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:

DSCN2895

And from the other direction:

DSCN2897

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

DSCN2898

Then Bess got bored with it.

DSCN2900

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

DSCN2902

Noah and his never-ending quest for THE LIZARDS.

DSCN2904

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.

DSCN2905

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

DSCN2887

And the brilliant color of these pansies:

DSCN2891

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

DSCN2892

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

DSCN2893

These little begonias came back better than last year!

DSCN2906

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

DSCN2907

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

DSCN2908

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?

DSCN2910

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.

DSCN2911

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

DSCN2915

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

DSCN2916

 

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.

DSCN2800

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.

DSCN2853

Close-up:

DSCN2847

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?

DSCN2845

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.

DSCN2844

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.

DSCN2857

Close-up:

DSCN2851

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?

DSCN2843

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.

IMG_9181

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

IMG_9242

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

DSCN2705

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.

DSCN2706

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.

DSCN2699

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.

IMG_1013

And just turning in a different direction:

IMG_1014

Then this weekend in my garden:

DSCN2577

the flowering almond is doing very well this year:

DSCN2578

This plant just says “Springtime!” to me.

DSCN2580

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

DSCN2587

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.

DSCN2588

A pretty color combo.

DSCN2589

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!

DSCN2590

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.

DSCN2591

Muscari?

DSCN2592

The tulips came back!

DSCN2593

And plenty of daffodils and narcissus.

DSCN2594

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.

DSCN2595

Yep, spring has arrived in Northern California!

Storage and Garden Report

First of all, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for all the nice comments on my last blog about Mr. Monk. You all knew him better than most of my friends! All of us are doing fine. Especially Queen Sophie. After she got over her worry that she might be the next to be “banished” from the kingdom, she has taken back her “rightful place” on the chair next to me in the evenings.

And, I also wanted to thank so many of you for your interesting and informative comments on the previous blog about my knee. Since I wrote that, my first ortho doc got back in touch with me. He had been battling the insurance company all this time (over their refusal to approve the Orthovisc injections), and now advised me to file a complaint with the State Department of Managed Health Care. I completed that today. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

In the meantime, how about a report on some everyday life stuff :)

Last week J. the contractor came back to finish the little pantry and add shelves to the laundry room. Squeee!!! MORE STORAGE SPACE. I hardly know what to do with it all.

Here’s the pantry. That’s all I’ve put in it so far. I have those two big corner cupboards with lazy susans in them in the kitchen. I’m not sure what to put there, and what to put in the pantry. If anyone has ideas or opinions, feel free to share.

IMG_0824

And here’s the laundry room shelves. Plenty of extra storage up there for I don’t know what!

IMG_0825

I also had J. put this little hanging cupboard in the mudroom. It used to be in my bathroom. I still liked it so finally decided that this would be the place for it.

IMG_0826

I tell you, for someone whose ONLY storage space for many years was a big closet in her bedroom, I feel like I’ve hit the storage jackpot!

And here is a view of the garden. Still pretty bare, but things are sprouting. There are little buds on all the trees. Its fun to go out there and scope things out every day. I have to be careful to not get carried away with planting, because there’s still a real possibility that we will get some frost, up until May.

DSCN2555

The camellia bush is chock full of buds. The Pink Flower Thief is keeping a close eye on it….

DSCN2558

 

Crazy California

It seems almost rude to post flower pictures in the middle of the huge snowstorms my friends back east are having to endure. But maybe these pictures will provide a little pleasant diversion from all the white stuff outside your windows?

Even though I live in California, Southern California seems like a foreign land to me. I had a hard time packing warm weather clothes to go on this trip. But, I was very glad that I packed my flip flops “just in case.”

Marsha, our hostess for the retreat, is a wonderful gardener. I took some close-ups of some of her outstanding flowers.

I liked this one so much that I wrote to her and asked the name of it. “Tournament of Roses.”

IMG_0106

The same rose two days later:

IMG_0136

Maybe a Peace rose?

IMG_0115

Decorative cabbage. I love these, but can’t keep them in the yard. I thought Sophie was going to explode one night after she tore into one.

IMG_0117

I love the soft color of this rose:

IMG_0116

And one more decorative cabbage.

IMG_0134

An oriental poppy that was out in front of one of the restaurants.

IMG_0104

And back home again, I found a few flowers in my own mostly dormant garden. Of course, violets are always the first to bloom.

DSCN2508

I have several primroses that I nursed through the heat of the summer.

DSCN2505

And crazy early, there are a few daffodils blooming.

DSCN2500

Keep calm and carry on, girls. Spring IS coming!