Sunday, May 12, 2013


It's May 12th, 9:44 in the morning, and the temperature is 85 degrees and rapidly rising. There is no wind. What happened to spring?

To remind myself, here are pictures of the daffodils I grew this year. This is one of the few bulbs that reliably returns for me, so I'm hoping there will be more next year. For my own records, I tried to find all the tags for the new bulbs planted last year (Fall 2012).

Front garden - all of these returned from last year

Front garden 

Back garden - Narcissus 'Jetfire' (I think). These came up and bloomed first

Back garden Narcissus 'Ice Follies' - from the Huntington Plant sale

Narcissus 'Tahiti' - back garden, from Huntington

Narcissus 'Thalia' - I really liked this one. New in the back garden

Daffodil "Dutch Master" - I'm hoping they spread/multiply

Cersis blooms + daffodils = spring!
I'm hoping to add more daffodils this year, plus have them growing through the grasses. If all that works the way I want, next spring should be colorful!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Joshua Tree - after flowering

A few weeks ago, I posted pictures of a flowering Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia). A few weeks later, those flowers had produced fruits:

Joshua tree fruits

More fruit - this is the same tree as pictured in the previous post

It made a lot of fruits - must have been a good year for Joshua moths...

Once a branch flowers, it will split into multiple branches

This is what an old flower stalk looks like - weird!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Foliage Follow Up - April 2013

Some unrelated-to-each-other foliage pictures for April 2013 Foliage Follow up...

Rhubarb coming back for it's second year - with wind damage to leaf!
 It's been "crazy-windy" here - 50 mph gusts, and last week, the wind kicked up so much dust, the sky turned brown, and they closed the freeway.
Optunia cuttings growing new pads
 These I got as part of a plant exchange with Loree at Danger Gardens. They'll get planted out into the regular garden soon, I think. I just have to think about where...
Optunia ficus-indica, I think. Also growing lots of new pads - my neighbor offered to take some to cook with!
 I've had to put rock mulch around most of the plants in large containers or planters like the one above - cats seemed to think that digging in my garden was an excellent past time...
Melon (cantaloupe?) seedlings!
 It's funny - I have horrible luck at growing things from seed, but these guys popped up from where a melon got left and rotted away, with no help/work from me. I'm holding my breath that they fill the bed with foliage again, like last year.
New foliage on the callistemon - it's so soft, I wish you could touch it!

new shoots on the red yucca
This grouping of red yucca developed very red foliage a few months ago - way more than the others, which have mostly turned back to their normal color. But now the new shoots are coming up green again... this should be interesting! No bloom stalk on this one yet though.

To see more posts, and read Pam excellent point about yesterday, visit her blog at Digging... Please send your good thoughts to Boston.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bloom Day - April 2013

It's bad enough when I don't see my garden in the daylight in January. However, now it's April, and I'm still not spending enough time out there... I was inspired by everyone else's bloomday pictures (see them at Carol's blog here!) to go run and see what was blooming in my garden this April!

I'm going to post the pictures, but first a short note. I'm pretty sure (though not positive) that, much like the rest of the country, our "spring" is late. We certainly had a very cold winter, especially for this Zone 8B/9A desert, but more importantly (I think) we had a very dry winter. Checking NOAA's precipitation records for the water year (which started in October of 2012), we got just 1.00 inches total from October to now (typically, our wet season). That puts us at just 16% of the average to date. Glup.

Now for the spring blooms:

My new Flannel Bush - yes, I bought a plant that grows 15 feet tall/wide, with no idea where to put it. oops

First of the blooms on Callistimon "Little John", which seems to have survived the winter

One of the many red yucca bloomstalks forming

I'm willing to bet this 'snow in summer' will be burnt to a crisp when summer gets here... needs to be replaced

ice plant with the flowers closed. even though we have no rain, we have lots of clouds...

the salvias are blooming, and have been. Getting closer than this usually means getting buzzed by the hummingbird

Optunia macrocentra absolutely loaded with buds (cheating a bit on bloom day :) )

Penstemon pseudospectabilis - hopefully will do fine over the summer

The manfreda is pushing out a HUGE bloom stalk. Not quite blooming yet either...
In the front garden - the first of the yellow ice plant (different one) flowers (ever)

the first rose bud opening - these should make a good show soon
There are the blooms in my garden for spring... let's see what the rest of the year brings!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cherry blossoms for Easter

My internet connection is down (again) but I wanted to get a post up for Easter and the gorgeous weekend. So here is my cherry tree, which still looks like a stick with leaves, but gave me over 2 pounds of cherries last year. I wonder how this year will go?

About 2 weeks ago

Last weekend

On the north side of the house... I think it helps protect it from the heat

against the blue sky
Happy Easter! I'm using my internet-less days to get more gardening done.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Recreating Inspiration

Loree at Danger Garden posted a picture from when she went to the NW flower and garden show that really struck me. It was a combination of daffodils and ornamental grasses:
Loree's original picture...
I actually like how bright and cheery daffodils are, but I also really liked this combo. Daffodils also happen to be one of the few spring bulbs that consistently come back in our climate (or at least they seem to). I planted a bunch of bulbs in a bare area in the back garden, under the redbud tree. I wanted to try and recreate this look, especially since I had to find something to do with this giant clump of Mexican feather grass that was coming out of the front garden:

The middle died out - I think my neighbor's cat sat on it
 After some digging, that clump, plus a clump of blue fescue were out of the ground:
These had been in the ground for about three full years
 I was able to split each of the Mexican Feather grass clumps into 12 (I only used half) and the blue fescue into four pieces. After a haircut, I planted them in the backyard, where the daffodils were blooming:

You can just see the little clumps in between.
 By planting the first batch while the daffodils were blooming, I was sure I wasn't disturbing the bulbs - I can also always add more of the grass later in the year. Hopefully by this time next year, it will look somewhat similar to the picture above... We'll see how it works!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fruit Trees

This post will have very few words (maybe a "one word wednesday" post?). This is the first winter that the back garden's fruit trees (nectarine, peach, almond) have been in the ground. They all survived our cold winter, plus the fact that I don't water over the winter. Here are their blossoms, adding a pop of color to the hill:

More peach
The nectarine blossoms have a slightly different tint to them:


 Almond blossoms - the entire tree (which isn't very big) was covered by blooms 

a pop of yellow in the background from the wheel barrow

now it really looks like spring
 Too many words for "word-less" wednesday, but I'm getting there!

Signs of Spring

You know, after saying I was going to post 4 times a week, I don't think that I actually have done so. This last break was partially self-imposed (work) and partially technical difficulties (Internet down, again!). But this past weekend I had the time to go on a "gardening binge", and get back out there. Spring really does seem like it's here.

One of the unique signs of spring being here are these: - the Joshua trees are blooming!

Joshua Tree in full flowering
To get Joshua trees to flower, there needs to be the right combination of water, cold and time. Apparently, this winter was the right combination:
These weren't quite open yet, but they were big

Flowers against the blue sky
 Joshua tree flowers are pollinated by a specific moth. I didn't see any of them on this day. The flowers only open at night. Depending on who you talk to, they either smell like nothing, melted wax, or really bad.

Flower detail
Flower details
In this picture, you can see some of the left over bloom stalks. The way Joshua trees grow their branches has to do with their flowers. Once a branch blooms, it splits in two (or more) and continues to grow, until it flowers again. This makes for very interesting tree shapes:
Looking up at the tree
There are trees blooming over the city. Yet another sign that Spring is finally here. I really hope it stays!