Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Perfect Spot

I have a confession to make. I go through a lot of maidenhair ferns every year. I buy them all the time to keep inside the house, knowing that they will only last a few months, if I'm lucky. But to me they are so lacy and airy and pretty that I consider them a necessary expense. Just like a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers that brings me joy for a week or so. I am capable of keeping them thriving in the house for quite a while. They do need light, but the most important thing they need is constant moisture. If they dry out they die, simple as that. Because I get busy and travel, I do lose them regularly, or they just start looking shabby and I stick them out in the garden and let nature take its course. But look at this one that has found the perfect spot in the Moonlight Garden. It has been there for years and is just as happy as could be. It is simply a matter of a temperamental plant in the perfect spot.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Moment In Time

 I am a big fan of Pinterest. I am constantly in the need of inspiration, whether it be for my garden, my home, my wardrobe or cooking, and I used to keep boxes and albums of pictures ripped out of magazines that I would browse whenever I needed an idea. Now I do it all on Pinterest electronically. I know some bloggers get really annoyed when people pin photos from their blogs onto Pinterest and they get shared and pinned numerous times, but I am actually flattered when one of my photos shows up unexpectedly. I follow dozens of people that pin lovely pictures of gardens and  I find it a compliment when they include one of mine.  The picture above is one that shows up all the time and I must admit it is a pretty picture that was one point in time that I would love to recreate.  It is in the Moonlight Garden and it was a a peak time when everything was looking good in April of 2010.

 But as every gardener knows, gardens change, or at least they should, in my opinion. I know there are people that have yards that look exactly the same day after day, year after year, but that would not be my garden. I like change and evolution, and my gardens reflect that. Sometimes it means things look a little scraggly, but I'll take that in exchange for moments of brilliance.

 This is what the same spot looks like today.  The urn originally had very large white agapanthus in it with white geraniums and bocopa. Unfortunately the agapanthus rarely ever bloomed and when it did it had reverted to blue anyway. I replaced it this year with a big blue agave for drama. The rabbits have decimated whatever annuals were left at the front base of the urn, but there are some white reblooming iris blooming along with white mums and Japanese anemones.

But this should add some more drama to the site! Lots of white plants to put in the ground (over the daffodil bulbs). I am getting ready for the holidays and because this is the time of year when we have lots of guests, I like the garden to look pretty for them, but it is also the time when I can get a bit stressed out and the beauty of the gardens is a soothing antidote to the hectic schedules and tons of chores that pile up on my to-do list.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

600 Daffodils

It is time to plant spring bulbs and I am finally getting around to it! I had ordered 600 daffodil bulbs from Van Engelen Inc. last spring, when I was thinking about it, and they arrived a couple weeks ago, just in time for planting. I got 400 all white ones for the Moonlight Garden and 200 pink ones to compliment the classic yellow ones in the perennial garden. I went to the nursery yesterday and bought large bags of cotton seed meal, bonemeal and blood meal to mix together to add to the holes when planting the bulbs. I have bought a variety of bulb planting tools over the years, but I find that the easiest way is to use a D handle spade and dig a hole about eight inches deep (the rule of thumb is to plant bulbs three times their height, deep), and six inches wide, sprinkle in a generous amount of fertilizer and then place three bulbs in the hole and cover. I typically plant winter annuals over the top to cover the dirt while waiting for the bulbs to emerge. Daffodils do not need chilling and naturalize easily, multiplying each year in our climate. I have hundreds, maybe thousands in the Laguna garden that were planted many years ago and they never disappoint each spring. This gives me lots to look forward to next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Little Niceness

Summer is over (although it is supposed to be 80 degrees tomorrow) and it is time to get to work on the garden. It is looking particularly shabby due to a number of different reasons. First, there was a lot of growth this year as trees and shrubs finally became established and took off, creating shade where the plants were primarily sun-lovers. Not enough sun means few or no blooms, gangly growth and even disease in some cases as plants try to live in environments that are not ideal for them. Second, a chronic disease with no controls has wiped out a number of foundation plants leaving huge gaps where there was once lush growth. The third reason is my own fault. I have been rather neglectful while nursing a healing shoulder as well as being busy with guests and travel. 

The picture above is about the only really nice scene in the gardens at this time. It is right outside the front door in SJC and for once the chartreuse mums are blooming in the fall (instead of summer), a reblooming iris is adding contrast and everything else is filling in nicely without taking over. I have a ton of problem pictures to post later this week while getting ready for a refurbishment, but let's just enjoy this picture for now!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Rain

After a long, dry summer of unusual heat, we are having our first rain of the season this morning, along with some rare thunderstorms. Perfect timing because hundreds of spring bulbs that I ordered last summer were delivered this week, waiting for planting. Unfortunately I am on my way out of town for a week, but they will wait for my return. Lots to do upon my return!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Too Hot To Handle

It is still hot - hot - -hot here. Temperatures in the 90's mean it is just best to hang out in the shade and wait for cooler weather before trying to tackle any fall chores in the garden. My spring bulbs that I ordered many months ago should be arriving any day now, but they can wait to be planted until digging holes doesn't feel like a punishment.