Friday, July 30, 2010


..."he brought me a little cactus with a cactus flower on it"...
Abe Burrows Cactus Flower

I found this little cactus with the improbably long name of Echinocereous pectinatus at a cactus and succulent show at the Los Angeles County Arboretum several months ago. I have increasingly tried to include more succulents in my garden - I think of them as "garden Jewels", but I know almost nothing about cactus. The beautiful and intricate patterning of this plant intrigued me, so I bought it with the idea of using it as a small specimen plant. And now it has surprised me in this lovely fashion: a beautiful flower, pale, delicate, so transitory, and all the more appreciated because like many good things in life it was totally unexpected.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breakfast Treat

I had some friends in last Friday morning for a garden visit followed by breakfast. This gave me the opportunity to try out a new recipe that my daughter, recommended. Actually it was a race to see who would try it out first and I won! It fit all my parameters of a good dish for entertaining: easy, delicious, and it can be prepared ahead. I have tried several versions of baked French toast but this one was by far the best, probably because of the yummy addition of the brown sugar, cinnamon, streusel topping. This would also be very doable for a large group...I am thinking: Breakfast in the Garden, Spring 2011. If you are interested you can find the recipe at: in the breakfast/brunch archives.

Thank you Ree and Bon Appetite

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spring Revisited

"Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie"
Victor Herbert

Summer heat hit Southern California with a vengeance last week. With temperatures in the triple digit range many plants are struggling just to stay alive. Watering has become extremely important and hopefully plants have been selected for the garden to deal with our Mediterranean climate: plants with interesting foliage; low watering needs and brightly colored flowers that can stand out against the intense summer quiet pastels now!

It is with this in mind and maybe in an attempt to cool off a bit, that I harkened back to some of the photographs I had taken of flowers in my spring garden this year. For the summer one selects plants that will flourish in adversity. But as I remember Jan Smithen,author of Sun-Drenched Gardens: the Mediterranean style and gardening instructor extraordinaire saying once in class: "spring takes care of its self".

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Today is Raleigh's birthday...he was, simply wonderful.

"Goodnight sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee
to thy rest"


Monday, July 12, 2010


A Cup of Tea by Mary Cassatt

..."each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage" Catherine Douzel, the mystery muse.

I have been a tea drinker for some time, brewing up a pot every morning to enjoy with my breakfast. But after reading Sarah Rose's book, All the Tea in China I was inspired to try different kinds of leaf tea. I set off on my new tasting adventure by purchasing a tin of Darjeeling whole leaf tea while I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago; it is indeed delicious and now I want to try others. Tea, I have found has many similarities to wine. It too has a long, storied, and mysterious history; like a good bottle of wine a good pot of tea is also influenced by terrior, blending and aging. And, have you ever heard such wonderful names: Golden Monkey; Yumman Jig; Ceylon Sonata; Assam Melody. For anyone interested, Adagio Teas offers these and many others in sampler packages to try.

All this and it's good for you!

All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose is a fascinating read about Robert Fortune, the great Scottish plant hunter of the 19th century adventurous forays into China to smuggle out tea plants for cultivation in India. This all took place in an era of great change both scientifically and economically - it was the tea trade coupled with opium that built the British Empire. I found it fascinating and I hope some of you will too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Gardener

Here is the gardener at Rose Arbors
she works very cheaply...mainly for
room, board, the occasional compliment
and the joy of seeing things flourish
and grow.