Brooklyn Botantical Garden

We happened to visit Brooklyn Botanical Gardens during a free period. I would have gladly paid for this amazing garden. A great couple of hours were spent wandering around and viewing all the garden has to see.

Butterfly watching

Great plant name.

I don’t even understand….

Ouch….

This interesting tree fort was built from the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.

We have many of these in Florida too!

Huge ass pine tree

I like the memorial rocks.

Daniel-son trim the tree.

Sensory Garden

These are fun leaves. Very hairy.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden is now on my must return list. There was more we missed and it would be great to check it out during a different season. All hail nature!

Spring Harvest

Spring is here and the garden has come alive. Our winter was mild so all the plants I had started in the fall did fairly well. It is getting hot quickly but we are able to harvest some goodies before the major heat, mold and bugs arrive.
I wasn’t sure because it started off slow but it looks like we had a good year from the blueberries and tomatoes.
We started picking the blueberries one by one as they ripened. I thought we could beat the birds this year. I guess the area birds are not a fan this year. They left plenty for us.

They are almost all gone. In retrospect I think the new drip irrigation that I added for them has helped them this year. I always thought they had plenty of irrigation where they were but I guess I was wrong. With consistent irrigation and the right schedule of acid, next year should be even better!
While we soon say goodbye to the blueberries, the tomatoes are thriving.

Tomatoes growing out of control. I need to secure them.

In other news….
Grape vine is fully grown for the season.

Broccoli has bolted. We never really took advantage of harvesting it this year.

Chive flowering.

It might be a good year for the citrus. I started a new fertilizing routine last year. None of the other disease control measures were working and the trees still seemed to be dying off. The new fertilizer sits on the leaves and provides nutrients. The idea is that the plant will remain strong and fight off the diseases its self. They seem to be holding on for now and producing fruit. I won’t know for a while if this routine will work long term

Grapefruit

Grapefruit

Lime

A little green for you

Went out to the garden this weekend to pick some mint for a refreshing drink and got distracted by all the new growth. I had to harvest a crop of collards (see above) due to the tomatoes slowly blocking the sunlight from the plants in the garden. I made a nice sauteed collard greens with garlic and onion dish.

We also saw the first sign of the grape vine coming back. It must mean that winter is definitely over!

I put up some stakes to secure the new tomato growth and finally got around to picking my mint. I concentrated first on the mint that is spreading out into the grass (see above).
Mint may grow like a weed but it is a weed I don’t mind!
Happy growing!

February Garden 2015

Night Winter Sky from my backyard

It has been a while since the last garden update. Garden has been neglected a bit but seems to be doing well on its own.

The one citrus plant that was healthy but has yet to bloom is blooming in full force. I did some estimation and we might have 55 limes when it is done this season. Unfortunately it is falling to the same disease as all the others. I have applied some proactive fertilizer (see the brown water on the leaves). The hope is that I can keep it healthy enough for it to fight the sickness off itself. I haven’t found a product that will treat whatever this is that is slowing killing my citrus plants.

Sickly key lime plant is still blooming

Grape vine is still dormant

We have big beautiful collards
The tomato seeds that I planted are doing well through the winter.

We are happy to have our fresh dill back.

Hopefully we won’t lose our blueberries again this year. Have not had luck with them the past two years.

My husband has chopped up our christmas tree. It is supposed to be used for mulch but I might end up composting/throwing it out because it is in the way.

My late fall project is growing in nicely. I replaced one of the gardens with sod and a lavender sensory garden. The grass is green as can be but the lavender is slow to grow.

The lavender is quite beautiful up close though.

Next up some tomatoes, citrus and hopefully blueberry crops in the spring.

Biltmore

During last summer’s trip to Asheville we took a day to explore the Biltmore estate. It was a great way to spend the day and the weather couldn’t have been better (most of the day anyway). I thoroughly enjoyed touring the house; my favorite was touring the server’s quarters and the kitchen area. Sorry no pictures inside were allowed (although I was just about the only one following the rules). The estate area is vast and has magnificent views of the mountain range nearby. While you are there be sure to tour the gardens and greenhouse at your leisure. It was a real treat as well.

After touring the grounds we drove over for our Biltmore winery tour and a free wine tasting. Most of  the wines made there are drinking wines. There weren’t too many that I wanted to purchase but the ones I did were in the $30-50 range!! We did pick up a couple mid-range bottles to take home and I since I wasn’t driving Itreated myself to the Biltmore premium wine tasting :).

 Later on we met up with our friends and had dinner at their local mexican joint Nachos and Beer (yes that is the name). The tacos and side salad I ordered was delicious and a great size for the money. They also have local craft beer on draft. I can see why this is one of their favorite places to take the family.

My friends husband was nice enough to watch the kids for the evening so my friend could come with us to try some local breweries. More about that later……

Spain: Another day in Madrid

It was our last day in Madrid and the Prado Museum is a must see. You can find some great Spanish works there.

After our morning visit to the Prado we noticed these Syrian protesters out on the street. In the typical European way, people actually gather to protest things they want to change. We don’t get around to doing that anymore in the US.

After we visited the Prado for a few hours, we decided to wander around the El Real Jardín Botánico. It is the Royal Botantical garden. We fully enjoyed the large collection of plants outside and in the greenhouses.

Fun cactus-like plant

Orchids and other hanging plants

Cactus room

Our park selfie

Next to the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid lies the Parque del Retiro. This large park contains many trails, monuments, and lakes to enjoy. We spent a couple hours lounging around like locals. There is a boat rental and a cafe.

After lounging around the park we walked back into town and walked by this monument Puerta de Alcalá.

Also not far we happened upon this indoor outdoor area with this fabulous ceiling. I guess it is located inside what is known as the El Palacio de Comunicaciones.

After wandering around all day we were hungry. I ordered a hearty Spanish meal for dinner at a cafe nearby the hotel. It is early bedtime since we had to travel to Sevilla the next day. See you there.