Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rebar For Vines

I have a Star Jasmine vine, Trachelospermum jasminoides that I planted a couple years ago growing up a downspout on the east side of our house. My Rick is afraid it'll eat the house.   Here it is on the left before.

If you've been following along this year you read about my 2 arches that we made of rebar back in Feb. See here if you didn't: Rebar Arches.  For a long time I wanted to make something out of rebar but was afraid of it. I thought one needed a rebar bender or something. You don't. This is 1/2" by 20' rebar and was the middle of 3 sizes bought at Home Depot. I don't remember the other 2 sizes. And it was cheap, only $6.35. All it takes is either two people or something to push against to bend an arch. One day I want to do a spiral something.

So I thought an arch over the gate would direct the Jasmine to grow away from the house over the arch. I ziptied the rebar to the two gate poles on the other side. It's not a perfect curve. But it's good enough for me.

Have you tried rebar? Let me know.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Egyptian Starcluster is NOT what I have ever heard anyone ever call this plant. We've just called it Pentas.  Say PENT-az.  The full Latin name is Pentas lanceolata.  It is a tender perennial(meaning it's frost tender) that grows about 4' tall here in SoCal. There are some short varieties sold in nurseries.  My white one is a short one. But the other 3 are tall, bloom almost year round and the hummingbirds LOVE them! And they make good cut flowers for small bouquets as the stems are only about 6" until the next leaves and flowers.  I grow mine in part shade with an eastern exposure. Morning sun is fine. But they might fry in all day sun inland.  They do need some deadheading(cutting off spent flowers) to bloom more.  

   The pale pink one is my latest plant.  I couldn't resist it at Roger's Gardens down in Newport Beach a few weeks ago.  I want to collect all the colors.  I think I'm only missing purple now. I used to  have a short purple but lost it.  And there are some reds and pinks that have a white eye.

Do you grow Pentas?  They're easy! 
Happy Gardening in the Dog Days of August!  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pink Polka Dot Plant

In SoCal this plant known as Pink Polka Dot plant is perennial. It's botanical name is Hypoestes phyllostacha and it is of Tropical and Subtropical origins. Say hi-PO-ess-TEEZ. It is often sold with house plants because of its tropical nature. But I could never grow it indoors. In the ground it will grow 1-3'. In my garden it grows kinda spreading sideways about 1'. At the job where these pix were taken it grows almost 3' tall.


              Here it is before pruning.

Here is is after pruning. 

In my client's garden if I don't cut it back a couple times a year it'll grow really tall, lanky and floppy. So I gave them all a haircut today. They might look a little whacked. And usually I like to make things look better when I prune, not worse. But these plants will snap out of it pretty quickly with new leaves and become bushier.

Pink Polka Dot plants will bloom little purple flowers in Autumn. But by then they start putting out new growth at the base of the plant. When you see that new growth it means that it's time to cut the plant back hard. And you'll want to by then because the plant will be not looking it's best. It grows best in partial shade but will take a bit of sun.

And by the way Hypoestes phyllostacha can be rooted in water!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mexican Sunflower

Back in April I visited my friend Loren Zeldin's garden. I saw this amazing plant that was about 4' tall and had vibrant orange Daisy flowers. He told me it was Tithonia rotundifolia. It sounds just like it's spelled. Directly after I left his house I stopped at Green Arrow Nursery and was surprised to find that they had seeds of this plant! I had never seen nor heard of this plant and was so happy to find it!

Tithonia is an annual from the Aster family that grows 4-6' tall. It likes full sun and blooms summer to fall. Bees, butterflies and birds are said to be attracted to it. It's a good cut flower and will reseed if not deadheaded.

At home I planted all the seeds in 4" pots to get them started. Of course all of them germinated. I set out 3 plants in my vegetable beds in the backyard and 3 in the front yard. I gave some to the Iris Society and sold some at the SoCal Horticultural Society meeting.

This week they began blooming. How fabulous and brilliantly orange the flowers are! Yay for Tithonia! Do you have space for this giant annual in your garden?

Friday, July 24, 2015

It's That Time Of Year

My enemy. I've written about them before. With wings closed they're about 1" in size. With wings open they're about 3". They come out every July and August, the Fig Beetle. They're all pretty and metallic green when they're just sitting there. But they fly around all clumsily bonking into things with that electrical sound.

This morning I was working with my friend Christine in her garden and there were many of them flying around. My instinct is to hide behind whoever is near me. I know they won't hurt me but I shriek and flinch every time they get close. They only work on rotting fruit.

I'm sure it's because I had trauma. Over 25 years ago I had one fly in the open window of my car when I was driving on the freeway. I freaked out and had to pull off and get out!

I wish they didn't bother me. Well, only about 6 more weeks of them. What critters do you have in your garden?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Carpenter Bee ��

I've seen these solitary orange-teddy-bear-like bees hovering around before. I've even had one "chase" me in a nursery(it felt like that). And I had one patrolling my backyard at our old house. They seem to fly around a certain area, zipping around back and forth sometimes seeming to just hover like a hummingbird. They're the size of a bumble bee but they're a male Carpenter Bee. Females are black and drill holes in wood or dead trees to lay their eggs.

Sorry that the pic is not as clear as I'd hoped.  It was really difficult to photograph this bee because it never stayed still, never landed on a flower, never stopped. But I am happy to have caught it. What's in your garden?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

ⓗⓐⓟⓟⓨ ⓕⓞⓤⓡⓣⓗ ⓞⓕ ⓙⓤⓛⓨ

I tried to do red, white & blue in this tiny bouquet under 3". But Verbena bonariensis had do do with Euphorbia Diamond Delight, a tiny Ivy and MicroMini rose Jolly Cupido!