Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Spock (and a Silver Shadow)

 A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP (Spock's/Nimoy's words)

‘Silver Shadow’ Compact Astelia

It really is silver! Matches the splotches on gasteria very well. The topmost picture has been edited to obtain greater contrast. The photos were taken under overcast skies (Yay!) No sun, no shadows, deeppdeep drydry shade. Lights up the corner nicely, eh?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chartreuse is ...

... a color halfway between green and yellow?


...  a French liqueur containing alcohol, sugar and 130 plants made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737 according to the instructions set out in the secret manuscript? --Wiki

Massif de la Chartreuse (8419420077).jpg
Martin Kirchgessner - Massif de la Chartreuse --Wiki
... the Chartreuse Mountains in southeastern France, stretching from the city of Grenoble south to the Lac du Bourget north?

The monastic Carthusian Order takes its name from these mountains, where its first hermitage was founded in 1084. Also derived from the mountain range's name is that of the alcoholic cordial Chartreuse produced by the monks since the 1740s, and of the chartreuse color, named after the drink. --Wiki

See what you think. Are these plants chartreuse or not?

Euphorbia tirucalli, 'Sticks on Fire', no fire, it has been too warm

Duranta erecta, new growth

Pretty pelargonium; don't know the name

Chaenomeles, flowering quince, does not prosper here in clay, alkaline soil


Aeonium 'Kiwi'

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

A chartreuse view: what I see from the window by the computer

The background and links on this page! Hah! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Views with Coffee

It was the shadows that got me, pulled at me to catch them ...

The tiles have names of cities in California. This one is Del Mar, a town a bit north of San Diego.  The yellow one is Malibu. They are part of the Zuma Collection at Monterey Ceramic Tile & Marble, Inc., in Rosemead, California

Blue sky. Swelling buds on the Asian pear. Still bare elm.

Asian pear, the first to blossom of the deciduous trees this season

Graham Thomas, the first bloom of this season

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Laurustinus, 2015 Year of the Shrub #3

Viburnum tinus 'Compactum', Spring Bouquet Laurustinus
Fair tree of winter! fresh and flowering,
When all around is dead and dry;

Laurustinus is a well-behaved, evergreen shrub with lightly fragrant pinkish-white flowers. Dense, dark green, compact growth habit serves as a backdrop for blooming Tulbaghia violacea, society garlic, and Salvia clevelandii later in the season.

Took me a while to learn how to prune it which is immediately after it flowers

Very light pink flowers among the first blooms of spring

Pretty red flower stems

Pretty dark pink buds

Whose ruby buds, though storms are louring,
Spread their white blossoms to the sky.

Pretty dark, blue-black berries come later in the season
 Green are thy leaves, more purely green
Through every changing period seen; 

Pretty plant!

The Laurustinus
Fair tree of winter! fresh and flowering,
When all around is dead and dry;
Whose ruby buds, though storms are louring,
Spread their white blossoms to the sky.
Green are thy leaves, more purely green
Through every changing period seen;
And when the gaudy months are past,
Thy loveliest season is the last.
Be thou an emblem - thus unfolding
The history of that maiden's mind,
Whose eye, these humble lines beholding,
In them her future lot may find:
Through life's mutations may she be
A modest evergreen like thee;
Though bless'd in youth, in age more bless'd,
Still be her latest days the best.

James Montgomery (1771-1854), a British editor and poet

A January Gem: The Jade Tree #2
2015 Year of the Shrub: Camellia #1

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Being Mother

I was very upset yesterday to see that the tips of the rosemary were wilted. This has not happened before. So I set about providing water to the long-held old plants. This means a slow, soaking drip from the hoses for about a half day. Any faster it would run off and do more harm than good in erosion.

Rosemary is looking a little better today. Maybe she will survive.
It doesn't look like there will be much water in the future this year, just like last year.  I know that there will be none at all in the summer which is the way most of my plants like it. So I must provide water during the winter by being Mother Nature. Slowly, slowly.

Presently (it is noon) the temperature is 88F, but it will get higher as the day wears on. Humidity is 11%; wind is from the southwest (a sea breeze) at 7 mph gusting to 13. Wind will pick up throughout the afternoon before backing to the northeast (a Santa Ana wind from the hot, dry desert interior) at 15 mph gusting to 20 for the next two to three days.

I have new plants that are growing in pots. I was all set to put them in the ground but the weather forecast is for continued record-setting high temperatures and dry winds for the next few days. Nix on planting this week even though the soil has some residual moisture from the December rains.

It's a fine line between too much and too little soaking. I have to monitor it closely.

The left half of this Osteospermum 'Zion Red' plant is just fine, while the right half is drooping. Uh.....what to do now?
I have to be careful they don't get too soggy!

Little brown spot in the center of the Moroccan daisy, Pyrethropsis hosmariense, and still some wilting.

I'm hoping that the addition of a saucer will perk up this pretty yellow marguerite.
Today I set about providing saucers and planters for those poor things that have gotten so dry that the water runs right out where the dried soil has pulled away from the sides of the pots. Not too pretty, but it may save the plants.

My friend, Sweet William, sucks up water like there will be none tomorrow. He started off in a saucer and is doing well.
Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' doing its thing: looking great, contrast-y foliage, starting to flower, with little water. The interesting plant in the background is brilliant hopbush, Dodonaea microzyga.

This is all very discouraging. Stones, spikes and spines are not my gardening style. I like pretty flowers and colorful foliage in my garden!

A bright spot! A satisfied group, no extra watering devices needed. Maybe the right mix of plants?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pictures That Tell A Story

The story in this picture is what I learned from reading the posts about the Garden Bloggers' Portland Fling: orange is the in-color for accessories, the place to buy the pots is from the hardware store and agaves are treasured. When the  time came to repot my octopi, I put them in paint buckets as a tribute to the bloggers who flung.

Thought about entering the Picture This contest:
As announced in my (Saxon Holt) last post we are reviving the Picture This contest and the theme is Best of 2014. Go through your photos from last year, all seasons, put together a post to share with other Gardening Gone Wild readers, and then pick one favorite that tells a special story.


Whew! 7,000 photos is a lot to go through.  I bought my camera at the end of January 2014; they can't all be from last year, can they? I need to learn to delete!

These are my favorite "story pictures" from 2014. They don't all fit the contest rules, some are too small, some out of focus. But I'm posting them because I like them for some reason.

First Steps with the Camera

Descanso Gardens
The bench in the sun is the focus. You can sit there and admire the many camellias in bloom. I would change my position or timing to get more of the bench into the sun, but it is very pleasant to sit in the shade most days.

La Casita del Arroyo parking lot
Looking up the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, California, toward Rose Bowl about 3 miles north past the two bridges. The nearer one is the Colorado Street Bridge, also called Suicide Bridge. The further one is for the 134 Freeway. The story here is the rocks. I am fascinated by all their uses. These arroyo stones are rounded showing that they have traveled along a river bed and the edges worn off. They are granite showing that they have come form the local mountains. They have been used here as retaining wall, plant bed borders and, cutest of all, little stops for cars in the parking lot. I would like to know how to get the lighter rocks and bridges to stand out better.

Survivors and thrivers
May heat wave, third one over 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Still lookin' good. Summer-dry, winter-wet. What a joke! Here it's summer-dry, winter-dry. Will these lovelies last another year without adequate water? Need to get the foreground flowers in focus better.

I learned about mosaics and that I should pay more attention to the edges so the pic fills the cells!

Caught the misty morning with small flowers. Why are small flowers so difficult? Here it is the society garlic.

Backgrounds can help spotlight things.

Herbs for soup and a flower for the table

Old life and new life, the aloe buds against the falling leaves of the creeper, too blurry

The rain comes in December, but not much

First rain, the chair has since turned greener

Raindrops turn upside down and reverse the trees nearby

Clouds after the storm. I learn saturation. Mmm .... the fog is blue. More to learn here.

Home, Sweet Home

Garden friends I talk to from a comfortable perch overlooking the valley

Warm, welcoming light at home at sundown; almost time to go inside

Enjoyable exercise, but everything has some defect unacceptable to me. Oh, well, there's always next year!