Saturday, November 5, 2016

Great Buy!

Named after Henry Mandeville(1773-1861) is the Mandevilla vine. That's why we correctly say mand-uh-vill-uh and NOT sounding like tortilla, mand-uh-vee-uh. When I worked in the nursery there were Mandevillas and related Dipladenias. The Mandevillas had big leaves with strong veins, large growth(about 15') and that big Alice DuPont pink flower. The Dipladenias had small smooth leaves, smaller growth(5-6') and smaller Red Riding Hood flowers. Now they are all Mandevillas. 

My client and friend Rita and I stopped at Armstrong Garden Center on Thursday because they were having a big sale(like we need more plants). I always say you have to buy the unusual when you see it. We had never seen this color before. It was so peachy and pretty. Mandevilla Sun Parasol Apricot. Priced $35 in a 2 gallon can was too spendy for me. BUT, it was marked 50% off. Great, right? But there's more. I checked and each pot had three plants. We spilt the cost and the plants. I took one and she got two.

Now I just have to find a place to plant it. 
 Happy Gardening!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bird Of Paradise

Bird Of Paradise plant or Strelitzia (say strel-IT-zee-uh) reginae is ubiquitous in SoCal. It's everywhere! Funny that it's the official flower of the city of Los Angeles but it's from South Africa. Research tells of its naming for British Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1744-1818 wife of King George III. It was first introduced at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1773 by Sir Joseph Banks. It is not cold tolerant and in the US is only grown outdoors in California and Florida. But even with the few frosts we get here in some winters I have never seen damage.

It is so common in SoCal that I used to not like it. But I do love orange flowers and finally decided that I needed one in my garden. Bird Of Paradise is super drought tolerant and is slow growing. It took two years for it to bloom in my garden. Peak flowering is said to be winter through spring. But I see them blooming many times throughout the year.

Happy Gardening!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Wire Vine

I've had this weird little vine for maybe 15 years in several different pots. I love the little olive green leaves and the reddish stems.  Sometimes it's sold with houseplants in garden centers. I cannot imagine being able to grow it indoors!    I got a plant when I saw an adorable planting on a little birch branch trellis at the old Sassafrass Nursery(long gone) in Topanga Canyon.  It's called Wire Vine or Muehlenbeckia complexa. Say MULE-N-bek-E-uh.   It's native to New Zealand and is said to grow up to 30', though mine has never grown over 2' in containers.   I've seen it at The Huntington Library & Gardens growing in the ground and there it grows into little twisted piles climbing upon itself.  I'm sure if it has somewhere to attach itself it could go a long way.

Mine is such a little monster that you can't even see the pot! I moved it to the walkway to take the photo. But I keep it set upon an upturned pot to give it some height and to keep it from trailing upon our porch and tripping the mail carrier!

 Several days ago I noticed that it has a few super tiny cream colored flowers.   It has no fragrance. 

I read that the plant is semi-deciduous in colder winters. But here is stays green all year.   It does best in part shade here inland where it's still summer in Oct. and 87º today. But it's the last hot day dipping down to the 70ºs the rest of the week.  Thank goodness! 

Happy Gardening! 


Friday, September 16, 2016

Sweet Peas

Now is the time to plant Sweet Peas from seed! I planted mine around the first of this month and already have sprouts.  Yay! I soaked them overnight in water before I planted. 

I am so excited about them this year.  Or should I say next year. They are the only annual that takes SO LONG from sprout to flower.  It takes like 6 or 7 months for flowers to come! Marigolds take like 4 weeks!  Tomatoes take about 8 weeks!  

The reason I am more excited this time is because I brought back with us a packet of Lisa Marie(silver grey and pink flowers seen there were stunning!) seeds from the Chelsea Flower Show in London(back in May). 

Lisa Marie Sweet Peas from The Chelsea Flower Show

And I ordered some ORANGE Sweet Pea seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.   That's right!  ORANGE Sweet Peas!   And I got 2 different orange varieties. I have never seen orange Sweet Peas. Yay!  They should be excellent! 

So if you're in SoCal or the West and want Sweet Peas, go buy some, soak them and plant them ASAP!  

Happy Gardening! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pretty Purple Flowers

I bought this plant maybe one year ago from The Huntington Botanical Gardens nursery. It grew fast and bloomed a little last year. But now it is glorious! 

It is called Dichoriste thunbergiflora.  Say DI-kor-EEST  thun-BERJ-eh-FLOR-a. It's a mouthful, right? I think that means that it has flowers kinda like Thunbergia, or Black-Eyed Susan vine. Yes the flower shape is similar, a tube that flares out at the end with a dark center. Black Eyed Susans are Orange with black throats.  Gotta love Latin. It tells you right there whats what(if you know). 

 It has grown to about 3' tall and 2' wide. I gave it a haircut last year to make it bushier.  It is growing on the east side of our house. But it gets a LOT of sun.  

I love the color.    
Happy Gardening! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chelsea Flower Show Part 4 -Roses

I realized that August is almost over and I hadn't posted here yet!  I am not a fan of summer. If you've been reading here you'll know that it's about all I can do to keep my garden watered in the summer heat.  I look forward to autumn and cooler weather.  

I promised the roses part of our Chelsea Flower Show visit from back in May. Here ya go.  

Peter Beales' booth was glorious.  
Peter Beales Roses
Me at Peter Beales Roses

Chevy Chase

At David Austin Roses' booth there were introducing a rose to commemorate Roald Dahl. Below is an enormous Peach from "James & The Giant Peach", one of Roald Dahl's famous stories.   David Austin's booth had beautiful roses in it. But it was crowded and to be honest, I think Peter Beales' booth was better.
Davis Austin Roses

They were ALL beautiful.  
Happy Gardening! 

Sunday, July 31, 2016


This is my first time growing any Amarath. I sowed the seeds back in March. Remember those pretty pink seedlings I posted?    See here:   My Seedling Post              Those cute little things are now 6' tall!  I knew they were going to grow big but not taller than me(5' 9")! So I just went back and looked at the seed packet. It says Amaranthus hypochondriacus. What a funny name. And the height listed is 5-8'! The packet also says you can cook the seeds like rice or pop like popcorn!   If I get ambitious enough and the seeds are easy to collect, I might try cooking them.  But I am not that good a cook.   I was growing them for awesome dramatic flowers!  And they are! 

Last week you could see some of the ash on the leaves from the fires in Santa Clarita over the hills from us. 

Are you growing Amaranthus?   

 Happy Gardening!