Gift Ideas for the Gardener on Your List

Solar Lights In The Garden

Solar Lights In The Garden

Solar Lights In The Garden

With the holidays almost upon us it might be a good idea to provide some gift ideas for the gardener in your life. The weather outside might be frightful but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan some heartscaping for the garden. Below find some ideas for the garden to fit almost any budget.

Little solar lights transform a garden into a magical wonderland when the sun goes down.

These little lights in the shapes of butterfly, dragonfly and humming bird make an evening on the patio next to the garden a magical and relaxing event. At around $20 for a set of four they are a delightful addition to any garden.

Also this solar light wind chime is very whimsical and would be fun in a garden setting.

But who am I kidding. I discovered something for the garden on Amazon that makes my little nerd heart jump for joy.

Starting off with a little dragon sculpture for your patio wall or really anyplace you think you can wedge him in. This cute little dragon comes in at $40.

The Astronaut at Ease is really fun and would be awesome in any garden or on a desk. It’s turning your garden into a sci-fi adventure! A bit more spendy than the wall dragon at $85 but so much fun.

Ok not necessarily for the garden but this Frost Dragon ornament is gorgeous and at $17 it’s very reasonably priced.

If you have a more practical bent this little garden caddy is always useful and at $10 it won’t break the bank.

These little kneeler pads are a great gift too. As a gardener you are always kneeling down to pull out this or that weed, or check that plant or harvest this or that vegetable and while these may not be glamorous they are incredibly useful. And they’re just $9 on Amazon.

Or there are a variety of raised bed kits which could be a great help to a gardener looking to go to raised beds.

Then there is a motion detecting solar light for gardening just a few minutes later into the evening.

Of course what really takes the cake, not just for wow factor but also for price is this little beauty:

Sure it costs more than $500 but it’s a scale model of an Apatosaurus. That’s amazing.

You can get the more modest Camarasaurus for around $300 or so.

And then there’s this:

Totally awesome with a totally awesome price to match.

Yeah the scale model dinos are expensive but they are unexpected, have an unmatched wow factor and your garden will never be the same.

A Nerd In The Garden: The Rains Have Come

After weeding for the day

Before weeding

Before weeding

This week the rainy season got started in ernest. It began with a day of spritzing and grew slightly heavier each day until we have a steady all day rain falling. It might be tempting to think it’s time to put the gardening tools away and relax but now is the perfect time to weed out the large flower bed. The steady rains have made the soil soft enough to get the roots out with the weeds. Getting as many of the roots as possible will keep the return weed numbers way down. It also creates more room in the soil for the roots of the flowers planted in the bed.

Over the years the large flower bed has become overrun with weeds and grasses. I’m embarrassed to post pictures of it but in the interest of demonstrating the transformation, photos will be posted.

After weeding for the day

After weeding for the day


For weeding in the rain a good raincoat, work gloves and work boots are a good idea. I also use a tool that is a combination cat’s claw and hoe. With the ground wet a cardboard box, broken down makes for a good knee guard and after an area has been weeded it can be placed on the now bare ground to prevent grasses from growing back.

Last time I spoke of budgeting time as carefully as you budget money. Looking at the large flower bed, and honestly it is really just a strip on the side of the driveway that I’ve decided will be a flower bed, it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. What does this have to do with budgeting time? Well when I first started the project I decided I could budget 2 hours of time each weekend to landscaping and gardening. Two hours is about all you’d want to spend out in the rain doing weeding even with a good raincoat and gloves. Two hours a week will be enough to chip away at the weeds and have the whole thing beautiful and ready to go by spring.

Border holding strong

Border holding strong

The border we installed last week is holding very well. The silt has not covered the stones we cleaned off from that side. In the photo silt has covered the other side where the border hasn’t yet been installed. When it isn’t raining so hard, or when I haven’t worked overtime we will install the other side.

I counted up the bricks left and we will need more to do the other side of the walkway. Fortunately purchasing a few at a time spreads the cost out and makes it more affordable.

There will be plenty to do in the garden and flower bed until the weather gets too bad to work in it. The raised beds still need to finish being winterized. That might be next week too. K.

A Nerd In The Garden: Hardscaping

One Side with Elephant Ear plants

Along the fence

Along the fence

By K. L. Zolnoski

This week I did a little bit of weeding out front but not as much as I had hoped to get done. It didn’t rain this week and without rain the ground is not soft enough to really get the roots of the weeds out. So I’m going to postpone the serious weeding out front until next week.

There is plenty to be done on the side yard though. We have a narrow path that runs from the back yard proper to a patio on the side of the house. This is where we focused our efforts today.

When the house was first built the contractor used landscaping timbers to border the brick walkway that leads to the patio. Landscaping timbers are decorative and inexpensive at around $4 per 8’ timber.

Preparing for a new border

Preparing for a new border

Over the years these landscaping timbers have rotted away and a constant wash of silt and soil has buried the bricks. Every summer we have to clean off the walkway. It’s a task that’s tedious and labor intensive. Also, right across the walk way is our foundation and the vents to the crawlspace need to be cleared of debris every year. And, as if that weren’t enough, the rain will wash away the hazelnut shell mulch I put down when we planted the ornamental plants we got on sale this last summer. This is all quite sub-optimal.

So we need to replace the border with something that will cut down on the runoff. I have approximately 80 linear feet on a north south axis that needs some kind of border. That would work out to 10 landscaping timbers but in a few years I’d have the same problem as they rotted away. But they are cheap. We’d be talking about $40.00.

The thing is, I don’t want to have to dig out the old rotting timbers again. I don’t want to have to deal with shoveling a layer of silt off my brick walkway again. I really don’t want to have debris from the slight grade up to the neighbors yard introducing itself to my crawlspace. Something a bit more durable is called for. Something like either clay or concrete bricks. Use of these materials is called hardscaping.

Consulting the Google provided information on a variety of shapes, sizes and prices on bricks of all sorts. There were even molds that could be used to make custom bricks if one has the time and inclination. Budget your time as carefully as you do your money.

Preparing a channel to set bricks in

Preparing a channel to set bricks in

Since I work full time and have a household to keep up I don’t have a lot of time to devote to my garden/borders. My plan is to do 2 to 4 hours a weekend. That’s a modest amount of time that leaves a little bit leftover for other things even after I’ve summited Mt. Laundry and cooked for the week. I don’t have time to make custom bricks.

I work hard for my money and I’m on a budget. So I needed to find a brick that was decorative enough that I could live with it and inexpensive enough to fit in my budget. What I finally landed upon is a scalloped top concrete brick that runs about $1.50 per 16”. Needing 80 linear feet for the first phase means I’d need approximately 60 of these bricks. (80 linear feet X 12 inches/foot = 960 inches. Divide by 16 inches to get the number of bricks you need: 60.) It’ll run me just under $90.00 (because the bricks cost just slightly less than $1.50). That’s quite a bit of my budget but I won’t have to reinstall in a few years. My time is worth something too.

Buying materials

Buying materials

I cannot stress this enough: Do the math. If you know how much you need of something, (for example I need 80 linear feet for this part of the project) you can easily calculate exactly how much of a material you will need. This will allow you to accurately budget and prevent overspending on materials you don’t need. Don’t let the terminology turn you off. Linear feet is exactly what it sounds like–a straight- line distance measured in feet.

Additionally we need a level surface, ideally 18” above the surface we want to water for our rain catchment system. Concrete cinder blocks are inexpensive and sturdy. At around $0.99 per block I can afford to set up a proper base for the barrels.

Not wanting to overload my car I made two trips and got just over half of the number of bricks I’d need for both projects. I got 32 of 60 bricks for the border and 6 of 8 cinder blocks and I still need two 8X8 square cinder blocks to complete the base for the rain catchments. I’m going with 8” high rather than 18” for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are weight and stability.

Setting the border

Setting the border

We then spent some quality time using the hoe to chip out the rotted landscaping timbers and prepare a channel to set the concrete border bricks into the ground. I used a smaller hand tool to level the bottom of the channel and then we back filled with dirt from the channel to set the bricks and stabilize the border. The bricks I chose are interlocking so the border is very stable.

I didn’t think either brick red or concrete white were very appealing. Both colors have a rather institutional look to them that I am trying to avoid. Those are the only two colors the bricks come in so I opted to go with a pattern of red and white, which perhaps breaks up the monotony of a single industrial color.

Next week we will finish the other side and possibly continue on down the line of the patio. It may take three weeks to finish the north south line. Then I will consider whether I want to do the much shorter east west line for completeness sake. Probably I will. I like it when things look finished and I enjoy looking at something I have made. K.

End of our work day

End of our work day

some assembly required

some assembly required

In Progress

In Progress

A Nerd In The Garden: Spring Gardening Pt. 2 & A New Cosplay

Looks Professional

Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

Last weekend I started a project to expand my raised bed flower garden. I installed the original raised bed quite a few years ago and as things changed I found myself able and motivated to expand it that last 10 inches. You can read about it here. Taking that wall apart and rebuilding it was backbreaking work.

Not to be outdone, this weekend I decided to finish up what I started last weekend. There was one corner on the upper left side that had not been finished. It was super difficult to get the established weeds out of that spot and the little bit of rain we got wasn’t enough to soak the soil and make it any easier to get them out.

There was also a third level of raised bed that had sunk into the soil over the intervening years and I decided to unearth those blocks and raise them up a bit. All of this along with my intention to weed a small area each weekend until I have the whole thing weed free.

Also, I bought a bunch of pansies. Winter pansies to be specific. They should bloom all through the winter. Plus I got to quote the movie Madagascar where King Julian says, “They’re just a bunch of pansies,” until everyone around me was sick of hearing it. The pansies were on sale so I got 10 of them for less than 10 dollars.

Intending to only spend a couple of hours on this finishing up project, I ended up spending half the day on it. The results are so nice though. It looks finished.

Just a bunch of pansies

Just a bunch of pansies

I still have a few of the decorative blocks left over and I’m going to clean them up and finish up the back level next weekend. Because I purchased a rather large amount of them when I made the original purchase years ago I’ve been able to reuse the blocks, moving them from one spot to another and this has saved me quite a bit of money. I did not have to purchase any more of them.

I was planning on using the ones that hadn’t been put into the wall as bases for the rain catchment system I’m putting in this year but that’s not going to happen now. I’ll have to see if I can find a low cost replacement for my rain catchment barrels. That’s my next garden project.

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

I did a lot of research on rain catchment systems and while I can’t afford to have a professional outfit come out and install an underground tank and all that, I do have the budget (thanks to Craigslist) to get a couple of 55 gallon barrels and the downspout kits for them. The important thing about this, well there are several but when putting things next to one’s house one very important thing is weight. A full 55 gallon rain barrel weighs in at around 450 pounds. So you don’t want to set it on a slope or someplace unstable. You want to make your foundation stand sturdy and level from all angles.

Anyway more on that when I get to installing them. I’m also planning to do a year of my first garden recap when I get the vegetable garden cleaned up and ready for winter. I’m about half way through that now. I’ve got a few tomatoes I’m hoping still ripen up a bit before I have to tear the plants out.

At the end of the day, because I’m clearly a glutton for punishment, I sat down and ordered a few small things to plant in the spring so that I have some summer flowers too. Tulips and lilies are gorgeous but they bloom in the spring and I need something to carry my garden through the summer with some flowers. We’ve already established that I never fail to order twice as many bulbs as I want to plant but this time I out did myself.

You see one of the flowers I love the most in my garden is a blue dutch iris. I’ve only got one and I’ve not found them online or in the garden centers by themselves. They always come in a mix and I always get a ton of white and yellow and almost no blue in the mix when I buy them. The white and yellow are gorgeous but my favorite are the blue. Well this catalogue had blue ones on sale by themselves and they were fairly inexpensive: $15.99. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well I did order them but come spring, when they arrive to be planted, they will be coming in a lot of 50 bulbs. Thankfully I have a great spot for them and they are tolerant of partial shade.

Cosplay:

I’ve finally had another idea for a cosplay. Last time I did Mothra on a budget, which you can read about here. This time I think I can make a wearable Biollante Rose Form. I went through several design ideas, starting with a mermaid under dress. While gorgeous and the right shape for the understructure it would be a royal pain to wear to a convention, so I reluctantly discarded that idea. I’m currently working with a wide leg palazzo pant and tank top for the understructure.

My budget is $100.00 and my time limit is 5 months. I have to work my cosplay creating in around my gardening and right now is the ideal time for gardening. We will see how it goes. K.

Looks Professional

Looks Professional

Mothra Cosplay

Mothra Cosplay

A Nerd In The Garden: Spring Gardening Pt. 1 & A Recipe From The Garden

All planted and partially mulched

Taking the retaining wall apart

Taking the retaining wall apart

Pretty much all of the landscaping that happens at my place will be not just because of my own hard work and planning, but also be a labor of love. Many years ago I built a raised bed. Due to certain obstacles I was unable to go to the edge of the area I had chosen for the raised bed.

This resulted in a strip of weeds that was too narrow to get a lawn mower down and too far away for the weed eater. In short it was an unsightly pain in the patookus. So this weekend I decided to take apart the corner of the raised bed border and extend the bed to use up this narrow strip of yard.

I have never wished so much that I had half-arsed something in my life. Apparently when I put the raised bed in, in the first place, I meant for it to last. That was some solid construction. With a little help I got it taken apart, dug the base for the new border and got the blocks into place. The result was 10 inches wider along the entire side of the bed.

Why oh why did I make this so sturdy?

Why oh why did I make this so sturdy?

Once the bed was rebuilt with the new border I got my trusty little rototiller out. After borrowing an indoor/outdoor extension cord from my neighbor (because mine was 6 feet too short), I got to rototilling. The soil hadn’t been worked in years and I could tell. It was terrible, hard, filled with rocks and gone to clay.

So a trip to my local favorite nursery was in order. I got steer manure and peat moss to amend the bed with. This created a much nicer soil for my planting. I had to make three passes with my rototiller to get it all mixed in and the underlying clay broken up but the results were worth it. This also gave me the opportunity to get a lot of weed roots out of the bed too.

Building it out.  Sturdy.

Building it out. Sturdy.

Also the nursery had huge, gorgeous mums on sale and then on top of that sale price they were buy one get one free. Also winter pansy were on sale. It was only by repeating to myself that anything I buy I would have to plant that I got out of there with just two mums and four pansies. I’ll need more pansies but that will be for a time when I’m not exhausted from rebuilding the bed.

Now, when I order tulips and lilies to plant for spring, I never fail to order approximately twice as many as I actually want to plant once I get deep into the planting. This year was no exception. Add to that the mums and pansies, plus all of the stuff I had managed to save when rebuilding the bed and I had quite a bit of planting to do.

This also was my opportunity to rearrange some of my favorite plants so that they had better position and would be better displayed. Lets just say that with all the planting I had to do, I failed to complete it before the rains came. I ended up completely soaked but well pleased with my new flower bed. In the spring it will be gorgeous.

Saving a plant overnight for tomorrow's planting

Saving a plant overnight for tomorrow’s planting

This really takes little more than a willingness to do back breaking work (I ached so bad I had trouble sleeping the first night), some research into plants and planning on where to plant them. Granted I probably spent close to $200 on materials, including the bulbs and amendments to the bed but the end result is gorgeous and will be spectacular. And I don’t buy bulbs every year. So if you spread it out over years you can spend very little and still end up with a gorgeous yard.

One of the things I really love about bulbs is that if you treat them right they will come back year after year. I have calla lilies that were gifts from loved ones for my father in law’s funeral and I remember him and them every year when they bloom.

I have tulips and gladiolus that I planted years ago that still come up. Every time I work the soil I try to dig up the bulbs and save them. This year I spent more than I normally do by quite a bit. Some years I have spent less than $20.00 but because they keep coming back I have more flowers than I buy in any given year. IMG_0029

The vegetable garden has done well. Especially since this is the first year we had the vegetable garden. We learned some lessons this year. Namely that the pumpkins and squash are banished to the side yard. Also the tomatoes will get huge so don’t cram a bunch of other things into their bed. Plant the melons sooner and not near the tomatoes. Plant the brussle sprouts sooner. Water vegetables slightly less than the ornamental plants like to be watered.

We are adding two more raised beds and maybe one more after that if I can get the spot weeded out and ready for it. I think maybe we can put strawberries in one. We will have to see.

This year we got around 10 pounds of potatoes from the garden. Not bad for our first try. I used them to make ham and tatoes which is a favorite around here.

Layering Potatoes and Ham into the crock pot

Layering Potatoes and Ham into the crock pot

Oh and for those who asked:

Ham and Potatoes (approximate)

Enough potatoes to fill your crock pot 1/2 full
Ham hocks or ham steak or leftover ham from easter (the best) Basically some ham.
1 cup of gorgonzola cheese
4 cups of cheddar cheese
1 Onion — sliced medium thin
1 Stick of butter
2 cloves garlic (or so, if you like garlic add another clove, if you don’t like garlic don’t use it)
1 t. pepper
1 C. Cream
4 C. Milk (or so, you’re making a cheese sauce here)
1/4 C. flour (for the roux)

Slice the potatoes thin and if you like, par roast them in the oven with olive oil and seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and a pinch of salt. Just a pinch though, you don’t want this to be too salty and the cheese and ham both have salt in them.

Grill or caramelize the onions. You want the onions to kind of melt into the ham and tatoes so slice them a bit thin. Make a medium roux with the butter and flour. Add the milk and cream and stir. Add 3 cups of the cheddar cheese to the sauce and stir until well incorporated.

In your crock pot, layer potatoes, ham, onions and cheese sauce, top with remaining cheese and Gorgonzola. I usually get two layers. Cook on low until potatoes are cooked through, stirring occasionally. Enjoy the noms.

Cheese it up

Cheese it up

Sauce and more cheese

Sauce and more cheese

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

A Nerd In The Garden: Heartscaping & Raised Beds

Taboo

Solar Lights In The Garden

Solar Lights In The Garden

Because that is how it feels to me. An oasis of calm in the midst of chaos. A little place of rest and a tiny slice of nature in my backyard. It de-stresses me after all day at work and brings a surprising peace to my soul. It’s not much, I don’t have a lot of land or anything, but I get a little corner of the yard and with a lot of help we are turning it into a place of rest for mind if not body (gardening is hard, sweaty, dirty work; make no mistake).

We are also decorating a little bit. Apparently it’s called heartscaping. I’d never heard that term before but I kind of like it. I ordered solar lights that light up in the dark. There is a hummingbird, a butterfly and a dragonfly. We put them out and then weren’t out late enough to see if they actually worked. Sometimes decorative solar lights are a bit dicy and we’ve had spotty luck with them. To our delight all three of these work and they cycle through colors too.

We have, in the course of clearing out the spot and putting in the beds and weeding henseforth, been scratched, stabbed by thorns and bitten by little bitey insect things. We’ve dug up blackberry roots the size of my fist and had to leave pieces of blackberry root in the ground because we just couldn’t get them out. We pruned back an own-root rose that we planted a long time ago named Jude The Obscure. We weren’t sure if we had killed it or not between the brutal pruning and digging all the blackberrys out but in the last week it has leafed out all over. I’m pleased that it survived and seems very happy.

Growing Garden

Growing Garden

Some critter has been digging up the second bed of potatoes, could be the mole that invited himself into the yard the week after we got all the beds installed. Could be a raccoon, we do have a family of them living around here. Either way it killed the onion sets on its way to the potato bed, so I had to rake off the mulch and replant seeds.

Peas had to be re-planted too, as some of them had been broken off by the night-time visiting critter. The cages I put up around the surviving peas seem to have discouraged said critter from climbing into that bed. The brussel sprouts had to be thinned and I was able to transplant the few that were too close to others into bare spots in the bed.

After loosing the original Gunnera to a late freeze, we finally got a new one and put it replacement Gunnera in the ground just slightly south of the spot I planted the original one. Then we had some very hot days and it got a tiny bit, well ok about 30%, sunburned. I’m taking care to deeply water it every day now until it gets its root system established.

Vintage Wine

Vintage Wine

The first tomato has set. It’s on Vintage Wine. The other two tomato plants, both yellow Brandywine types are growing huge but havent’ got any flowers yet. The Vintage Wine has quite a few flowers on it already.

We picked up two cucumber starts, a lemon cucumber and a more traditional heirloom whose name I forget, my apologies. We also picked up an heirloom melon start at the farmer’s market. I planted all three in the same bed with the tomatoes. There’s quite a bit of basil and purple basil coming up in that bed too.

My roses have been blooming like crazy this year. I’ve been pruning them and getting a vase of roses every week. While I remember the names of most of them, I must confess that I’ve forgotten the names of a couple of them.

Honor, my only white rose, was languishing in the spot it was in. It was a bad spot to begin with but I was new to rose gardening and didn’t know better. Finally after many years of talking about moving her, we did today. She may not survive but she was dying where she was anyway.

Taboo

Taboo

Either Amethyst or Peace will have to be moved next. Both are unhappy where they are at and I’d like to give them a better spot. I finally dug the blackberries out from around Chicago Peace and it is very happy. There’s still one blackberry root I need to get out and eventually I will. We transplanted Taboo last year and at first it was very happy but this year not so much. I don’t know what has changed but I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Taboo is my only red rose.

Distant Drums

Distant Drums

I’ve been looking for the hummingbirds this year. The mallow bush is in bloom but I haven’t seen them. I am afraid things are blooming too early and the hummingbirds might be late. They need that food too. I will keep you updated, gentle reader. K

News of #PacificRim & #Godzilla and possibly #Scrapbooking

Pacific Rim II from the official Facebook page

Pacific Rim II from the official Facebook page

Pacific Rim II from the official Facebook page

It has indeed been a few weeks since I last posted, gentle reader, and for that you have my apologies. I took what was supposed to be a brief 1 week break after the last con and then flu season caught up with me.

This week I’d like to talk about some exciting news regarding Pacific Rim. Namely that not only is a sequel in the works but apparently Pacific Rim III is also in the works. Also my sources (Collider) say that Pacific Rim II is due to start filming in the fall of 2015. (It does pay to keep one’s ear to the nerd ground).

(Read the next line in Emperor Cusco’s voice from The Emperor’s New Groove) I’m so happy.

This is good and hopefully what will happen is that they will not release the next Godzilla movie the same year. There are three of those also planned. So far both the Pacific Rim sequel and the Godzilla sequel are slated for 2017. What would make this Kaiju loving fan very happy (not that anyone cares mind you) would be if the studio were to alternate years. This would keep movie audiences from getting Kaiju fatigue and spread out the treats so we get one each year instead of a bunch (read 2) in the same year.

Now about that scrapbooking. I used to do it way back in the day, when I had time, regular sleep, disposable income–you know, the good old days. I was recently looking back through one of my albums and asked myself an obvious question: Why am I not creating scrap book pages of my comic con adventures?

Also a quick and dirty update on my garden. This year I let it lay fallow. Fallow is code for, “I was too busy to put in my garden.” I missed it too. The hummingbirds were back and nested in the same tree. My flowers, since I cleverly planted perennials, bloomed and were gorgeous. Sadly my Gunnera did not survive a very late and very surprising snow storm. My goals for next year are to get the garden space ready for spring and replant the Gunnera as well as some more flowers.

Thank you for your interest and patience. K.

In The Flesh, Hummingbirds In My Garden and The Geek Girl Project

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

Since we’re getting a lot of new traffic and I’d like to keep people updated. I wrote a science fiction novel called In The Flesh. No zombies I’m afraid but I think you’ll find that the title is appropriate nevertheless. It’s available on Amazon, Kobo for the Droid, and Barnes and Noble for the Nook as well as on iTunes (my apologies but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to link the iTunes page to this blog).

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

Mankind’s ancient curse has ravaged the world and even crept to the very doorstep of The Temple of The Three Waterfalls. Generations-old treaties have spared the temple and those who call it home. Evadne, only daughter of the Holy Sybil, is content to remain hidden away in the remote mountain temple and study her craft.
But things are changing in the outside world. The emissary of a foreign prince has been sent to take Evadne away. Whispers of strange prophecies are heard from behind thick stone walls and the rumor of a powerful oracle to the east has the temple soothsayers involved. Change is on the wind.

Far away from the temple two brothers have discovered a lost continent. The promise of long lost technologies and treasures has the prince racing to stake his claim. They are not unopposed, for there are those who fear this discovery will bring about the end of the world.

Hummingbird in my garden.

Hummingbird in my garden.

On to Gardening! I seem to have a nesting pair of hummingbirds in or very near my garden. How exciting is that? I love watching them dart around and drink from the flowers. I could watch them all day long. They’re so beautiful and tiny.

The weeds are making a strong come-back and I have to get to weeding to keep them from taking over again. If I do that I will have space for a few more plants. I think, what I’d like to do is get a few more hummingbird friendly plants for my little garden. I was watering the flowers the hummingbirds seem to really like, the crocosmia Lucifer and one little humming bird was feeding right next to me and I didn’t even realize it. She was so close to me! Then I turned to water another section, all unaware she was so near, and startled her. I saw two of them hiding in one of the evergreens though so I think they’re a nesting pair. I’ve heard that hummingbirds are pretty territorial and these two weren’t chasing one another or scolding each other, so that is why I think they’re mates.

Finally, as many of you may know, I also write for a wonderful blog called The Geek Girl Project. Well this Saturday they are running a special, and unique, review of Pacific Rim that I submitted to them. It explains how I came to be such a fan of Kaiju and Godzilla in particular and why I’ve been so excited about Pacific Rim as well.

I’m going to try to get an update about Godzilla 2014 together for you later on today or tomorrow. Keep an eye on the Godzilla Encounter site. The SDCC is about to get into full swing and there are supposed to be some exciting reveals there. K.

News for M31 Publishing and War In Flesh

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

As you may have noticed I’m trying to expand M31 Publishing into a real, and interesting, Blog. I love science fiction, comic books, games of all kinds and a lot of things. I already have my tickets for Pacific Rim–the wait is KILLING me! Tomorrow I’m likely to drink some amazing beer and see The Lone Ranger (I know I shouldn’t want to see it but I kind of do). Thanks to my ties to The Geek Girl Project I’ve got an in with Titan Comics and thanks to Bob Eggleton I’ve discovered In Saturn’s Rings which I will keep track of and update you on. So check out www.M31Publishing.com for updates on all of this and War in Flesh as well as Second Chances and other books I’m working on.

What I’m finding is that people love to read about my garden. That works out well for me because I love to write about it.

I’m still publishing movie reviews on The Geek Girl Project. I’m reviewing the old Godzilla movies as well as doing a monthly series of movies called K.’s Guilty Pleasures. For all those old (and new) budget movies or just blockbusters that didn’t bust the block.

War In Flesh is coming along slowly but very well. I feel the stuff I’ve written since I rebooted it is very good. I’m hoping to get some time this weekend to really get some serious work done on it. I’m having more ideas for Second Chances too and I’m torn between working on War In Flesh and Second Chances. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. In The Flesh is available for your kindle on Amazon. K.

Adventures in Gardening: Lilies, Roses and an Update on my Gunnera.

Love
--photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Gunnera (Giant Rhubarb) --Photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Gunnera (Giant Rhubarb)
–Photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Those of you who have been following my little blog here know that a couple months ago I bought not one but two giant rhubarb plants. Why would I do such a crazy thing? Well because they were really cute in the nursery pots and they were extremely reasonably priced compared to other like sized potted plants (now I know why). So I got two, because if one is good, obviously two is better. Then I got home and despite having a smart phone, it was only then that I decided it might be a good idea to google the things and see what they would do. O. M. Goodness. 8′-9′ tall with 7′ leaves. But they are so cool looking! So I planted them anyway. After about 3 weeks in the ground (yes I let them sit in their pots for a week or so trying to figure out where I could put them without annoying the neighbors), they’re happy and growing.
Gunnera (Giant Rhubarb) --photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Gunnera (Giant Rhubarb)
–photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Calla Lilies --Photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Calla Lilies
–Photo by K. L. Zolnoski

I also have calla lilies I planted and for reasons unknown, although I suspect micro-climates, they have never thrived. I’ve babied, fertalized, moved, divided and done everything in my power to make them happy. This year, they are finally blooming and blooming beautifully. I’m so happy. I love the speckled foliage and the colors of these calla lilies are just gorgeous.
Calla Lilies --photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Calla Lilies
–photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Finally my roses. I have here Love, which is very happy in its new spot. We had to transplant it a couple of years ago when its old spot got shaded by a neighbor’s maple tree. Also I have pictures of Diana, Princess of Wales which is one of my favorite roses. I may have to move it this year. It’s struggling where its at and it is just too beautiful to let languish in a bad spot.

Diana Princess of Wales --photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Diana Princess of Wales
–photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Love --photo by K. L. Zolnoski

Love
–photo by K. L. Zolnoski

I’ll have more pictures of my garden as the summer progresses. I will also keep you updated on the status of my Gunnera (giant rhubarb). Not just because the Gunnera Manicata is very cool but because it is such a great story to tell. Also, I love my garden and I get such lovely pictures to share. I hope you enjoy them. K.