Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spring in October

The holidays are coming soon and that means the gardens take a back seat to the many other activities that require my attention.

Although the roses this month are showing up here and there after a severe cutback to clean them up and refresh them following a long summer, they are deeply appreciated. There are a few iris blooms from the repeat bloomers making a showing occasionally. I've missed them all terribly and am looking forward to next spring already!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Season For Mums

Every year I add to the collection of chrysanthemums in my gardens by planting the ones I purchase to decorate inside the house during the fall season. I doubt I would ever go to the nursery and make the decision to buy this perennial for the garden, but I am glad it works out this way.

Most of the garden is quieting down this time of year and these guys are just waking up in a big way. Sometimes they get a little ahead of themselves and bloom in the summer, but this year most of them are right on time.

I must admit they add a nice pop of fall color for us since there is not a lot a changes that naturally occur in the cooler climates in the fall.
They also provide a source of cut flowers for the house. Depending on their color, they are strewn throughout the property add a much needed boost to the otherwise resting gardens. Nice!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Part of the Charm

Some of the things that add charm to our SJC home are the local sounds that drift in from not too far away.

There is an old train station about a mile from here and you can hear the whistle blow at all times of the day and night. It took a while to get used to, hearing the 3:45 A.M train go through, but we eventually got used to it. The San Juan Capistrano Mission, which is considered the most beautiful of all the California missions, is about a mile and a half away and you can hear the old mission bells ring on Sundays.

At the other end of town is the Dana Point Harbor, about two and a half miles away and on days like this, you can hear the fog horn sounding a warning to approaching vessels. A blanket of fog over the gardens adds a certain charm of its own, diffusing the bright light and adding a sparkling layer moisture to everything. It is quietly serene.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Red Salvia in the Fall

One of the plants that always attracts a lot of attention in my perennial garden in SJC is the red salvia. I don't grow a lot of red flowers, but this bed is predominately fall colors since it is right outside the dining room window where I wanted a lovely autumn display and the red fit in nicely with the oranges and burgundy blooms.
It has grown huge both here and it the bed across from it where I used it as an echo. The foliage is a nice, bright green and like most salvias it is drought tolerant and problem free. It blooms year round, but I usually cut it back to keep it dense and from taking over the whole bed in late spring while there are lots of other things in bloom. As you might guess, it is a wonderful hummingbird magnent with those pretty red tubular flowers which only adds to the beauty of this corner of the garden.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Virtures of Lantana

I must admit that I have a tendency to overlook the virtues of lantana in our climate. It is one of those perennials (sometimes called a shrub) that is easy to take for granted because it requires so little care. It is in the verbena family and I often get the lavender ones mixed up. This picture is proof that it is not attractive to grazing critters because the rabbits decimate everything in this bed that they find the least bit tasty. I grow a few different colors, lavender, yellow, and this orange. I have not had much luck with the white variety, but it may be the garden it is planted in doesn't get enough sun. It is a really great filler plant that will almost take over, but I like it next to big sculptural plants like these green agaves or drought tolerant ornamental grasses where it has the same cultural requirements and fills in the empty spots to hug it's neighbor quite nicely. It is drought tolerant once established with little need for fertilizer or mulch and it will smother any weeds trying to invade its space. If there is a difficult spot in the sun, I always try lantana to see if it will work. An easy pop of color!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Been Busy

I have fallen a little behind on my blogging due to a number of home improvements at both houses going on simultaneously. I like to designate the fall as a time to tackle major projects at home. It kind of takes my mind off the fact that summer is over and gets me ready for the upcoming holidays. The gardens go on without much attention from me with the support of my trusty helpers while I concentrate on other projects. As busy as I've been I still notice the beautiful blooms of 'Frequent Iris' that was quiet all summer but is putting on quite a show near the front door in SJC. I should really get to the nursery some time next week!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Colors, Textures and Shapes

There aren't a lot of flowers in my gardens this time of year, although the mums are starting to bloom and will provide color for another month or so, but there is still a lot of interest. This is one little section from the street side garden in SJC and I could look at it all day and still see something new! Aeoniums, senecio, scented geraniums, purple sage, flax and ivy all make up a pleasing scene that requires little water or maintenance. Nice!