Sunday, April 5, 2020

Weekend Wrap up: All the poppies!

Since there's no visiting the poppy preserve this year, i'm extra happy that the poppies are visiting me.. These pictures are from a few days ago, when there was sun and all the flowers were open. Hopefully there will be more of those days soon!

the pond in the middle of the poppies

they are starting their march to the gate

so orange!
 A few close ups...

this one was nearly perfect for a bit

These were some of the first bloomers
 But there's a bunch more plants getting ready to bloom:
if you call them "wildflowers' it sounds better than "weeds"
I've been so grateful to my garden as the pandemic situation develops... Not only is it relaxing to work in the garden, it also gives me something to do that doesn't require reading the news, thinking about work, or worrying. Just pull the weeds! I hope everyone is staying safe, and at home if you can!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Signs of life in the pond!

Last year, the pond was beautiful! So far this year, it's mostly been quiet... but signs of life underwater are starting!

the tropical water lily is waking up!

the hardy one too (i swear - just above center is a leaf!)

and the new plant is starting to grow...something?
I have to remember that i can't buy more waterlilies this year... but i do need to get some new underwater plants, and maybe an extra marginal plant. Oh, and all 7 fish are still alive! And the water is still clear...

Here is to hoping that 2020 is another great year for the pond!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tell the Truth Tuesday: Pruning help needed!

As much as I'm happy to chop some plants, i think i need help/advice with this one. This is Leucadendron 'Rising Sun', and it's the first leucadendron i've ever had survive. It's also growing sideways:

very sideways
 It used to be smothered under the Palo Verde. Winter took care of that problem, but now it looks even weirder than before:
the plant branches and colors are gorgeous!
 Do i just chop some of the branches off? Will it grow more straight if that i do? Or will i kill it? The branches get fairly thick near the bottom:
close up - will new branches sprout from this wood if i cut it back?
Any advice? I've been looking things up on the internet, but nothing beats experienced gardeners advice!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Six on Saturday & Saturday Pruning

This might seem like a strange plant to "prune", but my Opuntia ficus-indica 'Burbank Spineless' has become really overgrown. Some of the pads are so heavy, they break off the plant. Last year, it bloomed noticeably less than before. This is what it looks like now:
the yellow & brown patches are in part due to the snow & water
 It's kind of all over the place, as you can see from this side:
more wide than tall
I really want it to grow like some of the larger ones at the Huntington - woody at the bottom, and more tall. So a few hours later, i was very happy that this plant has no glochids, and had this:
a little better?

Still a bit unbalanced from this side.
Looking at these pictures, i may go pull out a bit more, and see if i can get it a bit more up-right looking. I also want to see what new pads will grow this year. I'm not worried about this plant coming back from this pruning, since it usually grows pretty quickly

And here are two other pretty pictures to close out this "six on saturday":
new rose buds and foliage on the plants i pruned back a month ago!

i also uncovered the stairs on the hillside again!
That last picture has some ugly bare spots, but that's because of our cold winter... the ground cover should grow back quickly now that Spring is (almost!) here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: Pretty pictures

Just some pretty pictures that don't involve gophers...

new flowers!

all the yellow in the front garden

camouflage at 100% 

are those flower buds?

peach tree flowering (a bit later than normal)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

O you beast! I’ll so maul you and your toasting-iron, That you shall think the devil is come from hell (0)

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers gophers"1

I like agaves - they are pretty, they come in many shapes and sizes, and they usually do fairly well in the desert. I'm not picky - agave-like plants are also welcome!

I do not like gophers. However, gophers do like agaves and agave like plants. This winter was especially horrendous. Since my words when i was doing this clean up were not very "family-friendly" (but did involve the letter F a lot), I had to resort to Shakespearean insults for the gophers for this blog post.

We start in the back garden, on the hillside. There were 2 Agave 'Green Goblets" there.  Now, thanks to the crusty batch of nature2 there are zero:
that does not look good

This one is ok?
Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade3

looks, they are deceiving
 Thou art unfit for any place but hell.4

Not content with just 2, i noticed that my Agave 'Crazy Horse' was looking sad. A tug on the leaf core produced:
You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! 5

Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! 6
This next one really, really hurt. I have (had) a giant furcraea in the front garden. Here it was a few weeks ago:
easily 7-8 feet across
 But then...
Thou hateful wither’d hag! 7
 The three-inch fool8 dug a tunnel into the heart of the plant:
You are as a candle, the better burnt out. 9
It gets worse... I'm seeing bad signs for my favorite agave:
Whoreson caterpillars, bacon-fed knaves! 10
I haven't had the heart to go pull on it... maybe next weekend. I don't know if it was a combination of our snow and gophers, or just extra hungry gophers, but this was a horrible winter. I think any new replacements will be getting gopher cages/collars.

That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?11

I do desire that we may be better strangers. 12

0. King John, Act 4, Scene 3
1. Henry VI Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2
2. The History of Triolus and Cressida, Act 5, Scene 1
3. Measure for Measure, Act 3, Scene 1
4. Richard III, Act 1, Scene 2
5. Henry IV Part 2, Act 2, Scene 1 
6. Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2
7. Richard III Act 1, Scene 3
8. The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 1
9. Henry IV Part 2, Act 1, Scene 2
10. Henry IV, Part 1, Act 2, Scene 2
11 Henry IV Part 2, Act 2, Scene 3
12. As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Wednesday vignette: daffodils!

There aren't a lot of spring bulbs that do well in the desert. I learned this the hard way - many that i've planted over the years only come back one year, sometimes two. Daffodils are usually among the best for coming back. There's a small patch in the front garden that pop ups every spring. This year, they're a bit late.

they are the yellow ones

some more getting ready to bloom
This year, i noticed one very odd thing - about 10 feet away from this patch, in the middle of a bed of wood chip mulch, is growing this:
baby daffodil?
I don't know how it got there, but i think we'll blame it on the gophers. Now i'm curious whether it will come back again next year also? This also reminds me i need to check on the white daffodils in the back garden. Everything does seem to be popping up a bit later this year, probably because of our colder-than-normal winter. But Spring is almost here!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

6 on Saturday: pretty pictures

Spring (well, late winter) cleaning continues. I hate gophers. Instead of focusing on that though, here are some pretty pictures of the garden:

the first acacia to bloom this year!

finally an in-focus grevillea (lanigera, but more pink that the one in front garden)

the almond tree is blooming (late)

the new foliage on these roses is very green

the fact that these two pots of succulents aren't dead is a small miracle

it starts: the first new pond plant!
Now i will get back to cleaning up the hillside. And looking up insulting names for gophers... Happy almost Spring!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Tell the Truth Tuesday: how you know you're a boring adult

Alison at Bonney Lassie used to do this thing called "tell the truth tuesday" about the not-so-pretty parts of your garden. I'm not sure if she's still doing it, but seemed like an appropriate theme for this very exciting pair of pictures!

I present to you: GARBAGE CANS!

very exciting - there are 2 grey ones!
The grey ones are for yard waste, and the green one is for recycling. Because that color coding makes total sense...
the new green one comes with this thing called a "lid"
Why am i so excited about garbage cans? Because they had been broken (the green one) or insufficient (the grey one) for a long time. All the way back in November of last year, i finally figured out how to get the city to bring me more/new cans, and after that the saga/waiting game that involved 5 phone calls and dragging empty, broken cans to the road each week, started.

I joke (mostly), but this is very exciting (sorta). It has taken me months to get the city to provide additional yard recycling containers, and a non-broken recycling container. And just in time to finish all the pruning and soon to be arriving plant containers.

It is kind of strange what I can get excited about these days...

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Telling you about my houseplants...

A few weeks ago, Loree at Danger Garden asked people to tell about their houseplants, and showed hers! It took me a while, but here are all of mine. I have, as it turns out, a lot? I've always had a lot of houseplants... for a long time, i didn't have a garden, and indoor plants is how i gardened. Now, i have the garden, and a lot of indoor plants. So it's the best of both. If "best" means more plants, which of course it does.

Let's start near the patio door, and go clockwise around the house. I'll warn you - I'm not all that good at taking pictures indoors... But i think i got most of the plants!
this combination of cacti and a few vining plants live to the right of the patio door
I should also note that i'm not very good at watering - everything that survives inside has to learn to do with watering every 2 weeks or so.
a big monstera, a draceana i rescued from work, and a pathos vine
The kitchen is to the right of the area we were just in. There's actually an orchid in between that i missed taking a picture of... The kitchen may be getting remodeled soon, and plant needs will be considered!
more cacti. They jump in my cart in stores

artfully cropped out the dishes! These plants can see their big siblings outside all year 
3rd kitchen window - more cacti and a giant jade plant
That Jade plant is going to have to move... or i need more counter space. (notes for kitchen remodel...)

Now we're in the dining room. Some people have centerpieces. I have plants:
a non-blooming christmas cactus, an "ikea plant" and a pilea

more christmas cacti (they are different colors!) and some cuttings
Now we're in the living room. Before we go around, here's the view back to the stairs:
aloes and hoyas
The aloes stay there year round. The hoyas (circled in green) go outside in the summer, or as soon as the temperatures at night stay above 50 deg F. 

Continuing around the living room - there's a weird open spot near the front window. That's where the Christmas tree was. We're still trying to decide whether the furniture moves back, or if there's more room for plants. 
these three are to the left of the window. 
That large pot is a pathos vine. It's probably dead, but it keeps putting out one leaf... and i have a problem with giving up!

Next are these (and yes, those are my fling pots!)
although with some new plants in 2 cases

almost forgot these two - the ficus is mad because i moved it a few weeks ago.  
Not quite done yet! Looking back at the living room, there are two more groups of plants:
two zz plants here

and two rubber plants (one variegated, one not) here
Now we're on to the office. This room was sadly lacking in plants up to a few weeks ago. Then this baby showed up:
a monstera (either obliqua and/or adansonii)
It came from Lowes, with the pot! Which ever one it is, it was a steal, considering. 

Outside of the office is the TV room. It has more plants:
this sansevieria probably doesn't get enough light
another zz plant, and an sansevieria cylindrica
There is another s. cylindrica i didn't get a picture of, mostly because it's very sad. It's below these two:
a begonia? that really needs a new pot, and another M. adansonii
almost around:
another sansevieria, and a lamp (not a plant, sadly)
This next plant has a story - it was given to me by a neighbor years ago, when he and his girlfriend broke up, they were moving, and she didn't want it anymore. I don't know how old it is, but i've probably had it for 10 years? It's the source plant for all the other zz plants i have: 
zz plant. It needs to be rotated again so it grows evenly
Now there is one more area to look at! I thought i had already posted about this on the blog, but i guess not. A few years ago, we remodeled the master bathroom. One goal was to increase the amount of light in the room. The combination of lots of light and more humidity than the rest of the house means that (of course?) the bathroom is filled with plants! This is the far side of our walk in shower:
so many plants! It's like a spa
Some of the plants in that picture: a nepenthes (bottom right), another monstera, a fiddle leaf fig, a yucca (weird, but it's one of the few plants that does well close to that window), a superlong senecio radicans, and a bunch of other stuff. Outside the shower, there are two other plants:
a spider plant next to the sink

a fatsia (i think)
That plant has been a trial and error - it's further away from the window than most plants want to live (the yucca was very unhappy) but the combination of a shade-happy plant and a bit of extra height seems to be doing the trick.

Phew - we made it all the way around! There are few odd and ends that i didn't get a picture of, but i think i captured most of my indoor plants. I would love to promise that i won't get more, but that would be a lie. I like my indoor plants just as much as the garden, so i'm sure they'll keep multiplying... just like they do outside! Do you keep houseplants?