Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Blooms

So today should be an interesting day. I have been very busy lately, doing everything except gardening. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a photographer from Minnesota who was going to be in our area this week and was hoping to get to visit a garden with the goal of photographing a California garden in the winter to sell a story to a gardening magazine. I told her I would be happy to show her my garden, but not to expect much because although we do live in a mild climate, our gardens are not exactly spectacular year round. As I walk through my garden this time of year it looks rather bleak to me. Most of the roses have been cut back (there are a few that were blooming away and were temporarily spared that are still in need of a cut back), the ornamental grasses that are abundant in my gardens and add so much movement and character other times of the year look like short whisk brooms stuck in the dirt and many of the trees and vines that I love for their changing fall colors have shed their leaves and are a tangle of bare branches. There is more bare ground than I care to see after the winter clean up and I'm afraid the rabbits have had their way with many of the winter annuals and ground covers that I had high hopes for earlier this season. Still, when she asked last week if anything was in bloom, I had to admit there was a long list when I started to think about it. There are camellias and azaleas of course, and the pretty abutilons that I adore and have been combing the nurseries looking for more to add in shady spots. I have noticed some lavenders starting to bloom and the Russian sage is putting on a show. There are a few daffodils starting to wake up and a few reblooming iris that never know when to stop blooming. The unseasonably warm weather we had confused some of the daylilies and there are even a few of them showing their blooms. This is also the time of year for succulents to bloom their unusual flowers and natives to flower and I'm sure there are some of those blooms to be found around and I did notice lots of buds on the Anna apple trees. I guess although it doesn't exactly look like spring, there will be more to see blooming than my guest this afternoon will see in Minnesota at least! I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Little Late Fall Color

We are having summer like temperatures this week, but my SJC liquid amber tree thinks it is autumn and the leaves are just starting to turn yellow and fall to the ground. I had planted this tree, of which there are many in our neighborhood that turn beautiful shades of red, burgundy and orange in the early to mid fall, right outside the dining room window to add an ambiance of autumn color to our Thanksgiving holidays, but it is putting on the show a little late, not to mention somewhat less colorful than I had imagined. I am going to be patient and give it more time, assuming it is still young. I still love it though for the pretty color of green and the shade it gives us all summer, but I am still hoping for next year.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Maybe Some Container Veggies

Sooooo.... I went to the nursery yesterday to buy rose fertilizer, but I have to go  back today because I came home with everything but fertilizer. Mainly I stocked up on one gallon lavender which it seemed like I looked for all last fall and couldn't find at all, although I still couldn't find any Spanish lavender yet. I also was seduced by a beautiful camellia and some complimentary azaleas because let's face it, the window to plant them is going to close soon. A few flats of fairy primrose also made it home with me because I plant them every year this time. 

But I really wanted to buy some beautiful lettuces and peas that I haven't planted in years due to being discouraged by the rabbits that have their way with most of my gardens. But I have really been missing the vegetables and now I think I will try to grow them in containers around the fountain on the back patio. The fountain splashes everywhere, making it rather damp and I started putting plants around it years ago when one of the dogs was a puppy that kept climbing in it and to discourage toddlers from getting too close. I am not crazy about the choice of prickly plants that my garden helper has grown from slips there and I think I will try to replace them with veggies and see how that works out. It is right outside the kitchen, gets lots of sun and is a ways away from the rabbit territory so maybe it will work. I'll let you know!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Mild Winter Chores

 Although most of the roses have already been cut way back and stripped of all their leaves for the winter, some that are blooming away in this mild weather have been spared a week or so until the end of the job is at hand.  The blooms are not the big full ones that will come back in a few months, but they are appreciated nevertheless. I must say though, the foliage is flawless this time of year!

There are no daffodils coming up yet, but the narcissus are almost done blooming, much to my dismay. I rarely get out in the gardens during the holidays and I usually miss the few that I have here in SJC and if I don't get over to Laguna soon I'll miss those too. I thought I did plant some more last year but maybe they were late season bloomers. I need to keep better records!

I am off to the nursery this morning to get some organic rose food to make sure the roses are well fed before the mulch goes down. I'm not sure how long this lovely weather will last (the weather forecast does call for rain on Thursday) and if there wasn't football on all weekend this would have been where we would have spent the warm afternoons even though things are pretty bare!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Time To Get To Work

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog and it has been a while since I have been out in the garden! A combination of a sore knee and way too many responsibilities involving the holidays have kept me from even taking a peek at what is happening out there other than a quick glimpse as I hurry by on my way to doing what must be done at this time of year. Somehow I made it through the holidays (with the help of others) and now I am looking forward to taking advantage of this beautiful weather we are having and getting out and doing some sprucing up and a bit of winter planting (also with the help of others). As always we will have a number of visitors at the end of this month and I like the gardens in SJC to look good and it is a good excuse to add some winter annuals as long as the rains hold out. Although I am enjoying the sunny days, I know we are in need of the rain and I am hoping for a wet winter to flush out the soils and give the trees a good deep soaking, but maybe not until February?

Note: My sincere apologies to those of you that are suffering through blizzard conditions back east. We hope for the best for all of you that are being hit by this latest storm and I really didn't mean to rub it in!