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.