Friday, July 26, 2013

A Favorite Summer Perennial

The other day I was admiring a garden I was walking by and noticed the pretty, summery orange flowers. At first, being somewhat brain-dead from too much fun this summer, I wondered what they were. Suddenly it dawned on me that they were coreopsis, one of my favorite perennials! Of course I went home and went out to the back garden and sure enough, there were my coreopsis blooming away without a care, just as they have been for the past few years since I planted them. They are such a care-free perennial that blooms all summer and returns every year. They have those tall stems that I love because they bob around in the slightest breeze. I really need to spend more time in the garden and less time, well, not in the garden.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shady Grapes

We've had a busy few weeks with lots of house guests including grandchildren, both ours and others', visiting. The weather has been mild, but the grapevine tunnel in the Moonlight Garden became a shady retreat for them on days when they were left to their imagination to entertain themselves. I grow the grapes for ornamental purposes since the birds get to them before we do, but the kids had a great time harvesting any that had turned red everyday. Baskets were filled with fruit everyday as they scoured the gardens for something to pick. They thought it was great that they could actually go outside and find something to eat instead of the kitchen!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jacaranda Blooms, Finally

So if you look closely at the picture above you can see some purple blooms near the upper right. Those are my Jacaranda tree blooms in the SJC garden. I planted a Jacaranda in Laguna when I first started working on the garden there many years ago even though I was told it wouldn't bloom well because it didn't get hot enough. As it turned out "they" were wrong and I did get lovely blooms for a few years. Unfortunately I planted it where as it grew it blocked a neighbor's view. For many years the people that lived in the house whose view was blocked didn't complain and we all were happy, but once the house sold, neighbors started asking us to trim it. I eventually cut it down because it was always an issue and the constant trimming meant it never bloomed anyway.

When we moved into the SJC house and the view wasn't an issue I planted lots of trees for shade and the Jacaranda was one of them. It hasn't grown much yet and I was rather disappointed that it didn't bloom much when many other trees in the area are putting on quite a show. But finally this year we started getting some blooms. Not a lot, but it is a start.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Sumemr Harvest

I am not a huge food-grower in my gardens. Mainly because of all the wildlife that seems to get to most of the vegetables before I do. But I do grow a lot of fruit. It is the perfect activity for the grandkids to explore the gardens looking for goodies on the trees. Peaches, oranges, apples and lemons where all harvested this week with the four oldest ones spending the week with us. Oh, and we have a strawberry patch that yielded enough sweet berries to decorate the youngest's birthday cake!

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Whites of Summer

White daylilies are hard to find because they have a tendency to revert to yellow. This one seems to be holding on to it's "whiteness" nicely this year.

I have lots of Shasta daisies, some tall and some shorter ones.

I like really tall, big white agapanthus and these don't disappoint.

I love the airiness of gaura in the gardens in the summer. Many white ones have a tendency to turn pink, but I finally found a true white one.

White buddleia is my least favorite color of this shrubby perennial, but I have lots of room to fill in the Moonlight Garden and so there is always room for one more plant that is easy and attracts butterflies.
The Moonlight Garden is sparkling with lots of white flowers in bloom this time of year. Here are a few of my favorites and one not-so-favorite!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Big Blues (And Whites)

Five and a half years ago when we first moved into the SJC house, it was in the middle of winter. There were lots of agapanthus that looked like they had just been divided and planted. When June rolled around it was evident that they were not established yet because there were few blooms, much to my disappointment. Agapanthus do better when their roots are somewhat restricted. I do love those big blue or white blooms that signal the start of summer. They are considered a rather pedestrian plant in Southern California, but they are drought tolerant, disease and pest free and they have crazy big blooms for weeks at a time. The only thing that I have found that bothers them are voles. They seem to love those big, fleshy roots, but other than that they are care free. I don't even fertilize them. I love them and I am so happy they have finally started to settle in and put on a show!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Loving the Lavenders

I'm not sure I could ever be happy with a garden without lavender growing in it. This year I am ready to replace most of the lavenders that bloom early in the spring with new plants as they are getting a bit woody and unattractive. Those are mainly the Spanish lavenders (Lavandula stoechas) which are one of my favorites. But this time of year the French lavenders (Lavandula x intermedia) take the center stage and they are still looking good. I love the 'Grosso' variety for the tall stems, the perfect domes the flowers create and long bloom period in the summer as seen here. Such an easy, carefree and beautiful perennial should be in every garden - in my opinion!