida.

Impatiens have been a lot of fun too this year—even the dangerous ones. This is the white version of a very aggressive re-seeder that is no longer welcome in the Pacific Northwest. I am not sure if you’ve ever met one of these Touch-Me-Nots but if you have, you’ll know why they are so dangerous. When their seedheads are ripe, the pod holding them explodes and the seeds go flying in every direction. If you happen to be collecting them, you have to grab the pod quickly and let it unfurl in your hand. It kind of tickles so it is fun to do. I’ve been playing with these for the last few weeks. Saving their seeds is more sporting than others and I like the challenge.

So as summer begins to turn into fall, this year, I vow to appreciate my perennials more. I also vow to collect every single last seed from every annual I’m able to collect from…