Saturday, February 28, 2009

Favorite Faux

This is a faux concrete planter that I have had for many years and I love it. It is very lightweight and you can see that it is nearly indistinguishable from the real concrete pillar it is sitting on. I bought it about six or seven years ago from the Restoration Hardware catalog, but they no longer carry it, I've checked. It is filled with white roses that are cut back here and bacopa and ivy.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Anna in Bloom

My Anna apple trees are starting to bloom. They are early blooming types. My ones in Laguna always get pollinated despite the fact that I don't have any other apple trees that bloom at the same time for the required cross pollination. There must be others in the neighborhood that do the trick. Meanwhile, I will have to see how my Anna trees in SJC do without another type apple tree and then decide if I need to plant a cross pollinator tree. We must grow apple trees with low-chill requirements in the area or we will not get fruit.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brightening Corners

I adore this variegated echeveria. It is quite bright and attracts the eye instantly. It is a good alternative to flowers for bright color in the garden.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lazy Alliums

I planted a number of different types of alliums last fall and these allium cowanii are the first to bloom. Unfortunately the first couple that have opened have a distinctively lazy attitude as you can see by these pictures.
I don't know what causes bulbs to produce weak stems because that is what appears to be going on here. The unopened blooms stand tall and then it is almost like they get top-heavy and topple over. I will have to watch the rest of them to see if it is just the early bloomers or they have all gone prone.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blooming Passionately

This passion flower vine that was planted only a few months ago is growing and blooming with a vengeance out in the Moonlight Garden in SJC. While most other plants are sitting dormant, this vine is adding inches every week while growing up an arbor. It has a little more pink in the petals than I expected (it was labeled as 'white') however I must admire it's exuberance!

I have had some passion flowers that have been so fast growing that they actually scared me and I eventually took them out because I felt they were out of control and no amount of cutting back could keep them from taking over every thing in a thirty foot radius. I hope this one is a bit more restrained!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Iris in February

I love iris. I look forward to their first dramatic blooms of the season which usually start in about May in our climate. Right now this is how they look in the garden as they shed their old foliage and new emerges. You can see how they form a ring around the 'mother' rhizome. They will need to be divided in another year or two in order to keep them blooming.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Elegant Calla Lily

This tall elegant calla lily (zantedeschia) caught my attention the other day. I had forgot that we put them in this spot last spring, although the beautiful sword shaped leaves where there all summer in the dappled shade. They grow quite easily in our area as long as they are in a shady spot that doesn't dry out too much. The tall flowers are wonderful for cutting and bloom in the early spring for a few months. They are actually a tuber, but I have always planted them from one gallon pots which you can pick up anywhere. They send up lots of babies and can fill in damp shady spots quickly.

Although calla lilies were associated with death during the early part of last century, they have recently come into their own for what they are, a lovely, elegant bloom. My beautiful daughter-in-law carried a bunch of them for her wedding bouquet a few years ago.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Roses in a Mixed Bed

This is the time of year that shows the advantages of having roses growing in mixed flower beds. This rose 'Falling in Love' looks a little bleak this time of year after being aggressively cut back. It will be at least two more months or more before there are any blooms and let's face it, few roses are grown for their lovely structure and foliage. Having this Marguerite daisy blooming proficiently among the roses gives interest in an otherwise dreary time of year for the roses.

Friday, February 20, 2009


This lovely anisodontea, commonly known as cape mallow, is waiting patiently to be planted in the back yard. I believe this is 'Elegant Lady' which means she will get quite tall in the ground. This is a great plant for Southern California gardens because she is very drought tolerant and the butterflies love her.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alliums Sprouting

Last fall I put in a number of white alliums in the Moonlight Garden and they are finally starting to sprout. I expect it will be a couple more months before we get flowers. I have grown some of the smaller purple varieties before, but this is the first time I have tried these allium stipitatum 'White Giant'.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Determined Rose

Last summer we removed some roses that the previous owner had in this shady spot in SJC. They were hybrid teas that were not doing well due to a lack of sunlight. Over the spot we put in a DG (disintegrated granite) path. A couple weeks ago this little sprout came up and it is definitely a rose. That is one of the dog's tennis balls next to it. I guess I will carefully dig up this baby and find a new home for it, although I was not really crazy about the roses that were there. Someone will find a home for it, I'm sure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh, Honey(suckle)

If you want to attract hummingbirds, plant honeysuckle! This evergreen shrubby variety is going in the new beds in SJC. I haven't grown the shrub types before, only the vines. I will have to see how well mannered it is in the middle of the beds. The color is lovely and a nice complement to the osteospermum mentioned in my previous post.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Perfect Color, Perfect Name!

I must admit that although the color of this osteospermum was perfect for the new flower bed I was putting in under the dining room window in SJC (see how it echos the color of the flax in the background), it was the name that convinced me to put in a whole drift of these tall beauties. The name? Sheila!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Liriope Berries

I love liriope for its versatility and easy-going nature. It works in sun and shade and everywhere in between. It has few problems and thrives on neglect. Although not invasive, it will fill a space in nicely when desired. There are two kinds of liriope and like bamboo, one that is clumping and one that spreads and is considered a ground cover. It is drought tolerant and is one of the best plants available for erosion control. It has purple flowers that many consider insidental. One of the attributes I often forget about are these lovely bluish-black berries it gets in the winter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Artichoke in February?

I'm sure somewhere in the world there are artichokes producing as normal this time of year, but for here it is a little early! I think this guy is as confused by all this warm weather as the rest of us are, but not to worry, rain and cooler temperatures are forecast for the rest of this week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rosey Edges

Just like the cold brings out rosy cheeks, it seems to bring out the pink around the edges of the leaves on this lovely ligularia (click on the photo for a closer look). Although our days have been very warm, the nights are still chilly and it seems to color up some plants like this.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sago Seeds

I wrote about our sago palms blooming last July. Here it is February and this is what has developed. Above is the male plant sporting a whole new set of fronds coming out of the center and below is the female plant with heart shaped seed pods. I have no idea when to harvest them or what producing sago palms from seeds entails. We do get new plants from the base as you can see in the photo above, so I am not sure I will bother with propagation. They have very sharp fronds and I am not crazy about using plants that hurt in the yard because of all the kids. Never-the-less, it has been fun to watch the development of this plant.