Friday, September 30, 2011

Curly Leaved Willow, no REALLY curly!

So you all probably know what they call the corkscrew Willow - Salix tortuosa.  Florists use it as interesting filler or as dried branches because the branches are sort of curly.  A few years ago at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona I noticed a weeping tree with curly LEAVES!  There were several of them and they were about 40 feet tall.  I've always loved curly things(maybe because I have straight hair.)  The leaves were each curled around and so pretty!  I know that sometimes curled leaves mean bugs inside.  But this is not like that!

 I took a few cuttings.   I understand that September is not that good a time to try to root cuttings of a plant that is going to lose it's leaves soon.  But that is the only time I was at Fairplex!    They did not root :-(   I had even emailed them in the Spring to see if I could go and take cuttings then with no reply. I don't think they care.  2 years ago I took more cuttings when I was at the fair volunteering.  They rooted!
 Yay! Yesterday we went to the FAIR and visited my tree or my "baby mama". 

Fairplex in Pomona has been around since the 1930's so who knows when these trees were planted.  I did notice yesterday that 2 or so of the trees are gone because they took down some buildings :-(   So there is only one left.  

These are my 2 baby trees.  I rooted 3 cuttings and gave one to a friend.  It is such a precious plant to me and I don't even know the name!  I have searched the internet endlessly and can only find "tortuosa" which this is NOT!  If you know the name, please share!   I love my Curly Leaved Willows.  Now I just have to figure out where to plant them in my new garden.  I'll probably just plant one in the ground and keep one in a pot for just in case :-)   Happy gardening!  

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Bauhinia is a varied genus. Most people know the Orchid tree - B. purpurea. I have a vine version called B. corymbosa that has smaller leaves and pale pink flowers. But my favorite is the shrub B. galpinii! Native to South Africa(as so many cool plants are) this Bauhinia is a shrub that tends to vine. It grows freestanding but also wants to weave itself with others. It can be kept at about 5 feet but wants to grow to 10 feet. And as my friend Alice knows this plant laughs at pruning. The flowers are so pretty, coral orangey and a unique shape. I don't care if it grows like a crazy plant. I love it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Just a little Sweet Pea update today. Got sprouts? I do. If you haven't planted those seeds, go do it NOW! And in 6 months we'll all have flowers to enjoy. :-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Summer Scent

If you have any sort of shady spot, plant a Stephanotis vine! Mine is not in the ground yet as you'd know if you've been following along. My ground is almost ready for planting if the darn weather would cool down! My Stephanotis is in a 15 gal. can with a metal trellis leaning against the house. Stephanotis has glossy green foliage, grows about 20ft and blooms fragrant waxy white flowers in summer. I have been told that they were often used in bridal bouquets.

A few nights ago(back before this blowtorch weather) I was washing dinner dishes with the kitchen window open and the wonderful wafting scent of Stephanotis did waft itself inside to me. It smelled so good! I mentioned to Rick how I love being able to open the kitchen window.

I should explain. When we bought this house a year ago, there was one of those pop out garden windows in the kitchen. What a waste of space! It was so impractical! You can't put plants in it or they'll fry like an ant under a magnifying glass! I'm not the best cook and when I seared pork loin roast it made the kitchen smokey! But I couldn't open a window!!! So, about 6 months ago I had a friend rip out that garden window and replace it with a regular double hung window, that opens! So now I can let the smoke out and the flower fragrance in!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sweet Pea Time!

I just planted my Sweet Pea seeds.  Thought you'd want to know :-)  Sweet Peas are the only annual(I know) that takes 6 months or more to flower from seed.  That is WAY too long!   But we HAVE to wait if we want them!  Other flowers for instance Marigolds are about 60 days from sprout to flower.   So, plant them soon as the time is NOW!  I love Sweet Peas and they always remind me of my Grandmother.  Come Spring, we'll all have wonderfully fragrant bouquets of them.

And since you're here, I'd thought I'd share my most favorite tool.  It's called a "planter" and is not often found in garden centers or nurseries.  I take it to every job.   It has a round pointed end like an inverted shovel on one side and a pointed end like a pick on the other.  It is much easier to use this in the overhand direction like a hammer than it is to use a trowel(which I DO NOT own!) in the underhand awkward direction.  I  use it for planting bedding plants, bulbs, weeding and more.  And the pick side is good for digging around bulbs that you don't want to slice.  The metal does wear down.  Where does it go?  And the wooden handle may break.  But it's super useful if kept with care.   Happy September!