Gangsta Butterfly

Rain of any kind in SoCal is something to be grateful for because for a brief moment, we can enjoy green and lush hills and gardens.

Now that we’re back to sunshiny blue skies again, I took pics of the lawn ‘cos it’ll never look this velvety smooth again.

img_6649

Even though I have the flu or some version of it in spite of a flu shot, no way would I miss spending an entire day working in the garden. Dirty hands, twigs in my hair, muddy shoes. HEAVENLY.

img_6648-1

But I wasn’t alone.

This happy gangsta butterfly not only followed me everywhere I was, but sat on my head for a few marvelous seconds, too! It’s too bad I couldn’t snap a pic but it was impossible, so you’ll have to trust me. Fluttering and flapping wings all around my face and head. And listen to the birds! So much joy.

Was there a message or a lesson the butterfly was attempting to convey? Or maybe just a shared joie de vivre?

We can coexist in peace, my friendly Mourning Cloak butterfly.

img_6659

Yes, s/he was upside down or maybe I was upside down? It’s all in your perspective. Totally LOVING the apple blossoms.

img_6658img_6652img_6654

Knowing that our rains are brief, all the plants put their best foot forward. The rosemary is a riot of blue flowers and bees.

img_6656-1

Bees, so many bees!

 

Happy all planets direct and Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse tonight!

 

Advertisements

7 Ways to Use Lovely Lemony Lemon Balm

The epic rains that soaked SoCal this year gave birth to a springtime of lush floral beauty and emerald lawns, something I don’t think I’ve experienced in the thirty-two years I’ve lived at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Before that, I lived in the area and there were definitely some heavy rains, but I didn’t notice nor did I appreciate the luxuriant plant life like I do now.

Flowers that previously lay dormant for seasons now burst forth in riotous color and perfume, like the lovely freesias, stock, Jupiter’s Beard, and borage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Most exciting for me is the herb garden.

lemonbalm2

Just look at the abundance of this patch of lemon balm. Planted directly under a bedroom window, the lemony fragrance wafts up and in with even the slightest breeze.

Ahhhh.

Heavenly!

Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits and to enhance memory. Some of its healing properties were spiritual in nature. This herb was used in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. It was believed that a lemon balm bag put under the pillow could help promote sleep and put in the bath would promote relaxation. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Easy to grow Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).  help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

Lemon Balm is useful for nursing mothers that want to reduce overproduction of breast milk or when in the process of weaning and drying up milk supply. DIL added it to her sage tea when she weaned Angel Boy 2.0 and it worked!

lemonbalm1

Add it to any dish that might benefit from a little lemony flavor, including cookies. I’m going to experiment on a vegan Lemon Balm & Lavender cookie, and will let you know how it turns out.

Seven Ways to Use Lemon Balm

1. Chop a couple tablespoons of lemon balm and add to your favorite salsa.
2. Chop together with cilantro in guacamole.
3. Lemon balm salad dressing is yummy and so easy! Combine your favorite oil with white balsamic or champagne vinegar, 2 TBS chopped lemon balm, pepper, Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk!
4. Pour hot water over lemon balm leaves. Let steep and enjoy!
5. I add a few sprigs to a pitcher of water with ice cubes and sliced lemon.
6. Lemon Balm Pesto:
2  cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts (or both)
2  cups fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon balm
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t add if vegan)
2  TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In food processor, add all ingredients except oil and pulse. Pour oil in steady but thin stream while pulsing until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with dried red peppers if you like it spicy.

If you Google it, there are loads of DIY recipes on the internet and Pinterest using lemon balm, but I chose this one to share with you ‘cos it’s cool and seems fairly easy:

7. Lemon Balm Extract
Combine your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond oil or sunflower or grapeseed with chopped lemon balm leaves in a small jar. Make sure the leaves are submerged in the oil.Cover and place in a sunny spot for two weeks, turning/shaking every so often while still making sure the leaves are submerged. Strain out the leaves and the oil is now ready to use.

**While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm might inhibit thyroid function. If you’re on thyroid medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using internally. As always, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions, talk with your doctor.“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14759065

 

Plant Motherly Milkweed for Monarch Butterfly LOVE

The motherly milkweed provides sustenance to the Monarch butterfly and is crucial to sustain the species.

milkweed1

Everyone who loves butterflies should plant milkweed and since NObody doesn’t love butterflies, there should be enough milkweed planted to sustain the entire cosmos.milkweed7To clarify, I’m not referring to the plural of one my fave cocktails, but the cosmos of our universe.milkweed2

According to Monarch Joint Venture…

Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. With shifting land management practices, we have lost much milkweed from the landscape.

Please plant milkweed to support monarch populations, and their incredible migration!

Planting milkweed is a great way to help other pollinators too, as they provide valuable nectar resources to a diverse suite of bees and butterflies.

For a brief how-to flyer on planting and gardening, download MJV’s Gardening for Monarchs or the Wild Ones “Wild for Monarchs” brochure.

As soon as I put the plant in the ground, it became inundated with all the Monarchs in my little part of the world.milkweed6

I planted it FAR away from the vegetable garden so the hungry little caterpillars wouldn’t decide to vary their diet and eat all my veggies.

Reminder! Don’t use pesticides or herbicides. milkweed3Click here for free butterfly garden and milkweed seeds:
https://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm
milkweed5

More information at Bring Back the Monarchs
http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed6

Californians can help save the monarch butterfly by restoring habitats where they can thrive. Take action now: Tell lawmakers to vote “YES” on AB 559 to restore monarch butterfly habitats. http://ecovote.org/SaveTheMonarch >>

PlantPlay Nursery in Carlsbad. A Gardening Oasis.

#things to do in Carlsbad #Carlsbad #gardening

In my not-so-little town of Carlsbad, nestled between all the destruction from too many years of overbuilding, you can still find beauty if you look for it.

plantplaysign

If you live anywhere near San Diego, you really need to drive up the coast and experience this most unique and beautiful garden shop.

PlantPlay Nursery at 4915 El Camino Real in Carlsbad is tucked away in a corner near Kelly Drive, south of Tamarack Avenue.

If you remember the old Country Store with the chicken on top of the building, you know exactly where it is.

Walking into PlantPlay is like entering into a secret garden  —  winding pathways, thousands of unusual plants, garden decor, the sweet melodious harmonies of strategically placed water features — birds chirping, and chickens (yes, chickens!)

It’s also chock full of drought tolerant plants and exotic specimens.

Owners Mike and Sergio know EVERYTHING about plants and planting.

This is Mike.

PlantPlay1Here’s Sergio and his baby girl.plantplaysergioLook at this sweet face!Plantplay2 plantplay4This chicken is so soft and feathery.
plantplay5The prettiest chicken I’ve ever seen!
FYI, the chickens are PETS, ‘cos Mike and Sergio LOVE animals.

plantplay6 Dutchman’s Pipe, strange but beautiful!plantplayweirdplant plantplayweirdplant2A rose, of course.plantplay7rose This camellia is as fragrant as it is pure and velvety white.plantplaycamellia

plantplay8plantplay9plantplay10plantplaysucculentOld wagon on the hill. There’s not much left of the charm of old Carlsbad, so this is an especially poignant reminder.plantplaywagonWhen you visit Sergio and Mike at PlantPlay Nursery, tell them Princess Rosebud says hello!

 

Pretty In Pink

Elephants, wolves, coyotes; helping to raise awareness and rid the world of animal cruelty is a depressing mission, that’s for sure.

It makes me appreciate even more the beauty in a flower, especially flowers in every shade of pink.

Begonias
pink flowerMandevilla — I call it a “Hello Kitty” pink.
pinkflower1

I can’t wait ’til it completely covers the arbor in pink blooms.

pinkflowerFuschia
When my son was little, we lived in Hillcrest, an older part of San Diego. The next door neighbors were in their late seventies and fell in love with our little guy, the grandchild they never had. They were both amazing gardeners and taught me how to propagate and grow fuschias and I’ve loved them ever since. It’s so easy to cut off a small piece of new (or old) growth and simply stick it in a pot —  and wait. It might take a while, but they all root and eventually grow into these beauties. Hummingbirds LOVE them, too.
They grow well here in So Cal if they have lots of water; fuschias are very thirsty!

fuschia2
fuschia3

Enjoy your Sunday; keep cool and hydrate!

fuschia

Recycled, Repurposed, Reborn, and Reformed

It’s not always about Chanel.

Yes it is — well,  I say yes, our bank account says no.

Whatev.

Moving on.

As much as I loves me some designer fashion — especially Chanel —  I really don’t like to throw anything away ‘cos I think I’ll always find a use for everything if I save it long enough.

No need to toss out those nasty old cracked and faded Crocs,
merely fill with a little soil and some succulents!
Voila!

crocs

Crack a wineglass when you partied too much???
Fill with a little soil and more succulents.
Just don’t try and drink out of it again…

wineglassplanter

Chipped a dish?
Once again, fill with rocks and soil — and more succulents!
These need a little water; looking kinda sad…

dishgarden

Yeah, I break a lot of things.
More broken coffee cups, more succulents.
This is the desert, after all.
And yes, that’s a broken tile, too!

coffeecups

Repurposed fruit basket stand.
I painted it black ‘cos it was all rusty, lined the baskets with black plastic, filled with soil and planted begonias on the bottom and fuchsias on top.
Did you notice that the basin beneath it is not very 
photogenic?
It will have to go.
I found the Trix rabbit whilst digging. No one knows where it came from!
No, I’m not from the UK, but sometimes “whilst” is a great word.

fruitplant

Tell me about anything you’ve recycled, repurposed, reborn, or reformed.

I said TWINE not WINE

I came late in life to the Facebook party – I’m a FB menopause baby — and it really proved itself as a forum for support and compassion when I was faced with a dilemma. They talked me down off that ledge of compulsive behavior.

A Princess Rosebud Confession
I’m slightly OCD  —  I emphasize slightly because it’s not something that cripples my daily life, and I mostly kind of love and embrace all my little idiosyncrasies.  I think it’s kinda cute to be SUH-LIGHTLEE crazy. It’s what makes me ME. It might be a bit tough to be married to ME, but my tugboat man is pretty cool with it.

We OCD-ers are the ones who love a clean house, am I right? We can’t ALL be slobs, if ya know what I mean…

Hold on a sec, I’ll be right back, I see a picture on the wall that’s off just a skosh, I gotta go straighten it out. ………………………………………OK I’m back. Whew. All better.

See, it comes in handy to be slightly OCD, who needs a level when I’m around? Right? I can eyeball a shelf, a pic, anything slightly askew – I have a built-in level in my brain.

Don’t get grossed out —  but a few days ago I was sitting on the….ahem…toilet. Right across from me there’s a floor shelf unit with towels, my hair dryer, iron, straightener — and a ton of seashells. I had lovingly arranged each one in a specific location. I noticed a shell/rock combo shifted and was facing in a less than feng shui direction.

It bothered me enough that I stopped what I was doing — ahem — got up, shuffled over, YES, pants around my ankles, moved them a smidgen, and sat back down. I had a bit of a convo with myself about it — should I get up, should I wait ’til I’m done, does it really bother me, and I remembered what my very patient and tolerant hubs always says to me in similar situations, “Is it something you can live with?” and I told myself, “No, I need to fix it, because that’s what will make me happy” so I did and then I chortled to myself thinking about what my tugboat man would say when I shared the story.

So…a couple days ago my OCD manifested itself again when I shopped for twine. That’s right,  I said twine, not wine.

TwineI needed twine for the snowpeas in my garden.
Plain old useful-for-a-zillion things twine.

I went to True Value Hardware and bought a ball of twine for $2.99, did a few more errands, bought a scarf at Marshalls, and stopped at the dollar store. They had twine for ONE DOLLAR. Uh oh. I drove home with all kinds of thoughts fomenting and swirling around in my crazy head. Should I take back the twine I bought from True Value? Those stores are on opposite sides of my city, not a great distance, but more than a hop, skip, and a jump. I got the brill idea to put the power of social media to work and pose the question to my FB family:facebookpage

I got tons of much needed help, but the consensus wasn’t clear. 50% voted for a return, 50% said don’t sweat it, remember the dollar store for the next time — and I’m sure quite a few were shaking their heads, thinking they were really glad they weren’t married to me and wouldn’t have to deal with this on a regular basis, am I right, y’all?. Ha Ha!  The family joke is that I’ll waste five dollars in gas to return a fifty cent item, and that is absolutely true. On the other hand — designer handbags… need I say more?

After my BootCamp class yesterday, I returned to the dollar store and did a twine by twine comparison. Yes, the dollar store offering was only $1 but it contained HALF as much twine as the $2.99 option from True Value  — 120 feet versus 230 feet

So… I did my due diligence and felt comfortable with the original purchase and hadn’t wasted any money. I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and opinions. Social media rocks!

It was a definite burr under my saddle for a while. Prolly should have just bought a bottle of WINE and saved myself and everyone else a whole lotta stress!

sweetpeasAnd finally, here’s the twine helping my darling little pea plants grow straight and tall!

Are you in the OCD club with me?

Are you special, too?

A wintry day in Southern California

It’s a cold and rainy Saturday. I’m baking an apple pie and my captain is making yet another shelf for more seashells. Good times, y’all.

We don’t have snow on the ground, but some trees do lose their leaves and change color, like this fruit-bearing mulberry.

yellow leaves on treeI snapped a pic of a super active yellow finch in our artichoke plant.

yellow finch in artichoke plantTake the steps up to the second level

steps to the second leveland more steps to the highest point of our yard planted in California natives-sages, buckwheat, sumac, and cactus.

up to the third level

A view to the east of Calavera with Mt. Laguna further in the distance.

view of calavera and laguna

Check out our lawn and house from the hill. It’s a work-in-progress.

looking down from the hillI hope everyone is enjoying the last Saturday before 2013!