Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fresh Crop

This is what I found this afternoon on my Blueberry plants. A fresh crop of baby grasshoppers must have just hatched! Ugh! In case you didn't know, grasshoppers are bad for gardeners. They eat flowers and leaves and I hate them! I squished a few and mixed up some water & dish soap and sprayed them all. I hope that I killed most of them. But I had never seen so many little ones together like that. Ugh!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

So Many Zinnias

I am really loving Zinnias this year.   It is my first year growing them from seed.  I started them in 4 inch pots in the backyard in April because I was afraid they'd get lost in the garden.   Then about 6 weeks later in May I set them out into the ground in the front yard between my roses.  My favorites are the Giant Double flowers.  The green ones didn't turn out too great. And I don't adore the Cactus Flowered ones as much.  The "Thumbelina" variety are really cute and get a ton of flowers. 

The only problem so far is with the tall ones.  Even though I staked them, they get 3 feet tall and some of the branches get too heavy and break.  But usually I see them when they're half broken and laying down. I just cut them and put the good flowers in a vase to enjoy indoors.

I really love this variety called Peppermint Stick.  I adore striped flowers of all sorts.  

So you should try some Zinnias too.  It is really too late(and too hot here) to plant them now.  Now I know which ones I prefer and will grow lots more next year!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Clivia usually come in orange. And in SoCal this easy to grow plant from South Africa is in every shady spot you can imagine. It is named for Lady Clive so say Clive-ee-uh (like hive).

I have 2 of my yellow Clivias blooming today.... IN JULY! That's crazy! This is a plant that's supposed to bloom late winter. That's Feb & March for us. And they did! This yellow Clivia I got from my friend Michael way back when yellows were out of my price range probably about 17 years ago. I separated it into 4 clumps and planted them in the ground here at our about-to-be 3 year new house. They are happy and growing and somewhat confused but I love them.

Yellow is rare for shady spots. Impatiens, Begonias, Camellias, Azaleas nor other shady plants come in yellow! So it's nice to have it! I'm not complaining :-)

In my photo is also the lovely red leaved Iresine in back and Begonia richmondensis to the right.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Japanese Maple Ousted!

I feel like I must apologize for removing a small tree. We took out a Japanese Maple. It came with the house.   I do adore most Japanese Maples or Acer palmatum varieties.  They come in many different leaf shapes in red and green.  I have a red one with deeply cut foliage called Acer p. "Crimson Queen" and a variegated Acer p. "Butterfly" in pots that I've had for 20 years that will go in the ground soon.  But this one was just green.  All it did was take up space and the leaves got burned every year. Last year it even put on and lost 2 sets of leaves because it dropped all the burned ones in the summer and then replaced them.  
The first photo shows a bit of the tree on the far right.  

 The second photo shows it on the far left before we removed it.

 The third photo now shows the corner of the fence where the tree was. It had a trunk on it about 5" thick and was about 7' tall. I cut most of the branches with my loppers and my little folding saw.  Then we dug out the trunk.

 Bye bye little tree.  But now I can plant more roses or something else :-)   I've often said that a true gardener will mourn a lost plant for awhile but then get excited about what they can plant in it's place!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Coral Drops

My Bessera elegans bulbs are blooming! Bessera or Coral Drops is a corm native to Mexico with drooping red and white colored blooms. It's so pretty. I've never seen the bulbs for sale in a nursery.

People confuse corms and bulbs, myself included. Research says that if you cut them in half, a corm is solid and a bulb is made up of layers. That doesn't really help us unless we cut them! So I will now refer to them all as bulbs!

Bessera bulbs are dormant in the winter and bloom in the summer, similarly to a Gladiolus which are a corm too! Ugh!

I feel very lucky to have just a few of these bulbs in a pot. I was given them by my friend Bill McHenry after admiring them in his garden. It's good to have garden friends and to share plants.