Archive | March, 2013

First Butterfly of the year! Mourning Cloak

28 Mar


I don’t get many butterflies in the garden in the best of years… The Coastal Northwest just is not that diverse butterfly wise, and in Urban areas we can really only expect a handful of species.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I got buzzed by a mourning cloak yesterday while I was out working in the garden! The gold edge was a little ragged from his winter’s rest, but he was beautiful nonetheless. He flitted around sampling moist dirt in a couple of places, probably attracted to the kitty litter water I tried making. MCs are one of the butterflies attracted to feces and rotten things, especially if they get wet so the salts or whatever leach out into the surrounding soil (or a birdbath if you prefer to try and “feed” them. A rotten banana in a tray of moist soil will work for this too.)


25 Mar

im made these from scratch for us after we were done with the ridiculous diet Beth had us on. Easy, but good recipe, and we’ve already started playing with it. He got the recipe from a link on facebook, probably and old Betty Crocker recipe.


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

Mix everything together and throw it in a 9×9 baking pan, in a 350 degree oven for half an hour. Oh, and optional would be to add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and nuts, which we almost always do…

Apparently you can premix the dry ingredients and store it in a jar, adding the oil and eggs at the last minute.

His second batch he did it adding chunked up frozen pumpkin kisses, which worked, but had a funny aftertaste. But we could add mint to it just as well, or maybe cream cheese mixed with jam and swirled through it… I personally think that it could be a little less sweet too, but Jim dissagrees. Maybe when I make a batch myself I’ll leave out some of the sugar.

These were really good, and just the ticket after 10 days of the diet from hell, lol. Try em!

What’s blooming March 21, 2013

22 Mar

This is a list of what is blooming now here on Mercer Island in my garden;


Cymbidium hybrid

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’

Fuchsia x (Display?)


Phaelenopsis hybrids (4 different ones at the moment)

Tradescantia zebrina (wandering jew)




Bellis perennis (double fl lawn daisy)

Camelia japonica (pink flower with a light stripe down the center of each petal)

Cardamine hirsuta (shotweed, artillary weed)

Chaenomeles x (flowering quince)

Claytonia sibirica (candy flower)

Clematis cirrhosa (winter clematis)

Draba verna (spring mustard)

Forsythia x (forsythia)

Grevillea x victoriae (silk oak)

Helleborus orientalis (Christmas rose)

Hyacinthus x (Peach hyacinth)

Lamium purpureum (purple top)

Lonicera x standishii (winter honeysuckle)

Mahonia aquifolium (tall Oregon grape)

Mahonia bealii (winter grape holly)

Mahonia nervosa (Cascade Oregon grape)

Mahonia x media ‘Charity’

Muscari armeniacum (grape hyacinth)

Narcissus pseudonarcissus (Welsh daffodill)

Narcissus x ‘Peeping Tom’

Narcissus x ‘Tete te’

Narcissus (Dutch Master type from Coldwell Banker)

Narcissus (large trumpet cream and yellow)

Oemleria cerasiformis (Indian plum, osoberry)

Osmanthus delavayi (box sweet olive)

Primula aucalis (primroses, all colors)

Primula aucalis ‘Ballerina Cobalt Blue)

Prunus avium (purple leaf plum)

Prunus tomentosum (Nanking cherry)

Ranunculus ficaria

Ribes lobbii (scraggly gooseberry)

Ribes sanguineum (red flowering currant)

varieties; ‘Appleblossom’, ‘Pokey’s Pink’, ‘Pulsborough Scarlet’, ‘Strybing Pink’, ‘variegata’ and a couple of our “native” ones (seed raised from local sources, and one self seeded bush I like to call “Ace of Mercer”)

Spiraea bumalda ‘Vanhoutei’ (bridal veil spiraea)

Symphytum x ‘Bressingham Blue’ (comfrey)

Vaccinium ovatum (evergreen huckleberry)

Viola x wittrockiana (pansy and annual violets)

Viola sororia (sweet violet)


on adjoining properties-

Andromeda sp (lily of the valley bush)

Daphne odora (sweet daphne)

Vinca minor (vinca)


just out of bloom-

Leucojum vernum (snowdrop)

Mahonia x media varieties; ‘Arthur Menzies’, ‘Kings Ransom’, ‘Winter Sun’


in bud now;

Clematis montana ‘Freda’

Fuchsia magelanica varieties; ‘molinae’, and ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’



Licorice fern (Polypodium glycorhiza)

13 Mar

Licorice fern (Polypodium glycorhiza)

Growing by the front deck. One of my favorite parts of the garden in winter, and not a bad ground cover, once you get it going.