Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday....ladybug love

This last month I've been pursuing my passion...Photography.
I am looking forward to sharing with you what I learn while bringing you more beautiful images from my garden...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blogs & Bloggers I love to bits...Sunshine award!

Gratitude is totally consuming my every thought today, I'm deliriously giddy from the happiness I feel and I'm just bursting to share... (no I am not drinking or smoking anything I shouldn't! But warning, a wordy post coming...yes I like to talk, pretend we are having an iced-tea out on my patio, enjoying the cherry blossom!)

Its an amazing feeling, gratitude from the depth of your soul! I'm sure it's a combination of things...the glimpses of sunshine I am seeing out my window, the beautiful spring time blooms that are determined to keep blooming, the purples in my yard are just divine...lilacs, tulips, wisteria, phlox, heathers, azaleas, pansies, winter violets, lavender...ohhh it's a happy purple yard! Honestly I had no idea I was so drawn to purple blooms...addiction! This year they are coming out in force, serious addiction...oops, sidetracked. I'll save that for a later post!

But I have to say my giddiest delight and gratitude comes from my blog... The friendships found, the experiences shared, the talents realized and the mistakes to giggle at. It is such a rewarding and personal journey, where our lives connect through the tiniest of seeds or the largest of trees. Really I am not sure what I am now, I used to say I was a gardener who likes to blog, but really I think I am more a blogger who likes to garden!! For many of us it's where we come to share our garden stories but for most of us its where we come to catch up with friends and share life's journey. Garden Bloggers and bloggers in general really are some of the most beautiful, kind-hearted people I know, not to mention down to earth and often hilarious.

So this leads me to showing my heartfelt gratitude to those who fill my blogging bucket with so much joy! (My 6yr old son taught me all about "bucket dippers" and "bucket fillers" this week, so this is for my "bucket fillers")

Starting with Susan@ As long as you have a garden who has graciously awarded me with the Sunshine Blog Award. Susan blogs about her adventures in her beautiful garden, great book reviews and garden tours too! Thanks for sharing your ray of sunshine Susan.

The Sunshine Blog Award is a prize awarded to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”. As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:
  • Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Pass on the award to 5 bloggers you like, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.
1. Favorite color - I love them all, but I think teal is my fave today!
2. Favorite Animal - Do birds count here? I love chickadees!
3. Favorite Number - 28 not sure why though
4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink - Sparkling water or iced tea with lemon wedges
5. Face-book or Twitter - Facebook, still figuring twitter out
6. My passion - Photography, learning all I can at the it!
7. Getting or Giving Presents - Giving, especially when it's for no reason! 
8. Favorite Pattern - Anything Polka Dot...hehe!
9. Favorite Day of the Week - Lazy sunshine filled Sundays
10. Favorite Flower - Peonies and Tulips

So in the spirit of Blog Awards I am going to send the love and gratitude on and nominate the following for the Sunshine Blog Award, each of these blogs and bloggers bring me so much joy...Thank you!!

Grace @ Gardening with her! And wow what a garden, to die for! Grace blogs from Albany and her posts are always such a joy to read, with beautiful photos and a wonderful writing style.
Jenni @ Rainy Day Gardener Not only is Jenni a fellow Pacific Northwest garden blogger documenting her veg and ornamental garden, (now spread out over two different properties, busy girl!) but a fellow mom and a lover of crafts. Her blog has become a fave read of mine and her comments were some of the few that helped me not give up on my blog in the early days...Thank you Jenni for your friendship and support!
Beth @ Plant Postings - Another fave read, Beth is a wonderful blogger who provides a gorgeous plant feast for the eyes, full of great info on plants, I've learnt so much through her posts...thanks Beth =)
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams - Where do I start? I guess if you love gardens, beautiful quotes and stunning photography this is one of my all time faves! Jen blogs from British Columbia and is a recent transplant who is excited to explore her new stomping grounds. Her photos are sublime!!
Cherry @ Cherry's in the Garden & More - As far as sunshine goes this blog is beaming with it!! One of the cheeriest bloggers around, Cherry blogs from down south in Savannah. She offers a great mix of garden, house and life posts, her DIY home projects are so inspiring...Y'all head over there now =)

Also a shout out to Becky @ Fourth Generation Farm Wife for nominating me for a versatile blogger award, thank you!! thank you!!
Here is my link to my January Versatile Award post My first blogger award...beyond thrilled!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mothers Day 2012 & Plant Sales Galore....

This Mothers Day the Seattle area seems to be having Plant Sales on every corner! Oh I really do even just love typing those two words together...Plant + Sale, ahh happiness! 
Really what could make mom happier on Mothers Day? hint hint kids! A clean house, well behaved children, jewelry, a bottle of vino and a night off? Well when that bubble of crazy thinking bursts, the next best thing for me is to take a trip to a favorite nursery for a day of plant-lust, this really would've been my first choice anyway but I can always hold out for the clean house right! Here is my selection of what seem to be can't miss events....

Seattle, WA area Plant Sales Mothers day weekend 

May 12th/13th. (click links for more details)
Skagit County Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale - Perennials, veg starts, art vendors and plant clinic
Camas 15th Annual Mothers day plant sale & garden fair - Over 100 garden vendors, street festivities.
Tukwila Backyard Wildlife Fair - Native plants, demos, vendors, talks, CISCOE (need I say more!)
Seattle Tilth Eastside Edible plant sale - Veggie/herb starts, hand selected by Tilth to perform in PNW
Woodinville Garden Club Plant Sale - Held at the beautiful Chateau St Michelle winery...ah yum!
Lake Wilderness Arboretum Spring Plant Sale - Vendors, native plants and exotics from around the globe.
Friends of Volunteer Park Conservatory Plant Sale - Tropic plants and an one amazing!
Further East...
Jefferson County Master Gardeners Plant Sale - Great for veggie starts and known for their tomatoes!
Spokane Garden Expo - Over 250 garden related vendors, seminars, demos and plant sales.
  • One of the things I really love about these type of plant sales are the gardeners who are volunteering, they really know the plants and local conditions, and more than likely are the ones that grew the plant you are buying. Great day for Q&A on plants you are buying and your existing garden too, they are always so happy to help and LOVE to talk garden!!  

I am so excited to check out some of these local Plant Sales. It's become our annual Mothers Day tradition, to pack my whinny boys (who are allergic to girlie flowers and who insist on reminding me of my mommy duties) in the car for a day at Flower World or some other favorite local nursery, but this year I'm looking forward to the Club based Plant Sales...Mothers day is best spent with loved ones and plants!!

Whether you have a mom, admire a mom or are a mom, How do you celebrate Mothers Day?
I am thinking this year we will be hitting the Tukwila Backyard Wildlife Festival and Plant Sale  May 12th - Great for natives, Craft Vendors, Entertainment and Ciscoe Morris! There seems to be a great selection of activities to keep the kids entertained, especially for my young bird loving boys. Also check out this great link for all listed Plant Sales in Eastern Washington - UW Botanic Gardens

What ever you do this Mothers Day I hope it is a special time for the amazing Moms in your life!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Birds nest discoveries!

What a beautiful Seattle weekend for some outdoor discoveries and what greater place than your own backyard! For weeks now my little bird lover and I have been watching a chickadee family build a nest in one of our lopsided Cypresses, busily scurrying around with twigs, moss anything they can find to create a safe place for their soon to be chicks. Really, what screams springtime more than sweet singing birds happily nesting! Sorry no pic's unless you want a!

It's amazing how these sweet little birds have become part of our every day routine. For weeks now we wake to their joyful little tweets and watch them flit around while we eat breakfast.

During our Sunday morning garden wander, we discovered with great sadness that their nest had been attacked. The nest had been pawed at and was found laying on the ground next to the Cypress. What happened? And are our two little feathered friends OK? With uncertainty of their safety and if they had yet even laid eggs (oh boy had we been waiting in anticipation for that day to come). My little bird lover, through tears, was able to salvage the nest and we placed it back in the tree just in case they were to return...fingers were crossed!

Today when we woke we noticed even more birds in our yard, giving us hope that this is still a safe place for our feathered friends. While on another quick garden wander before school, with great joy, we found an egg in the nest, happy days!! We could not believe it!! had it been there all along and we just never saw it? Did they really come back or is it another birds egg? Oh we are so so beyond happy, our neighbors must of thought we we were high from the giddy laughter that was coming from our yard! And on top of that we found a new nest hidden in the branches of another Cypress, we are crossing our fingers and hope to post photos soon of a happy little tweeter.

I am so happy they returned, check out my past post on  Tips for attracting birds to your backyard

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday... Springtime Foliage

Bursting neon green freshness the crisp new foliage of Spring!

Mercer Slough, Bellevue WA

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival...

During Spring, one of my all time favorite day trips in the state of Washington, is visiting the tulip festival up in beautiful Mt Vernon and Skagit Valley. The never ending sea of tulips and daffodils really is a sight to see! Only second largest to the tulip fields in Holland, the Skagit Valley offers one of those picturesque displays of endless rows of color that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Tulip fields in Skagit Valley WA

Reds, purples, yellows, pinks striping the landscape like a painting, really a sight that Monet would be inspired by.

...nature at its most colorful!

This was my first year back in quite sometime. In the past it has been too wet and rainy, gosh in Seattle...really? or the blooms came early and we missed them all together. OK really it was because it's no fun with two little kids who insist that the tulips are for picking!

This year however I was a little more on the ball, plus the kids are older so I can sigh with relief that I don't have to worry about them picking mommy a lovely bouquet. Or having them run out into the fields "prohibited" row areas while in chase like prison escapees, or some Benny Hill skit!

Mud was the real treat for the boys. Again lady with the white coach bag, I am sorry my son accidentally splattered mud on you while he was trying innocently to jump across the mud. But really a white "expensive" huge handbag in a muddy tulip field, what were you thinking?

My two crazies running through the daffodil fields, Skagit Valley WA
Between the crowds (OK we did go on a weekend, the same weekend as the Mt Vernon Street Festival which I think has to be one of the best street fairs in WA) And yes it was a beautiful, gorgeous, summery 70degrees of sunshiny goodness. I think the rest of WA decided to show-up the day we went too. We captured glimpses of fields void of humans and gosh what an awesome site! The RoozenGarde Fields, my fave! The one with the windmill, they by far put on their best display of tulips yet.
The varieties and the planting formations were just breathtaking, the gardens alone were worth the admission and then you get to the fields, just sublime!

My tips on how to do the Tulip festival...

  • If you can, go on a week day to avoid crowds and traffic! This is one of WA biggest tourist attractions for the year.
  • If you go on the weekend plan to get there early or late to miss the main crowds, plus these times make for the best lighting for photography...bonus! Go expecting crowds, especially if it is a rare perfect sunny PNW day!
  • Don't be afraid to go when its rainy, galoshes and umbrellas make for great props in pics, you can capture great reflection pics of the tulips reflecting in the rows of water, the crowds are at their lowest, plus mud is fun!!
  • Go towards the end of the grow season, they are usually at their fullest bloom for optimum color impact out in the field. Also they start discounting potted bulbs that are past their bloom in the store, great to plant for next year in your own garden, what better souvenir!
  • Drive around and take advantage of the fields that are accessible from the side of the road. They don't mind and they block of the ones that do. There is a wonderful Daffodil field which are happy to let you run out into, there's street parking and no crowds, its on the far north outskirts of the tulip fields...and its free! The big gardens which are totally worth the visit, charge anywhere from $4 - $5 an adult.
  • Tulip fields are not the place for designer handbags, high heels and your Sunday best, unless you don't mind a little mud!
  • If you can, don't take boys who complain that flowers are for girls the entire time you are there!  

These red tulips were beyond stunning up close and in person, the perfect blooms didn't look real, so vibrant and full of energy! They screamed "come run through me!" very mischievous they were.


I love the captured reflection in the rain ditch.

If you ever get out to Washington state in April, this really is a must do. However if you can't make it, here are some more bloggers who posted their spectacular tulip festival blooms.... 

North West Photos: April is the month for Tulip Festivals  Great pics!
My Secret Garden: Stunning Tulips of Skagit Valley WA  4 part series...beautiful!

Also check out these helpful links: 
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Bloom Map and website for more details..
Some great reviews on yelp: Yelp reviews on Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Washington State Tulip Festival Location and Directions

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday...Coveted springtime blooms

I'm sure we all have one, our favorite springtime bloom that we look forward to all year. Without a doubt mine is the Magnolia bloom....I can not get enough! (I'm sure you can tell from my latest post obsession hehe)
What's your most coveted springtime bloom?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day...

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is a Meme I have always enjoyed, well reading others that is. I never seem to have any pics to post or anything in bloom, maybe the abundance of rain or just busy, I never seem to have my ducks in a row for a post. But as the weather has been nothing but divine this week in the Sunny Pacific Northwest, (YES Sunny!!) I have been trigger happy with my camera and I actually have things in bloom. The GBBD stars have aligned for me at last!!

So what is in bloom? Oh it was a fun hunt! Out front, the first round of tulips are in full bloom, these stunners are always the first and will fade out just as the next lot come in, they really are timed beautifully. My favorite ground cover "Periwinkle" is also starting to bud with its delicious little purple flower, this grows rather like a weed here, its everywhere, hardy and a fast grower! 

Another one of my faves out front is the miniature plumb tree, purely ornamental as it bears no fruit, the blooms are so tinny and delicate, a real treat after the blooms of the standard plumb have faded.

This gorgeous evergreen laurel has just sneaked into bloom day, I love the white spray of flowers. This year with the frost I was worried I lost this one, but its hardy and shows no signs of a rough winter frost...few!

Outback, my tulips under the plum are in full bloom, although I swear last year these ones were pink so I am curious if tulips change color? Only half made it this year as my slugs had a field day feasting on the shoots.

Grape Hyacinths are taking over in the most delightful way this year. I am hoping come next year it will have spread enough to come back as a wonderful garden edge, love these through out my rock wall too.

And of cause there is my Magnolia, I couldn't leave this out of bloom day. Especially when it has been the star of my garden this last week and has enjoyed performing for the camera on a regular basis. My fave spot to sit is under its branches, being snowed on by falling petals or intoxicated by its scent...ahhhh love it so much!! 

My "Bleeding Heart" which is now over 4ft tall is huge!! Last year I lost a Rhododendron shrub under it and it's only getting bigger, time to divide. Its just coming into bloom now and is looking particularly happy this year. This one grows on my East fence and is mainly in shade with well drained feet as its on top of a rock wall. It loves these conditions!!

I am sure there are more things coming into bloom as I type, the Lilacs are not to far off as well as the Cherry tree, Peonies, Roses, more tulips, daisies, Azaleas and so much more. I can't wait to post my May GBBD. I sure do love this time of year!!!

What's blooming in your garden? Be sure to link or leave a comment if you are doing this Meme too as I'd love to stop by for a visit and poke around your blooms.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday...Magnolia tree love

For a fleeting moment every Springtime I enjoy its scent-full blushing blooms....


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Help Polka Dot Galoshes raise money for Autism!

I know, a garden blog what's that got to do with Autism? April is the month for Autism Awareness and this is my way of shining some light and raising some funds for a disorder that hits close to home. Its amazing how many families it really does effect, if not personally you may know someone who's life has been turned upside down by it.
For me its my little gardening buddy, nature lover and bird sweet son Harry!

Some might say our life was turned up side down on 17th July 2009 when my then 7yr old son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. But really our life with Harry had always been upside down, we had know since he was 18mths old that something was going on with our little guy, I think the headbutting of walls and the non-verbal till he was 5 was a huge red flag, things no parent wants to see their child go through. After years of frustrations and many dead-ends as to how to help our son we were honestly re-leaved to finally have an answer.

I now want to do my part, by helping give back, so I thought I'll try using my blog. Its my first time doing anything like this, so its a see what happens and hope for the best type of thing! By raising funds and awareness I am hoping more families can be helped with accessible services and early interventions...therapies help and my son is real proof of that.

Please help me raise money for Autism Speaks by...

  • posting a link to my blog
  • copying my badge to your blog 
  • following my blog, facebook or twitter 
and I'll donate $1 for each one...thank you so much for any support!!
Cheers Harry & Julia xx

Harry my little artist! - The amazing therapy center that is changing our little guys life!

Some facts about Autism you may find interesting...
  • It now effects 1 in 88
  • In the state of Washington (where we live) Autism is not a recognized medical condition with insurance companies and is highly capped under Mental Health...we pay over $1000 a month on therapies, out of pocket...ouch! But worth every cent =)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Success....I have my first sprouts!!

So I've crawled out of my sick bed for this post...But I was just to excited to wait!
I am now the proud parent to broccoli and brussel sprout shoots! Oh my I am so relieved and completely shocked that I did it. My new little babes seem to be thriving in their re-purposed egg containers...woo hoo success! 

....Although I am knocking on wood while saying this. They still need a few more weeks of babying before I can transplant them to the bed. That reminds me, I better get working on that bed so they have somewhere to grow, if only this weather would cooperate a little better. Well I guess, I'm not a galoshes wearing gardener for nothing, thank you Seattle Spring rain!

My Sprouts are now about 2 days old. I was actually sick in bed with stomach flu when they sprouted so I missed the actual day. They're measuring around 1-2in tall and are looking great, I just hope they are not leggy? Not sure when you know or what you can do about it, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that.


  • I'll be sowing more broccoli this week so that I will have a staggered harvest season and my celery will be due to shoot any day now. Tomatoes should be next week...Happy seeding everyone!!

What has started sprouting with your seeds this week? Are you just starting or are yours already for transplanting? Would love to hear what stage you are at with seeding and any tips on legginess would be great....thanks!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Free and repurposed...seeding containers

Who doesn't love free! I am loving this seeding journey and I am loving it all the more for being so cheap!
After researching different styles of seeding trays, pods, puck's, mixes, fancy do-dads and everything in between.  
I decided to raid my own recycling bin for my solutions. Here's what I found...


Single piece, doubled over and folded down, wrap around a can from the pantry, fold the bottoms over, take can out and voila...a paper seeding pot. tip-I liked the tomato paste size tin for small results.

Egg containers 

These organic egg containers from Costco are brilliant! They hold 32 eggs = 32 starts...yay! These are particularly good as they act like a mini greenhouse, you should see the condensation these create. Tip - poke holes in the bottom with a skewer, very thin plastic but durable!

Apple slice containers

These were another Costco re-use, love the big bulk sizes! This container is awesome for the longer grow time seeds, like tomatoes. I have 4 growing in each little green house and they should be happy in there until its time transplant to the garden. Tip - I poked this with a number of holes but cracked the base, so I lined it with paper towel.

Yogurt containers

Oh I LOVE these yogurt containers! These are the new Greek yoplait yogurts with granola mix and look, look at that wonderful lid, its like they specifically designed these for use as little green houses afterwards...thanks yoplait! I love these also for tomatoes and have started some herbs in them too. Tip - the base is con-caved so make sure you poke holes in the lowest points for best drainage.

I washed all the plastic in a hot water/vinegar solution and let air dry
I then poked holes in the bottom of all compartments for drainage
And then filled 2/3 with sterile seeding mix...Done!

Seeding Trays

I placed all these containers on old cookie trays and in cake tins, that really had seen better days...presto, new Free drip trays. Tip - Hit the thrift-store for cheap bake-ware, I picked up some extras for 50c..bargain! The perfect size for two egg it!

What are some of your favorite re-purposed seeding containers or ways of keeping the cost down?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

Earth Hour 2012 - Dare the World to Save the Planet and this year for the first time I am not being reminded of it the day after and missing it all together! 

click pic for link
What is it all about....
Switch off your lights for 1hr on Saturday 31 March at 8:30pm (Yes people that is TONIGHT!) to be part of the world's largest voluntary action for the environment, sounds pretty great!
Earth Hours Mission is to send a universal message of hope and action to protect the one thing that unites us all – the planet. Together our actions add up.
Share the positive action you will take for the planet beyond the hour. Most people go a few days without power or use less water, which are all great things to do, but I have an autistic child to think about too and that would just spin him out.
  • My on going pledge for the month of April is to...Buy nothing new! (except for groceries/hygiene needs) I have a passion for salvage and keeping usable items out of landfills. Anything we need, things I would normally go buy new, we will be re-purposing and salvaging, also thrift-store finds, hand-me-downs or borrowed! Time to get creative!!

    Are you participating this year? What are you going with-out?
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