Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Sorry I've been gone for a few weeks. Vacation. First there's planning the vacation, then the vacation, then the recovery from vacation and then the photoshopping of over 1000 pictures.

Today's awesome plant is Agastache "Summer Fiesta". I bought a pink one back in June and it bloomed ALL summer long! So a few weeks ago I saw this coral orangey one and thought I'd try more. And hummingbirds love it. I have no hummingbird feeders but many flowering plants they like.

It's a perennial native to Mexico or Asia(lots of Agastache on the internet). Supposed to bloom in summer but we're still having 70's here. Likes full sun and well drained soil once established. It should like my sandy soil here. I love the color!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seed Time

The weather has finally cooled down enough to plant cool weather vegetables. It's still warm in the day but quite a bit cooler at night and that makes a big difference. Last week I planted lots of Onions from Onion sets(small bulbs), Garlic and Sweet Pea seeds. So this morning I yanked the Basil and planted more seeds; a bunch of Lettuce, Green Onions, Radishes, Turnips, Kale and Parsnips. I still have Nasturtium seeds to plant all over my front yard between my roses and perennials. I had no luck with Spinach seeds last year so I'm trying to find them as small plants. I saved a spot for them. Now I just need to figure out what to do with Parsnips before they grow. Have you planted winter vegetables?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Tree?

While shopping at Trader Joes today I succumbed to some Autumn decorations called "Pumpkin Tree Branches". They are so pretty that I had to buy some! The branches are really thick that they do seem like tree branches hence the common name. Research says that this plant is actually an Eggplant from Africa! Solanum integrifolium, is its Latin name is also in the Tomato family. I don't know if I could grow it. Maybe next year.  But Park Seed sells the seeds! Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Most roses and citrus you buy or already are growing in your yard are grafted. Grafting into a different rootstock makes the plant hardier. But you have to watch for suckers. That is a part of the rootstock that grows from below the graft. It's usually right out of the ground or on the trunk low to the soil. If you know you plants well, you'll notice when something looks different. On a rose it is usually Dr. Huey rootstock which is a once (Spring) blooming magenta semi-double climber. You'll see spindly growth with smaller leaves that grow fast and usually get taller than your named/purchased/desirable rose. On a Citrus, it's thick branches with super wicked thorns. On both species it is important to remove those suckers either by cutting or breaking. If you do not, the rootstock may become so vigorous that the grafted part of the plant will die.

Get to know your plants. Happy Autumn!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What's Blooming

Just wanted to share what I'm taking for show & tell to tonights SoCal Horticulture meeting. In a cool retro container I got from the late Grace Seward are: Gomphrena "Fireworks" that has been blooming all summer, an Orange Gomphrena, Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus (that I posted about recently) and Hypoestes aristata.

My roses look kinda crappy because of so much heat. But these other flowering plants look great! I love always having something in bloom!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Orchid Surgery

Every so often I get a call to divide Cymbidium Orchids. I'm no orchid expert. But Cymbidiums are usually fairly easy. They do like to be crowded. But when they get so much dead growth and are climbing out of their pot, it's time to divide. You can make more plants to keep or give away.

I pull the plant out of the pot and rip it apart! This one was so big and root bound that I needed to use my shovel to slice the middle of the roots. Then I butterflied it, open,  ripped out the dead stuff and made one plant into three.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I've been noticing all the beautiful Vincas or Periwinkle growing around here lately. They like our summer heat.   

Research says that they are native to Europe, NW Africa and SW Asia.  The purple ones in the photo look a lot like Impatiens. But the leaf tells you it's a Vinca.  Vinca and Periwinkle are both common names for the Catharanthus plant which is usually a summer annual.  

I haven't planted them for myself nor at any job in about 18 years!  They used to get this fungus or something where about 25% of them would die pretty quickly.   I couldn't afford to replace so many plants at a job. So I just stopped planting them.  I stuck to Marigolds, Salvia, and Zinnias for summer color.  

But I've heard that there are some new varieties of Vinca that are resistant to that die off.  Some as you see in the photo still die. 

 Vincas used to come in just purple and white.  But I love that peachy color with the dark eye and that cherry red color with the white eye.  I think I'm going to try them next Spring.  How do you do with Vinca?