Summer is here

I know this, because I have switched on a dime, from planting to weeding and mulching. Lots and lots of mulch is CPR for plants. It is how some of those Xeric (native, tough, pronounced zir’ik) plants survive months with almost no water. It is also how to tackle troublesome weeds, such as thistle and too much hollyhock.

Hollyhocks with mulch surrounding

The surface area of this weed spot was about the size of three ping pong tables. After pulling up and cutting off thistle and half of the hollyhock, I placed cardboard on the bare ground. On top of this, I placed a layer of leaves, and then lots of straw. Finally, old pieces of wood were put on top of this dry lasagna, to keep it from blowing away! If it sounds like a lot of work, it is.

My gardening buddy (husband) Felix, is equally nuts about spending four free days engaged in this sort of garden project foolishness, even when one of those days is Father’s Day, and we could have chosen to drive to the mountains and walk along a creek! Credit is due. I did think of this nice idea at the end of the fourth day.

Why are these projects so consuming? And when they are completed (for now), why so satisfying? Why? The answer is in two parts. I enjoy work more than play, and I like to see things look aesthetically pleasing. At one point in time the Fence Line you see below was nothing but weeds. Today it looks like this:

Fence Line at AVA Community Art Center

Art work is different than gardening. Usually, in creating art, one does actually finish and move on to another project. Art quilts probably won’t get hailed on, or eaten by deer, or produce poorly because of unhappy pollinators. I share my newest Wyoming commission piece, which was very fun to do, and involved no wind and no kneeling in the dirt.

Brad and Pickles
Pale Floral Sky

For Brad and Pickles, I embraced using many plaid fabrics. I associate plaid with western states, homesteaders, and women making quilts for cold winter nights. I altered these fabrics by using small amounts of paint. I created pattern on some of the solid fabrics by adding lines with markers. I added a sprinkling of polka dots, in part because this piece shares a waiting room with MaryKat and Wynnie, which has a lot of dots. I loved using a pale floral print for the sky.

In my February blog post, Keep Going, I talk about the creation of MaryKat and Wynnie.

Two Commissions

Warm days require salads. This one is fast and delicious. Summer delight: I use assorted greens, such as lettuce, purple cabbage, baby beet tops, and alfalfa sprouts. Add sesame oil and toss. Then add garlic powder, salt, finely diced fresh ginger, and chopped cilantro (if you like it). Last add apple cider vinegar and toss well. Serve into bowls and top with snow peas, roasted cashews or almonds, and dried cranberries.

Here are eight other salads and the dates of the blog posts where you’ll find them: Tabouli– Aug. 2017, Pea and Cheese-Sept. 2018, Cottage Cheese-April 2019, Excellent-July 2019, Green Bean-Aug. 2019, Purple-Dec. 2019, Leap Year-Feb. 2020, ChickenTrio/Sprouts Trio-April 2020

4 Responses to Summer is here

Patty Hawkins

Fun blog
WAY SUCH FUN sharing RETREAT with you!
That was an exceptional day/gift to self!
No sidebar interruptions
And got something started with mask scraps????your HOT SPOTS such a brilliant Double entre’. Your blogs are so welcoming, fun , awesome art/great recipes!
Know what to do with my cardboard now????

Christy Gerrits

Beautiful work, Joan, both with your artwork and your gardening. You are amazing!

Karin Ebertz

I love your blogs! There’s something so satisfying about adequatelyweeding and mulching a bed. Just the other day, I had a moment of epiphany when I realized all the dry pine needles under our trees make a perfectly good mulch for strawberries and tomatoes! I’ll try that salad recipe soon before my greens bounty goes bitter.


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