In The Garden

I returned from my trip to the seaside (high’s of 70 degrees,) to a heat wave here in the foothills (100 degrees when I arrived home.) The garden looks a little sad about the heat, but it mostly fared well, thanks to my “babysitter” being willing to water the plants while I was gone.

First, here is where I was (I went to Cambria Pines for rug hooking camp again.) I managed to get away to visit the sea three times. I even took a few walks along the boardwalk that they have there.

Day 1:


Day 2:



Day 3:


This is a houseplant that I bought at the nursery in Cambria. It is so beautiful. Does anybody know what it is? (they told me, but I can’t remember.)



I found a few new blooms to share. The fairy impatiens have taken over!


Another of the grocery store roses has bloomed!


The volunteer Teddy Bear sunflowers have started to bloom!


The hydrangea is full of buds. This is the first to bloom. It is a lace cap hydrangea. Unfortunately, I think hydrangeas like it a bit cooler. I wish they had bloomed earlier.


This is very weird. This was a plain old hydrangea. It has been weaker than the other hydrangea ever since we planted them in the ground two years ago. Last year it didn’t even bloom. And this year, there are two blooms like this on it. Its like it has morphed into a completely different plant! I think it is very pretty.


And just a view of the sunny bed.



We are having a drought here in Sunny California. Some of you might have heard about that :) I am on a well, so my watering is not really restricted. But I do try to be responsible in my water usage, and of course, I worry occasionally about my well going dry. My main concession is that I am not adding any new plants right now. The best way for me to do that is to just not visit the nursery :(

In The Garden

First rose of the year!


This wildflower was literally growing out of the side of a rock on my road!

The star jasmine (saved from the trash heap!) is finally blooming.


And the peacock with her beautiful headdress :)


My grocery store rose. Did I tell you I was too cheap to buy a rose at the nursery for $40? So I saw these rose bushes outside the local grocery store for $5 each. I bought three of them, and two of them actually lived and have blooms this first year.


Practicing my close-up shots:


All of the flowers in this shot were volunteers!


The first blooms on the “fairy impatien.” These are growing all over the yard, and they are all self-seeded from one plant that I bought last year.


My baby astilbe. Maybe I have finally found the right place to grow these…


And this is the stonework that MLG did this week for me. I kept buying more of the stones from Lowes and Home Depot, until I had a decent amount to work with, and so we extended the front courtyard(?) that I had done myself years ago. There is a slope to the land in my yard, and so MLG worked at making sure the water drained the right way.


From this angle, you can see where the travertine path comes in.


And this is the most astounding thing of all. Did I complain to you about my apple tree not having any blossoms this year? I mean, its a young tree, so I was not expecting apples for 5 years (that’s what they said at the nursery.) But I love apple blossoms, and so I was very disappointed that there were literally 2 clusters of blossoms on the whole tree. And then this morning, I was looking out the window, and what do I see but a real apple growing!! And there is a second apple–so one from each blossom cluster.


Its heating up around here. I hope you have nice weather wherever you are, and have a wonderful relaxing weekend.


In the Garden

Well, I didn’t think there was much new to report, but I went out to the yard, and found more to take pictures of than you might want to see! Fun.

The biggest thing is something that MLG has been doing for the past couple of weeks. I have this thing about paver stones……I like them. So I saw these rectangular travertine stones, and they seemed like such a good price, so I bought 16 of them. Had no plans or idea of how to use them… showed them to MLG, and he came up with this idea. Which I loved, but umm, yeah. It took a lot more than 16 stones…. Sigh. I have been to Lowes and Home Depot three times in the past two weeks, and brought home and unloaded about 1500 pounds of stones from my car. We have more stone plans :)

Anyway, I love this little path between the shade garden and the Japanese maples. Its not really as long as it looks in the picture. MLG uses a level and works hard at making the uneven, rocky ground work so the water will drain the right way.

From one direction:


And from the other direction:


After yesterday’s rain (yay!) Sophie and Bess found something extremely interesting smelling out there.


Then Bess got bored with it.


The shade garden. Pretty soon there will be some color in there.


Noah and his never-ending quest for THE LIZARDS.


Here’s a new plant I got. The foliage is really almost white. Its called Abutilon Savitzii. Its related to that Japanese lantern plant that I have.


And now for some color! I love the delicacy of the poppies.


And the brilliant color of these pansies:


These volunteer nasturtiums are already doing so much better than the ones I planted last year.


And these sweet little clover flowers come back every year. I love how they are peeping through the teacup.


These little begonias came back better than last year!


A new perennial flower I got (sorry, lost the label, don’t know the name.)


Another new plant to fill in an empty spot. This is a Lavitera. Its quite a rangy bush, but I love the flowers.


This cracks me up. Can you see that the star jasmine has vined itself up the peacock, and has provided a fancy headdress for it?


Here, you can see it better in this picture. This was the star jasmine that was thrown on the trash heap a couple of years ago. It is doing wonderfully this year.


And I was trying for one last shot, and Noah photo-bombed it!


Here you go. I hope all of you have a wonderful, peace-filled weekend!



In The Garden

I just happened to look out the window right when this guy was taking a bath. And he stayed just long enough for me to grab my camera and get ONE picture.


The foxglove have done wonderfully in the ground. They never were very happy when I tried to grow them in containers. An added plus–they self-seed! I have baby foxgloves growing that will give me new blooms next year.




Again, I never had any luck with snapdragons in the past. I think the big advantage was planting them in the late summer/early fall. And maybe having a mild winter helped?


I got a 6 pack of columbine in the fall and planted them around the garden. They are all different colors, and very pretty, I think.


I planted this honeysuckle vine last year. It ALMOST gave up when it was completely over-run by the tomato forest! So I am extra happy to see it come back and do so well. I don’t think it smells as nice as the white honeysuckle, so I might have to find a place to grow one of them. I had one outside the front window for years, and the delicate smell would waft in the window in the evening. But that one had to go with all the work that was done on the house.




Carnations are my favorite cut flower. I love their smell. Its so fresh, and is not as strong and overwhelming as some flowers can be. This is the second year for this plant, and I was happy to see it doing so well. It does kind of sprawl. I wonder if that is the nature of carnations. Do I need to make them a little corral?


We (haha, I point, and MLG does the work) are doing more rock work and pavers. I am wondering if I am getting carried away with the stones. I am going to do some research this week.

And that’s this week in the garden.

Two Years in a Garden

Hmmm. Another garden post. Apparently that’s all I want to talk about right now.

Anyway, MLG was here today working on yet another project. Before he got started, I had to point out how well all the trees he has helped to plant are doing. The first tree, my oldest and biggest Japanese maple, is actually what started this whole adventure. Some of you might remember this story, but its worth repeating.

I grew all my Japanese maples in containers, because the ground here is 3/4 rock, and 1/4 clay. Pretty much impossible for a single person to dig in. And this oldest tree (now 28 years since I bought it) was still in a wooden box that was disintegrating, but the root system had long since gone through the bottom of the box into the ground. If something wasn’t done, the tree was not going to make it one more year. I asked MLG if there was some way we could build a raised planter bed around the tree, since some of its root system was still above ground in the box. And so began the wonderful garden adventure.

Here is the tree, looking pretty forlorn, in its box.


And here it is, a month later, in its new planter. Looking kinda sparse, but still living.


And here it is this year, looking, IMHO, quite marvelous!


Here is a glimpse of the new wooden border MLG started working on today to surround all the rest of the Japanese maples that we put in the ground.


And here is something you all might already know about. But I thought I was quite clever to think of this and thought I would share with you.

So you know you’re supposed to leave the darn daffodil leaves intact so the bulb can re-nourish itself. But honestly, they are just a mess. You can’t see if there’s any room to plant anything new, and if you do plant something, the daffodil leaves are so massive that they shade the poor new plants that are trying to get some sunshine. I read somewhere that it was okay to bundle the daffodil leaves in a rubber band or something. I had a lot of those nice ponytail holders left over from my years of long hair. They work perfectly! And if you buy the ones without any metal parts, you can take them off when the daffodil leaves are spent and save the holders for next spring.

Here are the daffodil leaves as is.


And here they are all bundled. I don’t particularly like the way they look, but I can see my garden and plant some new plants now.

DSCN2700So it was another morning of working in the garden. Honestly, I am spent after all that bending. I did go to the gym, mostly for the promise of the hot tub/spa. But I managed to do 40 minutes of pool walking/jogging.

Have a great weekend. I am so happy to see signs of green and bare ground from my friends back east! Happy springtime to you all!

Its Definitely Spring

Last weekend I was in the Bay Area visiting my mom. The sky and the green hills were particularly beautiful that day. You can see “Niles” painted on the side of the hill. That has been there since I was a little kid! My mom said they periodically go up and whitewash it.


And just turning in a different direction:


Then this weekend in my garden:


the flowering almond is doing very well this year:


This plant just says “Springtime!” to me.


Some new hyacinths that are an unusual color. And Noah didn’t knock them down either :)


Icelandic Poppy. I am going to get more of these next year. I think they are one of the plants that does best if you plant it in the fall.


A pretty color combo.


This camellia is one of the first plants I ever planted here (28 years ago!) It has never done well in its current location, and MLG and I were planning to move it, and then this year it decided to put on a big show!


Chinese Fringe Bush. This plant almost gave up when I had it in a container, but now after being in the ground for a couple of years, it is doing extremely well. It blooms through several seasons, and I have seen it used in commercial landscaping, so I think it is a pretty easy keeper. I think the flowers are very different and pretty.




The tulips came back!


And plenty of daffodils and narcissus.


I’m including this picture for my gardening/landscaping friends. It doesn’t look like much now, but I am most excited about this. One day a couple weeks ago, I just got it into my head to put all the rest of my Japanese maples into the ground. And the very next time MLG came around, he dug four giant holes in this hard rocky ground, and got those big trees out of their giant pots, and put them in the ground for me. I’m hoping they will be much happier there, and will give me a better show next fall.


Yep, spring has arrived in Northern California!