Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Can't stand them! I mean really, they are the bain of my life. I just get my cucumber and zucchini plants looking all green and lush and lovely, and am eagerly awaiting their bounty one day, and the next, they are literally smothered in aphids. Infested! I have never seen as many in one place as there are on the cucumbers. I am sure they are absolutely loving this never ending hot weather too. Great! I have done what I can for now with soapy water in a spray bottle, and removed as many of the most heavily infested leaves as I could without destroying the plants, and I will now just have to remain vigilant. They are certainly here to stay but I can probably control them enough to get a decent crop of squash and cucumbers, at least I hope so because they are smothered in flowers and are so ready to produce.

In other equally depressing news, our bath tub has been leaking for god knows how long underneath the tub. I dread to think what it is like under there, and can hardly bear to think of the upheaval removing the tub will cause, but it has to be done. Our bathroom is in a dreadful state actually and we are toying with getting it remodeled which will be pricey I am sure but has to be done eventually if we ever hope to sell this house. I have lots of dreamy green building ideas for sustainable counter tops and low flow faucets and yet I feel strangely exhausted by the whole thing. I don't know where all my energy and enthusiasm went but I would surely like to have it back!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Welcome Back!

I am very happy to see that I have a Rustic Sphinx Moth caterpillar or two on my orange bells again this fall. I had them a couple of years ago but didn't see them last year.

They are absolutely amazing to me these huge, green creatures that look like something from out of space. We certainly don't get anything quite like this in the UK where our caterpillars tend to be much smaller and less dramatic. They are very welcome to feast on my orange bells for as long as they desire.

Friday, September 17, 2010


My gardening style, (if I even have one which is highly unlikely), is to plant stuff that grows well in a dry climate that I like, and hope for the best. Sometimes things grow, sometimes they don't, and sometimes if I am really lucky things grow that I didn't even plant. I always view this as an unexpected bonus, especially as they are more often than not arid plants that do well in our dry environment because if they weren't they wouldn't have grown themselves here.

I have had two beautiful self seeded palms for several years now in the corner of my yard. I suspect they are date palms, although I know little about palm trees so I am certainly not sure. Anyway, they seeded themselves and have been growing slowly but surely for ages, and are really quite lovely. They require no care because they chose the perfect spot and anywhere else I would be ecstatic to have such lovely freebies growing so well.

My problem is that I like a wild and unruly look in my yard, and I think all the nature we get in our yard likes it too, but I think these palms just make everything look messy and overcrowded. In fact it all looks like a total mess to me.

What should I do? Should I just cut them down, (which would make me awfully sad), should I try to move them which may or may not be a success, or should I leave them where they are and see what happens? Anyone have any other ideas?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall is in the air, (in the early morning at least).

This morning I was outside early and it felt cool, yes actually COOL! This surely means that fall is on it's way. I like to think so at least.

My garden is mixed right now with the zucchini's and cucumbers thriving. The sage plant does not seem to have had a detrimental effect on the cukes yet.

The zucchinis clearly need thinning out. I always plant too many and then hate to thin out perfectly healthy plants but I will. There are lots of flowers too so soon I hope to get actual squash.

The swiss chard (which is usually effortless to grow), is really struggling to get established, as are the carrots and beets. I suspect that I planted them all too early because I was really pushing the limits of my desert planting schedule to get them in. I will resow again next week and hope for better.

In other news I have dropped my math class. It was a very difficult decision, and not one that didn't weigh on me heavily, but it felt like the right thing to do. I was not prepared for the sheer volume of work, and right now I simply don't have the time or the energy. Other things were suffering, and it simply wasn't fair for my family or for me. I am not giving up however and will try again in the spring and make sure that I am better prepared.

And finally here is Tex. Couldn't resist because he is just so darn cute! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hot Labor Day Holiday

The lovely cool down last weekend has been followed by a grim heat up here in the Phoenix area. It is predicted to be 111 today, and similar scorching temperatures over the Labor Day weekend.

I am sure it feels like fall is coming somewhere out there, but it certainly doesn't feel like that here yet. My weekend gardening plans may need to be put on the back burner.

Have a good holiday weekend everyone wherever you are, and whatever you are doing!