Spring has arrived in Santa Barbara. My cymbidium orchids are blooming! Last weekend was the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. I didn’t actually attend the event, but I made the tri-annual trek up to the Orchid Estate to soak in the beauty and shop. This is a magical place for sure. The flowers are breath-taking and during the Orchid shows, they have exceptional deals on a huge variety of orchids. I showed a lot of restraint and only purchased one–for $7.50! It’s called “Hawaii Gold” (see photo on left) and it claims to be prolific and yellow. We’ll see! Several years ago when we discovered this plant paradise we decided to give orchid growing a shot. An orchid guy recommended purchasing a hunk of bark and an orchid and affixing it to a sheltered outside wall. Evidently the orchid roots like to entwine amongst the nooks and crannies of the bark. I hold it in place with either the net bag from onions or an old nylon. I add in a few coconut bark chips or tiny rocks. With the correct light and a little water they are supposed to be pretty easy…My guess is we’re batting 500!
Another sure sign of spring is the reemergence of irritating creatures like gophers and slugs. Both have been a nuisance recently. Despite my diligence in placing traps in fresh gopher eruptions, they have eluded me! I think I will name them Wily Gopher after the infamous coyote of Bugs Bunny lore. I will persist however!
Slugs! Icky, slimy, no good, creatures…and they are destructive! I thought they wouldn’t care for marigolds–they have such a strong scent. Wrong! They are decimated! I need a solution! I have concerns about snail bait and my curious dog…they don’t mix well! So, at the risk of sounding like Heloise, I solved this problem with a strawberry basket!
I placed a small pile of slug bait near the poor little marigold. Covering it with a basket and weighing it down with a little rock allows the slimy menace access to the poison while keeping Frankie safe! Everyone’s happy!
Another sign of spring–vegetable garden planting. I put in our first crop of green beans. I selected Kentucky Wonder–it’s an heirloom pole bean from the 1800’s. I’m attempting to plant mostly heirloom vegetables this year. What are your garden plans? Have you started anything yet?
Updates: I tried 2 new recipes this week, neither are blog worthy 😦
Books: Finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Loved it! I’m part way through Mistress of the Sun by the same author as the Josephine B. series. It’s another excellent book by Sandra Gulland. I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to the story is that it takes place in the Loire Valley in France–one of my all time favorite places in the world. The characters travel between castles and towns that I have personally visited. To “see” them as they were in their glory days is intriguing.
Allergies: In addition to the local honey, I am now taking local bee pollen daily. It seems to be helping. However, per the Pollen People, Oak is now rising in the pollen count. That’s one of my hot items. So far I’ve managed to stay off Nasonex…my goal is to handle the allergies as naturally as possible. In that light, I have decided to man up and try the neti pot/saline solution. The Ocean Complete kit from Costco is my first attempt. Although I’m scared of the water boarding feeling, I figure I’ve had a baby and I’m a black belt, how bad can a little salt water up my nose be, right? I’ll report back later.