Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Garden Monkey

I think every garden needs a few items that just make you smile and in my Laguna garden one would be my garden monkey. I bought it with the money I won in the football pool one year and he is so easy-going that you forget he is there until you stumble across him someplace in the garden. He has been know to move around so you never know where his grinning little face will appear.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fuchsias in the Fall

The other day I was taken quite by surprise as I was walking through my shady path to see this charming little fuchsia in full bloom. I really don't remember planting it last spring when most of these plants went in, but it has made itself at home and is blooming profusely. I believe it is one of the newer introductions in this area, originally from South America, that is resistant to fuchsia gall mite and blooms in the late summer and fall.

I have always grown the fuchsias with the colorful, big double blooms until fuchsia gall mite became such a problem that it took all the joy out of growing the beautiful shrubs. Since I prefer plants that don't take much upkeep I have abandoned those high-maintenance varieties for their easy-going cousins like this one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Polka Dot Rose

This spring I let my emotions get the better of me and I planted a rose that I saw in a pretty picture. It was a new rose introduction named 'Easter Basket'. It was beautiful in the picture.

Usually I try to do some research on roses before I make the commitment, because I know how disappointing a rose that doesn't do well in a particular climate or soil can be.

For some reason my 'Easter Basket' has had these little spots on the petals ever since I put it in the garden. For the life of me I can't figure out what is causing the problem and in all the years I have been growing roses I have never seen it before.

Maybe I just got one with freckles!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lovely Ligularia

I must admit that it takes a lot to really thrill me as far as discovering new plants goes. After all these years of gardening I have to really hunt for a plant that sparks my imagination and this ligularia does it for me. It has various shades of green on each leaf which are about three or four inches across. Although it should bloom, I am assuming yellow flowers, it is a perennial mostly grown for its foliage.

I am most familiar with the yellow-spotted ligularia commonly called the 'Leopard Plant'. It grows in the shade garden at the Hortense Miller Garden where I am a docent and I always point out to visitors that it is not diseased, just decorated with yellow spots on the shiny, flat leaves.

I found this one with the white variegation at a little local nursery and it was not labeled. Since ligularia likes cool, damp spots, I planted it in a shady area in the moonlight garden that I am planting now and it complements the white flowers beautifully. It also works well in cut flower arrangements. I am looking forward to watching it grow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Emerging Beauty

One lovely morning last week while walking down the driveway in San Juan I spotted this lovely gulf fritillary (I formerly identified it as a monarch and I was incorrect) butterfly drying its wings after emerging from the cocoon attached to the underside of a felt plant. I have a bad habit of walking with my head down, staring at the ground. But if my eyes were looking up I surely would have missed this rare moment.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Favorite Mr. Thomas

The rose that appears on the top right of my blog is one of my favorites, Graham Thomas. Here are a few more shots of him from the Laguna garden because I just can't resist his charm. As you can see, he grows into a small tree in our rich clay soil. Tall, yellow and handsome!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Neon Cowboy

A few years ago I was really into miniature roses. There is a local nursery named Laguna Hills Nursery that has a wonderful selection of roses with many unusual miniatures. This is a picture of a charming one I bought by mistake named Neon Cowboy. Am I the only person that buys plants by mistake and then finds a place for them regardless?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Bluest Blue

I think plumbago has about the truest blue flowers of any shrub I can think of at this time. I love the phlox-like blooms. This one has been growing at the bottom of the hill in my Laguna garden for many years, thriving on neglect. I am looking for some white ones for my moonlight garden, but haven't run across any lately.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Frequent Flyer in the Fall

Technically it is still summer, but today it feels a lot like fall. Although there are many wonderful garden flowers that make their appearance in the garden at this time of year, bearded iris are not typically one that comes to mind. 'Frequent Flyer' is one of the exceptions to that rule. There have been a number of months between blooms, but I have two clumps at either end of the property in San Juan Capistrano and both are blooming, much to my delight!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sweet 100's Maybe?

The other day I was watching my favorite gardening show (Gardener's Diary) and the backyard garden they were visiting had neat, little, very professional looking labels for all the plants. Honestly, I have seen botanical gardens with less organized information! I was very impressed. I used to make a point of trying to label my plants that I have many different types of like roses, iris and daylilies.

I used those lovely little copper tags inserted into the soil with a label typed out from my Brother P-Touch label maker (I have terrible handwriting). That was many moons ago, these days I am lucky if I get the plants into the ground in the correct season, forget about labeling them.

Which brings me to my point. I forget the name of these little tiny tomatoes I have growing, but they are delicious and very charming and as you can see, itsy bitsy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beautiful Bugs

The end of summer seems to bring about a flux of colorful bugs and butterflies, such as this brilliant orange dragonfly that landed on an obelisk in the cutting garden in San Juan. He was kind enough to stick around while I ran inside and all the way upstairs and back with my camera.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I (Heart) Tomatoes

Look what my loving husband brought me in from the garden! A lovely heart shaped tomato (with an aorta still attached!).

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Season's Growth

This is the little garden area outside my front door in SJC. This photo was taken on May 21st, 2008.
This is the same area on September 1st, 2008. It is hard to see in this photo, but the white birch on the left side has grown a number of feet, the purple fountain grass is in full bloom and the thyme growing in the cracks of the walkway has filled in considerably. I am planning a whole overhaul for this area because we have a new sculpture going in here where the birdbath is now located