Coming Back Soon!

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Housekeeping notes over here! Hopefully you’ve been following and staying up to date with me on Facebook the last few months. I’ve been cranking away at my book and garden and haven’t had a lot of time to blog as well. (If you haven’t, you can still go catch up at facebook.com/veronicainla) You can also follow me on twitter or instagram @veronicainla ORRRR over at tumblr at http://bikinigardening.tumblr.com/.

Also, I’ve been dusting off my skillz and playing a little with some of my illustrations, importing them into the hyper-slow less robust world of cloud editing software (really really need a new laptop and photoshop like yesterday) so that is what’s attached here…just some playing I was doing last night. 😛

(And I know! You are totally screaming “MOAR!!!” inside right now, but don’t fret- you will so end up being bombarded with infographics and more images like this one once the reboot gets the green light. :D)

Alright, I have a lot more cyber suitcases to pack right now and drag over here, but consider this my virtual “we’re moving to a newer more awesome house online!” (only not IRL or you wouldn’t hear from me for months. New patches of dirt say whaaaat?) Next time you hear from me, it will be at Bikini Gardening’s housewarming party. See you guys soon!!!

Chef Morningstar’s Herb Garden at Ray’s and Stark Bar

Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
I’ve been watching this little garden grow all spring and summer long. While a lot of restaurants are hopping on the Farmer’s Market Train these days, some places are taking it a step further and growing their own, a sure sign of their dedication to the fine art of crafting fresh, delicious dishes that will eventually end up in my belly. And it makes sense that Ray’s and Stark at LACMA would have such a massive herb garden. Between the seasonal plates and freshly muddled cocktails, little bunches of herbs for a dollar each at the Farmer’s Market can get expensive!

(Seriously though folks- herbs are the gateway drug to gardening. They’re beautiful, often perennial, and almost maintenance free once their roots are established. If you love to drink, cook, or any combination thereof, they’re practically indispensable. I’ve grown them in everything from coffee mugs on the windowsill to old shoes on the patio, and often propagate cuttings in shot glasses on the kitchen or living room ledges. Plus, once you can keep a few of these puppies alive, you basically become a gardening addict and then… the possibilities are endless!)

Back in May, Unframed featured some shots of the newly planted beds behind Ray’s and Stark. Though there’s still no word on when the tomato beds are going to happen, I am happy to report that the herbs are still alive and thriving! Here are some updated shots I grabbed a few weeks ago during Jazz Night:

Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena
Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
Basil, Tarragon, and Chives
Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
Purple Basil and Borage
Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
Even More Basil! (Maybe a sign of pesto to come? :D)
Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
Thyme, Savory, Curry, and Geranium
Herb Garden at Ray's and Stark (LACMA)
Sorrel and More Lemon Verbena

Random Street Cred!


Slightly bragging, I know, but I had to share my TOTALLY RANDOM AWESOME STREET CRED! that I got last week from Canning Across America’s cherry picture roundup for a picture I took making brandied cherries a few weeks ago (and was super giggly stoked about for like three days.)

More info can be found at the Canning Across America website. My picture is the third one on there. It’s the little things in life, right? 🙂

The Learning Garden (Venice, CA)

Raised Beds- The Learning Garden at Venice HSMaster Gardener David King- The Learning Garden at Venice HSFall Planting Class- The Learning Garden at Venice HSGrapevine Archway- The Learning Garden at Venice HSGrapevine Archway- The Learning Garden at Venice HSGrapevine Archway- The Learning Garden at Venice HS
Grapevine Archway- The Learning Garden at Venice HSGrapevine Archway- The Learning Garden at Venice HSMission Fig Tree- The Learning Garden at Venice HSMission Fig Tree- The Learning Garden at Venice HSHuge Mission Figs!- The Learning Garden at Venice HSBolted Arugula- The Learning Garden at Venice HS
Summer Raised Bed Gardening- The Learning Garden at Venice HSCompost Center- The Learning Garden at Venice HSOutdoor Classroom- The Learning Garden at Venice HSGreenhouse Space- The Learning Garden at Venice HSMaster Gardener David King- The Learning Garden at Venice HSThe Learning Garden at Venice HS
The Learning Garden at Venice HS

One of the easiest ways to continue your growth as a gardener is by going back to school! No, not the sort of education that will put you into a mountain of debt (cough*undergrad*cough*cough)- I’m talking about the sort of education that you can plug into whenever, wherever, on your own watch.

Here in Los Angeles we have a ton of great resources at our disposal, including multitudes of volunteer programs, handfuls of master gardeners that offer weekend sessions, and the recently created Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA), just to name a few.

One of my favorite places to go and grow is The Learning Garden at Venice High School. Gardenmaster David King teaches a lot of the classes for both the school and the public, and with over 50 years of gardening experience, there are few questions you could ask that he won’t have an answer for. (He’s even breeding his own varieties of seeds right now! Too cool!) I was actually there this past weekend for a class on “Growing Food In Southern California” and came home with lots of good information that I will be no doubt be sharing some of in the coming months here as well.

If you’re not in SoCal, a quick Google search will yield some results for classes and community gardens in your area. And if you live in LA, check out The Learning Garden or SLOLA on Facebook for more information!

The Learning Garden on Facebook

SLOLA on Facebook

Mixed Veggies for canning, eating, and sharing :)

Just wanted to share a quick shot of this weekend’s harvest. Despite the climbing temperatures outside, most of the garden is doing great! (Okay, that’s a lie. The corn died. But everything else is really fabulous.)

P.S. I’m so glad tomato season is finally here- I feel like we’ve been waiting forever, and now we are inundated with them! (Time to start canning!!!)

Tomato Time!

The most anticipated part of the season is finally here! 😀
Solid First Tomato Harvest, End of July (with Summer Romaine and Arugula)

I shared the first ripe Cherokee Purple with my roommate:
Cherokee Purple (Yes that's one tomato!)

Made a burger garnish tray for a BBQ out of the earliest Neves Azorean Reds:
How I Roll Into a BBQ

And even threw some Yellow Pear Tomatoes into our “over the fence CSA” exchange:
Over the fence produce delivery ;)

I certainly believe that sharing the early harvest helps to bring good karma to the garden (and neighborhood!) And we’ll need all of the luck we can get with August and September heat finally closing in on us, and these late season beauties (below) pushing closer to ripening. Fingers crossed!

Zapotec Ribbed

Dwell Expo 2011

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Dwell Expo 2011, a set on Flickr.

The Dwell Expo came and went, and I totally spaced on sharing these pictures I took at it! Well… better late than never.

A lot more cool gardening and outdoor stuff was on display this year, as well as some beautiful locally made furniture and lighting. There were also a ton of sustainably created pieces from repurposed or recycled materials (fiber concrete patio chairs say what??? Swoon.) Actually, I think that this year’s show was twice as amazing as last year’s, and I can’t wait to see what they put together for the next round!