Saturday, February 23, 2013

First Sweet Pea!

Here's my first Sweet Pea bloom! I don't think I've ever had them this early before!  I posted about the troubles I had germinating the seeds last Fall. It took me 3 trys to get them to sprout. I hope some of those special orange varieties I planted bloom!

Plant Sweet Pea seeds in Sept. or Oct. to enjoy them in Spring!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

In Pink?

I already knew Phlomus fruiticosa or Jerusalem Sage. It has gray foliage and yellow flowers. But I had never seen it in pink until twice this week! On Tues, I saw it at a newly planted spot at one of my rose jobs. I asked my friend Jen who works at a nursery about it and she confirmed that indeed it was pink Phlomis. Yesterday I was at the fabulous La Crescenta nursery and bought one for myself!

Phlomis is native from the Mediterranean to Asia, likes full sun and well drained soil and grows to 3 feet tall. My research shows about 20 varieties but I've only seen 3; regular yellow, dwarf yellow and pink. The name Phlomis derives from the Greek word for flame and is said to refer to using the leaves as lamp wicks in ancient times.

Grow the yellow or the pink Phlomis and have blooms for months. Enjoy that fabulous gray foliage to contrast the green that is everywhere. I'm sure it will love my sandy soil.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rose Basal Cane!

I'm late in pruning my roses this year. If you've been following along, you know that I've been pruning everybody else's roses and have just been too busy(and tired) to get to my own. So I just started mine last week. I have 200 something and it'll take me awhile.

The BEST thing a rose grower can hope for is a new basal cane! That's new growth that comes right from the bud union(graft) or out of the base of the plant. Rose canes never really grow bigger than they are. That's why when we prune, we cut off little spindly growth because it can't support good blooms. And that's why basal canes are the best because they start out big and grow tall!

I was very happy today to find several basal canes. They're always difficult to photograph though. I hope you can see this one.

Don't confuse basal canes with suckers. Suckers are growth that comes from the rootstock(below the graft) and should be removed. Basal canes are usually fat and suckers are usually skinny. But you have to watch from where they come to be sure. The reason suckers are bad is because they will become very vigorous and might overpower the desirable part of the plant and the grafted part will die.

So watch your plants closely for the good and the bad. And I hope you find some basal canes on your roses this year!

Monday, February 11, 2013


I planted this wonderful pink flowering plant last Spring after seeing it in one of my client's garden. All it said on the tag was "JOEY" and below that "Pink Mulla Mulla". That sounds Australian to me. I thought it might be an annual because my client's plant looked crappy and was removed in the Fall. Mine still looks fabulous! But I did plant two and lost one.

My research found that the botanical name is Ptilotus exaltus 'Joey' and IS from Australia. It only grows 1-2 feet tall. The Internet also says that it's deciduous. Mine isn't! It did say that it's an annual or short lived perennial that likes dry climates and low water. My soil is SO sandy. Maybe that's why it likes it here! I hope I get a few more months out of it because it is lovely.

Friday, February 8, 2013


It's still winter here in SoCal. Trees are leafless and it's raining today. Thank goodness as I was going to have to water. With a high of only 54 today I am glad I was able to do a rose pruning job this morning before it started to rain.

We noticed this hummingbird making her nest in our tangerine tree right outside our dining room window about a week ago. I didn't think I'd be able to get a decent photo. Maybe because it's raining did she let me get close enough. I was only about 4 feet away. I thought surely she'd fly away when I stepped close. Maybe she's concentrating on laying some super tiny eggs!

Watch for hummingbirds in your garden. And maybe you'll spot a nest too.