Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bareness

Where did all my lovelies go and why do I always entertain in the middle of winter? We have family coming from the east coast as well as a hoard of friends and neighbors stopping by this weekend and my gardens have gone underground! Roses, daylilies, geraniums, wisteria, hydrangeas and iris are my pretties that I keep around the house for my passing-by pleasure and this is not their time of year. There are a lot of natives, grasses and Mediterranean plants that are waking up in other parts of the garden, but certainly not at their peak either. Thanks goodness for cool season annuals to indulge my craving for color, otherwise non-gardeners visiting my home will think this blog is fiction!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Adapting To The Shadows

The Problem
The Solution

A few years ago I planted a number of trees in the back yard in SJC. I was replacing lawn and adding some much needed shade in a hot, sunny area. Because I was limited as to the size of trees I could get through the side gates, there were three small trees that were not much more that large shrubs at the time I planted them. I added extended flower beds around them to help take up the slack while they grew. After a shaky start (they were getting too much water from the sprinklers that were previously intended for the lawn) they started to grow and now I have something that resembles actual trees! And I also have some much coveted shade. The problem is the perennials and shrubs that I had originally planted were sun lovers and they are wondering what happened I'm sure (do plants wonder?). So it is now time to move them and replace them with some shade plants. This weekend the weather was like a beautiful spring day and my son and I, along with a hoard of other people, made a trip to the nursery to pick out some color to add to the empty beds. I am a blue and purple lover and always start by beds with those shades and then add color from there. Delphiniums, larkspur, cinerarias and a few columbine will be much happier in the dappled shade than the roses and salvia that were originally there.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Typical Winter Day

Last weekend it was a typical winter day in our area. Wet and cold, a good day for staying inside watching football playoffs with a fire going.

This weekend it is also a typical winter day in our area. The temperatures are in the high seventies and it is lovely outside. A good day to take inventory of all the things that need to be done in the gardens.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jade Blooms

The other day the blooms in a neighbor's yard caught my eye. It seemed way too early for many shrubs that have annual flowering periods and a bit early for natives that bloom in winter. When I got closer I realized that the display was that of the common (at least in our area) jade plant. A succulent shrub that is at best taken for granted and at worse shunned by Southern California gardeners as too pedestrian. I inherited a number of them in my SJC garden and I must admit I am guilty of totally ignoring them for the most part, but when I spotted this display in the back corner of the Moonlight Garden I must confess that I felt a bit of guilt for not giving credit to this simple and extremely drought tolerant plant. Luckily, they do not seem the least bit jaded (sorry) and just carry on with or without my appreciation.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One More Holiday To Go

A new year and I am ready to get back to focusing on the gardens, but around our house we still have one more holiday to go - Super Bowl. It is celebrated at our home extensively because it is the one that is expanded to include our old and new friends, neighbors and co-workers, in addition to family. We actually have extended family that travel from around the country to stay that weekend and we open our doors to many friends that we only get to see once in a while due to busy schedules. It would be great if the Super Bowl was moved to a lovely spring weekend when my garden is peaking because this is the only time of year many people get to see it, but the NFL is not budging I'm afraid. The roses will be cut back, the wisteria and many trees will be bare, but it is a good reason for me to focus on the lovely options that are available at this time of year at the nursery. I did a quick walk around yesterday to take inventory and note spots needing help and I was pleased to see the return of many winter perennials returning from last year. I am itching to get to the nursery because I hear those primroses calling my name!