the tomatoes are all right


I blogged about our upside down tomatoes recently.  Like me, they are not quite ready for the end of summer.  But the sun has been good the last few days, and has brought some audacious color to their cheeks. Take a look — aren’t they absolutely plump and gorgeous?






from neglected wild to controlled wonder #greenlake


What’s more controlled than succulent plants lining up in a grid? These plants were perfect and all last year, but only five of these charmers survived the winter. The metal frame was a cucumber trellis that was previously used in the south yard, but had since been repurposed to hold the succulent plants against the wall. The small pots are attached to the metal frame with a thin garden wire that can easily be adjusted and moved.

Backyard Wall. 2015 #greenlake #seattle
Succulent plants. 2015

This is my backyard in 2013. The 12×12 shed had been built, and painted yellow. The backyard is a bit shady under the red cedar tree, so the paint is a brighter shade of yellow on purpose. Also, the crumbling fence had been replaced and oiled and the landscaping had been done when this snap was taken in the spring of 2013.

022 1 May 2013_FBYwall
Backyard with new wall and shed. May 2013

This is what my backyard looks like in 2010. The neighbor’s tree might be a magnolia, maybe … it has white flowers that bloom profusely during the season. You can also see that there’s another spiky yucca plant in the yard and some ivy vines that have climbed over the fence.

Backyard Wall. 1 Jun 2010 #greenlake #seattle


the north yard attempts a shade garden, it’s come a long way, baby! #greenlake #seattle


The north yard is probably the area that gets the least sun in the house.  This part of the house has had sunflowers, nasturtiums, and wildflowers grown through the years. Below a climbing nasturtium adorned the raised bed in the north yard in 2014. You can see that the garbage/recycle/food&yard bins sit on the pavers installed near the patio. Eventually, J&R want to plant black bamboos here to provide not only some greenery but also a privacy wall. The climbing nasturtiums are lovely but the black bamboos would be awesome to look at from the kitchen window.

North Yard. 2014
North Yard. 2014


In attempting to put a green strip in the north yard, J&R planted wildflowers one year. And indeed, as you can see below, the flowers showed their wild streak in the north yard just before the area was redone.

North Yard 7 June 2013 #greenlake #seattle

The wildflowers did not quite work as intended. So a raised cedar bed framed with pavers and rivers rocks were installed in the north yard between the neighbor and this house. This is where the recycle, garbage and food&yard bins are regularly parked for an easy roll down the curbside once a week.

North Yard, 26 Jun 2013 #greenlake #seattle

But you probably can’t quite imagine what this was like in 2010.  Unfortunately, we don’t have pics of that time but this is what the north yard looked like a year after J&R moved into the house. So yes, it’s come a long way, baby.

North Yard, 21 Oct 2011 #greenlake #seattle

gifts of the season from a modest #seattle garden #greenlake

Most of the vegetables grown here were planted in the narrow strip of the south yard which gets the most sun. J&R have used Eartheasy’s Farmstead Raised Garden Bed for years now, and so far, have not seen the need to replace the beds.  The beds (which use pegs) are easy to assemble and can quickly be repositioned as needed.  Some plants like the calamancito, and the lime fruit shown below are grown in small containers.  There are endless opportunities for a small garden. Plastic sprinkling cans can be repurposed as planters at no great cost.  The green onions below were planted in a $1 wicker basket salvaged from a yard sale.  No great luck growing cilantro for one reason or another but I understand that J&R will try growing a salad bar again next year.


the front yard gets a welcome garden #greenlake #seattle

The latticed wall is in good shape, and is oiled together with the new bench. But because the wood in the lattice is older, it looks darker than the bench as you can see in the photo below. Next to the patio is a small garden that’s just a few steps to the entrance of the house. This is what it looks like a year after the flagstones were installed with creeping thyme planted between the pavers.

FY Garden
front garden, august 2012

Here is what this looked like in 2011. J&R also wanted to grow some shrubs next to the hedge to provide some privacy wall. You can see from the 2012 photo that a year did make a difference and they had a bit of success doing that.

Front Garden, 2011
front garden, july 2011





upside down tomatoes: a hanging basket that could #greenlake #seattle

J&R had been trying to grow all sorts of vine on the trellis without much success. So one year, they finally decided on hanging baskets. They planted geraniums with nasturtiums in 14″ inch hanging baskets.  The baskets flowered through fall and were lovely additions to the patio.

Hanging Basket


In 2016, they could not resist the idea of an upside down tomoto plant. Most of the upside down planters were made of plastic and they could not find one that they really liked. So R. bought coconut basket liners and re-used the baskets from the previous years. They were not  quite sure the tomatoes would survived the transplantation nor the basket, but they did. Take a look! If she had to do this all over again, I’m sure she’ll go for cherry tomatoes.

ALHIGL | hanging baskets3



sweet #seattle summers, a season for growing #greenlake