Monday, December 31, 2018

Salvia leucantha

I'm sure I've posted about this before. But I just love it when a plant tells you it's time to cut it back! Here is Salvia leucantha - Mexican Sage at a job. The first pic show all the spent flower stems. And if you look closely, you can see all the fresh new growth coming out of the center of the plant. So I cut off all that old growth and left the new growth that will bloom again. Yay, a fresh start for the plant just like New Years Eve.


Happy New Year!
Happy Gardening!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A Vine That Must Be Tamed

 I love this plant so much that it is the lock screen photo on my phone. It's Antigonon leptopus or Coral Vine.  I've posted about it before.  It is beautiful in fall when it's blooming.  But it grows like a monster, about 20 feet per year! 

Seen in this photo below, the plant is growing from the right side.  It goes up and all the way over the arch. It would have trailed along even more to the left had I let it covering up many other plants.  I did have a climbing rose on the left side of the arch. But it got smothered and died.  I should have known better.    

Here it is from the street side partially blocked by a neighbor's car. All the pink that you see now is just seed pods.  

It is a plant that goes mostly deciduous in winter, which means it looks crappy then. It takes well to a serious whack every year! In fall I  kept trimming and tying it up so that the mailman didn't have to duck too much. At one point our primary mail carrier wouldn't go under it because of how many bees were working the flowers.  I hate to cut it when it's blooming! 

So today I did the big whack! We're having friends over tonight and I didn't want it to be too dangerous in the dark for our guests.  It filled up two trash cans! You can sort of see the plant cut down to about 12' on the right side.

Here it is mostly cleaned out. 

Here again are the beautiful flowers that make Coral Vine with growing.  

Happy Gardening! Happy Winter! 
Happy Holidays! 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sweet Pea Trellis

A few months ago on a walk I found a pile of rebar at a business. I asked if I could I have it and they said yes. I went back with my truck and brought that rebar home. We bent it and made 3 more garden arches. I decided to place the arches between the raised vegetable beds in the backyard. 

I usually plant my Sweet Peas in the other bed where I have a permanent fence for them to climb. But one can't have too many Sweet Peas so I planted more to climb up the new arches over the path between the beds. 

Today I used string just run across then diagonally looped around to give the Peas more support and a place to get them to go upwards. You can buy string trellises. But I'm cheap and like to use what I have. The plants are about 6-8" tall so far. I look forward to having them fill this new space that was just air before.

Today I used string just run across then diagonally looped around to give the Peas more support and a place to get them to go upwards. You can buy string trellises. But I'm cheap and like to use what I have. The plants are about 6-8" tall so far. I look forward to having them fill this new space that was just air before.

Do you grow Sweet Peas?
Happy Gardening!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Cassia Buttercream

Cassia Buttercream is a large shrub or small tree that gets 8-10' tall and wide. It's from South America and only grows in zones 8-10. Cassia or Senna. They changed the name a few years ago. 

I bought this plant as a tiny 4" pot at The Huntington plant sale a few years ago. I potted it up a few times as it grew and then planted it in the ground. Our backyard bakes so much that I wanted some substance back there around my vegetable raised beds. I didn't know that it would get so wide. It's my own fault for planting it where I did at the end of one of the beds. It's so wide now that I can barely get around it. I even cut it back a few months ago. 

In the summer daytime I noticed ants hanging around on the leaves. Usually ants are a sign of another insect because ants cultivate aphids and other sucking insects that secrete sugars. But I didn't see any other bugs. Research says that some Cassias have extrafloral nectaries which attract ants probably to deter herbivores. 

It is a beautiful plant flowering in autumn. But after it's done blooming, I'm going to cut it back and move it to a better spot. Wish me luck!

Happy Gardening!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Pearly Bluebush

Back in March(the date on my photo in my phone tells me so) I was walking around the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia and I saw this plant. It was gray with roundy succulent leaves. I like the look of it. It seemed very different and I had never seen it before. I couldn't find an identification tag or sign. So I tore off a little branch and took it up to Frank McDonough who works there. It took him awhile to figure out what it was. But he did and told me the name. I googled it when I got home and couldn't find any mail order sources. San Marcos Nursery grows it. But they're in Santa Barbara and very wholesale. So, I pined for it.

The next time I visited the Arboretum, there was this nice sign saying Maireana sedifolia. It's a drought tolerant plant from Australia. 

Today I was roaming San Gabriel Nursery and spotted some for sale. Yay! But it was in a 2 gal pot for almost $30! Ugh! I like things in 1 gal pots in the $10 range. I tried to talk myself out of it. But I couldn't. I've said this before here. You've got to buy the strange/special/unusual plants when you see them(especially if you've pined for it) because it might not be there next time! So I did! 

In the past couple weeks I've found several plants that I've been hunting for years! Yay! 

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Autumn Seeds

Hi all. In SoCal we're finally having cooler weather although no rain here yet. And it's October so it's time to plant seeds of winter greens, vegetables and Sweet Peas.

I planted my Sweet Pea Seeds last week (9/28) while it was still Sept because I wanted to get going! Sweet Peas take so long to flower for an annual. I think I've said it before here but in case you missed it: other annuals like tomatoes take maybe 2 months from seed to flower to fruit. Sweet peas take about 6 months from seed to flower. So get going! They like a sunny spot with at least a 6' support to climb.

I planted several kinds of lettuce, spinach and carrots on Monday(10/1). I love not having to buy lettuce in the store from Nov-March or so. I haven't tried carrots in a few years because they tend to fork in my soil. But I was tempted by the seed packet of these multi colored varieties. We'll see how they do. You could also plant broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and beets too.

I think that lower pic is a sweet pea sprout. I hope so. It may be one coming up from last season because they usually take 2 weeks to sprout.

I've also got California Poppies that I got free from the Theodore Payne Foundation that I'm going to sprinkle in my front yard.

Fall weather is the best growing season in SoCal. Happy Gardening!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Happy Autumn!

While you may be having nice Fall weather where you are, it's going to be 91* here in the Los Angeles area. I'm jealous of all those 60 degree cloudy days you're having. At least it's cooling off here to the 60s at night. So here's an indication that it is indeed Autumn here in SoCal, the Freesia bulbs have sprouted!