Monday, March 5, 2012

Chocolate Mint

This spot in the garden is the lovely (ahem) septic tank access area in SJC. Two years ago it had to be torn up and many plants (including palm trees) moved to find and reach the tanks. Afterwards we put in some faux wooden stepping stones to make it easier to access next time and added a number of plants that had been propagated from cuttings in the gardens. As you can see it has filled in nicely and there is no signs of the massive undertaking that was there a couple years ago. The happiest plant seems to be this 'Chocolate Mint' scented geranium (actually a pelargonium) that gets just the right amount of dappled light to keep it growing happily without getting leggy and yet enough shade to make the dark purple splotches very prominent. If you are not familiar with this beauty, it is very easy to propagate from cuttings, easy to grow, and has a heavenly chocolate-mint aroma when the foliage is crushed. It does bloom, but the flowers are insignificant and it is primarily grown for the attractive foliage. A lovely distraction from the rather unpleasant, but necessary goings-on below it!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bird Abodes

I am on a quest to attract birds to my SJC garden. I know they are around, they just don't seem to make it into the garden where we can enjoy them. I've had to abandon my bird feeders because although they fed the birds by day, they became rat feeders after dark. I know we will always have rats in the garden, they actually do some good by controlling the snails and slugs, but I prefer not to put out a buffet to attract more than necessary. I have hung some new bird houses and hopefully they will be occupied this spring. Nothing fancy, but simple and practical. Hopefully the birds will think so too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lavender Time

The lavender is starting to bloom. Be still my heart! I love all my lavenders as they signal the start of Spring. Their dusty colored foliage and vibrant blooms means roses, iris and wisteria is soon to follow. Lavender is a short-lived perennial in our area, requiring to be replaced every three or four years to keep it looking good. It is my go-to plant for sunny areas that I'm not sure what to add to fill in empty spots. I have a number of different varieties for different reasons. I love Spanish lavender for the abundance and color of the blooms. French lavender is so elegant and this year I swear I am going to cut the crop and bundle it to fill baskets throughout the house. My rooms will be filled with lavender potpourri and I will sprinkle it in my bathwater. I am counting every opening blossom!