Castle Gardens


The Cottage Garden in front of my real “castle,” August 2015.

Welcome to the gardens! Walk around, smell the roses, pick a dahlia, nibble some lettuce…enjoy!

If you’ve read any of my writing at all, you’ve probably figured out that I love gardens. Even the titles are clues! Gardens of the Soul. Gaela’s Gardens. Seacliffe has a courtyard garden, and a community garden figures largely in Love Circle, which will come out this year.

Mar 1, 2017

It’s been an interesting spring. The local annual show of a mammoth magnolia that usually lights up the town in March was in full bloom on Feb 25 or so and covered with crunchy brown blossoms two days later from a freeze. And today we had massive thunderstorms and a tornado watch. Guess March decided to be lion-like after all.

There are a dozen, but you can barely see the green ones, and wouldn’t be able to see the red ones at all, nestled in their oak leaf blankets.

My lettuce, from seeds saved last summer and which I started in egg cartons under indoor lights, has been out for over a week now. I just watch, and cover them with a blanket when the nights get cold. I expect to start harvesting leaves for salads or sandwiches in another couple of weeks. The greens under glass in the earlier post are up, and so are the spinach outside. No onions or root crops poking up yet.

Feb 20, 2017

Daffodils all in bloom, forsythia beginning…we never really had winter here this year. I’m fearful of a late frost at this point. But today I tilled a 2′ by 20′ bed (in about 3 minutes with my beloved Mantis tiller*)  and planted spinach and (a new experiment) seed onions. Instead of scattering the seeds throughout the bed, I put them all at in one spot, and after they’re up and I see what I have, I’ll transplant them throughout the bed. This picture doesn’t look like much, but the left half is seeded with onions and the right half is seeded with spinach.

*To read more about Mantis and what I think of it, click this link.


Feb 13, 2017

Here is my “screenhouse,” which is made of 3 cattle panels bent over and fastened to very deep posts with zip ties. It is covered with a roll of metal window screening, “sewed” together with the wire the roll came in. I made ends of pieces of clear corrugated plastic, and the doors are merely hung pieces of screen. The other day I put that bale of old hay and a pile of old feed sacks that had served for two years covering a piece of ground between tomato plants, against the outside of the north side of the screenhouse.

Then I went inside and propped pieces of greenhouse glass left over from a friend’s greenhouse. You can see I have left room for ventilation. Should it get too cold, I’ll throw an insulating blanket over the whole thing. Under them I’ve planted cool weather seeds like lettuce, beets, turnips, and brassica. My plan is that by the time they don’t need protection it might be warm enough under there to start warm weather things like tomatoes and peppers. We’ll see!