Thursday, March 31, 2011

Three Things That Made Me Happy This Week

My friend Cindy at My Corner of Katy invites us to join in on Three For Thursday and  share three of anything. So here are three things that made me smile this week!
My new cymbidium blooms have opened! Is that lovely or what?!

After coveting Ice Follies daffodils recently on other blogs I found out I had apparently done that last year too and rectified the situation.

Baby fig alert! It's probably too early to buy the gorgonzola...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Isn't Camelot

 No one likes the d word. Especially gardeners. So when it rains in California in the winter we don't complain. Or we do complain but only because we think we should be able to garden every day and it should only rain at night. Although maybe that was a movie. Anyway, gardeners really do know that we need rain and in California that means we'd better get enough in the winter because we don't do summer rain in any measurable amounts. This past weekend was an answer to a gardener's prayers except for the only at night part. We got right around 2 inches of rain this weekend which put us over our yearly average, and we're not done yet. I have to admit I can't believe it was only 2 started raining Thursday and rained off and on through Friday and then almost continuously Saturday and most of Sunday, at times extremely hard.
This area where the patio meets the so-called lawn often floods for a few minutes but never to this extent and it usually soaks in minutes after the rain stops. Sunday night, several hours after the rain ended, it was still flooded, testament to the saturated condition of the soil.

 The front path flooded under the bench, something I've rarely seen happen. No rain Monday and none predicted until tonight have allowed things to dry a bit, hopefully including the succulents which have almost all been moved back to their real homes out from under the patio cover. In any case, the nights are not as cold as they were and I'm hoping everyone is happy out there.  I'm glad to know we won't be terribly low on water this summer...I may have a lot of drought tolerant areas but it doesn't mean they can survive without some summer watering.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GBBD March 2011

Today is Garden Blogger Bloom Day, that day when Carol at May Dreams Gardens asks each of us to share what is blooming in our garden!

A very impressive cloudburst and other less torrential rain kept me out of the garden today so I was lucky once again to have some safety photos taken Saturday when I could have sworn it was just about spring. Above Tulbaghia fragrans is sending its sweet scent through the's the earliest blooming tulbaghia here.
Crocus bloom here and there; I need to add many more.
On the Wedding Arbor Clematis armandii is in bloom. I expected this plant to be much more vigorous but since it is alive and was my third attempt I guess I'll be happy. It shares the arbor with Rosa Flower Girl.
Iris reticulata Symphony is beginning to bloom, considerably later than the blue reticulatas.
An aloe blooms in a strawberry pot.
Another photo of Lavandula pinnata buchii. Seems like I have one every other month but I take a lot of pictures of this since it blooms most of the year, unlike any other lavender in the garden.
Iberis blooms in several places brightening up cloudy days.
Viburnumtinus Spring Bouquet has lovely clusters of pink tinged waxy flowers, not unlike...
this crassula . 
Clumps of leucojum aestivum bloom, these are some of the later blooming spots in the garden.
Muscari in the back garden.
Geranium citrosa is sending out a few blooms in preparation for spring!

Other blooms in Davis for this late winter bloom day include:
Butterfly Blue scabiosa
Abutilon Pink Parasol
Ivy geranium
garden peas
fava beans
Bradford pear
Rosa Lady Banks white
Leucojum aestivum
Camellia Chandleri Elegans
Camellia Jordan's Pride
Solanum jasminoides
Rosemary Tuscan Blue
Dwarf Carnation Evermore
Yellow Argyranthemum frutescens
 And indoors a begonia blooms while waiting for nicer weather so it can go back outside.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Blooms for Thursday

Joining in with Cindy at My Corner of Katy and her Three for Thursday meme I present three blooms seen in my corner of Davis today...
fava beans
first Lady Banksia bloom of 2011
And because I can't control myself here is a sneak peek at the very beginning of the wisteria bloom season...swelling buds promise future abundance!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Grow the Good Life: A Book Review

Late winter in Davis brings some beautiful days along with those of the rainy cold variety. The narcissus are blooming and spring is surely around the corner. This is the time of the year when my summer vegetable garden looks its best, because it is all still in my imagination. No failed seeds, no snail eaten zucchini starts. Gardeners everywhere are starting to feel the excitement of a brand new growing opportunity. It is the perfect time to fan the flames of gardening zeal and that is just what I did this weekend. I received a copy of Michele Owens' book Grow the Good Life: Why a Vegetable Garden Will Make You Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise and I jumped right in to see if I could fan those flames.

For much of the 1970s I belonged to the Rodale Press book club, receiving a book or two every month. Cook books, organic gardening books, books that preached about living an environmentally thoughtful life all helped form who I am as a gardener and a person. Fast forward...really? over 30 years?...and Michele has written the 2011 version of the best of those books. Although a wonderful book for the beginning gardener, who will find support and encouragement in Grow the Good Life, I found myself starting to plot changes to my garden and gardening as well.  Compelling, well supported reasons for gardening ranging from flavor to health to financial to children are laid out in an easy to follow comfortable format that brought back those feelings from the 70s when anything seemed possible and having the best wasn't even that difficult. But now those feelings are enhanced by research showing some soil bacteria to be mood enhancers and further research that explains the scientific reasons freshly harvested foods taste better than those that are stored and shipped.

Although there are some how-to aspects of the book, especially in the laying out of the garden and mulching sections, this is more of a why-to book. Maybe even a why-ever-not book. Although Michele has an enviable-sized space for her own garden, the information here will translate to any garden size and in fact much of the book encourages starting small, slow, and easy. From the neophyte gardener to those of us who have a fair number of harvests to our name, this book will make those flames of gardening zeal grow and grow until they begin to grow the good life in your own life right there in your own garden.

(I received this book from the publisher for possible review. Since I found it to be very worthwhile reading I decided I should indeed review it.)