Saturday, December 19, 2009


Marguerite daisies are a very common shrub that often are taken for granted, at least by me. But there are few shrub-like perennials that add as much light and sparkle to the garden bed and are as easy to grow in our climate. They are even fairly drought tolerant. Whenever a garden bed looks lackluster and is missing something I grab a few one gallon pots of these, which are a staple at most garden centers and big box stores, and just drop them in spots throughout the bed and they will most likely add a lightness and what I call 'sparkle' to the bed regardless of what other colors are already growing there. I cut them all the way back to the basal growth once a year and other times just keep them deadheaded to keep them blooming.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Almost That Time of Year

While walking through the garden I was surprised by this daffodil foliage already coming up strong. They are established bulbs that have naturalized and they must be early bloomers, or else planted too shallow, but either way I was thrilled to see them. Just a sign that soon all the holiday hustle and bustle will be over (not that I am complaining) and spring will be on its way.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is It a Weed?

Do you ever notice something growing in the garden and wonder what it is? Did I plant it or did it just come up on its own? This large, looming plant is growing in the backyard garden bed in SJC and it sure looks like a weed, but it also looks perfectly spaced like it was intentionally planted. It has been growing for months and I have been patiently waiting until it blooms to confirm that it is something I chose rather than a volunteer. I have a sneaking suspicion it is Queen Anne's Lace, which I know is a weed in some parts of the country, but doesn't grow wild here. I have planted it a number of times to use in floral arrangements, but it never seems to make it to bloom. Another week or so should tell the tale!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Little Bay

I use a lot of bay leaves in my cooking. I make a couple soups and stews every week and they always have four or five bay leaves in each pot. Last year I planted this little bay laurel tree in the back yard in SJC. Upon further consideration I will probably have to move it because they can get quite large, but I am so happy to have it available. I haven't started using the leaves yet, having had a large stash of dried ones already, but I will most likely utilize it in the spring. I am already looking forward to making bay wreaths for friends!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raindrops On Roses...

... and whiskers on kittens. Corny, I know, but we don't get them too often here and it is... one of my favorite things!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Way In The Back

If you look closely you can see a white flag in the back of this deep bed of mainly green. It is a really tall calla lily that is marking the beginning of their season in the cool weather. It stands out like a beacon of hope that the winter flowers are beginning to bloom and hold us over until spring.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sorry Little Buddies

Between the shopping, cooking, planning for house guests, holiday parties, a sick husband and the inclement weather I must admit that the bird feeders have been neglected for some time now. When I went out to take pictures for the blog I realized I had left my waterproof garden shoes out in the rain so they were no use in wading through the muddy paths and beds, at least for a while. I will have to add the bird feeders to my to-do list or they will never get filled this season!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rainy Days

It has been a wet week here, thank goodness! Wet and cold, not a common occurrence in our neck of the woods so it has been kind of fun to bundle up and complain about the weather a bit. After a long dry summer the heavy rain gives everything a good cleaning and the trees a nice long drink they have desperately needed. There are still two more storms coming this weekend so it looks like we will get enough rain to squelch any concerns about fires for a while, at least until next year. Now hopefully it will clear up for the holidays when the relatives arrive looking forward to nice weather!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Early Winter Blooms

Although we still have a couple weeks of autumn left in the year, it is feeling like winter here. The temperature is barely breaking the 60's and the skies are overcast, preceding what is expected to be a cold winter storm coming down from Alaska. Our native California plants that rely on the winter rain to wake them up have already started to bloom, like this blue ceanothus, due to a bit of rain last month.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shine Through

Here's a hint if you are planting bougainvillea, plant it so it will grow high and the sunlight will back light the translucent bracts. It makes a lovely sight against the beautiful blue skies in the fall!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Maybe Next Year

I did not have much luck with attracting Monarch butterflies to the garden with the native milkweeds I planted last year. However they are adding a pretty autumn combination of colors to the flower beds that they are blooming in this month.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anemones At Last

I finally got some white anemones (thank you VW for the correction!) for the Moonlight Garden. Every year this time I am always remiss because I forget to plant enough fall blooming perennials. I was at the nursery looking for something entirely different for an interior centerpiece I was doing when I spotted these and grabbed about four of them. They don't look like much this year, but hopefully they will fill in nicely next year!