Making Hay

Boy howdy, it’s been a busy May here at the BEACH FARMGIRLS house near the sea. As the old saying goes, we’ve been “Making hay while the sun shines! “.  Whew! It feels great to sit down and ” pen ‘ this post to you today! I bet many of you have been “hard at play” in your springtime farmgirl endeavors too! I hope you don’t mind another post about FLOWERS! I haven’t been anywhere except the nursery and my yard for weeks! Wanna see the latest in my Backyard Flower Farm? Grab your garden clogs and let’s go see what’s comin’ up!!! I promise a sweet treat at the end of the tour….

Before we get too far along, I need to get something off of my chest. This flower farming business is HARD WORK! Planning and dreaming about farming is EASY! Shoveling 9 yards of loam/compost into a wheelbarrow and hauling it over to my raised flower beds IS NOT EASY. It’s a good farmgirl workout though even if I was mighty sore afterwards. I’m not 22 anymore girls! I turned 50 last year remember?! I have to be sure and stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, a hat and break for a light lunch while I REST IN THE SHADE! Those dawns to dusk days in the garden are a thing of the past. So, while I learn to nurture (and nourish) my little seedlings and sprouts I’m getting a lesson on nurturing ME too.

With every shovel full I placed in the wheelbarrow I imagined what each bed would look like spilling over with blossoms! Old fashioned Cosmo’s, Bachelor Buttons and Poppies blooming alongside the bold and tropical bright petals of Dahlia and Zinnia. I could see the Drop Dead Red Sunflowers dancing over my head with a bright blue sky behind them. I even dreamed up a few names for my homegrown bouquets! I felt happy thinking about the joy my backyard blossoms will bring to people this summer and fall. I’ve fallen deeper in love with gardening since I began this adventure! I’m looking at EVERYTHING in my garden as possible bouquet stars and fillers!  See, I even daydream while I work!

Here in my neck of the sandy shores, Memorial Day Weekend is the GREEN flag for planting!

 Just in time too because my greenhouse grown Cosmos have outgrown their seed pots already!

The sunflowers were ready for transplanting too. As I tucked each seedling into their ” new beds ” I said a little flower farmgirl prayer. GROW BABY GROW! YOU CAN DO IT!

I looked up how to plant Dahlias on you-tube! Even with the description on the bag I still couldn’t figure it out! Several of them are already sprouting green leaves up through the soil!  Pray none of them are in upside down!

Don’t feel too badly for me sisters, I did have SOME help with the shoveling!

Here’s my beloved farmhand working hard in the field !  I think he took pitty on me when he saw how stiff I was the day after I filled the first two of eight raised beds on my own!

Six of the beds are filled. Only two more to go! Oh, have I mentioned what we built the raised beds with? The frames are 2x12s’ and the sides are reclaimed natural stone tiles. My hubs used to work for an international natural stone company. He would bring home the discontinued sample tiles as he picked them up from showrooms and retailers. He worked for that company for ten years. That should give you some idea of how many tiles we had/have in our basement! I used to rib him a little about his dream of building a castle out of all that stone.

But, once again his ” stuff “ has come in handy for one of MY projects. When will I ( Miss smarty pants ) learn? 🙂

I’ve planted Dahlia’s in the front two beds where they’ll get the most heat and sun. Zinnia seedlings (and seeds) will go in the two behind them. Still sprouting in the green house I’ve got Pacific Giant Delphinium, Choco Sun, and several varieties of tomatoes. Some for here at home and some for the cottage garden!

Here’s a little peak at some of the other things I’ve planted. I managed to get my shed window box planted!

And I’ve added some Knock Out roses to my established border!

Oh, they smell so SWEET- A -LICIOUS!

Speaking of sweet, I promised you something at the end of the tour didn’t I?

Try some of my homemade Strawberry, Rhubarb, Date Compote drizzled over vanilla bean ice-cream made with our very own homegrown rhubarb!

This is a simple and delicious dessert; perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend cook-out!

Strawberry ~ Rhubarb~ Date~ Compote

 2 cups chopped rhubarb

2 cups sliced strawberries

4 dates chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 table spoons water

Mix fruit, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until fruit is softened. Add vanilla.

Serve warm over vanilla bean ice-cream, pound cake, waffles or pancakes!

* For a patriotic touch top with blueberries in honor of the brave men and women have served and serve our great country. It’s because of THEM we can MAKE OUR DREAMS COME TRUE in A FREE COUNTRY!

Before I sign off and pack for the beach I have to know… Did you all enjoy meeting GIRL GENIUS Kimberly Ryan of Paris Rags in the June/July issue of MJF?  I sure did. I absolutely fell in love with her romantic farmgirl designs! I hope you are enjoying the Girl Genius features! I’ve gotten the word there will be more coming your way!

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day sisters! Be with those you love and remember the ones who have gone.

Until our next shoreline visit~

BEACH BLESSINGS and happy planting!!!

Much love,

Sister Deb # 1199

  1. Joan says:

    Wheweeee you have been one busy Farmgirl – you so deserve a fun weekend at the beach – we have been so very dry for at least 10 months and just the last 2 days we have had rain and unfortunately some hail – raining right now as a matter of fact – love hearing it on the windows and roof – just know it is going to help all my new planting take hold and the older plants are looking good. The picture of your Hydrangeas absolutely makes me melt – I don’t seem to be able to get a plant going here – but now seeing this – going to try again. Hope you have a blessed weekend – God Bless those that have gone before us and God Bless the men and women who serve our country.

    Hi Joan! Best to you and your garden! I tried to grow Hydrangeas in Nevada too but I think the soil was to high in clay and rock… They like sandy soil. The rain will help. And, Amen to your last sentence. God Bless them all. Have a great weekend and thanks so much for the visit! xo Deb

  2. Amber says:

    LOVE your garden bed idea! So smart! Those beds will last forever. You’re a smart girl! 😉 Your flowers are going to be amazing. Snap some pictures as they grow, I’d love to see! Happy weekend!

    Hi Amber! Thanks for the note… I’ll keep you in the  farm flower loop for sure!

  3. Jan says:

    I haven’t even got my sunflower seeds in the ground yet! I have tried to start them indoors and it seems that in this locale they are difficult to transplant…I know that I will have some ‘volunteers’ which are already popping..

    Don’t worry about the dahlias. Usually you can tell where the old stem was, so then I just put it upright. If you place them upside down they will just readjust and search for the surface anyway! Mine are starting to pop out of the soil a bit too…We have had wind and clouds, some rain (downpours!) so my tomatoes and peppers are looking pale and spent! I know that in a month or so they will be KICKIN’ IT…

    This is a great year for peonies! Took a large bouquet to my parents grave site yesterday. They planted them when I was a child and then moved them to our house in 1975! My fern peony bloomed seven deep red blossoms this year and my newest, a tree peony has three buds…WooHoo!

    Have a lovely weekend! We are headed for Montana!

    Hi Jan! Oh, I’m so relived to hear that the Dahlias will find their way…  Oh!! The old stem!  I get it now! Glad to hear your garden is off and running! I love Peonies…. I have two plants in my front side garden and they smell so wonderful! I would love to dedicate one bed or another area for more of them!

    Have a safe and fun weekend in Montana! Say hi to the mountains for me… I miss them!

    xo Deb


  4. John'aLee says:

    Girlie….I hear you on that. The dreamin’ is much easier. Wow! I am so impressed with your beds. Your farm looks like a ‘dream farm’ if that is any consolation.
    I can’t believe your 50!! I turn the big 50 in July.
    Have a wonderful weekend my friend!!

    Hey John’aLee! I could never keep up with your schedule!!!Happy almost 50 too!

    xo Deb

  5. Brenda says:

    You sure are working hard! I have only cleaned out and uncovered the flower boarder. Just bought a few flowers to plant up some pots and hubs decided to put in a small vege garden after all so those plants are waiting to be planted. This is our weekend to plant also. Have fun at the beach and happy Memorial day to you!

    Hi Brenda! Happy planting this weekend… Don’t forget to rest… that’s important too!!! xo Deb

  6. Hey Deb,
    Oh I wish I could grow rhubarb here in NC, it is my favorite. I love making strawberry/rhubarb pies and now this year I bought some and made some strawberry/rhubarb bread. I just used my bannana bread or zuchinni bread recipe and substituted the rhubarb/strawberry mixture for the banannas or zuchinni. Everyone loved it. Can’t wait to make more. Your beds are coming along and you will be so happy you planted them this way. I even pulled my little wooden garden chair up to mine yesterday and picked my green beans. now that is lazy, but enjoyable, Ha.!
    Have a blessed holdiay and summer. Neta

    Hi Neta! You’re funny, I’m trying to come up with a " garden seat " for myself too! Hey, the ole’ back, she ain’t what she used to be! Your bread recipe sounds yummy! Can you email me the recipe? I’d like to try it. xo Deb

  7. Barb says:

    Boy you have been busy! I and the hubby just made 2 of the 5 beds I had envisioned for my veggie area. So glad, because as it turned out my measurements were a little off. Anyway, I know what you mean about the wheelbarrows full of soil and compost to fill–it is a workout but felt so good to have filled and planted with lettuce, carrots and radishes in one and tomato plants, lemon cucs and zuccini in the other. Here in western Oregon, we have had lots of rain this year, but finally we had beautiful weather for 2 entire weeks which allowed me to do my filling and planting. This week it rained 3 inches, however most everything was in and loved the rain and reasonably temperate weather.
    Love your posts and enjoyed your pictures. Wish the best to all Farmgirls at heart–have a great weekend and thank you and God Bless all who have and are serving Our Country.


    Hi Barb! Sounds like your gardens have taken hold in the northwest! I’m happy for you! It’s a great feeling isn’t it? Have a wonderful weekend! xo Deb

  8. Dolly Sarrio says:

    You are one busy person and I just sit, read and wish I had your energy! I love all of your raised beds that is great!

    Well, thanks Dolly dear! Have a great weekend! xo Deb

  9. Laura says:

    Hi Deb, thanks for the update and the sweet recipe, I would like to make that! Your beds look great and I did have a question about the critters in your area. Here in NY some critter, a chipmunk or a woodchuck, made a meal of my beautiful dahlia plant. I ended up putting the plant inside to save what was left of it. And they climbed up on top of a table to get to it ! Seeing your dahlia beds I couldn’t help think about some critter drooling over it, lol. Keep up the good work with the flower farm and taking good care of yourself 😉

    Well, now that you mention it Laura, we have had a woodchuck once before. Last year it ate half of my hollyhock plant in a matter of two days. We found it hiding under the shed, so we blocked it off and he disappeared! My hollyhock survived and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of it since! Thanks for reminding me to keep an eye out for critters! xo Deb

  10. Nancy says:

    My goodness, you have been hard at work! I love, love, love your stone-sided raised beds! That’s a great embodiment of the old farm saying, "Everything pulls its weight." I can’t wait to see more pictures!



    Hey Nancy! My husbands father grew up on a farm… He passed on some of that thinking to him too! It was his idea to use the stone tiles…! Thanks for the visit! xo Deb

  11. Brenda says:

    Deb thanks for the up date I think it is going to be beautiful and Thanks for the sweet treat going to try it on some hot biscuits.

    Ooh Brenda, sound great on hot biscuits…!!!! I’ll have to try that too!

    xo Deb

  12. Shery says:

    Good-Golly … you hAVE been working your litle finners to the bone. Creating the ‘infrastructure’ for your new enterprise was no small undertaking. Now, the rest of the story will be fun to watch as you pursue it. I’m headed out to my own garden project for the day. Getting a couple of Aleve onboard beforehand :o)

    Oh, and by the way, are you aware of how much your little red henhouse has been re-pinned on Pinterest??!! Everyone in the known universe thinks it is darling.

    Howdy Shery! Hmmm I think I need to be more pro-active in the Aleve department as well…. It’d be nice to be able to walk upright after a day in the garden! My finner’s are alright it’s my back that’s giving me fits! I HAVE noticed the LRHH  has made the rounds on pinterest! I’ll have to let hubby know, he’ll get a kick out of that! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with all of your rusty lugnuts you picked up on your travels!!! xo Deb

  13. Pamela deMarrais says:

    Hey Deb! I loved seeing your progress on your garden. You took on a very big project, but you are doing it in farm girl style! It is going to be so pretty by the end of the summer! I miss the sandy soil from Massachusetts. You do grow the best hydrangeas there. Nantucket is so charming with them all along the property lines and in front of the weathered gray cottage shingles. I salute your efforts with a tall glass of iced tea!

    Hi Pam! You are right about the sandy soil in MA. and the charming property lines in Nantucket too. That is such a pretty picture!  Coming from the high desert where a pick axe and auger were standard planting tools it is a treat to garden near these sandy shores! Thanks for the kind words… I’ll keep you posted!

    xo Deb

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