Sunday, October 27, 2013

Varigated Succulents

I love green, all shades of green. I especially love it mixed with white. There is something so serene and yet uplifting about the soothing combination. Luckily I have the Moonlight Garden to allow me to surround myself in the peaceful mixture. It is not only the flowers that add to the color scheme, but variegated plants too. Here are two succulents that pick up on the theme with elegance and style.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Raven

This is the time of year our garden sculpture by Gerard Basal Stripling looks especially apropos!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumping It Up

Although there are a lot of fall blooms in the Moonlight Garden right now, there is also a lot of bare dirt. With the holidays coming there are lots of guest showing up and it is nice to have everything looking good, even though late fall and early winter are not exactly peak bloom times. October it the best time for planting most plants in our area, so along with the cool season annuals that will hopefully bloom all winter, I am also putting in some perennials. Even though they are called perennial, many plants have a life span of a few years before they need to be replaced. That and hungry rabbits mean that some of my regular summer bloomers disappeared this year. I especially missed the pure white gaura that lends an airy feel to the beds for the warm months and was lucky enough to find some this trip.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Just One More

Boston Ivy
 Just a few more pops of fall color and then I am done.

 After such a beautiful couple months of sunny days and warm weather, it is definitely starting to feel like autumn.

Enough lollygagging around and time to get busy, or I will regret it next spring!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Autumn Details

 Although I should be focusing on refurbishing the gardens this month, I get a bit distracted at the nurseries and bring home autumn colored potted plants to decorate the fringes of the house.

Ornamental grasses and Chrysanthemums
 Most of these plants will end up somewhere in the gardens after they finish this bloom, so it is all good.

 I am hoping against the odds that they will hang in there for five more weeks so that I don't have to replace them before the family starts rolling in for Thanksgiving.

I haven't even bought any pumpkins and gourds yet!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


The Moonlight Garden is filled with white fall flowers right now. Chrysanthemums, Japanese anemones, reblooming iris, and azaleas are doing their best to put on a show, but there is still a lot of bare dirt waiting for some cool season annuals to fill in the details throughout the upcoming holiday season. 

I reeaalllyyy need to get busy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hydrangea Basics

Among the fall colors I have to include the drying hydrangeas. Many of them actually dry right on the plant without turning brown and can be cut and brought in the house. 

It seems like every year there is one question that people keep asking me about their gardens and this year is was about hydrangeas. Specifically hydrangeas that aren't blooming.  I just ask them a very simple question. Did you cut them back last winter while they were dormant? Inevitably they say yes, often proudly that they kept up with what they perceive to be annual maintenance.  But you can't cut back traditional hydrangeas in the winter without cutting off the next year's blooms. Hydrangeas bloom on last year's growth, so when they are bare and terrible looking in the winter, they are filled with flower buds and if you cut them back you are removing all the next year's flowers. The best time to cut back a hydrangea (although you never really need to) is right after they bloom in early summer when there is still time for them to grow and form buds the rest of the summer. I advise people to plant their hydrangeas where the dormant plant blends in with other plants and is not in a spot where bare sticks coming out of the ground for a few months in the winter will bother them. 

That being said, there are some new varieties on the market that bloom on old and new growth and will continue to bloom all summer even when you cut the dormant stems or flowers. They are the Endless Summer Collection and I have planted a few of them and am very happy with them. They happily bloom all summer even when I cut them to bring inside for arrangements.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lovely Weather

Although I hate to see the days getting shorter, this is such a beautiful time of year in the garden. The weather has been lovely, with warm days and cool evenings and even a nice day of rain last week, rare for us this time of year. But there is something special about the light during this season. The lower it is on the horizon the softer it seams to get, casting a pretty veil over the still thriving gardens. October is the best time of year to plant almost anything (except tropical plants) in the Southern California garden, giving it time to acclimate before it gets too cold and allowing the roots to become well established in the still warm soil before the time for vigorous growth starts next spring. Time to get busy!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Autmumn Reds

 Someone once said that every room should have a touch of red, and I have found that to be very true. When I add a bowl of red flowers to my otherwise serenely colored living room it just makes the whole room pop! Think of when you add red poinsettias around the house during the holidays. It really warms things up. Although I don't have a lot of red flowering plants in either of my gardens, this is the time of year I do appreciate them most. The red chrysanthemums are actually blooming in the fall at the appropriate time this year (they have been known to bloom in the summer in past years) and the red salvia bush actually blooms almost year round. Come to think of it, it may even be a penstemon! It would get about six feet tall if I let it grow. Either way, it is a nice warm fall color!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Summer Color in the Fall

 I wish I could show you all the progress I have been making on my fall garden projects, but I'm afraid I haven't made many advances. I've been busy doing other stuff. 

 I did go out to photograph some of the fall colors in the gardens, but once again I got distracted by something else.

 There are lots of blooms that look more like spring, or maybe summer, blooming right now!

 I planted a number of dahlias (that I thought were purple, not pink) later in the season this year and they have just started blooming all over the perennial garden in SJC. I don't know where they were during the less-than-colorful summer season out there, but I hope they get an track next summer! They are beautiful!

 For the past month the front door garden in SJC has been a lovely show of reblooming iris, 'Frequent Violet'. They are long and prolific bloomers!

Not exactly fall-like garden shots, but I'll take what I can get!