Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amaryllis Revisited

I think every gardener has a spot in their yards where they just toss in a hodgepodge of this and that (hopefully your whole garden is not a hodgepodge of this and that!) and I am no exception. In a back corner I toss all those indoor-outdoor plants that look too sad for indoors, spent bulbs, and every other thing that just doesn't fit in anywhere else. Much to my delight when I was walking through the garden this week I came across what was once a Christmas amaryllis bulb in full glory, happy as can be - blooming at the end of April! What a nice surprise!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lesson Learned

I try to be sure that my gardens have year-round interest and look good at any time of year, but the middle of spring should be a peak time for showing the gardens. I feel they are looking less-than-stellar this year due to growing shade trees blocking sun loving plants that are waiting to be relocated, plants that have been relocated in shock - trying to become established, a very large, dying oleander screen needing to be taken out and replaced, and my time being focused on other projects. 

We had committed to host an event last weekend that we had hosted a few years ago for the Pacific Symphony. It was a late afternoon cocktail party with music. The last time we hosted this event, the garden was at an all time high due to being on a number of garden tours that year and it being my main focus. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive that people might be disappointed this year due to a lack of color, roses not blooming yet, some bare spots, etc..

People could not have been kinder and I received so many wonderful words about how beautiful the gardens were. I was so humbled and appreciative for the lovely comments that I made a promise to myself to focus only on the beauty in my gardens and not spots in need of attention. Sometimes I miss the best parts of life just because I am so worried about could/should be. Lesson learned!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Update on the Moonlight Garden

The Moonlight Garden in SJC is actually starting to look like an all-white garden! I usually have to explain my concept to guests, but it is starting to become obvious, much to my delight! It has been a challenge due to hungry rabbits that seem to love many of the white annuals that I try to use as filler, but they have left the alyssum alone and it is filling in nicely. The 'Frequent Flyer' repeating white iris are starting to come into their own and put on a nice show, but I have found that some basic staples like Marguerite daisies and white geraniums add lots of "color" for many months with few problems. The gray and variegated foliage help with the soft tones. I need to remember to venture out after dark soon to see the "Moonlight" effect!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grandkids Rock!

We have a tradition of putting stones with our grandchildren's names on them in our Moonlight Garden. We move them around periodically and create a purpose for the kids to explore the garden when they come to visit, looking for their "rock". We have just had to add two more rocks, seen here in the early morning drying from the sprinklers, to the garden in honor of our two new grandsons. It will be a while before they are old enough to realize they have a place mark in the garden, but the older kids have already discovered their new cousins' rocks, much to their delight!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blooming On Queue

I've been busy this month with projects other than my garden. New gates, decks, carpeting and minor construction have used up all my creative juices and I have just waited patiently for my gardens to wake up and get started on their own. The spring blooms are arriving on queue and they remind me that I just have a supporting role, they are the stars! 

I am a list maker and trips to the nursery with a few notes on what I need appear on my weekly to-do list regularly. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't. Hauling bags of organic fertilizers are a must for this time of year for the citrus, roses and grass, so I often have to look the other way (okay maybe I snatch a few flats of flowers) when I pass all the beautiful annuals and perennials luring me their way. 

Then of course I have the on-going chore of purchasing all the large screening shrubs to replace the dying oleanders along our perimeter fencing. That must be done too and will be a priority this week once again.

But the yellow and orange clivia lilies are blooming as they should and my favorite "Frequent Violet" iris are waking up and blooming all over my little garden by the front door in SJC. They hardly miss me!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wisteria and Roses

I am not a great photographer. I've taken classes and read books, but I pretty much just walk around snapping pictures as a way of recording things. This is kind of a shame. We have a daughter who is an amazing professional photographer and I really should have her spend more time with me showing me some techniques to improve my pictures. Anyway, I had planned on going back out to the front pergola and getting a better picture of the beautiful scenario going on there this month with the old-fashioned roses and wisteria blending together for a lovely and fragrant setting, but we had fierce winds yesterday that stripped most of the petals, so I guess I am too late. This really was beautiful except for the lower plants at the bases of the pillars. There are roses and lavenders as well as some groundcovers that have looked wonderful in the past, but may be ready to be replaced. The lavender is just leggy with sparse blooms and the roses are spindly and small. I suspect there is not enough light anymore for the lower sun lovers and maybe not enough water. Back to the drawing board!

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Favorite Shrub

Once again it is that time of year that my rice flower plants (ozothamnus) are putting on a show. It is such an easy shrub, no problems, drought tolerant, and it has such sweet, airy blooms that are around for most of the season. I know I write about it every year because when you Google 'rice flower plant' my blog is the number one entry and the first three pictures on Images!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Two Pleasant Surprises

There are two beautiful things going on in the garden in SJC right now that I wish I could take credit for, but they just kind of happened on their own. One is this amazing cascade of pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) that is cascading over the very tall privet hedge in the garden by the front door. I may or may not have planted this jasmine, I can't remember and it could be creeping over from the neighbor's yard. In past years it has bloomed while climbing up the green hedge, but this year it is an amazing fall of bloom all across the top. Do I need to mention that the scent is intoxicating? The whole property is scented with this heady delight, especially at night. I'm smitten!

The other scene that is bringing me much happiness is this native ceanothus that I did plant but had no idea it was going to join the huge salmon colored honeysuckle shrub behind it to form an arch filled with these amazing blue flowers in the back yard.  It was just a little tiny shrub that I stuck in to fill in an awkward spot and it has loved where it is and grown to quite a substantial form. I have had huge ceanothus shrubs in Laguna, but most of the ones I have planted here in SJC have not taken off like this one. Just proves the old adage, right plant - right place! 

     Both of these plants are pest and disease resistant, drought tolerant and the bees and butterflies love them. The only downside to the jasmine is it is not a self-cleaning plant and the brown flower brackets will hang on much longer than desired. Hopefully they are so high that they will not be noticed and the greenery will eventually grow over them. 

      Don't you love it when your garden offers up its own design inspirations?

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Little Help for Spring

I finally made it to the nursery last week to pick up a few "pretties" to help the feeling of Spring along a little bit in the gardens. It seemed to do the trick mixed in with all of the perennials and shrubs that are coming into bloom!