Thursday, March 28, 2013

Better Luck Next Time

The hundreds of daffodils that I planted in the Moonlight Garden are finally starting to show some blooms, but it is not the show I was hoping for. Short stems, chewed blooms, nodding heads and sporadic flowers are leaving me a bit disappointed. I'm going to mark it up to the first year of bloom, cut them all for a nice holiday bouquet, and hope for better results next year!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sweet, Simple, Daisies

I certainly can't remember thinking "I need to add more Marguerite daisies to my gardens" but I probably should! As the rest of the spring perennials are just coming into bloom, these sparklers have been adding interest all winter long. Who can argue with their cheery presence that require little maintenance, little water (my sprinklers have been broken most of the winter so these have been thriving on rainwater for the most part), can thrive in partial shade (as are my pink ones) and are a favorite of friendly bugs and butterflies? They prefer cooler weather so will be happy to bloom while all the other perennials are resting. It is easy to meander past them in the nursery looking for more sophisticated plants, but that is why we must take a list with us when we go. Just like going to the grocery store hungry and bringing home all kinds of goodies but forgetting to buy the staples that make up the core of most meals, going to the nursery in the spring without planning and a list will result in bringing home a hodge podge of plants but no staples - like Marguerite daisies!

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Fruit Trees

I have a confession to make. I grow a lot of citrus at our SJC home, not because I love to eat citrus so much as I just love the look of it growing in the yard. Our house is very Mediterranean in style and there is just something so right about seeing lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit hanging from the trees throughout the gardens. Of course we harvest, eat and juice them, but I would grow them even if we never ate one. In Laguna there are none growing in our yard. Three large avocado trees dominate the garden and apples, loquats, and peaches seem more at home in that space. Maybe it's because the weather is so mild that the citrus never taste as good as when it is grown in a climate with a little warmer temperatures.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Feeding for Winter blooms

On my to-do list this week; buy acidic fertilizer for my winter bloomers like this pretty azalea. They have been doing fine without much attention, but it has been years since they were planted and this is the time to make sure they have the nutrients they will need for blooming next year. I don't want to be disappointed next winter because I didn't do it this spring!

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Please!

Note to self; plant more abutilon! The are so easy that I sometimes forget about them, but they are one of the most charming shrubs in the garden this time of year! Shade tolerant, drought tolerant, disease and pest resistant and blooming beautifully without any fertilizers other than a topdressing of compost occasionally. Those charming flowers and lovely foliage even when they are not in their long bloom cycle. What's not to love?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Colors

 Although the weather is lovely this week, I must admit I have been preoccupied with everything else rather than getting out in the gardens. We were in Laguna a couple weeks ago (without my camera) and the garden there is filled with hundreds, if not thousands of naturalized daffodils. I have been a bit worried about the lack of blooms on my spring bulbs that were planted last fall in my SJC garden. I have found that they are pretty hard bulbs to screw up, they will adapt to being planted too deep or shallow, or even upside down. I did not put them in the ground myself, my trusty garden helper, Julian did the planting, but with my specific instructions. As it turns out there are some big, strong, yellow daffodils starting to bloom in the back yard. My guess is they are "King Alfred." They are huge and oddly enough, turned away from the house and paths, toward my neighbors' yards that are newly exposed due to the dying oleanders where the late day sunshine comes in. I hope my neighbors are enjoying them until I get out there with my clippers to make bouquets for the house! There are a number from previous years that are a mixed bag and blooming nicely, although some of them are now in the shade from the growing trees and probably should be moved this year to keep them blooming. We put hundreds of all-white ones in the Moonlight Garden and they are slowly starting to come up and there will be blooms in a few more days, but they are rather short. Maybe they did go in upside down!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Yucca Tree

I remember planting this as a young yucca plant when it was flush to the ground. It was the centerpiece of a bed of succulents in a pocket of the grassy hill in Laguna formed by the creation of a terrace under the arbor. It has grown quite tall and actually is rather poorly positioned now as it blocks the view from the round-out in the walkway designed for seating. However I think we will just have to learn to look around it because I don't have the heart to remove it and I'm not sure it would survive being relocated at this size. I am not crazy about sharp, pointy shapes in the garden, but I do understand that they are a nice contrast to softer textures and therefor have a place. I am fond of the soft bluish-green coloring though.