Monday, July 30, 2012

680 Planted Bottles

I realized that I forgot to post this here(posted on Facebook already).  I finally finished my wine bottle garden edging about a week and a half ago!  I saw a photo on Pinterest (find me there Aprille at Pinterest) of wine bottle edging in the garden and thought it looked really cool. I bet people used to do it in the 60's or 70's.   I  began gathering bottles in Feb.  My oldest niece Heather works in a restaurant and started saving them for me. I'd pick up about 30 or so every 2 weeks.  I had to soak them and scrape the labels off because I like how they look better label-less. Also my friends Gregory(see a link to Gregory's photo blog to the left) & Joey have really been into wine lately and saved bottles for me.  I got some from my friends Kelly and Jen and one of my clients Sharon K.  It took 5 months to amass, soak and plant 680 bottles!  I can't tell you how many linear feet that was because it was curvy and counting them was enough for me!  We live on a corner.  So I went across 2 front sides of the house, down the neighbor's fence, across the street side, around the corner, across the other street and up to the second walkway.  It involved digging a trench and "planting" the bottles upside down.  It was fairly easy with our sandy soil.  But about 4 times I had to inset a rock instead of a bottle because of tree roots.  If you look closely there's ONE cobalt blue bottle that a neighbor left for me.  It was from Vodka.  But I love cobalt blue so much that I saved it for near the end.   I think it looks funky and fun :-)  As you can see, I still have lots of space between the plants for them to grow.  And I'll do one more brick edged center circle that includes our Deodar Cedar tree.  I haven't decided what to put as the path which at the moment is dirt. Brick is too expensive. NO GRASS!  I'm leaning toward decomposed granite.   We'll see in the fall when it's not too hot.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fairy Garden or Cute Overload!

Have you ever seen a miniature garden?  Sometimes they are called Fairy Gardens.  I think they are adorable!   My friend Donna recommended a speaker to come give a talk on Fairy Gardens to one of my garden clubs last Oct.  Her name is Kailay and she has a website called Small  There is a gallery of photos and she sells mini accessories too.  She demonstrated how to plant a miniature garden and sold lots of stuff. 

I planted my own mini garden late last year.  But it was small and not photo worthy then.   I was reminded today of that when I stopped on my way home at Sheridan Gardens, a nursery in Burbank.  They had inside their shop a section with Fairy Garden accessories.  I refrained from buying because it's my poor time of year and I have enough stuff for several more mini garden pots that I bought from Kailay.  So, I just cleaned mine up today and added another little plant(that I hacked off of my big Meulenbeckia).  I think it still needs one more but I wanted to share.  

The tall plants(or mini trees) are:  Comprosma "Tequila Sunrise" or C. "Rainbow Surprise"(I honestly can't remember which) on the left, Serissa foetida "flora pleno" which has tiny double white flowers on the right and is used as bonzai often.  The groundcover on the right is Dymondea margareta.  I always think it looks like a miniature Gazania.   The little plant on the left is Meuhlenbeckia axillaris nana.  It makes a cute little green matt.   That is not to be confused with Meuhlenbeckia complexa or Wire Vine.  I have that too but it is very viney.  I had some Irish Moss planted there too but it wasn't happy and died.  It seems moss only grows where you DON'T want it.  

I used two little fence pieces, two chairs and a table to which Kailay glued two coffee cups and saucers. TOO CUTE! There is a small birdbath on the left in the back.   I used some small bits of flagstone and Rick's donation was a little lavender amethyst rock.  

Fairy Gardens are easy.  I just have to be delicate when I water it and try to not knock over the furniture ;-)   Try planting one yourself.   There are a ton of mini gardens on the web.  See my board on Pinterest miniature-houses-gardens here.   Happy Fairy Gardening! 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pink Phlox

I know I shouldn't have gone to the nursery. I always tell my clients that "smart gardeners don't plant in the heat of the summer". I don't even do planting jobs again until Oct. But I was out that way and stopped at one of my favorites, La Crescenta Nursery a few days ago. There are a few plants for which I am still searching since I had to leave them at my old house. I didn't find THEM, but did find this beautiful pink Phlox. I've been growing the white form Phlox paniculata David for about 10 years. I got it from a client I used to have and actually posted about it here last August. You just don't see them in SoCal very often.

The flowers rise up to about 3 ft in summer and bloom several times on the same stems. It starts to look crappy in late Autumn and needs cutting almost to the ground.

I tried to talk myself out of this pink one. But after going back to it 3 times and telling myself that one has to buy unusual things when one sees them, I bought one! I'll keep it in it's pot and plant it in the garden when it's cooler.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Who doesn't like Daisies? There are many different kinds from Asters and Chrysanthemums to Euryops and Dahlias to Marguerites. Even Marigolds are related! All are in the compositae family and are native to Asia and Europe. This is a Shasta Daisy or Chrysanthemum maximum. There are many kinds of Shastas, tall short or double flowered. I'm not a big fan of the tall growing varieties because they grow all floppy when in flower and lay down. This is my first Shasta Daisy in my own garden and it's a short variety. They like full sun and bloom in Summer. Like mums they need to be cut almost completely down after flowering but always grow back. They make great cut flowers even with short stems. Plant a Shasta and your garden will be as "Fresh as a daisy!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This is a lovely plant called Calliandra tweedii or Trinidad Flame Bush. It grows about 6- 8 ft tall, blooms off and on and likes full sun. Native to South America it has red flowers kinda like a bottlebrush but round instead of cylindrical. I thought all flowers that look like stamens were from
Australia. But I was wrong. You learn something new every day! It's got ferny foliage and is related to the Mimosa tree. This one is in a huge pot at one of my commercial jobs. About once a year it threatens to die(they have difficulty watering it). And I freak out because it's not easy to replace that big. But it's happy now and a wonderful plant.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

White Summer Flowers

It seems so many fragrant summer blooming flowers are white. Star Jasmine is still blooming and my Stephanotis is just starting to bloom. The Jasminum multiflorum that came with our house seems to always be in bloom(that'll be another post).

I wanted to share this other fragrant white flower, Mandevilla laxa. I saw it blooming on the wall at the nursery of The Huntington Botanical Garden about 5 years ago and was happy to be able to buy one. I had it in a 15 gallon can with just a few stakes until a few months ago when I planted it in the ground of our backyard. It has already reached the top of the trellis and is looking fabulous!

The genus Mandevilla was named for Mr. Henry Mandeville, hence we pronounce Mandevilla- MAND-a-VILL-a and NOT with the spanish y tortilla sound.

It's a wonderful plant if a bit hard to find. Maybe the fragrant flowers will make my summer a bit bearable(I hate summer heat). Enjoy your fragrant summer flowers.