Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stressed Out Avocado Trees

This is how bad our avocado trees look because of the drought which has come to an end this year. The brown tips on the leaves is a sign of the alkaline soil due to being watered with the sprinklers for many years instead of rain water. The trees are just starting to bloom and soon all these leaves will fall to the ground and healthy new ones will emerge along with the fruit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tight Buds

This peach colored clivia is the only one in bloom this time of year.

All of the orange and yellow ones are still tight buds and it will be at least a month before they are in full bloom.

Friday, February 26, 2010


What a bright splash of color these yellow narcissus make in the quiet garden this time of year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


All of the cymbidium orchids that live outside are in bloom. They require little care throughout the year, just enough light and a little water will keep them thriving until they surprise everyone with late winter blooms.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fallen Angel

This mischievous looking little man with wings in entitled 'Fallen Angel' and was a gift from my husband a number of years ago. He overlooks the back deck in Laguna where he keeps an eye on everything.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So Fragrant

The blooms on this pittosporum tree are just as fragrant as citrus blooms! It fills the air with a lovely sent for weeks this time of year.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Lot O' Compost

The compost pile in Laguna has grown so big that you can't even see the structure of the bin anymore! The source of all this wonderful debris? We had the trees trimmed last fall and all the cuttings were chipped and added to the bin. With all the rain we've been having it won't be long until this is reduced to every gardeners dream, 'black gold'!

Monday, February 15, 2010

An Ant To Remember

A few years ago some friends gave us this amusing "ant" made of scrap metal and rocks for the garden. I'm sure they have forgotten all about it, but I think of them fondly whenever I see it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spring Must Be Around The Corner

The early season apple trees in my Laguna garden are blooming so it can't be long now for spring to be in full force!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Slowly Disappearing

The property in SJC is a haven of privacy. The yards are enveloped in walls of greenery that have been there for many years and completely conceal the actual fence that surrounds the property. Until now. All along the back fence are oleanders that were so thick you couldn't see through them. Because all of the oleanders in our area are dying from oleander scorch, the wall is also dying out and revealing what lies behind it. In this case it is our neighbors' properties and horses. We have been working diligently to replant the wall with species that are thick and quick growing, but only time will give us the privacy that made this area so special.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cherry Red

These azaleas were here when I moved in and they were always on my list to move to another spot that is not so sunny. I've never gotten around to it and in this gloomy, rainy weather I am glad to have a glimpse of this cheery color greeting me when I walk up the back steps.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Waiting For A New Home

A couple years ago I had a number of these queen palms moved to another spot in the front garden in SJC. Unfortunately they were placed over the septic tank area and had to be moved again when I needed to access the tank for pumping. It has been too wet to do much with them the past weeks so they are laying patiently on the path waiting to be relocated. Luckily they are a hardy plant that can take this kind of abuse and bounce right back.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lov'in The Wet

What plants love all this rain? The citrus and avocados! They need the moisture to create juicy fruit, however you can see by the yellow in the foliage that it is time to fertilize them. The citrus in our area have been under siege by a number of pests. That is a sign they are a bit stressed so hopefully all this water will give them a new vigor!

Monday, February 8, 2010


We have been having significant rainfall this year and there is more to come. The ground is saturated and the drains are running full force. Now I'm getting a bit worried about plants that are susceptible to rot like this iris. Will they be able to make it through this rainy season? Only time will tell.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Empty Little Pocket Garden

Last fall this little planter was the location of a big leak and had to have all the shrubs that were in it removed and the soil dug out. This has resulted in an empty (except for a few weeds) little planter on the side of the steps leading to the gravel garden in SJC. I am looking forward to planting some sort of shade garden here with plants that will be viewed at waist level. It allows for small, interesting plants that may typically get lost to the eye in a ground level garden. While it is raining this week I will be looking through gardening books for a bit of inspiration.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Artichokes Are Back

One of the things I love about blogging about my garden is that it is an excellent way to keep records. In fact I have realized it is about the only way I am going to keep records despite my best intentions. For instance, I was going to write about how big and bushy my artichoke plants are this month when I noticed a post I did last February about them actually blooming that time of year. I guess I should be watching for blooms any time now. I certainly hope they are better on this plant than they were last year. They were a big disappointment as far as meat and taste go. I am hoping it is because it was their first year, although a friend mentioned that the 'Green Globes' never do well for her. Regardless of the quality of crop, I still love the huge bluish green foliage in the garden this time of year.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Pink

Looking for spots of color in the garden this week it is impossible to overlook Marguerite daisies (chrysanthemum frutescens). Blooming in white and this pretty pink, so appropriate for the month of Valentines' Day, they are good sports about putting up with the damp cool weather we have been having and continue to bloom enthusiastically.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not Big Enough?

While walking by this little wooden birdhouse in the garden the other day I couldn't help but notice that it was looking a bit tattered. Upon close inspection it actually looks like something has been gnawing away at it around the opening. The only birds that use this house that I have noticed are little house wrens, but maybe a much bigger bird is considering moving in!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Color

If you look closely at this picture of the back yard in SJC you can see a spot of color back by the clump of palm trees. Other than that everything is a fairly consistent hue of green or brown

That touch of color is from 'Coral Delight' camellia that I planted last winter. It is a timely reminder that this is the last month that camellias like to be planted and I should get myself down to the nursery to pick out a few more for the gardens. They add much needed winter interest and are a nice shrub even when they are out of bloom all summer. I love to pick the blooms and float them in a shallow vase when there are few other options for bringing flowers indoors.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rain, Rain, Rain

It has been quite a few years since we have had the amount of rain we are getting this year. Our typical weather pattern in the rainy season is one day of rain and six days of sunshine. Easy to handle. Week before last we had four big storms come in, one after the other. Everything was saturated. People are always asking me how this will effect my gardens. For the most part they will handle it fine. The large trees will greatly appreciate the deep flushing of the surface salts that accumulate during the low water years near their roots. The deep penetration of water will encourage roots to go deep for moisture during the upcoming months when the rains are finished for six or more months. Most of the drought tolerant plants will be fine as long as there is adequate drainage. The Laguna garden is on a hillside and the excess water is no problem. We'll see how SJC does. We are expecting more rain this week. At least everything is clean and fresh!