Thursday, March 31

An Interview with Ernest Callenbach, author of "Ecotopia"

Tuesday, March 29

Planting Trees Properly

Your trees will survive and thrive if you take care to plant them well. Here's a website with some good information on how to plant trees and shrubs. You have to click around to see the entire instruction for different plants (bare root, balled and burlapped, container grown, etc.) One mistake made by many inexperienced gardeners is to plant their young tree too deep. Make sure you plant the tree at the same depth it was growing and not an inch deeper!

B&B tree planting

Monday, March 28

Companions in the Garden - it's Spring!

Thinking about planting the garden, and what likes to grow next to what ... companions ... maybe because I'm a little blue on this cold March day, and a little lonely, my mind wanders to companion plants. My houseplants are my companions. Sam and Baggins are my companions. Tim is too, but he's not here at the moment. Sam is snoring. Baggins is out stalking insects or defending the alley against intruder cats. So many family and friends live in places where they are already enjoying the warmth of real spring while we are still in the thick of winter here. Oh well, so I plan and plot and scheme how to grow the garden even better this year in the short growing season we do have.

Cabin fever; plant and seed catalog fever; garden design fever.
These are from our garden last summer:

Oregano, Echinacea, Daylilies, Sedum & Ajuga Sedum Vera Jameson, Blue Haze Euphorbia & Calendula Ornamental Cabbage, French Green Beans and Daylilies

Here is a useful chart for companion plants,from the Montreal Botanical Garden.

Robyn Parry designed this Permaculture Companion Planting (left) for her No Dig Garden

Please check out her website - it's full of interesting and personal information on permaculture and sustainable gardening.

Sunday, March 27


Robert Rahway Zakanitch's "Aggressive Goodness Series" -- it's a series of paintings that look like sketchbook pages, I really like the way he does quick studies on plain paper (left side of each painting) contrasted with the black background of the "completed paintings" on the right sides. Here's one I particularly like -- an oil painting on canvas titled, " boston terrier."

This graphite drawing was probably the study for the "boston terrier" oil painting. I like the drawing better than the painting -- it has more spontaneity.

Thursday, March 24

Wow! This mathematical drawing tool -- complexification --is amazing! Check out the whole Gallery of Computation. Most of the Living Works have several applets you can click to get a randomly/mathematically/algorithmically generated -- beautiful! -- drawing/graph/art piece.

I really like this one, called Substrate, because of it's complexity and it's similarity to growth patterns of cities. Beautiful! Jared Tarbell, the programmer and web author, writes about this city-like pattern:

The simple rule, the complex results, the enormous potential for modification; this has got to be one of my all time favorite self-discovered algorithms. Lines likes crystals grow on a computational substrate. A simple perpendicular growth rule creates intricate city-like structures.
This website will take some exploring.

Saturday, March 12

Last night the sky was clear as a bell, stars everywhere and warmish too! Sat around the fire til about 10 pm and went to bed thinking, yup tomorrow's gonna be another warm winter day... hah! We woke up at sunrise to find at least 5 inches -- more like 6 or 7 of snow had fallen! And it's still snowing. Yay! Montana needs this moisture so bad.

We had another fire, thankful for the snow and for
our group's safe return from Wirikuta. We can do this now
in our back yard because even though the weather
service is predicting a record wildfire summer, it hasn't
totally dried up yet.

New Snow & Fire at sunrise March 12
gotta love those flipflops!
I stayed in my pj's, but my feet are always warm!

Tim March 12 at our sunrise fire
A bit nippy at sunrise ... tim's
warming his hands at the fire.

We pray Montana doesn't have another one of those
terrible wildfire summers this year.

Wednesday, March 9

Old Sam, looking dignified -- or annoyed

Sam was a bit annoyed with me for making him pose ... he's showing his 16 years. All that gray! And those awesome jowls! He can only hear a fraction of what he used to and his eyesight isn't so good anymore. Sometimes it's hard to wake him up -- he looks like he really loves those dreamtime adventures: running, barking, woofing, chasing .... he snores like an old pickup truck goin uphill but we're used to it now. Sam definitely loves life, in spite of all those things we might consider "problems of old age."

He is happy to be here each day.

My buddy.

Sunday, March 6

take this garden with you when you move


For renters wanting a pleasant outdoor space: here's a concrete bench that's easy and inexpensive to build, and you can dismantle it to take it with you when you move. Thanks for Budget Living for this link. They also have directions for making the stepping stones and a small, portable deck.
Garden to Go

Concrete bench from Budget LIving

Food as Art ... Art as Food

Food as Art ... Art as Food ... a meditation on beauty and how we become who we are ... deliciously beautiful.

Salad Mandala from Aranya

It's from Aranya's interesting Permaculture website.

Here is a photo gallery of edible flowers. And the second half of that gallery.

Another edible flower salad, this time with daylilies
from the blog, suburblicious. Here's another daylily treat blue cheese stuffed daylilies.
I like this French-language potager page. Here is the same page in English.

Saturday, March 5

Talking about what makes a small garden design work -- or not

Sketch Entry Garden

Over at the
Garden Web Landscape Design Forum, we've been discussing a simple design for an entry garden .... as a way to understand at least part of the process of design. Homeowners/gardeners and professionals who make their living doing landscape design have been contributing. Here's an interesting thread.

After getting some comments from others about the design, I made a couple of minor changes and came up with this: Alternative Entry Garden Plan

In this option, the small 1/4-circle patio has been slightly enlarged and the opening from the driveway onto the walkway and patio has also been widened. Ideally, the concrete "sidewalk" and porch could be removed and/or paved with the same paving as the patio, to make it more continuous.

The bench and garden chairs are moveable and can be placed anywhere. If you are moving something large (like a baby grand) out of the house, you can always move the chairs.

Decorative low-voltage landscape lights strategically placed can create the "open arms" and "welcome entry" feeling without sacrificing privacy. One of these could be an uplight nestled into the shrubbery, aimed either at the Japanese Maple or at the boulder (or both). Lighting is very helpful to indicate where visitors should approach the site.

One other slight change from the original concept is to create a "break" in the plant bed for easy access onto the front lawn (whatever else is out there ...) In this case, I would suggest a mixed shrub/perennial/grasses border as shown, along the driveway. This can continue down the driveway as far as you want.

Friday, March 4

Clean Your Computer Screen for Free

This is so cool - here's a message from this little website:

On the computer for more than 2 hours a day? At the end of the day, your eyes sting, you can't see straight? It's the fault of the screen. It's dirty -- on the inside. A quick and free visit to will wipe away this unpleasant phenomena. In 30 seconds, your screen will re-become transparent.

Wednesday, March 2

Vancouver Then and Now

This amazing panorama that changes in front of your eyes shows a huge difference between Vancouver in 1978 and in 2003 - this is the False Creek Area., but you can also browse around and find other views of Vancouver and see how those places have changed. If you can't get it to work, blame Bill Gates. I think it only works in Internet Explorer. Let me know if you get it to work in Mozilla or FireFox.

False Creek - Then and Now