WELCOME SPRING

5000+ bloggers and spambots are now following Sarah Takes Pictures, this monument to garden minutiae, cats, and general photo sprees in fits and starts! That’s pretty crazy to me, so thank you all very much. Also, this is my 500th post!

These pictures are from a recent jaunt out to my folks’ on a day of much gardening.

IMG_8294
DREAMY FERN FOLIAGE

IMG_8282
TRICOLOR SEDUM

IMG_8281
BERGENIA FLOWERS AS SEEN BLURRILY LOOKING UP THROUGH BERGENIA LEAVES

IMG_8250
SOME LEFTOVER ONION PEEL FROM LAST YEAR GLOWING LIKE A GEM !!!

IMG_8247
I BOUGHT SOME THRIFT (ARMERIA) AND PLANTED IT NEAR WHERE THE ONIONS WERE LAST YEAR

IMG_8246
THE CRABAPPLE TREE WAS IN FULL BLOOM THIS WEEK

IMG_8240
FLOWERS LOST THEIR PETALS

IMG_8228
A CARPET O’ MOSS, FALLEN PETALS, AND WOOD CHIPS

IMG_8208
CHIVES ABOUT TO BLOOM

IMG_8289
FERN

IMG_8311
MOSS IN A GARDEN LOG AND A BIRD BATH

IMG_8302
BLURRED GRAPE HYACINTH THROUGH DAFFODIL LEAVES

IMG_8323
FALSE SOLOMON’S SEAL AT SUNSET

May is kicking my ass.

May Day

Since we last spoke, I’d say we’ve come as close to spring as we’ve ever been. No. I’m going to be bold. We’re not merely close to spring. It is spring. Right now. Gone, we hope, are the nights where we constantly fret as the overnight low hovers in the upper 30s and we wonder if we’ve made foolish landscaping decisions. Just today, I walked across town because I was delighted to discover that, in the couple of hours since I’d been outside, the blustery, cloudy day had actually become BALMY.

In celebration of this, I’m going to share some pictures I took on a day that is, officially or not, the King o’ Spring, May Day. As it happened, May Day 2014, in my neck of the world anyway, couldn’t have been much farther from spring if it tried. But I took these pictures at the greenhouse with my phone (where else, and on what other device?) and I’ve been sitting on them like a slow, lazy hen on so many cracked eggs. And wouldn’t you know, I found that even though it was gloomy out, these lovely flowers made it anything but, so it was actually quite a cheery May Day.

Also I’ve been busy blah blah whatever still not giving up picture project whatever blah but BY THE WAY, in a few weeks I’m going somewhere TERRIBLY INTERESTING AND WONDERFUL and I hope to share possibly THE MOST EXCITING PICTURES THIS BLOG HAS EVER, EVER SEEN. Crap, I just oversold it. Also, I might try to be “in the moment” or whatever and not take 12,000 pictures so maybe just disregard all that. But maybe don’t.

I haven’t looked at these pictures since I edited them and now I’m chuckling at how much I messed with the color. Oh, Me of a Week Ago! To be fair, though, this is totally how I see the world.

IMAG5747
African daisies!!! (Osteospermum spp.)

IMAG5748
My favorite osteo we carry, the one with the little spoon-petals. I think this cultivar is ‘Purple Spoon.’ (That would make sense, wouldn’t it?)

IMAG5750
I don’t remember what this is, because I’m a complete and utter monster.

IMAG5753
Some Gerbera daisies, three of which I later bought, and am just now remembering have been sitting in my porch for a couple days because I had to hide them from my cat the other night when I brought them in from the balcony (STILL TOO COLD, UGH, NOT HARDY ENOUGH YET, BUT MAYBE NOW)

IMAG5755
Geraniums. I don’t like geraniums that much. They’re fine. I guess. I get pretty offended when I touch one and there’s just a deluge of petals. I really enjoy how they smell, though. I’m not sure why.

IMAG5757
The biggest greenhouse at our greenhouse is not a very big greenhouse but it is pretty precious.

IMAG5759
Florist’s Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida). These really are true-blue, although it’s always interesting just how ZINGY a blue it renders on camera.

IMAG5704
Here’s a petunia that everyone is losing their minds over right now: ‘Cha Ching Cherry.’ Petunias are definitely at the bottom of my list of favorite annuals, but even I love this damn cultivar.

IMAG5706
Water beads so prettily on some leaves. Like day lilies. And lupines, as in the above picture!

IMAG5707
Some more lupine leaves for ya.

IMAG5714
This is kind of what things look like. This is back in the bulbs section with the irises and day lilies and Asiatic lilies and such.

IMAG5716
The herbs are also back in the corner where the above picture was taken, too, but you wouldn’t know it.

IMAG5719
One of our baby stonecrops, I think, held over from last year.

IMAG5720
A few of our coral bells taken from Tickseedville, population: me. (Actually, I don’t have any tickseed. I had one once, and it died.)

IMAG5724
Beautiful deep-colored foliage of the perennial geranium. Why don’t I have any?

IMAG5728
Coral bell flowers, unsure of the cultivar.

IMAG5729
Coral bell next to hosta.

IMAG5730
Holding raindrops hostage

IMAG5735
What a mighty gob o’ water.

IMAG5737
So many beautiful hens and chicks!

IMAG5738
I keep forgetting what this is but it’s hardy and I want it and I need it yesterday. The purple is so bright, the flowers seem to last a while, and I love the maroon foliage.

IMAG5740
Viola and Pansy Lane

IMAG5743

IMAG5732
The fine foliage of astilbe

IMAG5733
A forlorn, torn hosta leaf

IMAG5760
Closing up shop for the night. Either forlorn or cozy, depending on how you look at it. This is what we have to do the first few weeks the greenhouse is open. I was very happy to learn when I worked last night that we would only be covering two tables that night. Note in the background some faint color in the sky. This was the only non-gray sky we experienced for days and days, and it was right at the end of May Day. HOW SPECIAL.

The week that was. It was weak.

There’s just been too much going on between the jobs, and that’s why I’m doing this roundup many days after my last update. All of these pictures are phone pictures snapped somewhat on the fly around my folks’ or occasionally at work.

IMAG5602Fallen pine needles in the lane along my parents’ house

IMAG5590Trout lily
IMAG5674Sedum growing between pavers

IMAG5673Day lilies

IMAG5587Trout lilies

IMAG5666This was the last of about 30,000 onions I helped plant this week

IMAG5581Pretty succulent arrangement that my parents picked up at a local garden center (though not the one where I work, FOR SHAME)

IMAG5618Hens and chicks

IMAG5615Lady’s mantle

IMAG5589Trout lilies

IMAG5645Hot peppers I transplanted the other day

Phone Pic Picture Dump Extravaganza

“Extravaganza? There’s only 20 pictures here!”

“And they’re all cats! And plants!”

Wrong! There’s also chicken and sky.

So I basically had this post ready over a week ago. I had the images uploaded, the code dumped in here. All I needed to do was go back and do the admittedly difficult work of centering the pictures and adding captions. Everything on WordPress is wildly, crazily different since I was here last. You know what else happened? It became summer. It stopped raining, and it got hot out.

And it seems like I’m still getting new followers. Hi! Look at me! I’m actually updating since you followed me! There are over 2000 of you now, and I am confident that a good many of you are not spambots. (Wink?) Welcome aboard. I’m so happy to have you here. Please enjoy these pictures from my phone.

IMAG2469

After one of many rains, droplets bespeckle the strawberry netting.

IMAG2483

One of my benevolent employer’s many irises.

IMAG2508

Little Bad Cat (now named Blue by my benevolent employers, because of the grayish cast of some of his fur due to having fallen into a chimney) cuddles with Blackie in a box.

IMAG2521

A portentous-looking sky one afternoon while we were laying down the plastic rows.

IMAG2528

A delphinium that I now own.

IMAG2556

Tomatoes flowering in the greenhouse, where they are partly supported by this orange twine.

IMAG2559

The second greenhouse for tomatoes and cucumbers. Looks kinda Shinto, those supports, no? …No?

IMAG2562

This image just sums up quite aptly the whole planting season for me. Especially this one. Being sucked down into a vortex of mud.

IMAG2566

Tom chills.

IMAG2580

One of the first really nice days we had. Planting peppers.

IMAG2587

You just know they named this hot pepper that so they could advertise it as the variety that takes a bite out of you.

IMAG2623

Wild flax and a syrphid fly.

IMAG2661

NEW. KITTENS.

IMAG2667

Mom (Spot) with her two kittens, the first ones she’s had that have survived this long.

IMAG2677

This is a little picture of my plant addiction. (The ones in the box are at least perennials or veggies, so, you know, slightly more practical than just, hey, pretty flowers.)

IMAG2691

A new astilbe my mom brought home.

IMAG2695

Milkweed and creeping phlox.

IMAG2696

My peonies! They still aren’t open, but soon.

IMAG2699

We have really gutted this front garden. I ran out of room in the vegetable garden so I planted the onions up here where the barberries used to be.

IMAG2703

Some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Dad is testing out the new grill.

Meet some MVPs from my balcony container garden

My rickety balcony just got a little more rickety with the arrival of some new plants from the garden center and the farm. Getting it all tweaked now, and will post pictures of the shambling mess at some point, but for now, here are some of my favorites. Or…you know…the stuff that’s actually blooming right now.

IMG_3134 - Copy
Pansy in a Minnesota mug my mom gave me.

IMG_3142
Dahlberg daisy.

IMG_3101
Osteospermum ‘Margarita White Spoon.’ Can’t wait til this one starts to open more.

IMG_3146
Fivespot. SO. FUN.

IMG_3153
Strawflower

IMG_3097
Dianthus

July 25th pictures

Today I paid a little attention to the vegetable patch, which I could tell was becoming forlorn with longing and sadness. I had more to do but then I had to go inside because it was — wait for it — raining. In fact, it’s raining now. At last!

What I got out of the garden today. The green tomato fell down. THAT WASN’T THE DEAL, TOMATO PLANT. I harvested the carrot so little because I could.

Continue reading

All of these late pictures are from odd-numbered days because I hate them

I owe pictures from other days, all of which tend to blend together when you take pictures of the same kind of thing every day. I seem to remember setting a goal for myself to photograph something memorable each day. Were the zinnias that memorable on seventeen separate occasions? No. No, they were not. On the other hand, the idea of having a post devoted just to zinnias on a given day made more sense in light of another original goal: taking roughly 1 (one) picture each day. Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa. One. The upshot is, you have been and will continue to be bombarded with a ramshackle documentation of the same plants from bud to bloom to long, slow senescence.

Funnily enough, on July 15th, I only took one picture. And what a picture it was, too. That’s later in this entry.

July 13th pictures:

These are all from the shade garden and the regular garden next to it. (Oops, sorry to imply that you’re irregular, shade garden.)

An uncharacteristically pink echinacea

Continue reading

July 8th pictures: What to do with a three-pound zucchini, and scenes from the garden

The other day at the farm, they discovered a monstrously large zucchini (3.75 lbs if I remember) that had gotten looked over during previous harvests. They weren’t going to sell it, so I — given that I had just made some zucchini bread the other day, and had been relieved to get rid of that batch of zucchini, and was already kind of sick of zucchini bread — decided the wisest thing to do would be to take the nearly four pounds of zucchini. So this morning I made zucchini muffins. (I thought I’d really take a walk on the wild side after zucchini bread.) I also made this zucchini and corn recipe which is meant to serve as a low-sodium alternative to salsa or a low-fat one to guac. It’s not that I’m genuinely worried about finding replacements for those things (I’m probably more likely to actively search for delicious fatty and sodium-laden recipes than to actively avoid them); I just thought the recipe might be good. I’m eating it right now, as a matter of fact. The verdict is…I like it! I would just be more generous with the lime and cilantro.

After the photographic evidence of these dishes, I have a few pictures of the gardens as a whole. Not the isolated chunks I’m more inclined to parcel out to you as close-ups and macros. No, the gardens are looking quite spiffy these days, in my opinion, and I thought they warranted more context right now.

1. The muffins

Continue reading