Saturday, June 29, 2013


We're having our first heat wave of the summer here in SoCal :-( It's supposed to be 104 here on Sun. This week I got up early the last few days to work and was still miserable. I'm not a fan of summer.

In keeping with the sweltering weather outside making us stay inside, today's post is about an indoor plant. I bought this unusual Aglaonema last September and am happy to say that it's still alive and thriving! Say AG-lay-o-NEE-ma. The common versions of this Chinese Evergreen are different combos of green with gray. I tried to grow one about 20 years ago unsuccessfully. Research says that these pink ones are Thai varieties and were very expensive when they emerged in nurseries about 7 years ago. I never saw one until I bought this and it was $16.00.

House plants are difficult to grow for me. One has to have just the perfect light. And remember NO PLANTS are native to inside! Most of the plants we maintain as house plants come from tropical regions and grow under the canopy of trees with mild temperatures. The tricky part of growing indoors is recreating the humidity of their natural environment. Some need it and some don't. Most plants want bright light indoors but not frying sun. I have 8 plants inside our house all in under 8" sized pots. Besides being ornamental, some house plants clean the air.

I have this plant at the end of our dining room table IN a big window with eastern exposure. It gets morning light diffused through our Tangerine tree. I water it about every 2 weeks and spritz it with water then. I adore the color and hope to keep it alive for a long time.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tiny Bouquet

Tiny bouquet with roses: Bee's Knees & Starina with Verbena bonariensis and little Zinnias.  I put the pen in for scale.  I love making little bouquets. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Succulent With Poppy Flowers

A few years ago I kept seeing this strange succulent plant with tall very un-succulent like flowers everywhere.  When I worked at a nursery 21 years ago, I had never seen such a thing.  It is Calandrinia spectabilis.   Say KAL-an-DREEN-ee-uh.    See how the flowers kinda look like Poppy blooms but the bottom foliage part is definitely a succulent.   I love those magenta flowers with that blue-gray foliage.

It is native to Chile or the Western Americas.  Research differs.   The leaves stay lowish to the ground and grow up to about 12". But the flowers rise up on stems to 24" tall!   Crazy, huh?   Blooming season in SoCal is Spring and Summer.  

A few weeks ago when I finally decided that I needed one, I had to go to many nurseries to find it.  I ended up buying a too nice 2 gallon size pot at Lowes for $14.99.  But I was able to split it into 3 pieces and plant it in different parts of my yard.  

Monday, June 10, 2013


I harvested  Garlic a few days ago. It was my first time planting it back in Oct. I planted one bulb separated into cloves and I got all this! I wasn't sure when to harvest. But the leaves started drying up and turning brown a few weeks ago. That's when I stopped watering. When they turned completely brown, I carefully dug them out, washed the dirt off and braided them together. Yum! I love garlic!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Sometimes I'll share my garden failures. But it's way more fun to share garden successes. I've been able to grow so many more things since having my own garden in the ground at our almost 3 year new house.

I had a client who grew beautiful Zinnias last year. So I decided to try some myself for the first time. Back in Feb I bought 4 packs of different Zinnia seeds. In March I sowed them in 4" pots because I was afraid they'd get lost if sowed directly in the garden. They got to be about 3" tall in a month, tall enough to plant in the garden. Now in June the taller growing varieties are 2' tall and gorgeous! I look forward to many more flowers throughout the summer.

I never had good luck with seeds before. What a difference some ground makes!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rain Lily

My Rain Lily is blooming! It's actually Zephranthes grandiflora, a bulb related to Amaryllis. Say it ZEF-ran-theez. Research says it's called "Rain Lily" because it usually blooms after a rain. Here in SoCal we haven't had rain in about a month and probably won't get any more until November :-( I was so happy to find these bulbs for sale back in late April at the South Coast Plaza Garden Show and bought 6(I think). I came home and planted them right away.  In the photo you can see the edge of my wine bottle border for comparison.  The flower is about 3" across.

Last year I had a client for a few visits in the summer who I couldn't seem to please. We parted ways. She had this huge patch of Zephranthes about 40 square feet. The bulbs were in bloom for quite awhile. I really wanted to ask her to share a few bulbs. But it didn't happen. That's why I was SUPER excited to later be able to buy some bulbs. I never see the pink one in nurseries. The smaller white one Zephranthes candida is found in pots in nurseries.

It's a good thing I took the photo yesterday. Today there is a chomp off the end of one of the petals.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Purple Tunnel

This time of year in SoCal, the Jacaranda trees are blooming all over. They're so pretty. But they are super messy! You don't want one where the sticky flowers will get tracked on shoes into the house. As street trees, they're great.  This photo was taken in South Pasadena.

Native to Central and South America, Jacaranda mimosifolia(means leaves like a Mimosa) has an unusual way with it's leaves. It keeps those ferny leaves through the winter. It drops them in Spring to be replaced by purple flowers in late Spring/early Summer followed again by leaves. Trees will grow up to 50'. And that's why they make a pretty street tunnel.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Light Blue Salvia

Today we drove an hour to go to a Tiki lunch party in the South Bay part of SoCal. On the way back we stopped at a wonderful nursery called Marina Del Rey Garden Center. I was looking for Firefly Impatiens which I didn't find. What I couldn't pass up was this beautiful light blue flowered Salvia. They didn't have it in a smaller size so I had to spend $30 on a 5 gal! Ugh! But I've found that I have to buy the unusual when I see it or I'll pine for it later. And I'd never seen this Salvia before.

Salvia guarantica "Argentine Skies" grows 4-5' tall, likes full sun to part shade and comes from South America. It is said to bloom from early summer to frost. Yay! I adore Salvias and grow 9 different varieties. I did rip out one last week that got too big and annoyed me(moved it twice before the yank). I really love those light blue flowers on this "Argentine Skies". Research says it was introduced just in 1990. That's pretty recent for a plant.