Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happiness is an Herb Garden & a little Chardonnay

Just an update on my container garden. =)


It was sunny and 85 degrees here in Pittsburgh on Friday. So I was compelled to stop at Home Depot to pick up some plants for my garden. It is still April, so it's still a little early. But I think our growing season is getting longer. Plus if we get a chilly night, I can just cover them up or bring them inside.

I really wanted herbs. I really miss having fresh herbs at my fingertips during the cooler months. But unfortunately I can't seem to keep plants alive inside the house. When they are in the house, they feel like just another chore. But when they're outside, it's how I unwind after work; tending my garden.

Anyway! Herbs... I wanted herbs. They really didn't have many. They had tons of basil, but, and I know this will sound weird, I'm not a big basil fan. So I passed on it. They did have rosemary! Yay! I grabbed one of those. One is usually all I need. They had Greek oregano... yay! Grabbed one of those. They had 3 or 4 wicked scrawny cilantro plants. I LOVE cilantro. But I can't seem to grow enough of it. I can wipe out an entire plant in one meal. Since its in a container, its not really reseeding itself. I think I'll try again this year, but in one of my much larger pots with several plants. I also wanted some dill. They didn't have any. Although two years ago my dill reseeded itself in the crack next to the driveway. I didn't plant any last year, just used my crack dill.

I LOVE my crack plants!

Here are a few crack violas that have popped up this year. Nothing makes me smile like surprise blossoms!

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Ok... so Jon took Lil Pete out of the attic. Lil Pete is our palm tree. Lil Pete moved in about 7 or 8 years ago with Jon's friend Kevin.

I have to tell ya... Lil Pete is a survivor. He was small potted plant that easily fit on a shelf and moved in when Kevin moved in. When Kevin moved out, he left Lil Pete for Jon. Lil Pete was here when I moved in. He still fit on a shelf then. But he was growing. Once I started gardening next to the house, and Lil Pete had grown to a state where 'Lil' didn't really fit anymore, we put him out in the garden during the summer. He LOVED that... he loves the hot sunshine. He grew and grew. During the early years, my garden was a challenge. People stole plants and just plain vandalized them; throwing pots around, smashing, ripping them out. (just so you know... the police do NOTHING for this kind of activity!!) They did this regularly.

Here's a lil Lil Pete history.

I thought I had pictures of the assassination attempt on Lil Pete... but I can't find them. (you probably don't really want to see crime scene photos anyway!) A few years ago some @#$%&^% grabbed Pete by the trunk and just smashed him all over the driveway. It looked like he was done for... but while waiting to be disposed of, he continued to grow. So we repotted his main trunk, and put some of his offshoots into other pots... and they continued to thrive.

This is probably near the end of that summer.

Our house is very small... so we really didn't have room for so many palm trees in the house over the winter. One was adopted by my son's best friend's mother, Judit. She owns Judit European Day Spa If you scroll down, you will see part of Lil Pete in her reception area. If you are in need of spa services and in Pittsburgh, I HIGHLY recommend giving Judit a call. She and her mother Elizabet are wicked nice as is the rest of her staff! Whenever my mom is in town we always treat ourselves to some pampering.
Judit of Judit European Day Spa

Ok... sorry... I'm getting off track... so we gave Judit a piece of Lil Pete... and kept big Lil Pete... and one of the Lil Lil Petes. That was cool for a while... then late last winter I re-decorated my living room... and Lil Pete has very pokey leaves... and I didn't want him to put pulls in my new silk curtains, so sadly, I put big Lil Pete outside in February or March... Lil Pete does NOT like cold. He's tropical. So I felt bad... but hey, those curtains were expensive. So Lil Lil Pete stayed inside, and Big Lil Pete was put out in the cold. And he died. Or so I thought. I wanted to use his big pot for other gardening purposes. So I started to pry him out. And what did I find buried in the warmth of the soil? Yes!! A brand new little Lil Pete growing off of his trunk, under the dirt. He's still just a baby, but he's also still in the window in the attic. I'll post pics of him in my next garden update since this is getting pretty long and your eyes are probably getting glazed over, if you haven't already clicked away.

Anyway... Jon brought Lil Pete outside.

He was REALLY pot bound... so I put him back into the pot I pulled him out of when I killed him last winter. This is the palm formerly known as Lil Lil Pete... but now is Big Lil Pete.

NOT a happy camper.


Ahhhh.... doesn't he look like he feels better now?

And onto my other plants!

I keep my supplies in big plastic tubs... one is filled with potting soil... the other with supplies... manure, blood meal, bone meal, tools, some small pots.
I use them also use them to refresh the soil at the beginning of the season, by tossing last season's soil with good stuff. However I only had a little manure and a little bone meal left... so I need to go shopping!


First up... Grape Tomatoes.

I love these! I grew them last year and it was like having a snack bar next to the house.


They won't live back there... but I don't get enough sun next to my house yet. I'll move them in a month or so.

I do want to find some kind of inexpensive, very hot sun tolerant green plants to put back there for the summer.

Oregano & Rosemary. Ok... not much of an herb garden, but it will be.

Plus my chives from last year came back as always. They just needed all the dead stuff trimmed away.

I also planted some Petunias & Dahlias.

Sometimes I end up with crack petunias; which always makes my day! So I'm crossing my fingers for some later in the summer.

I love how sunny the dahlias look.

Plus a filled in my barrel with some more violas.

It was looking a little skimpy.

Now so you can see the progression throughout the summer.

Before clean up... empty pots lining the side of the house.

Spring cleaning.


I store more supplies under the table... mostly empty pots.

So that's my garden update!!

I promise the next update won't be so wordy... or long!


If you're still awake... here's a quick Chardonnay review too.

Name: Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay

Price: $7.99/4 pack

Year: 2008

PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine:
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay displays delicious fresh citrus, apple and ripe tropical fruit character, with hints of orange blossom and spice.

Very pale yellow.

Me ~ I made a squinchy face. This is the wine I usually cook with when I need dry white wine. It's the reason why I've always said I don't like wine. But I do LOVE to cook with this. I can't imagine steamed mussels or clams without it.

Jon ~ semlls like fruit juice - not as sour as other chardonnays

Whitney ~ mild not too dry - but drier than she likes

Jeff ~ very smooth - a little fruity

Would you buy again?: Definitely!

Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes: Steaming mussels or clams, poaching fish or chicken, in sauces & gravies.

Don't forget to check out the BakeSpace Wine Club!

Back to food tomorrow!!


girlichef said...

I love that you have so many plants started already...i think this is gonna be an "off" year for me (w/ the move, don't know what's already in the ground)...just a few herbs, tomatoes & peppers probably! Love your big Pete, lil Pete story :)

teresa said...

Hi! Your blog is great and I love the pictures. I live in PA too, aren't you loving the weather right now! Thanks for stopping by, it's going to be fun exploring your blog!

Bob said...

I want an herb garden so bad, I'm wicked jealous. Heh, that's one hell of a tree. If we got more sunlight in our apartment I would get one, but I have a hard enough time keeping ficus' alive.

I need to repot most of my plants. I'm not going to be able to do it for a while though, despite the 90 degree heat today it's supposed to get down to the 40's later this week.

Natashya said...

Are you able to fence your courtyard? I am mad at your plant vandals.
So nice to have plants out already, our safe planting date is May 24.

Culinary Alchemist said...

Awesome!!!! Your ahead of me... Still need pots for the citrus... LOL And the Tomato plants are on the way.. YAY!!!

noble pig said...

I love crack pplants too, it's like a little gift...of crack.

You have done well!

DDpie said...

Cracking up over the Big Pete, Lil Pete story! I had a "Pete", drug his ass out on the deck every spring/summer for vacation. Can't remember now how I actually killed him :( Now I want another one!

Reeni♥ said...

You make me want to run out and get my garden started!! I hear you when you say you can go through a whole plant at once-I never seem to have enough fresh herbs.

Danielle said...

I don't do well with potted plants. they dry out so fast here and I don't have to time to keep up with watering them every day. I'm stuck with my little dirt patch in the back where the dogs cant get to it (and do what dogs do best) which currently has stuff stored on it. I'll live vicariously through you :)

Tangled Noodle said...

I'm jealous - such warm weather you have already! We only managed to keep the mint and Thai basil alive indoors through the winter so I'm raring to go with some herb plantings this weekend. I've got crack plants, too! (That sounds so funny) It's cilantro that re-seeded on our walkway. Thanks for sharing your garden and a little bit of vino, too!