Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wednesday Vignette - snow!

These pictures are from right after Christmas 2019... when it started snowing and didn't stop for 24 hours. All the plants (and the gardener) were confused. We're all recovered now, and thankful for all the moisture, so here are some pictures to remember the closest we've gotten to a white Christmas in a long time!

agave was not amused

about 6 inches in total 

poor aloe blooms!

this was while it was still snowing

there is a poor agave under that

the front garden 

the palo verde did not do well with the heavy snow. it lost a bunch of branches already...

the pond did not freeze (and the water is very clear!)

thankfully it was all gone in about 2 days...

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020 Gardening Goals

star of the garden in 2019
2019 was an exciting year in the garden - my pond was wonderful, lots of plants did really well, I mostly stayed on top of the weeds, and the patio was a great place to hang out, even in the summer!

looking good even in October!
For 2020, there are a whole lot of things i want to do, but here are 4 big ones:

  • finish the right hill side - i started this last year, and while some of the new plants worked, others didn't. I still need to find something robust yet low to the ground to fill in this part of the hillside. 
  • be better at pruning - i put off pruning forever, because i always worry that i'll do it wrong and kill the plants. The plants laughingly take advantage and grow to giant green blobs, taking over steps, pots, the entire garden. This year, i'll be better - starting with learning the best ways to prune!
  • fix the upper sprinklers - these sprinklers haven't been used in a few years. I started to switch them over to drip, but the pressure is too high... so i'll have to do something about that. Once i unlock this, i can have more pots on the top of the hill. Because of course i need more pots?
  • redo the bed around the butterfly bush - this starts with being better at pruning the giant bush (see goal #2) and then figuring out what likes to grow under it. I planted some things a few years ago that turned out well, but are now covered under a layer of butterfly bush leaves. So cleaning that might be the first order of the year. 
even with flowers!
I know better than to set goals about weeding, not buying new plants (ha!) or not buying plants i don't have room for (sigh)! I can dream of a bigger pond, but i'm guessing that one won't happen this year. I do know of several plants that need to move, and gopher holes that need filling, but for now, I'm going to start by dreaming and planning fun things! Oh, and pruning...


Here's to a great gardening year!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Huntington in January

All the way back in January, I visited the Huntington with family. One family member was visiting other family back in Netherlands, and was getting inundated with requests for pictures. Since we had to finally stop sending them, i promised i would put them all in the post. It might be three months later, but here are some of the pictures (without commentary!) for Tante Jo...




















This reminds me that it's time to go back!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Gardening Ritual - Summer 2018

This might seem like an odd thing to post right now (in March!) but while the gardening season is getting started, i wanted to record for myself how i enjoyed the garden last summer. It gets seriously hot here in the summer, and before 2018, i felt like i would ignore the garden most of the summer. But last year was kind of the first time i figured out how to spend the summer in the garden, and actually enjoy it!

This was also my "welcome home" ritual each weekend, to kind of reset from a crazy week. I need that reminder on a regular basis also!

My summer days would start in the morning, on the patio that i actually made an effort to keep clean and stocked with pillows and candles (for night!)

these pictures are from the summer... would it have killed me to straighten the pillows?!
Breakfast would usually involve a breakfast burrito, juice and kombucha (no, that's not beer...) and books:
the patio is in the shade in the morning, and very pleasant
I kept the hummingbird feeder stocked - keeping simple syrup in batches made it simple - and the birds appreciated it!
the combination feeder & hanging pots was approved by the hummers!
At some point, i would grab the watering can and walk up the hillside to the bougainvilleas on the top of the hill. I actually managed to keep them alive all summer! They are still there as i write this (march) so hopefully they will come back after this winter. But still, this was about 4 months longer than i've been able to keep them going in the past.
they are in pots at the top of hill
Thai Pink

Santa Barbara Red

looks more pink, but whatever
The rest of the pots on the hillside have cacti and agave in them... Maybe i'll try one more vine this year!

I would also water the succulent pots each weekend - using ice cubes! The two wall mounted ones had spilling plants in them - the first time i'd been able to keep those alive all summer.
this pot from Potted

this one i bought at the Austin Fling!
Even as the temperature got warmer, i could make the patio feel cool by using those white curtains i installed. They keep the couch part of the patio in the shade. Some trail and error was required to make them work in our wind, but by the end of the summer, we got there! The hammock was also great as an alternative to the couch for reading... 
and I could look at garden,and every once in a while, do some weeding or other things
 And at time, the combination of candles and solar powered lights made the patio great to hang out in, and have dinner, etc. 

This was really the first summer that made me feel like i used the garden in the best possible way - to relax, to have fun, and to hang out in, even in the middle of the heat. As i look back at these pictures, i can see some things i want to improve (better storage, cleaning up tools, maybe some more pillows?) but if i can repeat this summer ritual again, 2019 will be great summer no matter what the heat!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Plants in the Shower!

After watching Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden finish her "non-garden project" I realized i had never shared one of the more exciting indoor gardening projects I finished last year. After a leaking pipe in the wall necessitated a major master bathroom remodel (as well as other things, the joy of remodeling...), our master bath suddenly had way more light. And you know what that means - more plants! Especially plants i can't grow outside here, because they need lots of water/humidity/have large leaves, etc etc.

This is now the view across from the actual shower:

plants!
The shower colors are mostly white and blue-ish, so that's what made the pot colors work. Some of these plants were already living in the house, just not in places that made them very happy.

that fig grew 4 new leaves in about a month after it got moved in here

Initially, all the pots had saucers, but that actually let to too much water (not a problem i'm very familiar with!) so now all the pots drain. The nice part of them being in the large shower enclosure is that watering and draining becomes very easy.
including for little ones like this
My houseplants usually never look this happy!
after some complains about getting dirt everywhere, i did learn to put some rock mulch on top
Even outside of the shower enclosure, there's now enough light for more plants!
by the sink!
and even a yucca!
This remodel took a while, but in the end, it's all worth it for this gardener... more plants! Oh, and no more leaking pipes in the wall, that was good too :)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Grand Park in DTLA

Sometimes, social media, or photo services, can remind you of the most random things. In this case, Google Photos made this picture pop up in my phone:

that's LA city hall
It reminded me that last year, right after the Austin Fling, i spent a weekend in Downtown LA. And even though i had just had a great weekend of visiting gardens in Austin, i couldn't get enough. I've written about my visit to a community garden, and to the Blue Ribbon garden, but Grand Park (The Park for Everyone) also had some great plants and views to share. These pictures are from May 2018!
the park seems really well maintained, with lots of interesting plants

these were cool!

many of the plants were massed to great effect
And i think they did a great job with the colors, and really creating an impact in such a public space
the flowers and the sign!
Because this is LA, and i guess the area is in a warm microclimate, being in the middle of the city, there were some very cool plants
like this one

a whole bunch of them!

the city building is visible from most of the park

and there were aloes! (maybe with aloe mites)
there were areas for people to gather

and some cool variegated plants also
A great use of this sometimes unruly vine - i only wish my bougainvillea looked this good!

this was a great combination of plants

more aloe booms!

these were in the shade
I was in the park on a random Saturday in May, and it seemed so well maintained - neat mulch, happy looking plants, nothing pruned into weird shapes...
not a lot of cramscaping though
At the top end of the park (opposite from City Hall) are some large fountains:
the water wasn't very deep, but it was nice to see

pretty cool for a public park. 
This cool flowering tree was at the top. There weren't any (many?) signs identifying the plants used, which was maybe the only downside?
but maybe only for gardeners!
This was a great garden to look back on! And now i'm thinking that maybe i'm over due for a DTLA staycation again!
i'll have to visit again!