late june garden

My brother has been sending photos of his beautiful vegetable garden in Wisconsin. Cool temperatures and a late planting have meant a slow start to my garden, so I've been less than eager to reciprocate with photos. But here at the end of June, the plants are putting on some weight and I'm not embarrassed to share.

This is my main vegetable garden area. The entire form, from materials to size to layout, has evolved in the 12 years we've lived here. Unfortunately the trees in the yard have grown so this site isn't as sunny as it used to be. As a tree hugger, however, I am stuck with the spruce and birch. So this year I looked for some other places to plant veggies on our lot.

I usually have potted herbs by the back door. I included a gorgeous red lettuce in the wine barrel this year.

In addition to the two wine barrels that I've had for years on the deck, this year I set up 6 plastic pots of similar size. They were free at the annual pot recycling event that the botanical garden hosts. The pots are planted with veggies and edible flowers. A tripod in each will hopefully support scarlet runner beans, canary bird vine, sweet peas, or nasturtium. I've also got tomatoes and basil in pots with wall-o-waters around them.

The southside of our house has a long narrow bed that hasn't had much more than daffodils and tulips. Last year I was inspired by the poor returns in my vegetable garden and the edible designs at the Alaska Botanical Garden to add vegetables and flowers to fill in after the bulbs end in early June. I've added sunflowers, shiso, amaranth, broccoli, parsley, chinese cabbage, borage, calendula, and assorted other edible plants.

Two years ago we had to replace our septic tank, which was located near the back of the house under my largest perennial bed. They dug up two large boulders which became part of the landscaping. We saw a dry creek bed on the garden tour that year and Paul created one for us. I had dug up over 200 plants and almost all made the transition to the new bed and seem more lush with the additional topsoil and compost. Paul's torii gate Balance is in the upper left at our back patio.

17-20 june 11 sunny sound

I couldn't believe I was wearing shorts as we motored into Harriman Fjord. The water is ringed by glaciers whose icebergs are floating everywhere. The first two days of our long weekend were downright hot (by Alaskan standards). Even after the clouds returned, little rain fell and we enjoyed a dry weekend on Blossom. Two downsides to the calm weather -- no sailing and no breeze to knock down the no-see-ums.

Despite the millions of little buggers trying to steer me otherwise, it was an easy time to take Guillame Apollonaire's advice: Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness, and just be happy.

Hobo Bay

Packing B up to the ridge

Blossom anchored at the base of Serpentine Glacier

Paul guides us out of Hummer Bay (where the tse-tses were unrelenting)

12 jun 11 gala in the garden

Paul made his artistic debut at the Alaska Botanical Garden's annual Gala and Art Show. His cedar-and-red torii gates were quite striking on the sunny Thursday evening that the Gala was held. The one he named Tranquility sold that evening, and Paul donated all of the proceeds to the garden. (The other one - Balance - is now in our garden.)

The art was up through the weekend for the Garden Faire. We biked to the garden on Sunday to see if the other torii gate had sold and to check out the vendors. All of the plants, crafts, and art were very tempting, but I only bought two strawberry plants and a few thoughtful Alder Patch cards, which was about all I could fit into my pack.

4 june 11 upwind in port wells

When I emailed our float plan to my family, my brother in Wisconsin replied "I envy you. We have a high in the upper 50's today with strong winds. It feels chilly; not boating weather." Hah! I said. That's a good day in Prince William Sound. I hoped it would reach 50. It didn't for 3 days, but that's beyond today's blog.

Despite the chill and rain, we hoisted the sails and headed up Port Wells to Esther Passage. Paul was at the helm for most of the sail because the wind held during his 1-hour shift. We have resolved to try to sail any breeze that comes up, so despite the weather, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to make some distance under sail and without the motor.

Eventually the wind died down and we furled the sails and started the motor. Minutes later, a pod of dall porpoises started swimming alongside us, and then crossing in front of us. Technically I think it was my shift at the helm, but I grabbed my camera and scooted up to the mast to photograph their antics. They are very hard to photograph, but you can see two in this photo - one on either side of the furled jib.

And while we were out in the rain, Bhikkhu was doing what all good first mates do, especially when the boat has two captains - he was checking the charts and guide and keeping us on course.