Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bamboo Succulent Planters

Last summer I had seen a hanging bamboo planter at a nursery that looked so cool that I wanted to make some! I had been collecting succulents for awhile and had a good selection to use. In autumn I got around to asking my friend Louise who works at The Huntington Library & Botanic Gardens for two big pieces of bamboo. Thanks Louise!  It's good to know people who work at botanic gardens :-) One was so big and heavy I had to cut it right then and there to make it fit in my truck. Good thing I had a little folding saw in my work basket.  I hauled them home. A few weeks later I cut them into varying sizes on the segments. Rick helped me by cutting out the top for planting and drilling holes for hanging. Filled with cactus mix I then planted them with succulents, some were cuttings and some were rooted. I scrounged nylon string for hanging that I found at a job that was trash.  I sold a few at the SoCal Horticulture December meeting and gave some as Christmas gifts. What was left I found places to hang here at our house. 

These two I hung from the roof on the bare wall of the garage. They'd probably look better hanging from chain. But that hasn't happened yet.

The little one hangs below our mailbox by the front door.

These two are hanging on the little chain link fence next to the unattractive AC unit in the backyard.

I think they'll just get better when the succulents grow and cascade. Yay for upcycling!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Spring!

Spring is here in SoCal. Roses are soon to pop, many of my bulbs are blooming and our Tangerine tree has a carpet of flowers beneath. But I wanted to share this Pelargonium cordifolium blooming today. It's a big plant, almost 5 feet tall. Cordifolium or any Latin with "cord" in it means heart-shaped. And the leaves of this plant are heart shaped.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, February 24, 2017


Today I potted up seeds. It's almost March and things are getting going! I like to start them in pots first because they might get lost in the garden.  I recommend writing out tags to identify what's planted in each pot so you'll know what they are and where to plant them.  

 I started 4 kinds of Zinnias. They are all tall varieties. I can't wait to see those Queen Lime Red ones! Amaranthus did so well last year that I started them again. I've grown Tithonia for several years so those went into pots too. I've been hunting for Euphorbia Snow On The Mountain for a couple years. Finally found it from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Last year I saw red/burgundy/pink tall Queen Anne's Lace in the herb garden at The Huntington. They were AMAZING! Baker Creek had them too. Yay! I hope they all grow! What seeds are you starting?

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!