Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Autumn Bouquet

I cut some flowers yesterday and had to take a photo. That is an orange spider Chrysanthemum that I divided from a client many years ago. Those spidery mums you just don't find in nurseries! I know many people dislike orange but I love it!
The purple is Hypoestes aristata. Most know the other Hypoestes, the Pink Polka Dot plant which is H. phyllostachya. This purple flowered variety grows to about 3 feet and always flowers for me in Nov. I pinch it a bit all summer so it will have more flowers. After the blooms are spent I cut it down to the new growth coming out of the bottom. It's a fabulous perennial. I look forward to seeing how it grows in the ground.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Plant Those Daffodil bulbs!

Today I finally had time to plant my 16 lbs of Daffodils = 180 bulbs.  Yay!  They arrived last week after a 6 month wait! I had to order them in June because last year they were out of many of the 
varieties I wanted.  Many you can't find at your local nursery. 

 I layed them all out with tags first.  I think the rule in planting bulbs is to dig the hole 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 times the size of the bulb. Always plant bulbs point up, that is the growing point.

I planted Bell Song with the little pink cup.  Dickcissel has the little white cup.  Jack Snipe is short and white with a yellow cup.  Tete a Tete is super cute at only about 6 inches and all yellow. I adore Hawera(little yellow blooms on 10 inch stems) and Thalia(all white) because they are the triandrus type of Narcissus meaning that they make sometimes 3 blooms per stem. 

Most of the bulbs will naturalize for us here in SoCal.  Hawera is iffy but I love it so!   So go out and plant some Daffodil bulbs and we'll all have beautiful flowers in late Winter early Spring.  Let's hope we don't get that hot spell in Feb that we usually get.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yard Planting Begun!

So, if you've been following along you might know that we bought and moved into this house 1 year and 3 months ago.  It took us 6 months to remove the 4ft Boxwood hedge that went around the corner. Then I had the grass dug out this past August. Then it was too hot to plant. I've been spot spraying Round-Up on the Bermuda grass sprigs that sprout(it's called DEVIL grass for a reason).  And since the horse manure mulch guy will not come this far, I have to pick up the truckloads myself! I've picked up and spread 4 truckloads so far.  I decided it was finally time that I could begin planting!

So today I planted my Black Peppermint Willow Tree- Agonis flexuosa 'After Dark'.  I bought it in a 5 gallon can about 3 years ago and potted it up to a 15 gal can(because the 15 gals are $$!).  It is supposed to get only about 15 ft.  I love the burgandy black foliage! And it smells deliciously like peppermint, hence the common name.  

Also I've got 200 something roses, about 10 Salvia, 3 Camellia sasanqua, 3 Euphorbia cotinifolia(burgandy leaves), 3 Brugmansia(Angel's Trumpet), Chrysanthemums, Pelargoniums(Geraniums), variegated Agapanthus, Tulbaghia violacea variegated(Society Garlic) and T. fragrans(sweet smelling) 4 Osmanthus fragrans(Sweet Olive), 3 Dodonea viscoca purpurea(Purple Hopseed Bush), 16 lbs of Daffodil bulbs and many other shrubs and perennials to plant.  So, that garden is coming! Yay!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Cyclamen is the most fabulous choice for cool season color in SoCal! They are a flowering bulb native to Europe and the Mediterranean that prefers shade or part sun.   Growing only about 8 inches, they are supposed to come up in the autumn and stay up through spring dying back in the summer.  But I have had have some plants keep their foliage and flowers through the Summer(in pots).  They bloom in ranges of pinks, red and white and purplish.   How wonderful if they would come in orange or yellow(which is so deficient in shade gardens).  

If you look at the flower closely, it is the only flower I know that actually turns itself inside out when it opens!  Pretty cool, huh? 

 And those mottled heart shaped leaves come in such beautiful patterns.  I have seen some with so much gray in them they look variegated! Since it's a bulb, it likes well-drained soil and will rot if not given such! 

 Folks here love to plant the white Cyclamen with red Pointsettias for holiday accents and sad to say so many rip them out after Christmas.  Because they are a bulb, they are a little more spendy than average annuals in 4" pots.  The going price is $3.99 -$4.99.  For shade, Cyclamen for autumn and winter and Impatiens for spring and summer.  But that's a whole different blog post! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tree Book

I love bark on trees, colorful bark, bumpy bark, bark that sloughs off, curly bark, peeling bark....    I just wanted to share a wonderful book that I bought today.  It's called "BARK, An Intimate Look at the World's Trees".  It has amazing close-up color photos and is large; 10 by 13".  

I bought it today at a great bookstore called Hennessey & Ingalls in Santa Monica. They have books on art, architecture, gardening, photography, design and more.   Rick and I make the pilgrimage maybe once a year.    But I think I paid too much for it($45).    Barnes & Noble and  Amazon  have it for about $30.   If you love trees and their beautiful bark, you should check it out.