Friday, February 17, 2017

Sweet Peas

While I'm home again from work because of more rain, I thought I'd share my Sweet Peas with you. This is the first year that I can remember having them bloom in February! Maybe it's because I was good and planted the seeds in September. Or maybe it's all this rain we've had. Today's storm is supposed to be brutal. Glad I went out and cut these. I planted about 5 varieties. The special seeds I bought in England at the Chelsea Flower show haven't bloomed yet. I hope they will soon. Are you growing Sweet Peas?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sweet Fragrance

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been busy with rose pruning jobs in others gardens and watching the weeds grow in the rain in my own garden.

My Sweet Olive plant was doing poorly. I only noticed it today because I could smell it walking by on my way to the front yard to do more rose pruning(& weeding). The fragrance is spectacular even if the tiny flowers are not. Funny common name given that the plant is not an Olive at all. Osmanthus fragrans is a tall growing shrub native to Asia. I think the flowers smell like apricots. An evergreen shrub or small tree it grows to about 10' tall in full sun or part shade. Slow to start I never plant them in one gallons. They'll just sit there too long. I always start with a five gallon size.

 If you don't grow Osmanthus fragrans, you should!

Happy gardening!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Vegetables

I was pruning roses at a job in drizzle today when I noticed their sad tomato vegetable beds with nothing in them! If you're in SoCal, know that this is a great time to grow winter vegetables! What you say, you can grow veggies in winter? Yes you can! I grow a ton of lettuce and spinach this time of year. I grew Kale last year too but seem to have forgotten about it this year.   You can also grow peas, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts and probably more that I've forgotten!  I have trouble with the brassica family though as they tend to get aphids. But I am a big salad girl. So I love to grow lettuce! I started my seeds back in November. But you can still start some now or set out transplants from 6-packs or 4" pots from the nursery.

I adore red leaf lettuce but it seems to not grow as well as the others for me. You can see what few there are in the top of this bed.  I don't grow peas because I love Sweet pea flowers so much that they have the trellis spot taken.  You can see them in the upper right.   There are also green onions(also called bunching onions) that are perennial(unless you pull them) in the upper bed with spinach. I have some older big ones and some tiny new ones. I've also grown yellow and white onions and garlic in these beds. But they take SO long and are hard to dry. One year I dug them all out and set them on flats to dry. And they still rotted. If you've ever smelled rotting onions, you won't soon forget. And that smell gets on your hands and doesn't wash off.

 I love not having to buy lettuce for about 3-4 months! I've been harvesting for about a month.  I prefer to grow "Leaf" lettuce rather than "Head" lettuce because you can keep picking leaves for salads the whole time. If you grow head lettuce you have to wait until the head is done to harvest. It's a one shot deal.  Leaf lettuce keeps on giving.  I'll be able to keep these going until it gets hot again, maybe by May depending on the weather.  And they're loving all this rain we're having!  

I have had trouble getting spinach to germinate from seed. This time I bought 4 9-packs of plants and set them out so I would have a lot.  You can see a little bug damage. They're not perfect.  
I saw some purple Kale in the grocery store yesterday. It was really beautiful.  I think I might plant some of that too.

Happy winter gardening! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

First Sweet Pea!

Happy New Year!

My first Sweet Pea of the season is blooming! Yay! Did you plant Sweet Peas? I planted my seeds back in September. I'm amazed at having a bloom so early. Usually they don't bloom for me until April! I can't wait for those special silver & pink ones, the seeds I brought back from England to bloom.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year's Eve! 

I just wanted to squeeze in one more blog post before the year ends.  This is Linaria reticulata "Flamenco".  I'm sure I've posted about it before.  But this is the first year I think that I've been able to find it in the nursery so early!  It doesn't like our Valley heat so once summer starts, it's toast!  I think last year I found it only about 2 months before it got hot here.  I bought only 4 because they were in one gallon pots at Armstrong Garden Center two days ago.  Had they been 4" I would have bout a whole flat!  I'm glad to have planted them in the garden before it rained. I love this little annual. They look like tiny bright Snapdragon flowers.  

Have a fabulous New Year's Eve and Day! Happy Gardening! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Yellow Acacia Wattle Whatever

I apologize for going 6 weeks without a blog post.  Seems I posted a ton on Facebook and Instagram but not here.  Find me on Instagram as Prillzilla.  

Here is a plant that's blooming in my garden right now, Acacia iteaphylla.  I know that the end part sounds like "filla". Some say "F-EYE-la" with a long E.  But not sure how to say it all.  Maybe it's "Eye-TEE-filla"? They call them "Wattles" in their native Australia. Not sure why.  So there is Golden Wattle this and Golden Wattle that. This plant is supposed to get from 6- 15 feet tall. All Acacias like full sun and well-drained soil. Mine is about 5' tall already.  I love that they bloom in winter.  

At least I think it's Acacia iteaphylla.  The tag is gone. I hate it when it's just a sticker on the pot. Plant it in the ground. Pot gets recycled and identifying name goes with it!  So, this took quite a bit of hunting on the interwebs to find the name. I'm pretty certain that it is correct. Most Acacias have bright yellow flowers many with grayish foliage. This one is pale yellow and has the finest skinny green leaves.  I bought it at Sperling Nursery(which is sadly gone now like many good nurseries) about 4 years ago.  I planted it to cover the ugly fence and neighbors to our north. A lot of that it is NOT doing! I thought about removing it and just chucking it. But of course now it is blooming so prettily!  

It was difficult to get a good photo of the whole plant. It IS very airy.  

 In my opinion, winter is a fabulous time in SoCal.  It's cool and crisp and easy to work in the garden.  There's no sweating! I even started my first rose pruning job yesterday with one coming tomorrow too. 58º yesterday and 68º today.  How is your garden? Are you in a deep freeze with snow? 

Happy Gardening! 

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!