Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Few Dahlias This Year

The dahlias are blooming, at least those that are still around. I have not had much luck with them in SJC. The first time I ordered a box of dahlia tubers they all rotted before I got around to planting them. My bad. The second box got in the ground in a timely manner, but failed to be very impressive the first year. Because we don't have wet weather we don't have to lift the tubers out of the ground every year. The second year a few of them were lovely and I had high hopes, but this year there is only one plant that I have seen. I will try again. The soil was so very dead and depleted when we moved in here and instead of spending the time and energy needed to recondition it, I just started planting. Maybe now after five years of compost and organic fertilizing, the soil with be ready to nurture some lovely dahlias, because I think they are great to have in the garden all summer!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big, Fat and Scrumptious

I die for white roses. Hundreds of petals of purity on blooms so big they nod towards the ground. This one is 'Bolero'.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Breezy Summer Perennials

If spring is defined in my gardens by beautiful single blooms of wisteria, roses and iris, summer is ruled by the abundance of lacy, flowing flowers such as lavenders and gaura. There are some agapanthus bobbing around in the background too. These carefree summer perennials give the garden an easy-going feeling as they don't need constant deadheading to look good, just a major shear at the end of their season.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Some Pictures

I've been very busy lately on everything but the garden. I took a walk around the SJC yard the other morning and just took some random shots from angles I don't usually show. It was one of those cool, overcast mornings that evolve into such lovely days after the clouds burn off and it was a pleasant way to start the day.  Of course looking at these pictures I can see a dozen things that need to be done, but for now they will just have to go on a list for fall because I'm busy enjoying the summer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Little Hosta

There are many wonderful things that we can grow in our mild climate that other parts of the country can't grow, but the reverse is also true. When I had my first home I had visions of lush green gardens filled with all kinds of hostas like the ones in all the gardening magazines. I found out the hard way that hostas just don't do well here. I sent to many mail order companies for all different kinds that ranged from huge to small, lime green to bluish green, and they all disappeared after a year or maybe two if I was lucky. Then a few years ago some "special" hostas were introduced to our area that were supposed to thrive in our climate, dry and mild. I planted this little one (that I paid a small fortune for) about three years ago and it is still here. It is a small little thing, not the lush monsters of the east coast, but nice never-the-less. I don't think I will invest in any more of these, having decided to stay within my zone for an easier and less frustrating gardening experience, and I would never suggest anyone else plant a hosta in our area when there are so many lovely things we can grow easily. Sometimes the gardener has to adjust their expectations instead of asking a plant to adjust their nature.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Fruits

The garden is soon to be a strolling feast. Apples, figs, and peaches are growing in addition to lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. Is there anything more wonderful to eat than a piece of fruit fresh from the tree?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Near White

I have a lot of daylilies in my gardens. They are so easy and carefree it is hard not to add them here and there. Their strappy foliage looks good even when they are not in bloom, a good characteristic in my book, and they have few pests or diseases. They are a drought tolerant perennial. I order mine from Oakes Daylilies, who are good about advising me if my choices will do well in our climate (some daylilies need a chill to go dormant and will not thrive here) and have a huge variety to choose from. There are no white daylilies. Even in the catalog the category for the whitest blooms are referred to as "near white". That doesn't keep me from trying out the "whitest" in my Moonlight Garden. This was the one I added this year called "Lady Elizabeth". As you can see from the picture, it has a definite yellow tint to it. I will leave it for a few seasons (or I should say them, I planted about a dozen in a group) or until I find them too offensively yellow and they have to be moved. Either way, it is a very pretty flower on a carefree plant.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Baby Grapefruits

I was a bit worried that I hadn't noticed any blooms on my grapefruit tree, but upon closer inspection I found a number of small fruit. I guess I have been so busy I haven't been paying attention to what is going on right under my nose!

Friday, July 6, 2012

White Petunias

This is not the time of year to start planting annuals - at least that is what I would tell anyone seeking my advice. But here I am once again, enticed by that which I cannot resist, and did not get to a couple months ago - planting white petunias. I am not crazy about petunias because they attract those hungry little worms that quickly chew away the leaves and buds, and I am not going to bother spraying, organic or not. That being said, I seem to succumb to buying flats of these trailing pretties every summer to fill in empty pots that were once filled with cool season annuals. White petunias, they push my buttons - but in a good way!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


 Although I do love pastels and whites, there are a number of saturated colors in my gardens.
 Although I am partial to the cooler colors, I include every color somewhere.
 Deep hues of purples are abundant, but there are always yellows, oranges and vivid pinks.
 Even an occasional red!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Short Lived Perennials

This is an old photo from two years ago of a flower bed in the backyard perennial garden in SJC. See those pretty lavender pincushion type (scabiosa) flowers in the background? They are gone this year, as are the ones in other beds. I happen to love scabiosa. I love the way the sweet little flower heads are held up high at the end of a tall stem, allowing them to sway with charm at the least little breeze. I love the fact that the flat flower head creates a perfect landing base for friendly insects of all kinds, especially butterflies, and that they are rarely ever bothered by any destructive insects or diseases. I like that they come in white and dark purple and every color in between. I plant a lot of them in my perennial beds so you can imagine my confusion when I was at the nursery the other day and saw some which triggered me to think that I hadn't seen any in the gardens at home this year! I went home and did a search and sure enough they were all gone. This is the way with short-lived perennials. Typically short-lived perennials one live a few years, but keep themselves growing by self-seeding. However, if you are diligent about keeping your flower beds full and mulched to discourage weeds, you can often also eliminate self-seeding and this is what happened to my precious scabiosa. It is too late in the season to plant them now, but they are on my list for fall, for sure.