Saturday, June 15, 2013
This is the same garden bed I have been writing about in the two previous posts, but a different angle. Although primarily different shades of green foliage there is some burgundy grass and a container for some added interest. The succulents in the container were all just small pups and cuttings taken from other plants in the landscape and stuck in there to thrive and grow into what it is today.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I have a soft spot in my heart for tall, wispy annuals that reseed themselves every year and this is one of my favorites. So often we tend to think of annuals as those fancy hybrids in bright colors that show up covered in blooms, stuffed in "pony packs" at every big box store and nursery we visit. I have to admit I pick up a few here and there every year when I need a quick fix, but my favorite annuals make themselves as at home in my gardens as the perennials and are just as reliable. This is nicotiana (flowering tobacco) 'Lime Green', by Annie's Annuals. A classic in any cottage garden setting and so pretty and easy to grow. This particular one is in my chartreuse and purple garden and unfortunately has grown so tall as to flop over and lay among the veronica because I was negligent in pinching it back. A word of caution though. I usually think it is a weed coming up in the spring when it first emerges. Large leaves the pop up with vigor before the flowers show up can catch you off guard until you remember it is a welcome annual occupant of the garden!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
This garden bed next to the front door in SJC was once a flat lawn butting up against the gold stucco of the house. One of the first things I thought I would do when we moved in five years ago was to change the paint color of the house. As often happens, it turned out there were many other priorities that trumped the house color and in the meantime it has grown on me. That and I have covered it up and softened it with foliage like you see here. There must be a dozen different shades of green here, many textures and shapes, along with a number of flowering plants that don't show up very well in this picture. Very cool on a hot summer day.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
If you look closely at the bottom left hand corner of this view of the Laguna garden looking down from the deck, you will see a little plastic saucer on a tall pole sticking out. This is a left over relic from when I first changed my garden over to an all organic garden about fifteen years ago. I was frustrated with how horrible my garden looked from all the insect damage when I first went all organic. I used to laugh and tell people that you could tell it was an organic garden because it looked so bad. But I knew that this was not typical and that there were many people with lovely organic gardens, but somehow I was missing something. With research I learned that I needed to attract insect-eating birds to my garden, but I was not sure how. I went to a wild bird seed store and asked the clerk there and he sold me that contraption in the picture along with a container of live mealy worms to keep in my refrigerator. Every few days I would squeamishly add those horrible worms to that bird feeder and wait. Eventually it worked and after all these years I challenge anyone to find more than a few traces here and there of any insect damage. All the plants are fed with compost from the garden only and are strong and resilient. The garden is filled with life, bees, butterflies, birds and even bugs and insects as would any lovely garden. It took about three years after cutting out all pesticides and chemical fertilizers for the garden to stabilize and become what it is today - beautiful, thriving and naturally alive!
Monday, June 3, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
There are some simple plants that I am just crazy about and cerinthe major purpurescens, or Honeywort, is one of them. It is an old-fashioned shrubby plant that is considered an annual, but it reseeds itself so easily that it has lived in my Laguna garden for many years with no need for any help from me. It has the most lovely shade of blue-green foliage with bluish brackets and those charming pinkish-purple flowers that hang like sweet little bells. It blooms for months in the spring and on into summer and the bees love it. It likes full sun and I understand it makes a good cut flower when the ends are sealed with boiling water. I highly recommend you try it!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
I adore this rose! 'Honey Perfume' is a pretty little floribunda that has a heavenly scent, is rarely ever effected by disease or insects in my garden and blooms profusely. And just look at those pretty flowers! I would highly recommend it!
Monday, May 20, 2013
This has been the story of my spring - leaking sprinkler heads! I can't count how many we have replaced this year and every time I turn around there is another one! My sprinkler expert suspects it is caused by a plumber that installed an overflow valve at the property line last fall and didn't properly flush the system when he was done, resulting in lots of dirt and debris making it to the sprinkler heads and clogging them up. In Southern California we rely on our underground sprinklers to keep everything alive, especially in dry years like this one. I am hoping we won't have anymore problems because I think we have had to replace almost every head so far!
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I must admit one of the favorite parts of my gardens is the small area right outside my front door in SJC. It was a small patch of grass when we moved in which I promptly ripped out and planted a birch tree. The color scheme in this area is one of my preferred - purple, chartreuse, and gold. Roses, iris, euphorbia, heliotrope, hardy geraniums, flax, status, lavender and many other annuals in addition to background shrubs, grasses and annuals make it a feast for my eyes and nose.