Monday, December 31, 2007

Growing a Garden in 2007


I am still celebrating the holiday season...my daughters and their husbands and the Sweet Granddaughter arrived Friday, December 28, for our family gathering. Even my son, who lives across town, has moved in for the weekend. But I'm taking a moment to check in and reflect on the past year a bit. One year ago I made several resolutions (I think they qualify as goals according to Carol!)
First, I was to do better at composting yard waste. I now have a compost bin that I layer kitchen waste and yard waste in...and it's working! And I have a holding bin for leaves so I have a supply to use for layering as I continue to add kitchen waste. I wish I had space for more bins but I have at least improved!
Secondly, I was to succeed at growing an evergreen clematis which I have hesitated to talk about for fear of jinxing myself. However, as you can see, it is still alive! Third time must be the charm!
I've kept the privets under control...partly by thinning some branches back to the main trunk. And while doing so I managed to not break my replacement pruner my brother had to buy me after a pruning session gone bad.
My last resolution/goal was to grow and eat a Brandywine tomato. This year the tomato fairies were kind enough to allow several Brandywines to set and mature and I did enjoy them! But not as much as my Costoluto Genovese. So a decision will have to be made as to whether I grow Brandywines again...and I'm thinking I might rather try something new. What's your favorite tomato? Suggestions are appreciated.
Resolutions/goals for 2008 will have to wait...the Sweet Granddaughter will be waking up from her nap soon...!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Amaryllis Baby Star and Mushrooms


Here is my first ever amaryllis...I had to rescue it from a bin in the garden department at the hardware store since it had started to grow. The first bloom appeared Dec 21 and when we returned today from an overnight stay at my daughter's house I found four blooms...and more to come on the other stalk! Then my task will be to see if I can have it survive for next year.
And here is the present I bought for my son-in-law...except I was so excited about it I had to get one for me too...so now that I'm home I need to go set up my box...we did his yesterday at their house.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gardening Christmas Ornaments



I found a few gardening Christmas ornaments on my tree (which is finally trimmed)! I realized I have lots (and lots) of bird ornaments, mostly cardinals, and other nature focused ornaments but just a few gardening ornaments. See if you can read the words on the cover of the book on the windowsill! The clapper on the bunny bell is a trowel...interesting that a lot of my ornaments have bunnies...maybe because I've had no negative experiences with them in my garden.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like...tomatoes?


Our dry, slow-to-get-cold fall has resulted in a major bonus...cherry tomatoes that are still s-s-s-lowly ripening. Today I see the beginnings of the end...frost damaged tips on the vines. But I've picked bunches of green tomatoes and will see what happens...if they ripen at all they'll be at least as good as any at the store! Homegrown tomatoes for Christmas???!

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day December 2007




There are still blooms in Davis...the temperature has dipped at night to freezing but hovered in the 50's during the day. Little to no rain has meant that I'm still watering on occasion, especially the citrus in pots that can handle the cold better when it isn't stressed for water. Several plants, such as the shasta daisy and Banksia rose, are blooming sparsely... surprising me...but I'm not sure if I just haven't paid attention in past years or it really is an oddity. In any case...

Most of my hollyhocks are long gone but this one seems to think it is still August. As does this shasta daisy. A few early blooms have appeared on the double banksia rose...several months sooner than the usual big burst. Have I just missed that other years? The oranges behind are in in the neighbor's yard unfortunately!
The abutilon and mallow are still blooming, making the overwintering hummingbirds happy.
Other bloomers include:
Solanum rantonneti
Solanum jasminoides
Lobelia
Rosa Flower Girl
Wax begonia
Allysum
Pink Pandorea
Viburnum Spring Bouquet
Plumbago Royal Cape
Pelargoniums
Tulbaghia fragrans
Cyclamen (red)
Pansies
Iberis sempervirens
Linaria (winter annual)
Snapdragons (pink and yellow)Indoors the Christmas cactus (that may really be a Thanksgiving cactus) has put out more blooms.

I'm looking forward to the two weeks I get off at the holidays...walking around to take photos let me know how much cleanup remains to be done in the garden! While we need rain I'm hoping for a few dry days to pull things together...one more week to go!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Eight Things I'm Happy About

Here’s my list of eight things I’m happy about…in response to Garden Wise Guy’s meme tag.

1. Home computers…allowing us to connect with gardeners and other like-minded people all over the world…for free!
2. I transferred (many years ago…) to UC Davis and ended up planted in a place I love.
3. We have a Sweet Granddaughter.
4. We can afford to visit the Sweet Granddaughter somewhat regularly…and Southwest Airlines makes it not too difficult.
5. My husband understands the garden is my mental health activity and leaves me to it…jumping in only when assistance is requested.
6. Our kids are grown and we still do fun things together because we enjoy each other’s company.
7. I’m healthy, strong enough and have the time and resources to do the things I enjoy…gardening, reading, traveling, studying, going to the gym, cooking, and working at a job that I, for the most part, enjoy.
8. My friends know my faults and are willing to put up with them.
So...now I'm expected to choose eight bloggers to join in...and I'm trying to remember who said they don't do memes and who might have done enough to last their lifetime. I don't want to be the last straw in someone's holiday craziness. But it is a time for being grateful so maybe it wouldn't be too difficult to put a few thoughts in words...feel free to join in even if your name isn't here...

Angela Pratt at Garden Bliss
Weeder at Weeder's Garden
Annie at The Transplantable Rose
Connie at Notes From A Cottage Garden
Lisa at Millertime
Sue at The Balcony Garden
Gina at My Skinny Garden
Vonlafin at Gardening With God

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2007


There are still a number of blooms in Davis...we've had a very mild fall so far and some things are blooming that I've never noticed before at this time of year. Of course that may be due to the fact I'm not always paying good attention...maybe I'll see in years to come that this is typical behavior!
The first of these is Viburnum Spring Bouquet...it's got the beautiful metallic blue berries and has already begun to bloom...it seems early to me!
Also beginning to bloom is Tulbaghia fragrans...only one bloom but considerably earlier than I remember.
Every year I buy red cyclamen for the porch at Christmas. After the holidays I can't make myself throw them out so they get tucked in wherever they can. The first one to bloom arrived just in time for bloom day!
Also beginning to bloom are the pink snapdragons tucked back under one of the viburnums.
In the category of on going workhorse bloomers is the white potato vine, now mingling with the bright red rose hips of Rosa New Dawn or Rosa Berries and Cream...they're a tad tangled up so I'm not sure who they belong to! Also continuing to bloom are the zinnias (you know if there were fewer orange plants they would have given up long ago!), Rosa Flower Girl , borage, and the pelargoniums , shown here with the garlic chive seed head I can't bring myself to dead head. And at the rate the kids are gathering the seeds and planting them I may be overrun with garlic chives next year! The complete list for bloom day is:

Solanum rantonnetii
Solanum jasminoides
Zinnias
Shasta daisy (I don't remember having a Shasta bloom this time of year...ever!)
Chrysanthemum (Pink)
Chrysanthemum (Maroon)
Lobelia
Rosa Flower Girl
Rosa Demitasse
Wax Begonia
Allysum
Blue Marguarite
Salvia Victoria Blue
Salvia nemerosa May Night
Salvia nemerosa Blue Hill
Pink Pandorea
Snapdragon
Viburnum Spring Bouquet
Culinary Oregano
Plumbago Royal Cape
Borage
Pelargoniums
Tulbaghia fragrans
Abutilon
Cyclamen
Penstemon Apple Blossom
Penstemon Bev Jensen
Nepeta Walker's Low
Dwarf Carnation Evermore
And in the house I have one bloom...my Christmas cactus has just put out it's first bloom!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day


Today many bloggers will be posting about the environment. I hope to read about some good ideas that I can work into my life...there is so much we can all do to help heal the earth. Reducing the amount of our personal contribution to the damage that is being done to the environment should be on everyone's mind. Ideas about cleaning products, garden chemicals, transportation, food choices and other daily activities that should be the result of thoughtful choices will hopefully abound today and I plan to check out as many as possible.
My small contribution is to ask that we consider what it is we want to ultimately leave to the children who are coming behind us. We need to think about the fact that we are teaching these children every moment by our examples...good and bad. We have the perfect opportunity to take these open minds and teach them to be able to see the beauty of nature...to open their eyes to what is around them and to give them the tools to live in the world in a way that is least harmful. All the things that we are thinking about, all the habits that we are working to change, all the choices we are working to make... we can make it easier for the children by having them grow up with the idea that we think about things, we consider the cost to the environment and we make a choice. Everyone who has contact with children...parents, grandparents, extended family, teachers, neighbors... we all need to to think about what example we are giving...it's good for the children, it's good for us, and above all it's good for the earth.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fiori e Canto


I've been mulling over Carol's idea about naming your garden. None of the names I was coming up with felt right...they didn't cover enough of the ideas/memories/thoughts that I was trying to include. But today while trying to put together my Bloom Day post between some garden work and Italian homework (I have this desire/delusion to learn to speak Italian, the language of my mom's parents, and have been studying it for a couple years) the perfect name just came to me. Therefore, from now on my garden will be known as 'Fiori e Canto' (Flowers and Song). This ties in the Italian with something else important to me. My mom loved to garden, she loved to sing, and she loved poetry. Long before she passed away (which was a little over ten years ago) she found a carved garden rock that said 'Flowers and Song.' Living in California she learned about Mexican history and one thing she found intriguing was that poetry was a combination of two words, flowers and song. It was so perfect for her and whenever I see or hear that phrase it reminds me of her.
For me, personally, flowers have many meanings. There are the actual flowers I love to grow, the flowers on the fruit and veggie plants that become food for the meals at my house, and the flowering/growing of the children in my care. Song also has personal meaning...the song of the birds (an interest I inherited from my dad and his mom), the voices of the children when we sing together (I really enjoy singing so it's a good thing I have kids to sing with since my mom did not pass her talent on to me!) and the enjoyment I get from listening to songs.
I think I'm ready to make a sign!

October Bloom Day 2007







Here is what is in bloom for October Bloom Day in Davis

Wax begonias
Pelargoniums (pink)
Abutilon (pink)
Society Garlic (lavender)
Allysum (mostly white)
Zinnias (mostly orange, sigh)
Chrysanthemum (burgundy)
Blue Marguarite
White potato vine
Plumbago Royal Cape
Rosa Demitasse
Rosa Flower Girl
Nemesia Bluebird
Salvia Victoria Blue
Salvia nemerosa Blue Hill
Salvia nemerosa May Night
Salvia barrelieri
Salvia greggii de Otono
Solanum jasminoides
Portulaca Sundial Mix
Penstemon Apple Blossom
Penstemon Bev Jensen
Penstemon Hidcote Pink
Glossy Abelia
Nepeta Walker’s Low
Geranium Rozanne
Dwarf Carnation Evermore
Lemon verbena
Tomatoes
Peppers
Eggplant
Sunflower Italian White

Of course the tomatoes,peppers and eggplant are just dreaming… I still have a few tomatoes and peppers that are about ready to be picked…but soon the plants will be gone.

And the wisteria has finally completely stopped blooming…we had a long stretch of blooms this year but all good things must come to an end. Soon the leaves will all fall and I can begin to prune it back. Right now I’m waiting for a little bit colder weather at which time I have a few plants to move to sunnier garden spots and a lot of pots to move to more protected areas.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NIMG




Answering Kim's question about what I appreciate in other gardens but Not In My Garden...
A beautiful green lawn. I need some open space for the day care children to run but I am unable/unwilling to do what is needed to make it meet most people's standards for beautiful. I use organic lawn food sparingly and water when necessary but the kids need to play there and it can't be wet all the time!
A pomegranate tree or in ground lemon or lime trees. I've got a lemon and a lime in pots (and one tiny variegated lemon in the ground that almost got zapped by last year's freeze so is still about 18 inches tall) but just don't have the space for any of these to grow to full size in the ground. I wish! I don't have space for a fig tree either but I'm looking for a particular type (Black Jack) that I've heard is easier to keep small and can be espaliered...it could work!
Most roses. Again, I'm unwilling/unable to do what it takes to make them look good. A few climbers and miniatures are all I'll attempt.
Lots of hardscape. I change my mind too often to make anything too permanent...movable bricks, stones, etc. are all I can commit to.
Plants that are formally pruned. I complain about all the pruning I do but as long as the result isn't smooth I can live with it. I like the natural look and am not too good at things requiring precision.
Orange. At some important developmental stage I saw too many subdivision yards landscaped with orange gazanias and it somehow put me off all orange flowers. Yellow used to be part of this aversion but I have relented on some soft yellow colors...maybe someday I'll embrace orange! Nah...
A total xeriscape yard. There are lots of great xeriscape gardens but I wouldn't want to live in one.

It's all about what feels right to each of us...gardening/blogs/parks/books etc. would sure be boring if all gardens were exactly the same. What would we do for fun if every garden we visited was the same as ours? This way we can appreciate someone else's style but not have to look at it all the time!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Four O'Clocks


This year's four o'clocks...even though I have tried to eliminate them I usually have one or two volunteers. This year's were all white and seemed so well behaved I let them stay...next year will be interesting!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bloom Day September 2007







Lots of variety in bloom here although the quantity of each is certainly less as we head into fall.The snapdragons are just beginning as well as my one trial 'Autumn Joy' sedum which I am liking a lot...maybe I should get a few more...it's always good to have a plant you might need to buy in case you end up at a nursery or plant sale!
So my September list is...
Gaura Siskiyou Pink
Gaura white
Wax begonias
Allysum
Blue marguarite
Nepeta Walker's Low
Plumbago Royal Cape
Rosa Demitasse
Nemesia Bluebird
Anisodontea Hibiscus Bits
Abutilon pink
Penstemon Apple Blossom
Penstemon Bev Jensen
Penstemon Hidcote Pink
Portulaca Sundial mix
Wisteria
Zinnias
Salvia nemerosa Blue Hill
Salvia nemerosa Caradonna
Salvia nemerosa May Night
Salvia sclerea
Salvia Victoria Blue
Salvia greggii de Otono
Lavender Society Garlic
Garlic chives
Glossy Abelia
Marguarite Comet pink
Geranium Rozanne
Pelargoniums
Ivy geraniums
Anise Hyssop
Veronica
Solanum jasminoides
White four-o'clocks
Lemon verbena
Liriope muscari
Tomatoes
Pole beans
Verbena Tapien
Basil
Fennel

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to Everyday Life


I am reconnecting with my garden and realizing just how much being out there centers me...I can almost feel my heart rate and breath slow down when I feel in touch with everything out there. Luckily, I spent a few hours this weekend checking on things, watering, deadheading, and a bit of privet pruning that stayed safe, as opposed to this experience because today it hit 104 degrees and we have a few more days of similar weather is store. Not the best for yard work! I was happy to find a few surprises after being gone most of two weeks. The Italian White sunflowers have finally been kind enough to bloom...I've grown them in the past and enjoy them a lot. I found three praying mantises (manti?) which I just love...I swear they watch closely when you take their picture and they aren't very happy about it. The flock of bushtits that had visited before I left on vacation came by again leading me to assume they are hanging around nearby. The mantises and bushtits might give you a clue about the number of insects available to visitors. I have an impressive number of aphids, especially on the wisteria. The downside of getting wisteria to bloom late into the summer is that the blooms get coated with aphids and the choice is leave them be or hose them off...which of course will strip the flowers off, too. So I just give them a light trim to keep them up out of the walkway and enjoy the blooms from afar.
The garlic chives have begun to bloom and go well with the hollyhock that is probably reaching the end of it's bloom. The salvia Blue Hill is still adding some nice color and the dwarf carnation Evermore seems to be living up to its name well this year. The zinnias are a bit of a surprise, too. I tried, really I did, to get six packs with the fewest possible orange flowers...the results show I was not too successful! I suppose I should try starting my own from seeds next year. I didn't plan to plant these, so hadn't gotten any seeds. But they were one of those impulse buys that happen to the best of us and I am happy enough with them...and they make great "picking flowers" for the kids.