Friday, September 27, 2013


After cutting back all the summer perennials and flowering shrubs, the gardens are looking a bit bleak. These are the times that it is good to have focal points and good "bones" in the gardens to carry us over until there is more color and blooming plants to add interest.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On A Happy Note

This isn't the best photo, but I am so happy with the white Japanese anemones in the Moonlight garden this year. They are full and lush and blooming like crazy while everything else seems to be struggling along in all the heat we are having. And it must be that the rabbits don't like them because most everything else  around them are munched down to stubs. I will do what I always tell other people to do and plant more of what works well in this area!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Few Figs

Well, as you can see from this picture, the birds have gotten many of my Kadota figs which stay green when they are ripe. But there were still a couple for me to eat. It seems like we go on vacation every year right when they are ripening, so I am glad I got to enjoy even a few! The tiny little tree I planted a few years ago is growing fast and I am so happy to be able to enjoy the fruit as well as the beautiful foliage!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Refurbishing

With a large property and lots of areas in need of some gardening attention this fall, it is a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what to focus on first. Then I remember my own advice to other people and break the task down into smaller areas. I tell others to start with a spot that they see every day, preferably right when they enter the property. Focusing on one small area and making it a lovely setting that brings you joy every day, a few times a day, will be encouraging to continue on to the next area. A lot of the projects I did last spring had to been done and are not exactly the highlight of the garden, and in fact can hardly be seen and will not look the way I imagined for a few years (the back fence for example) so I need to indulge in a little eye candy for a change. This area was first done about six years ago (hardscaping was already there, instead of dealing with the leaky fountain, I turned it into a planter) when we first moved in and is need for a face lift. The lavenders are scraggly, the iris need dividing and the roses have never done well, probably not enough sun. I will have fun picking out some new perennials and groundcovers and give some thought to new vines. Time to get busy!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Grass is Greener

Although the play lawn is not a major concern of mine, I must admit, compared to the rest of the SJC property, it is looking pretty good! If you look closely it is really just a conglomerate of mowed grasses and weeds, but they are well fed with chicken manure and they seem to be getting enough water, in spite of all my sprinkler woes, to stay pretty green, at least for now. Some of the grass is warm weather grass which will turn brown when the weather cools down. There have been lots of activities with baseball games, a bounce castle, picnics, sprinkler running and lots of games of fetch with the dogs this summer, not to mention some very hot weather, but it holds up well. I wish I could say as much for the rest of the gardens!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Is In The Air

Even though the temperatures are in the eighties this weekend, it is starting to feel like fall to me. The cool temperatures in the morning and the early sunset are stirring those gardening hormones in me that say it is time to get busy with the autumn chores. September and October is such a wonderful time in the garden that it always wakes up those feelings of a need to visit the nursery and load up on new perennials, winter annuals and bulbs, not to mention pumpkins and gourds for decoration. I love the ornamental grasses that are peaking this season and it inspires me to add more. But this year I am going to be very disciplined and go through the gardens and take note of what I actually need to avoid impulse buying. I will do that right after I get back from a well deserved impulse-only trip to a few local nurseries. And some out of town nurseries.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The End of Summer

After a very busy summer, filled with lots of house guests, travel and just overall fun, it is time to focus on the gardens again. Tree trimming and sprinkler fixing top the list of priorities, but there is a lot to do in the coming months as far as refurbishing the plants. We came back from vacation to a major heat wave that makes me thankful that the lush backyard has filled in with lots of shade in SJC. The California pepper trees are as tall as the house and make a big difference in the temperature in that part of the yard. Of course this means that all the colorful perennials, bulbs and shrubs that require full sun are suffering, but they can be moved. There is also a big problem with the rabbits eating many of my favorite perennials that are herbaceous and that is not so easy a problem to fix. But for today I am appreciating the serenity that a shady, mostly green garden offers in the way of a calm retreat from all this heat as summer winds down!