Our Garden + NEWS!

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Hi there! Quite a few people have been asking me lately for a peek at our garden. And this ties in quite nicely with two pieces of really nice news, so let’s do all of that at once!

I took this picture of Amelia today. We have struck a summertime bargain– one hour outside + one hour finding stuff to do in her room = one hour of watching cartoons. So far, it’s working brilliantly. It makes me really happy every time I see her lying around reading or daydreaming, either in the hammock or on a blanket.Summer Reading

I love our garden (which is the broader term for yard over here) and it’s one of the best things about our house. There was already so much great landscaping done– things come into bloom from March to September. We put in all of the garden beds and converted other patches with edible landscaping. I’ll be honest– our raised beds are not doing so well this year. The snails and slugs have been absolutely merciless, decimating starts overnight. So, that’s my little disclaimer.bean teepeeAt least the bean teepee is getting covered! And we have a crazy-abundant sage bush, which I have drastically trimmed down a couple times already.bean teepee 1There are a lot of blackberries ripening here and down in the wilder parts of our garden. It’s such a treat to go pick a few after dinner. And our pears are looking good, too!garden view

And this is where the first bit of good news comes in. We get to stay here! We had been looking at a lot of properties, and it just didn’t feel right. Most of them had no outdoor space, and oddly, no dining area either. Those are two things that really matter to me! I live most of my life at home, and am pretty sensitive to my surroundings– so my home makes a big impact on my daily well-being. I felt in my gut that moving in to a home that didn’t feel good or have nice spaces for my family to relax together would not be the right choice.

Thinking outside the box a little, we decided to ask our landlord for a rent reduction instead. And he agreed! So we are thrilled to stay in this home for another year, and I am enjoying and appreciating our garden more than ever. Looking at all the other homes just solidified our love for this one.

Here is my favorite spot. We eat outside every single day that we can, and I just look forward to it all through the colder months. It’s my version of total bliss. We very, very rarely eat out, so this is it for us! The place to be!

Table ImageCan I take a moment and show off my geraniums? I planted them last year, and they overwintered so well in our conservatory.
GeraniumsI’ve been cramming succulents into the cracks in this wall for three years now, and love seeing them growing there.succulents   And speaking of meals outside, bliss, etc…. My second bit of good news:  I have been working feverishly on a new project, quite out of the blue! I am just finishing my first cookbook! I am so excited about this, and really proud of it. It’s part-memoir, part-travelogue, and full of good food. I will be releasing it on Monday (!) and can’t wait to share it with you.And Here We Are At The Table-- Grain-free meals from around the world
So, there is my garden and the positive developments over here. We just got back from having dinner at the beach (and swimming in the sea) just as we did last week. These are the best days of the year, and we are loving life. How is summer treating you so far? How is your garden growing?

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22 Responses to Our Garden + NEWS!

  1. Col July 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Oh, so lovely to come home from a very busy day and see your beautiful garden. I love your geraniums so colourful. I am glad you are not having to move and how kind of the landlord to reduce rent to keep good and caring tenants. My garden is growing but in a bit of a lull. We have had a heat wave and things aren’t so happy! Now its been torrential rain, so I am going to tidy up all the planter boxes and put some new crops in to grow into fall. We have a local farm in the middle of the city here and I ride my bike to the farm and purchase all my greens and onions and such. YUM! PS looking forward to seeing the cook book!

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Thank you, Col! I am with you on just focusing on the fall garden, when the weather is steadier. I have given up on most of the summer crops, and will work on fortifying my soil and getting my autumn plants in. That will be so nice!

  2. Sarah July 25, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    Love this! 🙂 And can hardly wait for the cookbook, how exciting!

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Thank you, Sarah!

  3. Christina July 25, 2014 at 12:52 am #

    Ariana… Love this post. Love seeing Amelia laying in your yard with her face in a book! Love seeing your garden. Your landlord agreeing to lower the rent also speaks highly of you and your family as tenants. Has your landlord said anything about the added beauty you have brought to the yard?.. like the succulents in the wall cracks? Very cool.

    I cannot wait for your cookbook!

    I love every one of your posts and I hope to continue to see them throughout the forthcoming years.

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      Thank you, Christina. We don’t ever speak directly with our landlord– it is always through our letting agency. But we are on good terms with them, and they have taken lots of pictures of what we’ve been doing in the garden, and he is pleased. I’m sure that helps!

  4. Jessica July 25, 2014 at 1:15 am #

    Oh wow! What fantastic news all around. I’m excited to see the cookbook!

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Thank you, Jessica!

  5. mandy July 25, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    Glad to hear you get to stay!!!! Such a beautiful garden.

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks, Mandy– we are so glad, too!

  6. Laurel July 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    Yay! So glad you get to stay! It would be a shame to leave and your landlord sounds really cool.

    Garden is growing by leaps and bounds here in East TN. We’ve had abundant rain and sun. Picking lots of cukes and beans and the tomato avalanche is about to start. We’re growing Mt. Merit tomatoes this year because they are resistant to the late blight which kills everything else. Bonus: they are picture perfect, baseball sized and no cracks!

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Oh, wow– your garden sounds so wonderful! You will be so busy when it’s time to preserve that bounty. Our beans are finally coming in, really strong.

  7. makecomplete July 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Your garden is gorgeous! It looks like a miniature paradise. I’d love to spend an afternoon in that hammock with a glass of iced tea, or maybe sangria, and a really good book, just lazing away 🙂

    I only have a tiny box garden, which I have sort of let run rampant. I have lettuce plants that have shot skyward and are now going to seed, and the mint and basil are very stringy and flowering. The tomatoes are stunted because I didn’t stake or cage them. But I do have lots of thyme! I use it to cook with a lot. And the echinacea plant blossomed beautifully.

    So glad to hear your good news! I can’t wait for the cookbook. I don’t follow a gluten-free or paleo diet, but I should try to cut down on all the bread and pasta. I think your cookbook will be really helpful.

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      Oh, yes on the sangria and a book on a summer afternoon! And what are the chances of having trees so perfectly spaced, right? That always amazes me.

      I cook with tons of thyme, too. I have so many plants, yet still worry about using too much, so I often buy it at the store to give all of my little plants a break. I dream of having an unlimited supply someday…

      I hope you’re enjoying the cookbook! 🙂

  8. Ann July 26, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Love seeing your garden! I love the scarlet runner beans. I planted some but mine have peach colored flowers. I might have to go back to the red ones, they’re so pretty! Doing the happy dance for you too that you get to stay in the home you’re in. And, I’m looking forward to your cookbook.

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Thank you so much, Ann– we’re so happy that we can stay!

  9. Karen July 26, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Ariana, I am in transition in my life, was feeling rudderless and happened upon your blog as I was looking for inspiration. You have opened a whole new perspective for me on living and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I wish you and your family all good things.

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Hi Karen, thank you so much for telling me this. What a gift to hear! I am wishing you well as you find possibility and clarity in your life!

  10. Joanna July 29, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    Your garden looks like a true oasis and so I am really pleased to hear that you get to stay.

    As for my garden, they are in amongst the weeds. We have several plots of allotments and one plot I weed in stages because the most abundant weed is fat hen and so I pull up a few handfuls to give to the chickens. Saves feed and means I don’t feel so guilty about the abundance of weeds

    • ariana August 7, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      I love that you have chicken feed growing in your garden plot! 🙂

  11. Donna July 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    I’m so happy for you that you get to stay where you love. Reading through some of your posts, I see you have picnics often (as well as al fresco dining). Could you do a post on how you pack your picnics — food, utensils, containers, etc.? And when you eat outside, do you have any tips on preparing the table (so you don’t have so many trips from kitchen to table?) Also, how do you handle the flies/mosquitos/wasps, etc. while eating outside? Thanks! Love the geraniums!

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