Archive

Monthly Archives: April 2012

One of the most prized and interesting ecogarden community plants is this stinging nettle. It lives in a container, which is especially important for this very vigorous and prolific beauty. It spreads via underground root-shoots and if allowed to it would fill vast areas.

Of course the most well-known property of stinging nettle is how just-plain-painful it can be to touch it the wrong way. It’s really that bad… those thousands of little needles are like tiny syringes, instantly injecting a whole cocktail of nasty chemicals designed to cause maximum annoyance under the skin of any mammal.

Nettles are actually edible and full of protein, vitamins, and other goodness. Dried or cooked, the needles lose their sting. It makes a good tea.

There are a bunch of alleged remedies for nettle stings, including the juices of various herbs. I find that if I can get to the hose within a few seconds, a very hard spray of water directly onto the stung area for at least 30 seconds does a great job of flushing the nasty chemicals from the injection point. It still stings, but the hurt goes away a lot faster.

When visitors come to the ecogarden, I try to remember to warn them about the dangerous “nettle zone” of the upstairs deck. Also present in this happy container: a dozen or more fat sunchoke tubers (unharvested as yet, partly because of the nettles in the way). In the above photo you can see their sprouts just coming up – there’s one down at the front, just to the right of the gray rock. There are also smaller herbs including chickweed, strawberry, fringed willow-herb, sorrel, Santa Barbara daisy, and more.

See what this container ecogarden looks like by the middle of May, when the nettles are blooming.

Read more about stinging nettle in this fascinating Wikipedia article

Oh God, the colors, the colors…

Five minutes after this was taken, the eastern sky was an even span of yellowish-pink. For dawn and sunset clouds, sun angle is absolutely critical.

For these handheld pictures with changing, difficult lighting I use a Nikon D-80 on shutter priority, and the camera self-adjusts the f-stop and ISO rating for 1/200 second. It’s amazing what good pictures it can take when it’s properly programmed. I love this happy, faithful camera!

It looks like our rainy spell is over. Storm track will likely trend north of Bay Area for a while.

The garden is calling. I hear you!

 

It stands out like a beacon, glowing in the low sunlight against the shadowy background. The first of many flowers on this faithful old cane has now opened, and the season is on!

UPDATE: See the gigantic berries coming in later in the season!

Also blooming in the warm late afternoon sun…

Santa Barbara daisy, or fleabane. Great plant for dryish borders or slopes. Never stops blooming.

White clover peeking out from behind a sapling of spiky english holly.

The prettiest girls of all, the little fumitory. Tiny pink and red fairies shining in the light. Classic!