Thursday, August 27, 2020

Misc ~

Following the advise of members in my gardening group, I cut back my Clematis in late spring after their first bloom. I could see the vines were growing again but was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning to see new flowers. With such hot weather I don't expect to see a lavish display but I am really enjoying those I have been blessed with. 

On the other hand, I have a very generous crop of pumpkins. I planted the seeds in the far back area of the garden, near the compost pile, they spread out in all directions and have really taken over. I planted two kinds of seeds, Cinderella pumpkins and the giant variety and have lots of both to share come later in autumn.

A friend who is a most gifted writer recently came up with the phrase, "Sloth Dressing" to describe what many people, limited to social interaction, stuck at home, all combined with the summer heat, are wearing right now. I thought it was a perfect description of my current at home apparel which is limited to comfort and ease - to me that is a dress, something I can wear both in the house and outside to water and maybe pull a few weeds in passing. The dress below is my answer, I have made this dress many, many times over the years and it fits my needs perfectly, it is not fashionable, elegant, or  flattering, but I really don't care on days I am at home alone with no one to see but Miss Twiggley and functionibility and freshness takes precedence. I like it so much that yesterday I went through my fabric stash and cut out another one to make.

Pampas grass can be a real garden thug, luckily I picked the perfect place to plant this one. It is a dwarf which makes it more manageable and because it is planted in a good spot hasn't given me anything but pleasure, especially this time of year when it blooms. I cut it back every year and the results have certainly been worth that bit of effort. If I can ever find another one I know exactly where I would put it...I might try making a division of this one and see what happens.

Below is the bouquet I made to share with my class on our Zoom meeting. The earlier lavish abundance of flowers in my garden has peaked but I was able to come up with some Dahlias, Roses, Lantana, Ruillia, and Salvia. I look forward to the cooler weather of fall when I will have more to choose from.

Sometimes I think it is rather silly of me to be posting about gardens, dresses, and bouquets when so much is happening around us right now, but we all need some diversion just because it is all so over whelming. I long for the days when this will be past us.

Thank you for visiting

Take care, stay well, and VOTE


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Garden stalwarts ~

It is hot!


We have been experiencing some very hot weather, 100+ degrees everyday for the past week. Just keeping the garden watered and trying to protect heat sensitive plants is taking most of my gardening time. This is complicated because with our continuing drought conditions water is precious and must be used judiciously. 

So, it is at this time that I really appreciate one of the garden stalwarts: Lantana.

Heat  just doesn't seem to phase Lantana. It is common and used  everywhere here, along freeways in street medians,  in commercial plantings, and of course home gardens, in many ways it is so ubiquitous that it can be overlooked for it's beauty. It is a  drought tolerant, tough, tough, plant, I cut all of mine back almost to the ground every year and they return bigger and better than before, just in time to provide some color in high summer when it is needed most.

In my garden I have both trailing and bush Lantana,
  trailing yellow borders a portion of my driveway and softens the gravel garden. I have  used white trailing Lantana in the new area in the back under trees, it does't grow as densely which allows inter-planting without taking over.

Lantana color choices used to be limited, now we have more to select from and blended colors - pink and yellow, shown in the picture above (my favorite) and yellow combined with orange which clamors over one over my driveway pillars in the street garden. There is also one with variegated leaves.

This is one of my favorite pictures, I love the contrast between one of  the stone pillars, original to the house, and the orange/yellow Lantana flowers. A very rabid grower now reaching over 6 feet, last winter I cut it to the ground - hardy indeed!

And now my Op-Ed moment....

Between the hot weather and all of the other problems our country is dealing with it is nice to have something to depend on, even if it is common and ordinary. I will take calm, dependability, and ordinary, over what is happening now, any day. I am so looking forward to Fall when the heat is over, the virus manageable, and (hopefully) a new leadership and direction for our country that combines the best of the old with innovations and ideas for the future.

 Democracy is a very fragile thing, once lost almost impossible to regain.

Thank you for visiting


~ Don't forget to vote and if possible do it early.~ 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Hope ~

I got up early this morning to work in the garden before the heat set in. The sun was just coming up and it seemed like a perfect time to take some pictures, so instead of getting out my gardening tools I went back into the house and got my camera.

These petunias planted around the base of the fountain in the front have been very successful, I hadn't planted petunias for a while but I will definitively plant them again. They have been blooming for several months now with their happy pink faces.

A jumble of some of my favorite flowers in a front border...verbena, roses, and Queen Anne's Lace.

One perfect dahlia below the back deck, being watched over by a little friend. I love dahlias, in my garden they are just now coming into full bloom.

Glorious pink zinnias, from seed I sowed a few months ago. Some of them are from seed I harvested last year and some are from newly purchased seed. I will be collecting the seeds from these to plant for next summer's garden.

After taking these pictures and a few more I still had time to get some gardening chores done. Actually it was a rather nice day today temperature wise and although it is really too late in the season to plant I couldn't resist picking up a few pony packs from Armstrong's yesterday. Along with spreading several wheelbarrows of mulch, I got them all planted with fingers crossed that they will do well.

"Hope for the future is the heart of all gardening."

Thank you for visiting.

Stay well and stay healthy.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Catching up with summer ~

It would appear that as far as blogging, July completely skipped by me this year and now suddenly it is August. Living in such a confusing time, without classes, the gym, social outings and all of the other things we used to enjoy without worry, it has become hard to even know what day it is. 

But some things are a constant, my library still allows us to check out books with drive-by pickup. The local Armstrong's nursery is open and I have been enjoying the convenience of Grubhub on days I think I deserve a special treat and am tried of my own cooking. And of course there is still the garden as needy as an infant, especially this time of year with so much watering.

The beautiful and extravagant floral displays of spring are long past and the intense summer heat limits what is blooming, I do have some flowers, mostly the old summer standbys, but as the summer continues I will be relying more on foliage to provide color in the garden.

A few weeks ago on my way to mail some letters I passed by a building site that had been razed and noticed a pile of river rocks piled up to be hauled away. Just what I needed for edging to keep the gravel in place in the new sitting area. I immediately stopped and put as many of them in the car that I could handle. I ended up with quite a load and a sore back the next day, but it was worth it.

 I shared the beginnings of this project with you a while back when I put in the red posts. Building a gate, which was the whole reason for the posts, took much longer than I thought. 

Eventually, like many things I attempt, it got done. I was going to use ready made pickets from Home Depot but they were too big and clumsy looking for my little gate, so I ended up buying the wood and cutting them myself, not that hard - the difficult part was cutting and attaching them to the form  the arch.

the whole space looks more cohesive now and I love the pop of the red gate.

I will end this post with a bouquet I made for my gardening group's last Zoom meeting highlighting some of the flowers currently blooming in the garden: dahlias, crocosmia, nicotiana, guillaria, rubeckias, coneflowers, penstemon, and roses.

I hope you are you are keeping safe, well, and healthy.

Thank you for visiting.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Finally back ~

For the last couple of weeks I have been having technical problems with my computer, which at this time of social distancing, especially for someone like me who really enjoys all of the online connections has been very distressing. And, of course I didn't have access to creating a new blog post. I am just glad I was able to get this post up before Blogger's new platform is put in place as I am sure that will also require a certain amount of learning, I am so used to the old blogger platform. 


Meanwhile, I planted another batch of seeds. I can't think of anything else that has given me so much pleasure over the past few months as planting seeds. The seedlings from the first seeds I sowed have been planted out into the garden and are doing well. This time, more zinnias and two types of cosmos, both should thrive in our hot summer weather, plus nicotiana Sensation, tall and willowy, it gives a lovely effect in a border.

One of the most dependable plants in my garden are gaillarias, commonly known as Blanket Flowers. They seem to bloom almost year around. The one below is particularly nice, especially when considering it is a self-seeded plant. The individual stems are longer than my other gaillaria plants - all purchased in six packs. I am going to collect some of the seeds and try to propagate it.

The daylilies are blooming and although I have them in several colors these old fashion common orange ones are my favorite. I usually don't like orange flowers but these are so pretty and flourish without any care; they are like a ray of sun a far back border.

I noticed this view when I went out early this morning - the Rose of Sharon in full bloom, below: a white, dwarf crepe myrtle, red fountain grass, some of the a fore mentioned nicotiana and roses. Peeking through is my new red gate, finally finished!

Finally, the bouquet I made to share with my gardening group's Zoom meeting. I wanted to show off the beauty of three red roses: David Austin's Prospero and Othello, and the classic Burbon rose Madame Isaac Pereire. All three roses are intensely fragrant. I combined them with gaillaria seed heads and Heavenly Bamboo flowerettes.

It is so nice to have my computer back up and be able to post again.

Take care, stay well, and  when in public wear your mask!


Friday, June 5, 2020

Twilight hopes ~

I was looking through some old pictures the other day and came across one of an alfresco table setting from a couple of years ago. It was this time of year, perfect for outside entertaining, as I remember the dinner I prepared was mexican food, gazpacho, followed by chicken enchiladas. I somewhat nostalgically thought, "when would I be able to do this again - have people in without worry". Hopefully this summer will give some respite to our health concerns, maybe even a vaccine, there is always room for hope. 

Meanwhile, I decided to share with you some new photos of the garden at twilight, that supremely magical time of the day.

The pavilion softly lite, a perfect spot for a glass of wine before dinner. This poor structure has been battled by time but still remains, and is really the focus of the rear garden.

We brought this lantern home from Morocco many decades ago, frankly when I turned on the light to take the picture I wasn't sure if it would come on, but it did, and beautifully so.

This picture speaks for itself, the fountain surrounded with Bewitched tree roses, at the base the ultimately dependable erigeron, commonly known as Santa Barbara daisy, frothing in it's exuberance.

 Coming full circle, a return to the deck festooned with the rose Climbing Pinkie. Maybe in the forth coming weeks it will once again be filled again with happy conversation, good food and laughter.

Meanwhile I pray that in this very difficult time in our country, with multiple serious problems, as citizens united in our love for democracy and well being, together we will find our way back to a better normalcy not forgetting to respect and love one another.

Thank you for visiting.

Stay safe and stay well


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Social distancing ~ A slight opening

It has been hot here the past week which makes it much harder to get anything done outside unless you start early in the morning. Last week I spent one morning creating a little gravel sitting area. The gravel is in now and I will be sharing a picture later, once the new gate (which is sitting in pieces in the garage) is finished and hung. When I raked off the existing mulch I found a thick layer of  rich compost that I collected to be used in other parts of the garden. I felt like I had found a gold mine.

Every year I find Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, with it's little daisy like flowers growing and blooming, always in unexpected spots, I must have planted it at one time. I have read that it can become a garden thug but in my garden it has been very mannerly and I would welcome more of this tiny charmer. Feverfew is a medicinal herb commonly used for migraine headaches. Interesting.

I accidentally overlooked my first zucchini squash and it got rather large, but perfect for making a loaf of zucchini bread. I tried a new recipe incorporating applesauce and it really did turn out well; very moist and not too sweet. Of course the first of anything seasonal always seems to taste the best. A zucchini plant is so useful to have around, the ways to use this vegetable seem endless.

I took this picture of the lavender walkway just when the sun coming up. This planting was inspired by my wonderful gardening teacher Jan, she had a lovely one in her home. It has been relatively care free, I occasionally clip it back being careful not to cut into the hardwood. I used different kinds of lavenders so if one dies I can easily replace it. Lavenders do very well for us but can have die off. At the end of the path you can see the climbing rose Eden heavy with flowers.

And finally, this casual bouquet made from prunings of a weeping tree rose, they were just too pretty to throw away. 


Things are opening up a bit here although we are still experiencing rising cases of the virus. Today I went to Trader Joe's for the first time in over two months. They were very organized, everyone was wearing a mask and trying to practice social distancing. I had to wait in line, but not for long, and once inside with my list I found everything I wanted. including their pico de gallo which I have really missed - I use it on everything from omelets to tacos. And linguine!

Thank you for visiting

Take care and stay well


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Social distancing ~ a ray of sunshine

While opening up the house this morning I caught a glimpse of the early sunlight  streaming through this window, I thought it was so pretty that I got my camera and took this picture. This is a north facing window and it is usually quite shady, however I did have the trees pruned  which apparently has allowed the morning sunshine in, a pleasure I will continue to enjoy until the foliage on the trees thickens up again.

The first, heavy spring flush of roses is almost over, roses will continue to bloom but not in such abundance. I have been spending lots of time dead-heading, a chore I really don't like. But the rose, Climbing Pinkie trailing across the railing on the back deck, is already covered again in buds. She is a very vigorous rose, one of my favorites and as you can see likes peeking through to the other side. Fortunately she is torn-less and quite easy to cut back.

Like everyone else there have been many things that I have had to give up through this time of social distancing but having a good supply of books to read has not been one of them. This due to the innovation, dedication and organizational skills of my local library. Almost immediately they were offering books and all of the other media materials for drive-by pickup. You call in your requests of  up to 10 items, and within 30 minutes they are available to you for pickup without any personal contact. For added safety, when the items are returned they are placed in a "quarantine" area before being available to be checked out again. I have always known that this library was special but this has only increased my admiration and thankfulness that I have such a wonderful local resource to enjoy.

For any of you that enjoy libraries as much as I do a wonderful book to read is,
The Library Book, Susan Orleans.

I posted before about my increased interest in planting seeds, here is the latest batch, the zinnias have just sprouted but many others are almost ready to plant out. Some of them have been experiments and I have no idea how they will perform in my climate zone, others are old standbys and some are plants I used to grow, such as Nicotiana Sensation and Ageratum Blue Horizon. It should be interesting to see what turns out to be a success and what will sadly end up a failure.

As a side note I read an interesting way to stop seedlings from becoming leggy, not to fertilize overly, which only increases the leggy growth, but to brush them lightly several times a day with your hand, imitating fans that are used commercially. Not all plants have this problem but I have always had  difficulty with zinnia seedlings. I have been doing this and it does seem to be helping. Rather like staking a tree lightly to allow the trunk to strengthened with gentle movement.

Last, I leave you with a bouquet I made to share with my gardening group at a Zoom meeting last week. Rather than being artful I was trying to include some of the things blooming in my garden...Eden roses, alstromeria, spirea, aquilegia, snapdragons, asclepias, and lantana.

Now that we are starting to loosen restrictions I hope that wherever you live are able to do it in a safe manner. This has been such a difficult and strange time, one that will not be easy forgotten.

Thank you for visiting

Stay safe and stay well.