Friday, May 19, 2017


I fell in love with Iochroma a few years ago. Say EYE-oh-chrome-uh. One of my clients grew the purple one. Then I saw it again in a friend's garden. It is a large shrub native to South American forests. I've seen them grow to 8' tall. They take to pruning well and can be kept around 6'. Research says they only grow outdoors in mild zones 8- 10. In SoCal inland we are zone 9. They are not frost hardy. But I haven't seen damage here. We had frost last year it not this year because if all the rain.

Iochroma is in the Nightshade family of Solanaceae which includes tomato plants and Brugmansia -Angels Trumpets. They attract hummingbirds and bees.

I searched for it at many local nurseries without luck. I finally mail ordered the purple, blue and red from Logees Nursery. I love the purple and blue. But the red one I'm not so happy about. It has bigger leaves and very small flowers. We'll see. This year I found a pink one that I ordered from Almost Eden Nursery. It came already about 8" tall. I potted it into a 2 gallon can right away and it already bloomed.  It's lovely!

Do you grow Iochroma?

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Star Jasmine Arch

I apologize for the length between posts. Spring is a busy time for most gardeners. In April I attended/worked the San Fernando Valley Iris show and the Pacific Rose Society/PSWD district con/ARS National Mini rose con. The latter was a huge deal. I was in charge of their bus garden tour on Friday and on Sat I exhibited roses, heard speakers, certificate calligraphy, saw a little bit of the show(I did win one trophy for micro mini- Yay!) and banquet.

Tom Thumb, best Micro Miniature rose.

AND I have spent the last two months weeding and getting my own garden ready to be included on the SFV Iris Society's Iris Trek(garden tour) that was last Saturday. Now that all those are over I can almost just enjoy my garden. But there still is the LA Geranium Society show coming up next weekend May 13 & 14 (Mother's Day weekend). If you're in the Los Angeles area, please come to the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia to see the show and shop for plants.

 Here is my Star Jasmine blooming over the arch & gate to the backyard. It smells so good. I planted it a few years ago and put up that arch maybe 2 years ago. I love how the plant travels overhead. The fragrance wafts through the backyard and the side yard. I wish you could smell it.

What have you been doing in your garden?  I love comments and hardly get any. 
Happy Spring!

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!