A Tramp in the (Organic) Garden

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

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. : (

Jaipur, Rajasthan

Here are just some city shots of Jaipur within the walls. Jaipur is known as the Pink City. I found it to be fascinating, chaotic, really polluted, and very cool. If you go check out Gem Palace and Amrapali for bomb 22 k gold jewelry, you won't be dissapointed. Gem palace was amazing! So laid back, and the owners would let you just hang out and go through their jewelry without pressuring you at all. And give you masala chai! I found an amazing ring at Amrapali- 22k gold with a ruby on either side, it was about 70 years old, and I later discivered it was actually an opium holder that had little doors that had been welded shut.

Monkeys roam pretty freely within the city, you'll see them all over the walls and tops of building. On the ground level you'll see the most chill cows, even camels and elephants. I almost got attacked by a monkey! But I live to tell about it.

Indian Flora of Jaipur

One of the things I liked best about India is how flora made it's way into daily life- garlands of marigold and roses for temples, sweet wristlets of fragrant tuberose (Or what was that?) or to tie in your hair. Nature and flowers seem to be a part of daily life more so than in the US.

We stayed for a little over a week in Jaipur, the pink city of Rajasthan. The is the closest state on the border of Pakistan- the weather was actually a little cold in November- sweaters and jackets were definitely needed. Jaipur was sooo different from Bombay- it's arid, dusty and has a completely different feel. I think this would be the easiest place to garden in India- although it gets to 140 degress in the summer sometimes! No cloche needed!

Flowers always floating in this huge urn outside of this amazing shop Hot Pink at the Narain Niwas Hotel in Jaipur...they were so fragrant. I didn't see a lot of different rose varieties in India, basically just this pinky red type. At the flower market, people would make garlands of these fragrant yummies. I bought a few and hung them around my hotel room along with the traditional marigold garlands. If I lived in India I would always have them in my house...

These were the front garden for the luscious Samode Palace outside of Jaipur. This former palace was amazing...nestled in between the bosomy hills, it's strategically a perfect location for a palace. Formerly a Rajput castle, it is now a heritage hotel. Most of the palaces in Rajasthan are now heritage hotels, actually. In a super short nutshell, they belong to various Rajput warrior clans who have no more wars to fight, but have these big palaces, so they turned them into first class accomodations. The detail inside these palaces is amazing, as is the vibe when you walk past walls with so much history. Love it.

This is the grassy couryard at the Raj Palace in Jaipur. I would totally walk on the grass and try and pretend it was my home. What a dork. I did the same thing at the Golden Palace in Thailand. Yes, this is how I spend my free time! It was really an amazing example of architecture. The grass by the way, was a close cut Bermuda grass that reminded me of that rolling little patch of lawn at the Getty Museum. Emerald green and superfine blades of grass. I was really hoping they weren't using a lot of fertilizer. Note also the potted plant. I didn't see any potting soil in India....I think everybody just grabs soil from the earth. That's what my mom does and I always try and tell her to at least mix in something else to improve drainage.

These below are these sweet little clay figurines at the Narain Niwas hotel in Jaipur. If I had my way, I would have brought back so many ceramics, including the sweetest little lanterns made from clay- perfect for the garden!

PS- I am so remiss in actually blogging about India and all the adventures! I'm not sure anyone cares anymore, but I'll plug away anyway. I've been sort of absent for the past couple of months. More later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bombay Plant Life

These are the only plants in Bombay. Just kidding! But I had you fooled for a second.

These plants were collected together in the parking area outside this fancy flat. So sweet and wonderful this little collection of plants. The style of the terracotta was really interesting and believe me for a second it did occur to me that I "absolutely needed" to take back some terra cotta with me. I love the tropics because you rally get to see all the things we typically consider houseplants in their natural environment.

I think this was a nursery? It was surrounding this mall near Juhu, I think. But I didn't see any attendent there. Why, If I lived in India, my God, imagine the nursery I could have! It would be like Hortus, India style!

In India, everythign get recycled into something else. Everything. Check out this little Oleander growing in a container made up of tires. Note the soil it's growing in.

PS- I didn't really take a lot of pictures of the plants around the city, because it was the dry season, and so many plants were covered in dust and sort of withered. I didn't even get a picture of the banyan trees that grew near Colaba!

Impressions of Jaipur

Well, I"m not sure exactly what the heck happened with the photo layout, kinda funky, but...here are some some more shots. I got VERY close to a curious elephant, who was so sweet, I loved her. Watched her trainers give her some fresh makeup, 'cause girl needs to look her best. A cool yellow room with this amazing blue chandelier. I was going to stay there, but then switched rooms, thank God, because there were all these painting of old school Rajputs on the walls that would watch me when I walked around. Cows in the streets! Monkeys climbing the walls! Camels and elephants! Snake charmers! (I touched the snake, but don't think I'm so cool because he was devenomized) The original swastika before the nazis stole it. A room in another beautiful haveli inside the walls. So many beautiful colors everywhere...I wish I hadn't been working and actually got a chance to be a little bit more of a tourist. But I had a beautiful experience nonetheless.

Crawford Veggie Market in Bombay

The Crawford market is one of the main veggie markets in Bombay- very Victorian architecture.

A lunghi drying in the sun. Men wear these comfy wraparound cloths-I didn't really see a lot of men wearing them on the street, but at this market and in Kerela, yes. I fell in love with the bold hues of blue and the plaids, and bought a few to take home to use as tablecloths. I'm sure the man who I bought them from at this store in Colaba must've thought I was this crazy American chick. I also liked the idea of using men's clothes as tablecloths, I found it nicely and subtle sort of subversive, sick puppy that I am.

I loved him! He is a market courier! When he hold up his basket with one hand, it means he is available to carry something. I also love his orange and blue combo.

It was pretty damn hot in Bombay- some vendors opted to nap a little bit. I would totally love to do this at my job- like Costanza underneath the desk!

A vendor reading a newspaper. Fruits and vegetables are gorgeous- really the jewels of the garden and table.