Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spring rain ~

When I woke up Saturday morning it was raining which is a crazy major thing in Southern California this time of year - especially this year which has been very dry.

Rain for a gardener is always a reason to celebrate, there is something about rain, different from irrigation, that makes the colors in the garden pop.

I picked up my camera, threw a sweatshirt over my PJs, and went outside to take some photos. 

In the potager the scarecrow keeping watch was wet and dripping, but the new strawberry plants were very happy.

I love the way the gravel areas look after it rains.

This old wheelbarrow waiting to be planted with succulents, sits under a Honeylocust tree. The chartreuse color of the tree in spring is spectacular but never more so than during the mistiness of an overcast day.

A Gravel path in the front winding through roses, salvias and the last of the nasturtiums.

And lastly, along the driveway under the newly leafed out trees, yellow lantana, a wonderful trailing variety, shines bright and sunny in the drizzle.


I am reading a book about Sissinghurst, my favorite garden. The author says that,

 "the completely overblown carefreeness was typical of the garden during the Nicholsons' day when they could not manage - not did they want- exceptional tidiness at all times." 

This was very encouraging to hear, for my own garden, as much as I try, will never be completely tidy, weed free, nor anywhere near perfection - there is always some area in need of work and I find myself obsessing over this instead of enjoying what it does have to offer. 

Thank you Vita and Harold.

And, thank you for visiting.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A garden bouquet sent to you with best wishes for a delightful day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The purples of spring ~

While working in the garden this weekend I was surprised to notice all of the purple and lavender colored flowers blooming this time of year, far more abundant now than in the hot summer months.

From larkspurs to the mallow bush, which I have pruned into a small tree in the picture below, going along the driveway, to...

...the many salvias. Salvias by the way, have become one of my favorite plants, they are so dependable,  performing nicely in my hot inland garden. Both annuals and perennials they come in many types and colors, including this rich purple one you see below; it pairs well with the yellow lantana.

Then there are the irises. Iris was the name of the mythological Greek goddess of the rainbow and is such a suitable name for this plant as they come in an array of colors including lots of purple blends; all of them are lovely and many of the newer hybrids are re-blooming.

But the Queen of purple in my garden right now has to be the wisteria growing with abandon up and over the back deck.

I planted this wisteria vine two years ago. It was a bareroot plant from Home Depot, when I took it out of the package to plant it it was so frail and spindly that I didn't have a lot of hope for it's success. Last year it had a few passable blooms and at first this year I didn't think it was going to bloom at all.

Then look what happened! By next year it should reach completely around the deck and my main problem will be keeping it under control. But my, when it is in bloom it is marvelous and the fragrance is heavenly.

Thank you for visiting.

I hope that your garden is full of the beauty that comes with spring.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The greenhouse ~

In the back of the garden sits this little green house. I use it mostly to store extra pots and wicker baskets. Years ago a friend offered it to us if we could find a way to move it from their property to ours; obviously we did.

So here it sits, tucked away covered with this glorious climbing rose, making it almost hard to find this time of year.

The rose, Rosa Banksiae 'Alba Plena' is  the lesser known variety of the famous yellow form, Lady Banks (which happens in my garden to be growing right along side her sister; it was planted here many decades ago by the former owners of the garden). I planted the white one a few years ago when I first came across it and it has done quite well in this location.

The flowers bloom in multiples down long, slender, torn-less  stems. It is once blooming and has little scent, but in my opinion the lavish abundance and beauty while in bloom makes it worthy of a spot in any garden.

There are some things that make you realize the changing of the seasons, when I walk out and see this rose in flower I know that spring is at it's peak and summer is soon here.

As cute as the greenhouse is, as soon as the rose finishes blooming and I can cut it back a bit, I want to do a few minor repairs, re-glazing in some windows, and definitely, a new coat of paint. There is always something to take care of in a garden!


Today I finally planted the last of the new dahlia tubers. I went a little overboard with purchasing too many and did that thing that obsessive gardeners do - walking around the garden searching for a spot to plant. It took a while but they are all planted and with care should thrive and grow.

Thank you for visiting.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Looking out ~

"It is not possible for a house to own a spirit without owning windows with flowers."

Mehmet Mural Ilclan


One of my greatest pleasures is being able to look out a window and see my garden. I am fortunate in having garden views from almost every room in my house - some of course better than others.

kalanchoe "flap jack" and ivy geranium

I took these pictures one afternoon from the windows in my entry hall and living room. The sun was shining, the roses were starting to bloom and in my opinion it looked quite lovely. The bonus from this view, all of the imperfections, notably weeds, were unnoticeable and the flowers were glorious.

roses and golden euronymous

Actually in a design sense this is a good thing to do, as it gives you an opportunity to see and judge a garden from a completely different perspective. I have made several changes in my landscape based on observations made this way.

But the best part is just to be able to enjoy the beauty of the plantings. We talk about borrowed landscape in garden design, well I consider windows with garden views as borrowed enrichment to interior design.

Bewitched hybrid tea rose

I love to bring flowers into the house for bouquets and often do so but it isn't quite so necessary when right outside the window you can see this!

I hope that your day is filled with glorious views.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Needlepoint pillows ~

While I am watching television I like to have some type of needle work to do, crocheting, knitting, or my favorite: needlepoint. I like needlepoint the best because it is so mindless and takes little concentration other than occasionally changing yarn - no counting of stitches or following a pattern.  It was once described to me as, "idiots delight".

I always make the finished canvas into a pillow, like the cat pillow below; it is one of my favorites. I can't quite decide where to put the other two finished pieces above but eventually I will find a spot.


My latest needlepoint project has been this rose pillow. It will be a pillow for a chair in my living room. I have almost dreaded getting it finished because I didn't have a new canvas to work on. I prefer buying kits, they come imprinted and with all of the yarn. But I think because of the lost popularity of needlepoint, kits with pretty designs have become hard to find. I had had this one for quite a while before I started it

So I was really thrilled when I saw this pink hydrangea at JoAnne's. I think is it lovely and the colors are perfect for several rooms in my home. I ordered it on line and it came yesterday; tonight I can get started on it. They take quite a long time for me to finish but that's okay this is one activity where I don't mind a slow pace. Meanwhile I will be keeping my eye out for another kit...or maybe next time I will try buying a blank canvas and designing my own - who knows. 


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

George Herbert
(April 1593 - March 1633)

I has been a lovely spring day for working outside but I have had tree trimmers here all day making noise and a mess in the garden. The result is that I have had to stay inside, going out occasionally to check on what they are doing. I heard lately of a gardener who left home for a while and came back to see that the wrong tree had been cut to the ground. Horrors! Actually, they are doing a really good job and the results are going to be positive.

Thank you for visiting.

I wish you a wonderful Spring day!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring and the March Garden ~


"Nothing is so beautiful as spring -
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush."

Gerard Manly Hopkins
March is here and with it the first days of spring. The garden is full of potential, but as Hopkins so beautifully put it - weeds abound - and because of our recent rain they seem more abundant than usual. I have been trying to convince myself that the large crop of weeds seemingly  popping up everywhere indicates that my soil must be good - a fanciful idea but it seems like a more positive approach.

Aside from the weeds there are some nice vignettes to be found in the March garden. So I thought I would share a few with you.

The magnolias are winding down, but daffodils are at their peek. Alstroemerias are starting their long bloom period. They have seeded all over the garden, surprising me in the most unexpected places, but always welcome.

 Inside the roundel in the front garden the Santa Barbara daisies are giving a pretty showing. When I first designed this space I was going to plant roses around the base of the fountain, I put the daisies in until I decided on which roses to plant. They have done so well that I have left them here.

I have them planted in many places because the are such garden workhorses and wonderful fillers - seemingly growing anywhere in all type of conditions. These geese seem very happy romping amongst them.

And the pièce de résistance of my March garden: the  Pink Tabebuia tree combined with the Chinese Fringe bushes in the street side garden. This was definitely one of my best planting ideas and I look forward to when this lovely combination blooms each year.

Spring is such a wonderful time of the year, when so much seems possible and everyday offers something new. I wish that it lasted for a longer period of time, but then I suppose it wouldn't be so special.

Thank you for visiting.