Monday, December 31, 2012

Predicting the 2013 Garden in Davis

As 2012 nears its end I considered looking back at the year in the garden. I imagine that if I were to run through my Google reader I would find many similar posts today. So instead I am going to give you a preview of what happened in the 2013 garden. Here goes.

January 2013 saw the last of the day lilies and hollyhocks bloom as well as the first of the narcissus. Strange but true! Unless the dip below freezing predicted for the night of January 1st zaps it there will be a day lily bloom to welcome the new year.

Spring of 2013 saw many projects completed. The Secret Garden bench was finally painted in its new purple and green palette. The fairy house also in the Secret Garden was constructed. The vegetable garden was planted on time and a reasonable harvest was produced.

The wisteria bloomed and scented the air.

As summer heated up planting was halted and other projects were begun. The front path was redone to include crushed rock around the stepping stones, finally eliminating the need to step gingerly along that path each winter to avoid the surrounding mud.

Bermuda was pulled and then pulled again (this part is easy to predict!).

Time was spent sitting and enjoying the garden as well. The gardener didn't even stress (much) about the garden and its lack of perfection when long distance friends came to visit and see the real life garden growing in Davis. The joy of being able to share with other gardeners was worth it all.

The garden evolved as it had for the previous 33 years and the gardener reaped the benefits in health, peace, friendship, and beauty. These are the gifts I wish for you in the coming year, and all the years to come. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quick and Free Christmas Greenery

Looking out the back door from the family room I still see lots of green here in Central California. But this time of year is the one time I need a bit of red to herald the season. I have a few terracotta pots I painted many years ago that can provide a quick holiday splash with the addition of a pot or two of cyclamen. And the wish for Christmas red is one reason I like nandina...its berries so nicely change from orange at Thanksgiving to bright red in time for Christmas.

This year, expecting rain and dreary skies for the holiday made me want to bump up the pockets of red.  And in less than 2 minutes I did just that. I cut several small branches from the pile of branches we cut off the bottom of the Christmas tree in order to get it into the stand, slid them into the hanging pots with the delosperma (ice plant) then cut a few sprigs of berries from the cotoneaster and slid them in as well.
A quick, simple, free addition to the holiday decor!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Garden Blogger Bloom Day December 2012

We have had several close to freezing nights but we have yet to cross that 32ยบ line. So although we have been having a welcome amount of rain and its corresponding dreary skies there are still quite a few blooms in the Davis December garden. Rosa Demitasse is making up for having ragged, unappealing foliage this summer by blooming its heart out lately.

The wax begonias in containers continue to bloom. They will soon be knocked back by frost, to return next spring. I like them in containers since at that point I can simply move them to a holding area till they look nice again.

Yellow agyranthemum brightens up the gloomy days. There is a bit of the ivy geranium, to the back left, that twines up into the black stem pittosporum which serves as winter protection.

A few California Giant zinnias remain. I've been stalling on pulling them out since they add such a nice color splash but I imagine they too will soon feel the bite of a freeze and be gone.

Mulberry Jam salvia helps brighten up another corner of the garden, and behind it one of the camellias is sporting buds. 

Tucked among the succulents and other tender container plants that are wintering under the patio cover is this orchid. I am not sure that it should be blooming now and I am wondering if I should bring it inside. 

Other blooms include solanum jasminoides, sweet alyssum, pansies, other roses, and cyclamen.

Since I am posting a few days late you can see many other bloom day posts from around the world by visiting Carol at May Dreams Gardens. They all posted on the 15th, as I meant to do. There is something about this time of year that has me running late!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Heading Into Winter, Central California Style

We have enjoyed a long, beautiful fall, making it easy to be complacent about the date. But as November becomes December it is time to take care of a few important garden tasks.  Number one on my list is the Big Move. About 30 pots need to be moved to their winter location. Mostly succulents, but also a few orchids and cane begonias, these pots need to be moved under the patio cover, onto the front porch shelves, or, in the case of the begonias, into the house. There they will remain until the weather clears in the spring. The succulents could withstand our few freezing nights, but not if they are soaked from the hoped for typical winter rains. The orchids will stay on the patio and be brought inside for the night only when freezing temperatures are predicted. And the begonias...I have tried leaving them on the patio for the winter and I have tried bringing them inside. I am still not decided on the best approach. This year, they are inside.

The sweet peas are up but just barely. They are still under the berry baskets used to protect them from the marauding sparrows who like to snack on many of the newly sprouting greens they find in the garden. The nearby favas don't seem to be attractive to them so they are left on their own.

Strawberries are still ripening. A few are just the thing for a gardening break.

Rain has started and has helped speed the leaf drop.  Meanwhile, the California Giant zinnias are still pumping out blooms.

Rosa Flawless is still blooming as well and enjoying the first few rains.

Pansies are likewise appreciative of the rain.  The deluge we had last Sunday was such a downpour it overwhelmed the gutters and water poured down into the patio, requiring the emptying of stored crocks and soaking some of the succulents wintering there. Luckily, we don't anticipate low temperatures soon. Before we do, important garden job number two must be addressed. That would be the stringing of patio lights on citrus and installation of stakes to provide support for the sheets to cover them if and when we do get freezing weather. It's time to stop being complacent. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Garden Blogger Bloom Day November 2012

Wax begonias, in containers, will die back to the soil and return in the spring.

The garden is still blooming, despite a quick brush with close to freezing temperatures this past weekend. Now we are happily back with our lows in the 40s and enjoying a reprieve on the end of a lovely fall.

Plumbago underplanted with lavandula pinnata buchii.
The plumbago has grown across the top of the Lady Banks arbor and now hangs down the other side. It is protected in winter by that evergreen banksia so even when it gets nipped a bit it always leafs out again come spring.

A passalong chrysanthemum  has been divided and spread about the garden.
 These chrysanthemums appear in several spots in the garden. The earwigs enjoy them almost as much as I do so petals are often missing. Be that as it may, they still brighten up the fall garden. Dutch iris is spearing up through them, preparing to bloom on the other side of our short winter.

An echinacea planted a couple of months ago has its first bloom.
 I'm hoping this echinacea is longer lived than the ones I've had in the past. We shall see.

Gratuitous orange zinnia backed by shallots and garlic, used to break up the overabundance of pink flower photos.

Scented geranium 
 Scented geraniums are some of my favorites...I love the foliage for filler in bouquets and they are such reliable long bloomers.

This holly leaf osmanthus has many non-holly leaves.
 It is possible to catch a whiff of the lovely scent of this osmanthus if there is a slight breeze. Otherwise one must stick one's nose in close to reap the benefits of that scent.

Dancing Dolls salvia blooms for months.
 Several of the salvias are still blooming. This Dancing Dolls plant was cut way back a few months ago and has responded by bushing up and showing off with a new round of blooms.

Yellow argyranthemum blooms almost year round.
This is a great 'picking flower'. Every garden needs a few plants that have enough blooms to allow kids to have a bloom almost whenever they like. This argyranthemum fits the bill.

Loropetalum chinense Sizzling Pink is just beginning to bloom.
 Planted at least 5 years ago loropetalum chinense Sizzling Pink finally began to have a presence last year. I may decide to take the neighboring boxwood out to give it more space now that it has decided to stay.

A pink ivy geranium winds up into a black stem pittosporum which helps protect it in colder weather.
 I like planting tender plants, like this ivy geranium and the abutilon below, under evergreen shrubs. The shrubs protect the more tender plants during cold snaps and also offer natural support for them.

Abutilon Pink Parasol supported by black stem pittosporum.

Rosa Berries and Cream.
Berries and Cream was just about smothered by the solanum jasminoides that I cut back to the trunk back in September.  It has thanked me for freeing it by offering up these blooms.

Other bloomers include sweet alyssum, Rosa Flower Girl, Salvia Dwarf Indigo Spires, pelargoniums, Italian White sunflowers, autumn sage, and pansies.

On the 15th of every month Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites gardeners around the world to share what is blooming in their garden. Click on over for a look at lovely blooms!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gulf Fritillary Joins the ZinniaFest

Today's visitor to the zinnias was a Gulf Fritillary. Even if I didn't love the abundance of blooms the California Giants Zinnias keeps pumping out I would plant them again just for the visitors.

More skittish than the Orange Sulfer that visited a few days ago this fritillary was also more colorful.

I'm glad the butterflies have been stoking up on the nectar supplied here...rain and cold are predicted soon. I'm happy to supply some help for them in their quest for the sweet treat.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Orange Sulfer Butterfly

This female Orange Sulfer butterfly spent quite a while feeding on this particular California Giant Zinnia today.

Photos make it much easier to see the proboscis inserted into the actual flowers in the center of the composite bloom.

Here is a quick video...I wish you could more easily see the vigor with which this butterfly was feeding!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Garden Blogger Bloom Day October 2012

California Giants zinnias
On the 15th of every month garden bloggers around the world join Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Blogger Bloom Day. Not only is it fun to see what is blooming everywhere else in the world, it is sometimes useful in reminding the gardener to check on what is blooming out back.

Lavandula pinnata buchii

I would have said there was not much going on here aside from some Energizer Bunny plants that just keep on blooming. And while that is pretty much true it is also true that that means there are plenty of blooms to enjoy. Sometimes those almost-constant-bloomers become a bit overlooked after pumping out blooms for a few months. Or, as is the case with lavandula pinnata bucchi, for almost the whole year. Garden Blogger Bloom Day is a great reason to focus and be grateful for those stalwarts yet again.

Cuphea llavea, bat face cuphea

Bat face cuphea will always remind me of Annie/Kathy of The Transplantable Rose who first posted a photo of this  sweet plant some years ago causing me to hunt around and find one for my very own.
Helianthus debilis, Italian White sunflower

This small flowered sunflower is a garden favorite here due to its several month bloom period and ease of cultivation.

Abutilon Pink Parasol

The abutilons are grown with other shrubs to provide support for their somewhat gangly growth.

Miniature rose, unknown

This miniature rose, a gift several years ago, had resumed blooming after a summer respite.
While I didn't find anything overly exciting on my bloom hunt it is still true that, as Carol tells us in quoting Elizabeth Lawrence, " We can have flowers nearly every month of the year".

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Filoli in the Fall

I've been to Filoli in the heat, the rain, the fog. Today was a beautiful, clear, crisp fall day. Every visit has been fun and an occasion to discover something new.

Filoli was built as the country escape for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn II. Bourn was a rich gold mine owner and owner of the company that supplied San Francisco's water. The grounds are elegant in some areas, utilitarian in others, and rustic in still others. 

Today Filoli belongs to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open to the public February through October. The first floor of the house is also open for viewing, something we skipped this time.

I am not a big rose fan but the roses here are enjoying a fall flush of blooms and were quite pretty. 

I wish I had asked someone how long the apple espalier row is...suffice it to say it is many trees and many yards long. It was beautiful today since it was loaded with apples!

The knot garden requires much maintenance and doesn't always look good, especially if it has been recently pruned as it has been several times when I have seen it. This time it was glorious!

We spotted a path we had never been on before which was exciting. A docent told us this area is being developed to allow access to the new daffodil meadow that has been planted. 15,000 daffodils were planted in 2008, 50,000 more in 2010 and even more since then. She encouraged us to return next spring to see the result. At that time all the other daffodils will also be blooming...some of them descendants of bulbs that have multiplied for years and years. 
We also spotted this tree along the path and didn't recognize it. Friends of mine have identified it from this picture as a type of hawthorn...something I hadn't seen before. That is one reason I like to return to Filoli again and again...there is always something new to see!