Is it a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Sometimes I wonder what makes a fruit a fruit. 

From a culinary standpoint we consider sweet things like peaches and plums to be fruit and savory foods like peas and carrots to be vegetables. But what if a fruit is sour like a cherry? It’s still a fruit, right?

I remember reading once that tomatoes are fruit because they have seeds inside, and it’s true they are fruit but that’s not the only reason. Strawberries are fruit as well but their seeds are on the outside.

Botanically speaking fruit are produced at the flower of the plant so apples, plums, tomatillos or any other plant that produces a flower and a subsequent seed holding/containing product is a fruit. That includes cucumbers, peppers and yes, tomatoes. 

What about peas and beans, you ask? Well they are called legumes and technically the pod or she’ll is the fruit and the seed is found inside, but we classify the entirety as a legume.

Vegetables are the leaves (lettuce), roots (carrots), tubers (potatoes) and stalks (celery) of plants. Some vegetables are the flowers of plants (broccoli).

Sometimes a plant can be a vegetable in its early stages (like the flowers of zucchini or bean sprouts) and still produce an edible fruit.

Clear as mud?

Harvesting Trees Old Style

 The Pacific Northwest is littered with the remnants of massive trees that were cut down decades ago, many harvested over a century back. It’s not unusual to see two eyes looking back at you from these ancient stumps.
No, they’re not haunted or possessed. Those two cavities represent the footholds cut into the base of the tree in order for the lumberjack to access the point at which he wants to make his cut. Often there will be holes cut on either side of the tree, particularly if it’s a large specimen. A pair of ‘jacks would work in tandem on a larger tree using a two-man saw to bring it down. 

Lumberjacking is still a viable career choice in places like Washington State where logging has been part of the history for over 150 years. In 1879 the state produced 160 million board feet of lumber.

And the Winner is…

 White Rock used to participate in the national Communities in Bloom program, but as far as I can see they haven’t done so for a number of years. It’s a shame because there are so many lovely gardens in our pretty little City by the Sea.

The long growing season, the lovely sunshine, the (normally) ample moisture all contribute to copious blooms and rich green foliage. Not everybody knows how to harness and choreograph all those elements, it’s a true art and takes lots of time, energy and patience. 

If I was awarding the prize for the best condo garden display in White Rock, hands down it would go to this building on Merklin. Bold color, changes of height, and the use of texture all convene to make one of the finest displays in town. With both staple perennials and the addition of carefully placed annuals this wall of blooms has been flowering incessantly for the past two months. I love to walk by and see what’s new every week.



 Whomever is responsible should be proud of what s/he has accomplished. You get five stars from me.


Thriller, Fillers and Spillers: The Formula for a Fabulous Planter

The good, the bad and the ugly; that’s what comes to mind as I wander the streets of White Rock looking at planters. Another staple of condo buildings, planters are often used to flank the entranceway or add drama to the landscape. 
Some buildings have take time to either plan their containers well or they’ve hired a person with some know how. Other condos have taken the “Marge always does it” approach. Poor Marge, someone should speak to her about the marigolds.

I have no desire to “planter shame” any buildings in White Rock, so I’m just going to stick to posting some of the fabulous ones I’ve seen within a few blocks of my place. 
Containers should be made up of “thrillers” (plants that stand high and perhaps have a strong color or presence), “fillers” (the soil level plants that anchor the display) and “spillers” (the leggy ones that hang over the side). Sometimes not all three are necessary as you’ll see from these photos I took, but you’ll notice that the most interesting planters are those that have all these elements. Here are some good examples:

Personally I also like some stark contrast in color like in this one filled with purple and lime:  

This one has a tall central plant but looks a bit unfinished:  

And here’s an example of large planter with a tree as its main element, and it’s finished nicely with some anchoring foliage beneath:   
Ivy is great for a spiller:  

Love this ornamental grass:


Pretty colors: 
  There are lots of planter “recipes” on the Internet and ones for your specific zone can be found. Personally I enjoy wandering through the garden center and imagining how things will look together in a group. It’s a lot like painting with plants.