Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Usually I post about easy-to-grow plants, plant I'm growing or my clients are growing. But I just had to share a photo of this Fuchsia I saw at a nursery yesterday. It's my favorite variety called Bicentennial. I love the coral orange stripey thing going on. In fact I've killed this plant several times! Fuchsias die in our SoCal Valley summer heat :-(. I've tried many. I used to grow about 6 varieties. I also love the white ones.
Oh, maybe I should try just one more?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Basal Canes!

That's what every rose grower dreams of, basal canes! A basal cane is a new branch that grows right out of the center of the rose bush. New canes support better flowers. When the plant becomes mature it will make more canes making the base of the plant look thicker. But a branch will never grow thicker than it already is. I know that sounds weird. But it's true. So it's great to get basal canes because they start out thick and will end up replacing older canes that will die and be pruned away. After the first flush of blooms in the Spring is usually when basal canes occur. So watch for them. In my photo it is the red growth.

Please note the difference between a basal cane and a sucker. Most modern roses are grafted onto a different rose rootstock. You can see the graft or bud union at the base of the rose where all the branches form. Sometimes that rootstock will decide to grow under the graft, usually right out of the ground. It is advisable to remove those suckers. Or the rootstock may overtake your grafted or desirable plant growing just Dr. Huey which is a once a year red flowered climbing rose. And the part above the graft will die because the rootstock is more vigorous. So definitely watch for suckers too! Happy rose growing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Along my travels doing consultations with clients and planting jobs, I have found that orange is the most disliked color. I think that's a shame! I love orange! In our harsh sun of SoCal, pale colors just don't stand out. Colors like red, yellow and orange DO!

Many people think Marigolds are too common or too stinky or snail fodder. I think they really give the best show of color for sunny locations here. They DO smell a little weird and do attract snails. Sluggo works well killing snails and slugs. None of my clients let me plant orange Marigolds! So now that we have our own place I planted them as a border along one of our walkways.

I don't know if you can see in my photo. But I bundled, twisted and rubber banded the fading Daffodil leaves along the walkway. One is supposed to leave the foliage to turn brown as it dies back because it's storing nutrients for next year. But it looks messy and takes up space! I used to braid the long leaves. But that takes too long and is back breaking! I planted the Marigolds between the bulb leaves since they'll be gone in the summer and the Marigolds will fill in then.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pretty Or Weedy?

Here is a plant that people either love or hate. It's a pretty ground cover called Mexican Evening Primrose, Oenothera speciosa(pronounced EE-noth-er-a). It grows less than 1 foot tall and spreads by seed. This full sun lover blooms here in spring and summer and looks really crappy in winter. If it reseeds where you don't want it then it could be considered a weed. But it's so pretty now!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pot Wreath

I saw a wreath like this that my friend Jan Brider made and loved it SO much that I HAD to make one myself! I am too cheap to take a class on such things, looking at a photo is enough for me. So I bought a metal wreath form at Michaels and some green moss. I found 4" clay pots at Lowes and 3" pots at Home Depot. But no one had the little 2" pots! I wired the pots to the wreath and decided that I really needed those tiny pots! It only took a little search on the Internet to find a seller that had them in Washington state. They were inexpensive and they took PayPal! My poor unfinished wreath took up valuable space on Rick's workbench for 11 days while waiting for my tiny pots to come in the mail. Seems after an email reply that the company was super busy this time of year. The tiny pots came in today's mail(with a couple extra, must be an apology for the lateness). So I squeezed them onto the wreath and added moss to cover any exposed frame. I wrapped the moss with a bit of fishing line to keep it in place. I think the birds might still steal some if they can. I added a bit of vine clippings to give it a little extra something. I wanted those curlycues to show. I wired a loop to my gate and hung the wreath with an S hook. Then I planted a few succulents in any pot that was mostly upright and watered them in. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


If you've ever planted anything from seed, you must know how exciting it is to see them sprout! My cucumbers have sprouted as shown in the photo. Yay! And some of the pumpkins have sprouted too. Still waiting on the carrots.

After my last post, we put up metal screening between the stakes for the tomatoes, cucumbers and gourds. I finally found one artichoke plant at Lowes. Rick asked for radishes so I sowed some seeds too.