Thursday, January 27, 2011

Midwinter Succulents

Midwinter succulents in the contribution to Three for Thursday, sponsored by Cindy at My Corner of Katy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Last Gift From the Plum Tree

The plum tree is slowly becoming a memory...I've been taking it down bit by bit. One of the first things I did was to bring some of the small branches in and put them in jars with water. I liked the structural look of them and was hopeful they might last time.

As you can see, they have begun to open and are giving us one last gift of beauty. Thank you plum tree!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Winter Garden

It is not unusual for a winter day in Central California to be foggy and gray. Even so, on a recent very foggy Saturday I overheard several conversations that began, "I am so sick of this fog!" Obviously knowing it is common and being accepting of it are not the same thing. Many years ago I dreaded the long, wet, foggy winter because I thought I couldn't get into the garden. With passing years (perhaps fueled originally by some desperation) I realized that our winters were a great time to be outside. The above photo is an example. Many of us look outside, see that fog and all we think is "another gray day." But there is pink in that photo too!

 Today I went out to do some clean up. Salvias, nepeta, ornamental oregano and more needed cutting back and the leaves that finally fell from the ornamental plum needed to be raked. If I had stayed inside I would never have found this:

...a daffodil popping up.  And in another bed, under leaves and iberis I found these:
...miniature yellow daffodils that will bloom perhaps in time for next month's Garden Blogger Bloom Day! If I hadn't been crawling around picking old iris leaves off newly sprouting tubers I'd have never seen these:
...sedum just starting to come up. It was damp and it was cool but it was also peaceful and quiet in the winter garden. It was a different gardening experience and one that I have come to enjoy in the last few years as much, if in a different way, as I do gardening in other seasons. There was no rush, no panic that time is running out like it tends to do in the spring. Instead I know that even with the rainy days still to come, there will be several chances to finish the cleanup and a bit of transplanting that could be done before major spring work begins. A couple of friends looked at me strangely when I told them I'd spent a few hours in the garden today, their only comment something about it being too cold and wet. But if they had spent some time out there today they might have found something to make them smile, just as I did...
...the first leucojum of the season!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

GBBD January 2011

Strawberry tower
On this January Bloom Day, originated four years ago by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, I feel as if I need to do my part to keep the "bloom" in Bloom Day. There is always something blooming here, not huge swaths perhaps, but blooms nonetheless.
Rosa Flower Girl
 While some photos were taken yesterday this one of Rosa Flower Girl, blooming at the top of the Wedding Arbor, was taken this morning against a typical Central California foggy winter day. Flower Girl blooms just about all year but in the winter the blooms are pink. In summer they are white.
Rosa Demitasse
Rosa Demitasse is a miniature rose that also blooms a good many months of the year.
Pansies are in several hanging baskets, holding the place of the succulents that live here most of the year. The succulents are spending the winter under the patio cover so they can stay a bit drier and warmer.
Camellia Sasanqua Kanjiro
This camellia has been bloom at a time...for several weeks now. 
Lavandula pinnata buchii
One of my very favorite lavenders has an unfair advantage. It lives right next to the Meyers lemon that has been surrounded with piazza lights to keep it warm on colder nights. So this particular lavender blooms almost year round. I'm planning to move the lemon this summer. I wonder what will happen to pinnata buchii?
Ivy geranium
This ivy geranium also benefits from piazza lights, this time from those on my Bearss lime tree.
Dwarf Carnation Evermore
I wonder how many times I've put a photo of Dwarf Carnation Evermore in my posts? Another year-round bloomer Evermore takes the cold, the heat, the rain, and drought.
Begonia Richmondensis
Indoors Begonia Richmondensis and Begonia coccinea both continue to bloom in a sunny window.
Other outdoor blooms today include abutilon Pink Parasol, a few sweet alyssum, viburnum Spring Bouquet, solanum jasminoides, and cyclamen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sometimes I Like Red in the Garden

For someone who is not a big fan of red in the garden I certainly have an awful lot of it here right now. I will admit that on a gloomy gray Central California winter day some bright red accents can be welcome in the garden. It's here in the form of berries on nandina  and cotoneaster,

flowers like cyclamen and these very welcome red items that we picked yesterday!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Fairy Garden in a Box

Last July's visit to Buffalo for Garden Blogger Buffa10 may be half a year ago but I am still thinking about and processing ideas I got there. One of my favorite things was something I saw on Lancaster Street on the morning of the last day. It was a darling little garden in a box that the owner, Annabelle Irey,  called a touching garden and I liked it so much that the next week The Sweet Granddaughter and I put together an impromptu mini version that she enjoyed all summer. Think 'doll house' but the garden version! Right away I began searching for things to use in what I planned would be her Christmas gift. I had a field lug, a wooden bin about 18"x24"x9", that I bought at a garage sale in the mid '70s. I knew that would be the container and in preparation I sanded it and then coated it with white house paint.

I then painted grasses, flowers, and insects on the outside. I used Patio Paint, an outdoor acrylic paint I bought at Michael's. Don't be afraid to experiment...children's books are great places to get inspiration for your artistic endeavors. I painted a dragonfly, a snail, and a monarch butterfly and then I hid a tiny ladybug on a blade of grass and a line of ants along the bottom of one side.

Meanwhile, I ordered an arbor, bench, and small terracotta hanging pot from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center,  after my friend Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings sent me the link.   I already had a couple small pots potted up with succulents from the trial touching garden and I got three more pots and succulents to add to the new and improved version. Succulents in small pots are great for the three-year-old gardener as they are very forgiving when subjected to sporadic watering patterns.

The soon-to-be-owner of this particular touching garden is a big fan of imaginative play, especially when fairies are involved, and almost every one knows fairies love to live in gardens! So when I was looking for play figures to add to the garden I was excited to find Playmobil garden fairies, gardeners and fences. There was even a bird house and tiny wheelbarrow!

I had been looking around for some tiny terracotta tiles to use as stepping stones but time was running out. My friend, Mary Ann of Gardens of the Wild Wild West suggested I make my own from polymer clay which I did by rolling it out, cutting into squares and baking in the oven.

I lined the box with landscape cloth and upon delivery filled it with two bags of pea pebbles. The new owner has been playing with the garden for a week now and it is definitely a hit with her. I liked making it so much that I am on the lookout for more field lugs...surely everyone deserves a fairy garden in a box!