Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ready For Rose Pruning

Tomorrow I start with my rose pruning jobs. So tonight I changed out my old Felco #2 pruner blade for a new one. I still have a stash of a few blades. That's what great about Felcos, that you can change blades. Since I'm a professional, I use my pruners every day. So I need them to be awesome!

Happy pruning!

Friday, December 25, 2015

ⓜⓔⓡⓡⓨ ⓒⓗⓡⓘⓢⓣⓜⓐⓢ

Merry Christmas to all my garden friends! Shown in the bouquet from my garden: new rose Smokin Hot, rose Marilyn Monroe, Chrysanthemum Lily Gallon, Justicea betonica and Melaleuca nesophila. Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


I have a few plants that have reseeded themselves which seems kind of odd considering it's December. But we did have a warm year. Usually things come up the following year when they're supposed to, not in the same season as the original plant!

I've got one Tithonia that has grown to its full 3 feet in just a month! 

Profusion Zinnias 
And there's one Cosmos blooming now too.

Not sure how long they'll last. Often they come up in a bad place(too close to another plant). Do you have things reseed too?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Chrysanthemums

Happy Thanksgiving!  
Here are my Chrysanthemums blooming this month.  Most of these are available from King's Mums. Since I pinch for many blooms for the garden, I don't get the huge blooms that are in the catalog. 
Saga No Yuki is a Brush type

2 bouquets I'm taking to 2 houses today

Yellow Vesuvio was the first to bloom for me. 
My Favorite Mum is spider variety Fleur de Lis

Evening Glow

A Spider that I got from a client along time ago. 
Wisp Of Pink is a Brush & Thistle type

Kotoi No Kaori, an adorable Gnome variety
This might be Nijin Bigo

Yoko Ono

Ali is a Brush & Thistle type

Tag missing

Lily Gallon

Woolman's Century
Seeing them altogether, I see what colors I'm missing.  I need red and purple and of course more orange.  I like the big unusual flowers.   I've found that you can't fund these in local nurseries.  I will be ordering more Mums next Spring.  

Mums very easy to grow in my garden despite my super sandy soil. In SoCal, cut them back to almost the ground after blooming(you'll see new growth popping out of the ground) and pinch through the summer and stake them.  I usually put three stakes around them and bundle with tie tape.  They make great cut flowers.  I learned at the Mum show this year that if you pinch to make just one big bloom, the flowers will come earlier(early Nov). If you pinch for many blooms they'll come later(middle or end of Nov).  

Happy Gardening!   

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Autumn 💜 Purple

I've probably posted about this plant before. But it's blooming so beautifully now I must again! This is Hypoestes aristata. I think it's looking so good this year is because I cut it three times; a big whack after blooming, another trim in spring and another in summer. That's why it has such a nice shape. If I didn't do those prunings it would be super rangy leaning all over.  I do have two of these plants.  The other is to the left.  But I couldn't get both in the pic. 

This is a plant like Chrysanthemums and some Salvias where you cut them down almost to the ground after blooming. When you do that can see new growth coming out from the ground. That tells you that it's ok to whack it.

How is your autumn garden?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Coral Vine Again

You might remember last year in September I posted about my Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus trying to eat our house. See that post here Coral Vine 2014.  In December I dug it up and put it in a temporary place. THEN I transplanted it again when we made our rebar arches.  See that post from February here Rebar Arches.   You couldn't even see the Coral Vine when I planted it by the new arch because I had cut it WAY back. It goes kinda dormant in winter and you'll want to cut it back if you have it growing up(as opposed to sprawling like a ground cover).

So, here it is now! It didn't grow as far as it did last year. Probably because I dug it up twice.  But it is a tough plant(as vines are meant to be) and is putting on a very pretty show now.  AND the bees love it.  It's totally BEE-fest out there all day.

And here is my Rick posing with the pretty monster :-) 
Happy Autumn! 

Monday, October 19, 2015


Ok, it's finally no longer in the 90ºs here in SoCal. Thanks goodness! I've been waiting for the weather to cool down to plant lettuce seeds.  It's one vegetable that I CAN grow. Lettuce is a vegetable, right?  Since I'm not a good cook, I'm a big salad girl. I love winter here when I don't have to buy lettuce for several months.  

But this year I'm having raccoon problems(as stated in previous posts).  So after I sowed 7 different Lettuces plus Spinach, I had to cover them.  On the empty bed I used metal hardware cloth like I put over my Sweet Pea sprouts.  It's the same stuff we used for the fencing to hold up tall growing vegetables(Sweet Peas this season).  I used up the last of that roll.  I stapled it to the edges of the bed and zip tied it in the center since it wasn't wide enough.   Not sure if I'll remove it when the seedlings get about 4" tall or not.  They can grow up through it.  And since I only plant leaf lettuce and not head lettuce, it's easier to harvest.  You can just pull off leaves instead of waiting for the whole head to be ready.  The leaves keep coming.  On the bed with the fence, where I planted the Spinach, I strung some fishing line across and back a bunch of times.  I've heard that raccoons don't like fishing line.  Let's hope!  

Are you growing winter vegetables?  I've tried carrots. They need perfectly rich and tilled soil to come out straight.   I tried Parsnips and Turnips last year.  I didn't like them.  Broccoli gets aphids. And all the cole crops get caterpillars.   And I'm not really into peas.  Remember that I can't really cook.  

In my opinion Autumn -Spring is the best time in SoCal.  I hate Summer.  I'm sure you east and midwest peoples opinions differ.   It's so hot that it saps my energy and I can only work like 7:30am-noon.  In cooler weather I can work in the afternoons too.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blue Mistflower

We're finally getting some cooler weather.  No 90ºs showing for the next 10 days.  Yay! Only low 80ºs. I'm still looking for those wonderful easy-to-work-outdoors 60ºs! 

Last Spring when I was shopping at Matilija Nursery in Moorpark, a California native plant and Iris nursery I bought a Blue Mistflower.   The botanical name is Conoclinium coelstinium. Say CON-oh-clin-E-um  CO-el-ss-TIN-E-um(I think). What a crazy long name! It looked like a big Ageratum to me. It's native to North America, grows to about 3' tall and blooms July to Nov. It's in the Aster family and IS related to Ageratum :-)

At the the nursery Bob had it growing in the shade house AND out in the sun. I brought it home and planted it in part shade on the east side of the house. It was a small thing then and has since doubled its size. It's in full bloom now. Pretty right?

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Critter Protection

Happy Autumn!!!!  

And it's still hot here.  It was 102º on Sunday and only cooled off to the 80ºs at night   Yuck!   We had a nice(r)  couple days but it's supposed to be 97º through the weekend :-(  

Anyway I'm SO HAPPY to report that my Sweet Pea seeds sprouted!  Yay!  That's the good news. The bad news is that some critter(raccoon, possum or skunk most likely) is still digging up my raised beds for those delicious, uh,  disgusting fig beetle grubs.  I MUST protect my seedlings(because I love Sweet Peas so much!   So I just put some protection over them in the form of hardware cloth curved and poked into the soil. Let's hope the critter is not smart or strong enough to know that it can be lifted off. Maybe I need to wire or stake the pieces. Ugh!  Not sure how I'm going to cover the whole other bed when I plant my lettuce seeds.  

 And that's my grapevine that's was planted a year ago June and hasn't grown at all!  

Do you have to fend off animals who want to mess up your garden?  What do you do?  

Happy Gardening! 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rain Lilies

OhMyGosh I love these yellow Rain Lilies! Zephranthes citrina or Z. sulphurea- they must have changed the name. They like full sun and grow only about 6-8" tall. I bought 2 pots of them about a month ago when they were in full bloom. They bloom, I deadhead them and they bloom again. I swear I cut them back only last week. And here they are looking so fabulous again! I wish the weather would cool down so I could plant them in the garden. Research says that if you don't deadhead them they will reseed. I'll be happy if they do become a "pretty weed".

I first planted the pink ones from bulbs about 2 years ago. They bloom off and on and the flowers are large, maybe 2". But they haven't put on a show like the yellow ones. Maybe they need to spread more. The yellow flowers are about 1 1/2". I also have a peachy colored one that I got at The Huntington. Those flowers are smaller maybe only 1" and haven't bloomed a lot.

I've read that they're called Rain Lilies because they bloom after rain. But we don't get much rain. They're in the Amaryllis family and and native to the Western Hemisphere. They grow in zones 7-10 in SoCal we are zone 9. So they like warm climates.

Do you grow Zephranthes?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sweet Peas & Jicama

It's probably too early. But I planted my Sweet Pea seeds today. In SoCal we're supposed to plant them in Autumn. Last year it was hot for so long that I had to do three rounds of planting to get them to sprout. It IS still Hot here but I'm hoping for cooler weather. I soaked the seeds for a day and a half. I hope that's not too long.

An update on my Jicama seeds that I planted last Spring. It was not a good summer for veggies in my backyard. My onions all rotted(and that is one of the WORST stinks I've ever smelled). My Basil hardly grew. A critter kept digging up my beds so my zucchini and corn never produced. As I was pulling out the last two dead Jicama(one is still green) to plant my Sweet Peas I couldn't pull them. I had to dig them out and found two little Jicamas!

Winter vegetables usually do better for me as long as we have cooler weather. And please bring on El Niño. I plant a whole bed with lettuce as I'm a huge salad girl. What cool weather veggies do you plant?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Double Flowered Perennial Aster

When I was in San Diego in May I picked up this lovely double flowered Aster at Walter Anderson Nursery. I wish I knew the name. But you know how they put the name on a sticker on the pot these days instead of a tag. And where does the empty pot go? It might be in a stack to be recycled. Or it might be gone. 

Anyway this Aster was in full bloom when I bought it. All the perennial Asters I know have been single Daisy-like. I was dazzled by its double flowers and succumbed to its charm and brought it home. There were 3 plants in the pot. So after the blooms faded, I split them up and planted them in 3 separate places in my garden. And now they are blooming again! What a fabulous plant! I love it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Whitefly Yuck!

Happy September!  
August was SO HOT here in SoCal.  I know that Sept and sometimes Oct are hot too. But I am happy to have survived another August and to have it behind us.  

Every so often I find Whitefly on a plant. They do like Canna Lily leaves.   Whitefly is a sucking insect found on the underside of leaves.  See the gross pics below.  They fly around in clouds if disturbed.  The will damage the plants.  I got grossed out just starting to read the wikipedia page.   wikipedia Whitefly   Ew!  Usually I don't spray insecticide on Cannas because you're supposed to cut off the spent flowering canes all the way to the ground after blooming anyway.  So I just cut them off and deposit them in the trash.  I once had to cut down a whole 20 foot long row of them that had whitefly. I had to wear a bandana over my mouth because of all the flying nonsense.  And they make all this fluffy cottony mess too.  

This pic(stolen from the internet) is a close-up view of the little pests.  They aren't really that gross by themselves. 

If you see them on your plants, you could spray with an insecticide found at your local nursery. Make sure by reading the label that it is safe to spray on the plant you have.

Happy Gardening! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rebar For Vines

I have a Star Jasmine vine, Trachelospermum jasminoides that I planted a couple years ago growing up a downspout on the east side of our house. My Rick is afraid it'll eat the house.   Here it is on the left before.

If you've been following along this year you read about my 2 arches that we made of rebar back in Feb. See here if you didn't: Rebar Arches.  For a long time I wanted to make something out of rebar but was afraid of it. I thought one needed a rebar bender or something. You don't. This is 1/2" by 20' rebar and was the middle of 3 sizes bought at Home Depot. I don't remember the other 2 sizes. And it was cheap, only $6.35. All it takes is either two people or something to push against to bend an arch. One day I want to do a spiral something.

So I thought an arch over the gate would direct the Jasmine to grow away from the house over the arch. I ziptied the rebar to the two gate poles on the other side. It's not a perfect curve. But it's good enough for me.

Have you tried rebar? Let me know.