Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vegetable Garden

A couple weeks ago, we bought lumber and Rick built me 3 raised beds for a backyard vegetable garden. They are 10' long by 6' wide and 12" tall. Then he water sealed them. A week ago I brought home a load of horse manure mulch. It filled them about 1/4. Last week I bought 12 3-cubic ft bales of "garden soil" that must have weighed about 60 lbs or more each. Still they didn't fill the beds. I dug out surrounding ground soil and added that. Still not enough. Thursday after my job got rained out I bought 7 more bales of soil, and was able to plant.

From small plants: 2 kinds of basil, 2 different tomatoes, zucchini, jalapeño peppers, strawberries, chives.

From seeds: carrots, pumpkins, baby bottle gourds, variegated "Alaska" nasturtiums and regular nasturtiums.

I have a little space for something else like maybe radishes. I wanted but couldn't find purple basil. And I still need to put mesh, wire, string or something across the stakes to hold the tomatoes, cucumbers and gourds. I could plant some perennial herbs outside the beds. But I hate the smell of Rosemary(I know I'm in the minority there).

It's going to be fun to farm but it was way more money than I thought it would be. Watch for the progress :-)

By the way, the big shrub in the middle of the photo is Cape Honeysuckle, Tecomaria capense that needs to be pruned. It came with the house, needs hardly any water and the hummingbirds love it. To the right are my sweet peas that are almost done because of that hot spell.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Alstroemeria is a wonderful perennial! Yeah, I usually post about terrible plants ;-) There used to be only tallish(maybe 30 inches or so) Alstroemerias around in nurseries and people's gardens that were beautiful as cut flowers. Now found in nurseries are shorter versions(12 inches tall) that look great in the garden. Native to South America, they come in pink, red, purple, orange and yellow and like full sun and well-drained soil. This is one that I divided from a client's garden(thanks Joanne!) in January and it's doing great! I still don't understand why the plants are so expensive in nurseries; a 2 gal size might be $20.00! They are so easy to divide and transplant. The only thing I dislike about them is that some die back for a little while in the summer. The best way to get cut flowers from this plant is to just pull the stems straight out from the ground. That saves the old stems from rotting and keeps the plant looking clean. I had a few stems from this plant in a vase and it lasted 2 weeks!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

First Rose Show of the Season

Yesterday was the first rose show of the season put on by the San Fernando Valley Rose Society.  They did a wonderful job and I am happy I could attend.   I belong to 2 rose societies and help with the work at some shows. I have been in these clubs for 23 years.  Here is a link to my home club the Los Angeles rose society    LARS    But it is nice to just attend a show and be a participant sometimes.   I have been exhibiting roses at shows on and off for about 18 years.  But I am a terrible sprayer(one who sprays insecticides/fungicides on their plants) and I hate the fiddly grooming of the blooms the morning of the show.  So I am considered an "occasional" exhibitor meaning that I don't go to ALL the shows and enter a million roses and win 20 trophies per show.  That is fine and I have many "die-hard" exhibitor friends who do very well.  I think my interests are too diversified; roses, geraniums, landscaping, Disneyland, music, crafts, etc.  

We had crazy weather in SoCal this winter and spring; hot January, then cold in Feb, then hot again, then 2 separate days of down pouring rain and wind this week.  That made for short stems and see-through and torn up petals on the roses!  Despite that local exhibitors brought in wonderful blooms for this show.  My garden is just starting to bloom since I was pruning everybody else's roses(2600 something) this winter and didn't get to prune my own until February!  

I was able to enter 6 specimens; 3 arrangements and 3 stems in horticulture.  I am ecstatic to have won 2 trophies!  The first was Most Fragrant with a David Austin rose called Ambridge Rose.  It has that myrrh scent that smells so sweet like candy.  Many Austin roses have that yummy scent. 

The other was for Best Rose In A Bowl with Marilyn Monroe.   I rarely enter hybrid teas because I can't grow them as well as the die-hard exhibitors(huge blooms with perfect foliage and long stems).  But this one had that wonderful pinpoint center that is good exhibition form.  It had a short stem which was perfect for a rose bowl.  Yay!  

Some roses at the show. 

Yolande d'Aragon

Monseiur Tillier


The next rose show is the Pacific Rose Society show at the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia, CA on April 28 & 29.     PRS Rose show    Visit it if you can.  Or come and enter your own roses.  Novice classes are usually light on entries.  Entries from 6:00AM to 10:00AM.  Shows usually open at about 1:00PM after judging is finished.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fridge Roses

Just thought I'd share what's in my refrigerator at the moment(and I really do need to clean my fridge). The first rose show of the season is tomorrow. Competitors don't always have perfect roses the morning of the show. We cut all week. I was hoping to have a spare fridge by this time but that hasn't happened. I'm still scouring Craigslist for an inexpensive fridge without a freezer. Let me know if you know of one. I'll be able to exhibit longer stems than squeezing them in between the milk, wine and juice.

The San Fernando Valley Rose Society hosts tomorrow's rose show a week earlier than usual this year.  Find the info here: SFVRS Rose Show .   Since we've had rollercoaster weather this winter/spring and I didn't get to prune my roses until Feb, mine are just starting to bloom. We had 2 days of pouring rain this week so I don't have a lot. Wish me luck! I am always happy to win just one trophy and will share photos next post.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pointsettias in April?

Ok, I just had to share this photo. I'm at one of my jobs in Glendora. I walk around, feeding the roses and I pass by her front porch. I saw she still had a Pointsettia left over from Christmas. And IT STILL LOOKS GOOD! Holy cow! This is crazy talk! I was taught that one prunes Pointsettias on St Patricks Day and Fourth Of July(just easier to remember). And one does that because Points start to decline and look crappy then. Well, that was about 3 weeks ago. I am amazed at how this Pointsettia looks now. Must be our weird weather. I guess I'll cut this one back when I'm here next month. Enjoy Spring wherever you are :-).