Squirrel is rustling in the bushes behind me, while her babies squeak in the cedar hedge. Crow is on the roof eyeing the birdfeeder and her mate stands guard.

Puppy, my cat is mousing in the corner and has been for three days now. There is a small invasion of Bush Tits flying from the Hawthorn to the Larch tree and back. Sparrow has landed on the handle of the barbecue.

Possum and the cat had a staring contest earlier today (Possum lost) and the raccoons were dancing on the roof last night.

I need one of those “Backyard Wildlife Preserve” signs. You just can’t buy this stuff .

(My husband said the squirrel wants to stay close to me because I rescued it from the furnace duct in the middle of the winter. I, however, don’t want to put too much human-ness on such a little guy. Not to mention giving that pea-sized brain cognitive thinking skills too. Find nut. Eat nut…)

Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

The lawn edge between my neighbor and I, on the parking strip in front of our house. Chemicals and water vs. natural dormancy.

“Hello, Two Green Thumbs, Janit speaking.”

“My name is Martha, I have to send you this picture, but it won’t go through!” was the very first thing I heard from her.

I quickly gave her another email address to use, and eventually got the whole story. Her excitement was contagious, it oozed through the phone, and I instantly wanted to hear more.

“I spent six or seven hours on my mini garden yesterday, taking plants from different places from my garden and I had a lot of miniature things around the house too. When I started to build it, I got all these ideas and spent the whole day making it.”

The thought went through my head, she really can’t tell me fast enough!

“So when I was done, I asked the fairies to come. I said, ‘Ok, this is your place! Come and stay!’”

I note, Martha is a fairy gardener, too ~ the story unravels.

“I photographed it and played around with it some more, but it was getting dark. I had an idea to make a fire pit, so I got a tea light and put it in the center of the garden and put tiny rocks around it.”

I was laughing at this point - I was laughing at me – I do that, too!

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Photo credit: 
Martha Regalado

Scroll through this short slideshow to see the progression ~ and to see the magical fairy picture. CLICK IMAGE TO START.

I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m finally going to get a garden that I can call my own! Alright, there will be a house on the lot, too – we’ll save the interior stuff for the cold rainy months, eh?

And, I mean, well, all of my past gardens were mine, I guess ~ when I was living in the many rental houses throughout my 25 “adult” years. Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle – but this one, it’s really gonna be mine. All. Mine.

Alright, ok, it’ll be the DH’s too!

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, we’ve got it together to start looking for a house to call our very own!

Which gets my mind reeling at the possibilities.

Maybe we’ll have four completely different gardens on all fours sides of the house. That way, I can go hang out in whatever garden suits my mood ~ Ha! What a fun thought!

We’ll definitely have a flower garden, full of lovely bulbs and perennials staged to bloom all year. We would love to have a big front porch to sit on and surround ourselves with flowering containers year-round.

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Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

How does that song go? "Looking for a place where I can lay my (garden) bed." On the hunt for a new garden - with a house attached... and dreaming and scheming...

When writing for this blog last week, I started to write about memorial gardens. The idea came from the number of celebrity icons that passed away this spring and summer, and I was trying to put together ideas to commemorate them.

The article was lacking, I got depressed, I never sent it to my editor, and thus, it never got published. Thus, a big gaping hole in my bloggin’! What I needed was a rap on the noggin’ (I couldn’t resist that one!)!

As I sat down to write this one and tried to pick up where I left off, it occurred to me that memorial gardens can be much more than a remembrance of a loved one. The word memorial has different meanings, from honoring a person or event, to celebrating the same.

One of’s definitions of the word memorial: “Of, relating to, or being in memory.”

Years ago, a friend always wore her hair long but one day appeared with it cut short. When asked why the change, she said, “Because I want to remember that I want to change. Now, when I look in the mirror each morning, I’ll remember that I have made the choice, and to follow through with it.”

Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

Create a miniature dream garden to help you focus on what you want. Above: dreaming about the lighter side of life with a Sedum Ogon start and a fun rubber duckie on a pedestal. Go ahead, try to stay serious with this mini garden! Pot is 4 inches wide.

A renovation workshop will be held on Oct. 1, and some yards around West Seattle will be pruned by professionals for free.

The workshop is a hands-on all-day event for Spanish-speaking landscape professionals that features a 3:1 student-teacher ratio. Pruning and creative solutions to an overgrown landscape will be taught as the landscape is renovated during the workshop.

George Ortiz of Signature Landscapes gives a lecture followed by hands-on experience in the field. Professional gardeners and arborists will teach the hands-on portion of the workshop.

To qualify for the free pruning, sites must be a private home, church, library, school or park located in West Seattle, large enough so that it is maneuverable by a group of 20 to 30 people. It should include a diversity of overgrown, neglected shrubs and small trees that are at least 15 years old.

There must be available nearby parking for as many as 20 to 30 vehicles, place to dispose of yard waste, a bathroom for use by muddy workers and the site owner must be present during the workshop.


An online friend, and one of my sources for inspiration for my business, Barbara Winter, has many favorite quotes to live by, but I especially like this one as it gets more and more applicable in todays online world where anyone can be an “expert.”

“Don’t take travel advice from someone who has never left home.”

I wish I heard that one years ago.

So, I’m on Twitter these days, and have been for several months now. I’m not sure if it is really helping my business, or it’s just a place for my random thoughts that pass through my head while working alone every day. Through this source, I’ve been exposed to many other garden-related people, and what they are Twittering about – perhaps that is the upside.

But, something is happening that is really starting to grind on me. It’s like reaching for a rose and getting poked by a thorn. We know the thorn is there, we just don’t what to think about it, so we don’t, and we get poked.

Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

Happy Fourth of July West Seattle! Let's be careful out there. Adirondack chair is 3.5 inches tall.

Art and nature join together in a grand display of Northwest artists against the back drop of the historic E.B. Dunn Historic Gardens. An “AYPE Inspirations” group show coincides with the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition Centennial celebrations in Seattle.

Artistic works in stone, wood, glass, metals, and natural materials will be displayed throughout the 7.5 acre site.  Proceeds from the event will go to support the conservation of the Dunn Gardens and its continued use and enjoyment by the public.

The art of 28 noted local artists will be displayed to full advantage in the lush vegetation, winding pathways, great lawn, and majestic Northwest scenery that are the hallmarks of the mature 1915 Olmsted design for the Arthur Dunn family summer “Country Place."

Featured artists include Sabah Al-Dhaher, Tony Angell, Joan Bazaz, Laura Brodax, Will Dacus, Jeff Day, Clare Dohna, Louise DuRocher, Jean Emmons, Robert Fairfax, Pat Gallagher, Georgia Gerber, Gayle Harris, Jan Hopkins, Tom Jay, Sara Mall Johani, Dehanna Jones, Jesse Kelly, Kim Merriman, Ann Morris, Jared Nason, Lynda Nielson, Mark Rudis, Julie Speidel, Jeff Tangen, David Traylor and Brandon Zebold. 

Photo credit: 
Sue Nevler

A crocus plant at Dunn Gardens.

Thanks to the sun, and large varieties of fruits and vegetables, the 2009 Ballard Edible Garden Tour blossomed with a big turnout.

Fourteen Ballard homes were featured on the tour sponsored by Sustainable Ballard, Groundswell NW, and P-Patch Trust.

Green thumbed residents opened their front, back and side yards to others interested in growing their own food. They were on hand to answer gardening questions, give sage advice, and speak with pride about their successes with strawberries, blueberries, apples and a cornucopia of vegetable crops.

“This garden is a combination of ornamental perennial flowers and edible things,” said Chris White, of Christopher White Landscape Architecture in Ballard.

His 31st Avenue Northwest home was on the tour.

“We pride ourselves on this mixture," he said.

Edibles, all in his front and side yard, include potatoes, zucchini, beets, chives, mizuna, sage, oregano and four varieties of strawberries.

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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

On left, Dr. Dan Friedmann and Julie Cwinar admire the apple “espalier” or Belgian (lattice) fence in Dave and Nancy’s Conners’ backyard garden. (Nancy not pictured.) The Conners are one of 14 residences with edible gardens featured on the 2009 Edible Garden Tour.

Sustainable food

Come learn about community gardening movements, including reflections on the wartime victory gardens, information about Seattle’s P-Patch program and ways to support the development of a P-Patch in our neighborhood.

Now that summer has arrived in Seattle, you can’t walk the streets of Ballard without noticing all of the curbside gardens that have sprung to life.

Not only are they quite unique Seattle attractions, they help to create the feeling of a vibrant neighborhood.

In the place where I grew up, the narrow patch of grass that grew in between the street curb and the sidewalk was for grass only, or, if you were lucky, a city-planted and approved tree. The idea that someone would even plant a single daisy on this strip was unimaginable. Even if you did, the snowplows would inevitably dump several feet of snow on top of these strips so it wasn’t really worth it for the would-be gardener.

Photo credit: 
Brian LeBlanc

Curb plantings like these are a regular sight around Ballard.

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