A Tramp in the (Organic) Garden

Seeds, Smack Talk and Assorted Gardening Madness in South Pasadena, Los Angeles

Friday, August 03, 2007

Crandon Park Beach Gardens

It was ages ago when I went to Miami, buuuuut....these gardens are worth checking out merely for the fact that there are supposedly random crocodiles running around supposedly, and exotic birds and reptiles. It used to be the ZOO in the 40s or something, as referenced by the horrible cages that are like 5 ft by 5 ft. Those poor poor animals! And amazing banyan trees with crazy roots that will awe you. This seemed much more meaningful like 5 months ago when I went there, but whatevs! Oh, and the peacocks- anywhere with peacocks is cool, and I'm still trying to convince my friend that she should add peacocks to her aviary of chickens. She is nonplussed...

Catsitting Isn't Hard When You Catsit Layabout Cats

This is Chiquita, my landlady's cat. She is a layabout cat extraordinaire- and has taught me many things, like all non human animals do, about how to approach life. Rest when you are tired, enjoy the moment, go with the flow and take pleasure when it comes to you. Don't be afraid to pounce when something is worth pouncing on and always have a sense of humor. But I can't catsit her anymore because I have a bunny!

Holy Basil or Tulsi or Ocimum sanctum

For one and a half years I had these holy basil or tulsi seeds, which I got primarily because they are supposed to keep away mosquitos, and I'm always attracted to grow plants that are spiritual in nature. Holy basil or tulsi is grown outside Hindu temples, and after I went to India, this had special significance for me. When I was in Kerala, the guide at our hotel wore a fresh stem of holy basil tucked behind his ear every morning, and as the day passed, I would watch it wilt and fade, but not lose it's spirit. Sweet and pungent, holy basil plants are often worshipped and taken care of by the family and have a special place outside a Hindu household...or so I read. This year I grew a few outside my back porch in the earth, and one in a pot outside the front door. One of my first rituals when returning home from work was to light an incense and place it in the pot of holy basil. Now the plant in front of my home has long flowered and gone to seed, and the leaves are yellow. This weekend I will harvest the seeds to plant the next generation...

PS- Holy basil or tulsi has many medicinal values as well and is an ayurvedic herb- for respitory problems, coughs, colds, stress, skin ailments, and is supposed to reduce cholesterol.

Bee's Like To Make Love to My Brugmansia

Miami's Ever So Casual Flora

Of course, we had to walk down Lincoln Road in South Beach- I love it, people have dinner at 11:00 and go out at midnight. Everyone walking around enjoying life and a late dinner- not like LA, where you can barely find anything to eat after 11:00 except taco trucks, Canter's and Fred 62. Jesus Lordy Christ. But anyway, along my walk on Lincoln Road, I found it most fascinating and almost surreal that the tropical plants we sometimes covet in cooler zones are grown so casually in tropical climes. It's like being in a big greenhouse...

Isn't this a freaking sausage tree? I believe it is!

And isn't this a freaking bodhi tree just growing on top of this palm? Look at those pointed leaves, I'm pretty sure it is.

Huge beautiful bromeliads just totally casual. In LA, you pay like 40 dollars each for one of these at a nursery. I wanted to smuggle a small pup back to LA in my nether regions, but decided that would be unethical; it's people like me that bring in plant pathogens and new pests every year with their innocent exports.

I love east coast beaches- these fences are so romantic and photogenic. All those grasses and beach morning glory!

This was in the everglades- if the sharks don't get you, flesh hungry alligators will!

Vamos å Miami!!

A couple weeks ago I went to Miami for four days. The sun, the ocean, the splendor! I was amazed by the clear warm water and pale sands- amazing! Although I hear Miami has the largets percentage of sharks in the US, so while I was in the ocean I was constantly scanning the water for fins, and trying to keep myself surrounded by a human barrier of unsuspecting , innocent swimmers to get eaten first. And so much skin everywhere in the city! I busted it out Miami playa style in a special golden leopard print bikini that my husband said made me look like a stripper. Wait, don't boys like strippers?

Clear clear water, wish I was there...

Rococo clouds made just for you..

Celestial sunsets...

sometimes on fire...

When night falls the city lights make everything magic.

Monday, June 25, 2007


UM, yeah this was from late April...it reminds me of my best friend's mother who would have these dreams of reruns of the 70s TV show MacMillan and Wife. I hope I never get to that level, but I'm pretty sure I'm getting there sooner than later with old posts and my fetish for gold shoes.

PS- Do you think one can get MacMillan and Wife on Netflix? Hmmm.

This is the state of the little garden bed that I'm wanting to plant tomatoes in this summer...wild swiss chard in hot pink climbing for the sky, abandoned Grafitti cauliflower, that despite my relative neglect, still wants to grow and be noticed, and practically begs to be devoured, endive that has long been shooting up and now flowers in the most beautiful pale lavender blue of flowers that recall the cooler hues of winter, and heirloom garlics that compete for space in the middle of all this drunken jumble. This area is, as my friend would say, a hot mess.

But you, know, sometimes there is something I really like about watching winter's crops that have gone unharvested go to flower and eventually seed. There's something to be gained by simple observation of this process, an intimacy with plants in all their stages of life. Sometimes I feel I learn more about nature and it's rhythms by just relaxing and watching it unfold before me, and not getting too caught up in having everything so tidy and orderly, manicured and correct at all times. When I look more closely at this little ecosystem I notice ladybugs and their larvae, spiders who have made a home, or perhaps are just renting a space for the week, and bees that appreciate my recent lax gardening attitude. Aphids are even welcome here (okay just a few), and I know they will provide a short little feast for any hungry bird that may stop by for a visit. And I'm happy to provide whatever nectar, pollen or sustenance I can for any little creature that we have displaced with our so called civilization.

Uh, well, except nematodes. They can kiss my grits!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I wrote this along time ago, but never posted this motherhubbard. I have been so remiss in everything, including gardening. I've actually done things, just haven't written about them, and even took pictures that just sit in my IPhoto. Doh! Now I'm playing catchup, better than playing God, I guess?

Kerala is the southernmost state of India and the home of Ayurveda. This was the last leg of the trip I was on, and we ended it on a tropical note. The weather is luscious and we were lucky enought to stay at a wonderful place called Surya Samudra. The sound of the waves wafted in at night and lulled you to sleep. Then we hit the backwaters of Kerala for a couple of days. We came back to the Surya Samudra- I indulged in a couple of ayurvedic treatments- shirodhara, where oil is drizzled all over your third eye is wonderful, and another where the masseuse supports herself on a rope and rubs her well oiled foot all over your body. I've really never had any ayurvedic treatments, and there seemed to be a lot of oily boob rubbing and ass slapping. Hey lady, who's paying who for this massage? All in good fun and ayurvedic spirit. Incidentally, Kerala is ruled by a Communist government. Literacy is at an all time high in this state.

This is a little Ganesha underneath a Banyan tree. We were told that it makes a difference which way his trunk is facing- generally it should be facing towards the right, if you are facing him. If it's facing the other way, his power is more potent, and potentially more devastating if used incorrectly. Someone correct me? I love Ganesha, he is so powerful, mellow and loving. He is apparently the first Hindu deity that one should have in their house, then you may follow with Shiva, Krishna, Saraswati, Shakti and others. Again, what I was told- please correct me if I am wrong or if my observations are ignant.

This was a houseboat on Lake Illikilam.

The truck drivers adorn their trucks in so many beautiful way, and the style differs from the North to the South. The south seemed more inspired by flowers and natural elements, while in other places you might see more Hindu Gods. This is not a good illustration or even a clear shot! But still.

Another Ganesha- this time he's seated and his trunk faces the other direction.

I'm really hungry- I have to go eat mushroom turnovers from Trader Joe's now! I am about to faint from hunger. I could eat a goat....

Incarcerated Lettuce

When I came back from India, after being gone for a month, I came back to not only terribly hideous jet lag, but incarcerated lettuces and other crops. While I was gone, raccoons and possums ravaged our little garden every night, plundering through carefully laid out beds of heirloom lettuces, garlic, cauliflower. They mocked us with their actions. They raped my soul.

So my husband decided it would be a good idea to take that roll of chain link fence from the basement and construct a physical barrier. It worked for a while against the critters, but what I also found out is that it kept ME out of the garden as well. Who wants to look at your veggies in tha clink? It's coming down today! It's been too long.

CONFESSION: When I came back from India, I wasn't happy to see my garden. Things had changed. I felt so dissconnected to all of it. I haven't touched it barely, or done any gardening in the past 2 months. My rose was never shaped or prepared for spring. Plants withered in their terra cotta vessels. I find trowels strewn around in odd places. How we keep our gardens is such a reflection of our inner emotions...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Swiss Plant Life

These are field of what I think are sugar beets right outside of Zurich proper, in Witikon.

Worms did this! The worms in Swizzera are huge, apparently, strong and vigorous. The ground is riddled with these small piles of earth and what are probably some castings. The ground is extremely fertile in Switzerland.

This is a little community garden outside of Zurich.

Look at this extreme girdling on this tree on the lake of Zurich! I was trying to figure out exactly what happened and if it was done on purpose, as some sort of fashion thing.

This is a crazy example of pollarding. as you walk along Lake Zurich, you see long allees of chestnut or maroni trees that have been pollarded every single year, resulting in these knobbly bits you see here during the winter.

Tomatoes 2007

MAMA'S BACK! And she's back with a vengeance, baby. I planted tomato seeds this weekend- it made me feel so incredibly whole! I forgot that with each seed we plant, it's like planting a little promise.

So far, the list includes:

SCHEIMMIG'S STRIPED HOLLOW- I can hardly wait to stuff these!
WHITE ZEBRA (has anybody heard anything about this?)
IVORY PEAR (any feedback?)
BLACK CHERRY- so looking forward to this.

Seeds from last year, that I planted anyway.

I have to round it out with some others- a nice black one- perhaps BLACK FROM TULA or PAUL ROBESON, a yellow bicolor -maybe NORTHERN LIGHTS or LUCKY CROSS and a proper trad red. I want ot grow as many cherries as I can this summer because they are so effortless. Cross fingers that freaking fracking nematodes don't spoil my effort and break my kitten spirit. I'm growing extra seeds to give away to friends and spread some garden love. Let the seeds fly where they may!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Once You've had Swiss..

...there ain't nuthin' you're gonna miss.

1) Sheeps- love it.

2) Black sheeps- love 'em more.


4) Million dollar fireworks on New Years Eve- everyone wandering around with a bottle of champagne- brilliant.


Why I (Sometimes) Love Switzerland

This is what I love about Switzerland; upon entering the country:

Customs Officer: So, what's up?
Me: (giggling) I'm visiting my husbands family.
Customs Officer: (slight grin on his face) Are you sure?
Me: (laughing) Yes??

That is why I love Switzerland.

Here are other reasons:

1) How thoughtful and considerate! They post hiking and walking signs with convenient little postings about how long it take to go through a trail. So Swiss.

2) Controversial modern holiday lights on the Bahnhofstrasse. A million dollars down the drain.

3) Graffiti with a surprisingly poppy amd feminine color palette.

4) Swans that attack! (They really will attack you and are quite dangerous, in my opinion)

5) Henry Moore sculptures ever so casually strewn around the lawns surrounding Lake Zurich

Swiss Lovin'

Even more reasons to love Switzerland! Not to be confused with Sweden. Sweden is ABBA, Ikea, lingonberries and Swedish meatballs, statuesque blondes, Volvos and Saabs...Switzerland is Swiss bank accounts, The Alps, St. Moritz, fondue and cuckoo clocks, yodeling and Heidi, Le Corbusier, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and most importantly SWISS CHOCOLATE!!! Everybody always get them confused....

1) Look at this cute public bathroom on Lake Zurich- would we have this in LA? I heart them for having good bathrooms.

2) Poor little Swiss Alps- no snow...but when it does snow- it's like God sprinkled diamonds all over the ground! Oooooohhhh.

3) Love the cold weather- you can set you Calandabrau right on the ledge of the window and it will stay cold!

4) Free drinking water and it is the most delicious!

5) Sweet little baby cows to pet and they are everywhere- the cows that is. I wanted to rescue all of them because I had a sneaking suspicion they would become veal. : (