Monday, February 28, 2011


Unusually cold weather and excessive rain have not deterred all of the abutilon in my garden from blooming profusely this month. It is sometimes called 'Flowering Maple' because of the charming maple leaf shaped foliage as well as the 'Chinese Lantern' plant because of the paper-like blooms that hang daintily from the stems. If that is not enough to make you love this shrub, it is a big hummingbird magnet too! Like most of us, it prefers partial or dappled shade. In my garden it blooms for most of the winter and spring. Lovely!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

See You In March

Taking off for a couple weeks, but looking forward to coming back with spring right around the corner!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Charming Reminder

Last May I attended a fundraiser for a non-profit organization that I support. For a centerpiece on the table was this little square dish of polished rocks with three echeveria in the center. I purchased the centerpiece and brought it home and as I was bringing it into the house from the car I got distracted and placed in on the bench by the front door. It has lived in that same spot for eight months now and has grown three or four times as large and even bloomed. What a charming and carefree reminder of the event I attended.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome Home

See this little lemon tree? It is right in front of where I park my car and I must tell you how happy it makes me feel when I pull into my parking spot and see those little lemons ripening! This pot was there when we moved in and in it was a sad little palm tree that was a bit neglected. Not exactly the welcoming scene I wanted when I returned home every day. I relocated the palm into the ground where it will be much happier and replaced it with this enthusiastic little dwarf lemon tree. It is growing like crazy and I even used a lemon from it the other night! It should bloom soon which will scent the air with that lovely aroma of citrus blooms. Delightful!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener

I don't know a lot about lawn grasses, having lived in Laguna Beach where there are no lawns for the past 25 years. I did have a grassy section near the bottom of my slope that I tossed fescue mixed seeds around every year because there was lots of shade as well as sun in the area under large eucalyptus trees. It was green and shaggy and worked for playing with the dogs as well as giving the eye a respite from the overflowing gardens. When we moved to SJC I inherited a lot of lawn. I have removed more than half of it so far, but I do leave a large lawn in the front that is a favorite of the family for play. It was all Bermuda grass when we moved it which worked out well because it can take tough play and is drought tolerant. The only problem with this type of grass is that it goes dormant in the cool months and turns a sickly shade of beige. I am married to a New Yorker where it rains year round and who believes that lawns should always be lush and green and complains about the grass every winter. My job, to distract him until it greens up again because there are a hundred other things I would rather do than replace this large yard of grass.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Red Salvia Shrub

This red salvia shrub is one of the plants in my perennial garden that people ask the most about. I really do need to find the name of the cultivator to give to visitors. It is a reliable shrub with blooms almost year round. Of course it attracts hummingbirds like crazy and like other perennial salvias it is drought tolerant. I have two of them, but I did have to cut back the other one because it was getting a bit leggy, but this one is doing fine with little to no maintenance requirements for the couple years it has been in this spot. The only dilemma is it is crowding out a 'Nancy Regan' Rose that is growing nearby and I am quite fond of those beautiful peachy blooms. Someone may need to move.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bringing It Inside

I wish I could remember what these bulbs are called. I buy them at Roger's Gardens in bloom every winter and bring them inside to brighten the winter days. They are so pretty and bright and do a great job of greeting everyone when they walk in the front door. Lovely, lovely.