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2009 Garden, Final Week in May

Checking in, last week of May.

Here's my spinach and lettuces, which are just about ready to begin harvesting. I give it another 2, 3 weeks before I'm enjoying a great fresh salad from my own balcony.

Sweet Basil May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Basil is doing well, and all the plants have their first real leaves beginning to bud. Once the seedlings are heartier, I'll move them around a bit and move a few from the small container to the bigger one so they aren't over-crowded.

I wish these were growing faster, but the patience will pay off shortly.

Oregano May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

My oregano is really doing better than I expected it to, which is really relieving. I think I'll have extra of these, so if any of my friends are interested, let me know!

Cilantro May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Look at how big my cilantro is getting! I'm pretty sure this will be my first herb to be able to be harvested and eaten. We eat a lot of freshly made mexican food, and this will definitely be easily included in our cuisine.

Garden Thyme May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Oh little fellas, I hope you fill out later. The garden thyme is really behind everything else, but if I remember correctly only a few sprouts did very well last year either. I still got a pretty decent turnout from just a few plants, so I've got faith.

Sage May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Aren't these looking great? Several of the sage plants are starting to fill out, so I think we'll have a lot. I've really not used sage very much in my cooking to this point, so I'm looking forward to finding new recipes that will work with my new found friend.

Catnip May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I gave Dizzy her first fresh catnip treat from this season yesterday. I got it on video, it was pretty cute! She loves this stuff, and likes to nibble a leaf from my fingers. There should be plenty this year, so she'll be happy.

Little Carrots May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

It's almost time to thin the carrots. I'm trying to wait as long as I can so a few of the thinned plants will be big enough to eat as tiny thin salad carrots. I'll serve them top and all because they'll be so cute.

I'm glad they're doing well though, I was afraid they wouldn't make it at all for a little while.

Lincoln Peas May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

It's very amusing that different varieties of the same plant can be so different in the same climate. The Lincoln peas really just now filled out, and they seem to be little fat plants. I'm not sure these will be as fast as the sugar snap peas to fill up the trellis, but I sure hope they are good producers.

Sugar Snap Peas May 2009
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The sugar snap peas, on the other hand, have been growing quickly with a less densely-leaved vine. I have no doubt that these will just keep going until the trellis is full. I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't have got this pot a taller one.

All the tomato plants and the tomatillo plants are showing their real leaves. I'll have to thin the pots of tomato plants down soon so they don't overcrowd. Here's another one where if any of my friends want some, I'll probably have extra plants.

Fingerprint Portrait - Mark

Another design class project, this Fingerprint Portrait is of my husband Mark. This project focuses on value, building shape and imagery from nothing but marks from my fingertips.

Watercolor Monotype Print Tutorial

The Bather Prints
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I learned a great technique in my design class for making watercolor monotype prints without a printing press. Careful working will ensure a good print, but it's a one-shot deal. Even a print that doesn't turn out still has a lot of charm. This is an inexpensive way to play with print techniques without any expensive printing equipment.

What you'll need:

Artist's watercolor paint
Plexiglas or glass sheet
Printmaking paper
Large baking pan
Metal spoon
Image, printed
Masking tape

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Choose your image for printing, then reverse the image in a graphics program and print on standard weight paper. I'm using a painting by Ingres called "The Bather" as my print image in this assignment.

Prepare your clear surface for printing by washing with soap and water to remove any dust or oils that will keep the watercolor from adhering to the surface. I'm using a piece of Plexiglas that I had cut to size at my local art store as my print plate. If you're using Plexiglas, make a few passes over your printing surface with the abrasive side of a sponge while washing the first time.

Tape your printed image to the opposite side of the Plexiglas that we just prepped so that the image is facing you when the printing surface is facing up.

Using the image below as a guide, paint directly onto the plate adding little to no water to keep the paint from beading up on the surface. I'm using a tube each of black and white watercolor. Be careful not to get gouache for this technique, since it doesn't transfer properly and can rip the paper while removing from the plate.

Keep in mind that the first layers to be painted onto the plate will be the last ones printed, meaning they will be on the top layer of the print. Layering of paint should be applied quickly in order to not blend and muddy the layer closest to the surface of the plate.

When satisfied with your design, remove the taped image from the back of the plate. Place on a white surface or hold up to the light to check for coverage. Touch up any spots necessary, then allow plate to dry completely.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

While the paint is drying on the plate, cut your printmaking paper into equal sizes to fit your plate. I used a 9"x12" piece of Plexiglas and was able to get 6 equal pieces out of my sheet of printmaking paper.

Soak your paper in a pan filled with water, agitating to get all bubbles off the surface of the paper. Leave in bath for at least 5 minutes.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Remove soaked paper from bath, allowing water to run from surface of page.

Place paper between two layers of towel, and press firmly to remove excess water. Immediately position paper evenly over painted image, taking care to leave even space around the edges of the image. Press down firmly on the back of the paper to adhere to the surface of the image.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Carefully peel your image from the paper, moving slowly from one corner to the opposite. Do not allow the paper to sit after transferring the image or the paper will not remove from the plate without tearing. Place your image face up to dry.

Continue this process for remaining prints. You can use the shadow of paint on the plate to give you a guideline for your next print if you'd like. For this project, we took each image further toward abstraction, so each image breaks down a little further into the compositional elements.

After the paper and paint have dried completely, place between two heavy flat objects to press straight. Leave for a few hours in a dry area. I like to press all my images at once, putting a piece of paper between the top print and my flat heavy object. I usually use two text books, or two boards weighted with text books or canned goods.

That's the spot! Diz getting a tummy rubbin

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

This cat is so pathetically adorable that it's awesome. She loves getting her tummy rubbed!

2009 Garden, Final Week in April

Sugar Snap Peas
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The seeds had been in the ground for 26 days at the time of these photographs. Everything has sprouted, at least a little anyway, and I'm pretty happy with the results so far.

Here you see the plant with the most rapid growth, my Sugar Snap Peas. They are almost long enough to begin to train onto the trellis behind them, and I bet it will only take a couple of days before they really take off.

Lincoln "Homesteader" Peas
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I also have a second variety of pea. It's a traditional shelling pea called Lincoln "Homesteader". It's said to have a high rate of production and it seems as if it's doing pretty well in a container.

I love how fat and round the leaves are, and especially how dense along the vine they grow. High hopes, high hopes!

Little Fingers Carrots
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The Little Fingers Carrots are doing pretty well too! These carrots are only supposed to get to be a few inches long, and can be harvested early for mini gourmet carrots too. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do.

Catnip Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Our cats adore fresh catnip, so I always grow some for them. So far, they're a little behind everything else, but have begun to break ground in the past few days. I have two more containers this size started, but at the time of the photos none had sprouted. They are doing well now though, a few days later.

Sage Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Sage seedlings are already fuzzy! Isn't that great? They are light blue-green and adorable. I've never grown sage before, so I'm looking forward to the addition to the herb and spice family.

Garden Thyme Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

A few of the herbs have been late bloomers, and the Thyme is certainly one of them. These sprouts came up the day before I took the picture, so I was starting to be a bit worried. I felt much better when they showed their green little faces to the world, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them.

Cilantro Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Cilantro is without a doubt high on my list of favorite herbs. These sprouts were among the first to show past their first set of leaves and are showing a lot of promise. Good thing too, the sooner it's ready to eat the better!

Chives sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Chives have the perfect amount of onion flavor for me. I love having them fresh for topping soups and potatoes, and adding to meats and pasta. They've got a good start, but I hope they have enough time to get hearty before the temperature heats up too much.

Oregano Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

When my friend and I were planting the seeds, I was trying to show her how tiny the oregano seeds were when the wind caught the little bag in my hand. The seeds were not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. I was worried that since most of them were caught and lost in the wind that I wouldn't get a good response, but as you can see here I've had quite a few sprouts come up for light. Yay!

Sweet Basil Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I love basil so much that I planted an entire window box and a small tin full. I hope they come up with abundance, because we use a lot of fresh basil and it's rather expensive at the store. When we buy bunches of herbs, we seldom use all of it, so a lot of it goes to waste. With fresh growing basil, I can pull just the large leaves and allow the small leaves to fill in. I also only use what I need, so the rest does not go to waste. Economical, fresh, and delicious.

Purple Tomatillo Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

We've learned to use tomatillo in our cooking over the past few years, so when I saw the purple tomatillo on the Victory Seeds website, I had to order a packet of seeds. They're a little behind the tomato plants, but they've shown some sprouts over the past few days. I'm sure that they'll catch up, and I'm looking forward to seeing how purple they really get.

Orange Tree Tomato Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

These Orange Tree orange tomato plants are said to be round, firm, and slightly tangy. Heirloom tomato plants completely intrigue me, and I hope that these will produce well.

Another heirloom tomato plant, the Brandywine Yellow tomato sprouts are really thriving. Some of the first seeds to sprout, I'm confident that these will be in good condition by the time the heat sets in.

The final heirloom tomato variety I am growing is Pink Accordion tomato. The flesh of these fruit are light red, and grow with ridges on the outside.

Here you have it, what seems to be the successful start of my little happy container garden. I'll update soon, as the plants continue to grow and grow! Wish me luck!

Guadalupe Park Rose Garden

Roses Pathway
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Mark and I spent a few hours on Sunday at a park in San Jose that we haven't been to before. The park itself is larger than where we spent the afternoon, but I was very drawn to the beauty of the rose garden.

The rose garden is home to 3500 different varieties of roses, so as you can imagine there are lots of opportunities for gorgeous views. I spent at least an hour taking photos, so I'm going to show you some of my favorites.

Red and Pink Roses
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

It's breathtaking to be surrounded by so many variations of roses, all in a different color and shape. With every shade of white, pink, red, deep orange, and yellow, bright bursts of fragrant beauty are all supported on rich green plants housing sharp, menacing thorns.

Three Pink Roses
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I was amazed at how large these pink roses fill out. They just keep unfolding and curling until they're almost a full sphere of petals.

Rich Red Roses
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Isn't this picturesque? These may have been my favorite roses in the whole park for their tight buds and beautiful traditional rich red tone. So romantic.

Red to Yellow Roses
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

When I have a house with a garden, I want some great big roses like these. I adore the diffusion from red to yellow. They're so bright and cheery!

Yellow Roses
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

These buttery beauties were growing very densely on their bush! They also showed a broad range of tonality from rose to rose as well, as each aging rose pales and becomes more translucent.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Along the pathway to the grassy hills there are lots of lavender plants. I am not sure I've seen so much in one area. Plus, the calming smell makes the experience very peaceful.

Lavender and Bumblebee
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Though it may be peaceful for us, this little guy is hard at work!

Look at those pollen sacks. He's hit the jackpot at this garden.

Cactus in bloom
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I also had the opportunity to see a flowering cactus. I love that a sharp and threatening plant has such delicate and attractive flowers.

We really enjoyed our time at the park, and I'm looking forward to going back.

Turn those lights off, I'm sleepin! - Cheddar taking a cat nap

Cheddar is my sleepy little boy! Kitten naps are probably the cutest thing ever. Especially when he's all tucked in like this!

What the heck is this thing? Diz pokes at baby Cheddar

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

They weren't sure about him yet. Diz wanted to make sure he was real, I think. Ohh so gently poke him, she says, see if he's squishy.

Somebody's getting huuuge - Cheddar laying out

Somebody's getting huuuge
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Would you look at the size of this guy? Look at the feet and the tail too, he's not done growing yet.

Oh man, we're going to have a giant sack of monster cat on our hands.

Have Cat, Will Travel - Cheddar Duffle

Have Cat, Will Travel
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's Cheddar, all packed up and ready to go to the store with us!

Man, he loves bags. Any kind. Boxes too.

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