Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fresh Peaches

I have been so busy the gardens have been sadly neglected by me (luckily I have others that pick up the slack when I am absent) and I even had to go back in my photo files to find a picture of the peaches that we get on the trees in SJC because I didn't get any this year (photos that is, not peaches). One of my helpers was kind enough to pick the small crop of about ten peaches that we had on one of the young trees and leave them for us to enjoy. I usually forget about them and the birds and rodents get to them before I do so I am especially grateful for the thoughtfulness. Fresh peaches on our granola in the mornings is a true delight! A sure sign of summer!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

More Than Green

This is the same garden bed I have been writing about in the two previous posts, but a different angle. Although primarily different shades of green foliage there is some burgundy grass and a container for some added interest. The succulents in the container were all just small pups and cuttings taken from other plants in the landscape and stuck in there to thrive and grow into what it is today.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Annual Vistor

I have a soft spot in my heart for tall, wispy annuals that reseed themselves every year and this is one of my favorites. So often we tend to think of annuals as those fancy hybrids in bright colors that show up covered in blooms, stuffed in "pony packs" at every big box store and nursery we visit. I have to admit I pick up a few here and there every year when I need a quick fix, but my favorite annuals make themselves as at home in my gardens as the perennials and are just as reliable. This is nicotiana (flowering tobacco) 'Lime Green', by Annie's Annuals. A classic in any cottage garden setting and so pretty and easy to grow. This particular one is in my chartreuse and purple garden and unfortunately has grown so tall as to flop over and lay among the veronica because I was negligent in pinching it back. A word of caution though. I usually think it is a weed coming up in the spring when it first emerges. Large leaves the pop up with vigor before the flowers show up can catch you off guard until you remember it is a welcome annual occupant of the garden!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shades of Green

This garden bed next to the front door in SJC was once a flat lawn butting up against the gold stucco of the house. One of the first things I thought I would do when we moved in five years ago was to change the paint color of the house. As often happens, it turned out there were many other priorities that trumped the house color and in the meantime it has grown on me. That and I have covered it up and softened it with foliage like you see here. There must be a dozen different shades of green here, many textures and shapes, along with a number of flowering plants that don't show up very well in this picture. Very cool on a hot summer day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Going Organic

If you look closely at the bottom left hand corner of this view of the Laguna garden looking down from the deck, you will see a little plastic saucer on a tall pole sticking out. This is a left over relic from when I first changed my garden over to an all organic garden about fifteen years ago. I was frustrated with how horrible my garden looked from all the insect damage when I first went all  organic. I used to laugh and tell people that you could tell it was an organic garden because it looked so bad. But I knew that this was not typical and that there were many people with lovely organic gardens, but somehow I was missing something. With research I learned that I needed to attract insect-eating birds to my garden, but I was not sure how. I went to a wild bird seed store and asked the clerk there and he sold me that contraption in the picture along with a container of live mealy worms to keep in my refrigerator.  Every few days I would squeamishly add those horrible worms to that bird feeder and wait. Eventually it worked and after all these years I challenge anyone to find more than a few traces here and there of any insect damage. All the plants are fed with compost from the garden only and are strong and resilient. The garden is filled with life, bees, butterflies, birds and even bugs and insects as would any lovely garden. It took about three years after cutting out all pesticides and chemical fertilizers for the garden to stabilize and become what it is today - beautiful, thriving and naturally alive!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Couple Favorite Roses

'Buff Beauty'

'Marilyn Monroe'
A visit to our Laguna garden last weekend gave me many reasons to swoon over the roses there. Beautiful roses mean little to me if they can't stand up to disease and pests on their own. These two do a good job!. 'Buff Beauty' is an old, lovely scented climbing rose that is one of my favorites. It does not grow so big as to tower above everything else, but climbs an arbor quickly then proceeds to bloom profusely. The roses in this garden are fertilized only with compost from the garden compost pile. 'Marilyn Monroe' was a new introduction in 2002 and I fell head-over-heels in love with the gorgeous peach blooms that have the texture of brushed satin. It is one of my few floribundas. No disease or pest ever seem to bother it, but I never see it for sale anymore. My Laguna garden has many more roses than the SJC garden and they seem so very happy here. Maybe because they are so adapted and settled in to their home!