Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Thank You...

Thank you to all that had posted your condolensces after the passing of my wonderful mother in January of 2015.  I must apologize for not posting many of your responses earlier, but when my mother was trying to instruct me as to how to manage her blog in her final month, ultimately so that I could remove it,  I was under some duress, so I didn't know I had to review and post comments that were received.

As time has gone on, I cannot say things have gotten easier for me, but I have learned to cope and to appreciate my mother in new ways.  I miss her dearly.

I will be removing her blog very soon.  I could never do it justice by trying to keep it up myself.  She put so much of herself into this blog that I believe any effort by myself to try to continue on her behalf would not measure up.  She was a far better gardner than I will ever be; and I would dare say a better person too.

I hope all of you that enjoyed her blog will take a moment to remember her and maybe even consider planting something, however small, in her memory.  

Your comments and suggestions brought her great joy.

Thank you so much.

- Christopher

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Goodbye to my Mother

A Farewell

Dorothy passed away peacefully at home in Fresno, California on January 24, 2015 from an illness that took her life but never her spirit or love for all the things that she held dear.

I cannot describe my grief but it is outweighed by the uplifting joy to have had you as my mother.

I will miss you dearly mom.  

Love always,

Your son Christopher.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Fond Farewell

My house in spring: "Watercolored" by ViA (click to enlarge)

November 21st marked the fourth anniversary of this blog. Writing 190 gardening posts has provided me with  much pleasure over the years, but even more so, I looked forward to reading your comments. The blog has enabled me to "meet" so many kind and helpful gardeners from all over the world. And I will miss you, gardening friends!

Unfortunately declining health has made it necessary for me to end my blog, although I will not delete it just yet, and of course I will continue to read your blogs for the good humor and helpful advice, although I may not always leave a comment.

So here's wishing you a fond farewell with much gratitude for reading and commenting on my blog posts these past four years.

May you enjoy the beauty of the season and enjoy the peace and comfort that surrounds you in your garden.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bloom Day: November 15, 2014

Tulip Poplar
We are enjoying mild fall days here in the Central Valley of California. Temperatures are still in the upper 60º's, and we have not yet had the first frost, although it could happen any day now. Normally November is the start of our rainy season, and we did begin the month with almost an inch of rain and then there was another day of drizzle a couple of days ago.

(Today is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol from May Dreams Gardens. Please visit her blog to see what's in bloom in November gardens from around the world.)

The landscape trees are providing most of the color in my yard this month. The backyard Tulip Poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera) are wearing their brilliant fall foliage. Of course foliage isn't flowers, so here is what's blooming in my zone 9b garden:

 A few of the summer flowers are lingering on.
New Guinea Impatiens



Dwarf Bottlebrush
There were surprise blooms on the Dwarf Bottlebrush Callistemon Citrinus 'Little John'.

Today I noticed another surprise: a Daylily in bloom.
Apparently the the small amount of rain was enough to encourage the Clematis 'Madame Julia Correvon' to bloom one more time.
Clematis 'Madame Julia Correvon'
The Angel's Trumpet Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' finally has bloomed.
'Mexican Petunia' Ruellia brittoniana
Asclepias/Butterflyweed/ Milkweed.

A few miniature roses
I had been anticipating having  blooms on my Tree Dahlia (Dahlia Imperialis) by November. I wrote about it here and here, but it has yet to bloom. I will surround it with more mulch and cover it when frost is predicted. Perhaps next year will be the year!

Tree Dahlia 'Dahlia Imperialis'
The Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree is loaded with fruit!
And the Geranium 'Rozanne' will continue to bloom right up until the first frost.
Geranium 'Rozanne'
I didn't plant fall or winter annuals this year, because in our area no outdoor watering is allowed between Dec 1 and March 1 due to extreme drought conditions. I hope that the camellias and other evergreen shrubs will be able to survive the lack of water. Of course we always hope for rain!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bloom Day: October 2014

Autumn has finally arrived here in my zone 9b garden in Central California. Although the trees haven't changed into their fall colors yet, today's predicted high is a pleasant 79º and the remainder of the week should continue in the high 70's and low 80's. What a welcome relief from last week's 90º days!

Take some time to visit May Dreams Gardens and other pretty gardens from around the world. Here's what's blooming in my early fall garden:

The Monarchs have been dancing around the yard playing tag for a couple of weeks and enjoying the nectar from the Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) and Milkweed/Butterfly Weed (Aesclepias) before they begin their migration to California's mild coastal areas where they will overwinter until their return trip in the spring.

Butterfly Bush Buddleia

Milkweed/Butterfly Weed (Aesclepias)
I planted a cutting of Mexican Petunia Ruellia Brittoniana in a large pot a few years ago, knowing that it can be very aggressive. I also planted the dwarf form, Ruellia 'Katie'. It took awhile to get going, but this year it's finally blooming. It's a low maintenece plant and doesn't need much water.

Mexican Petunia Ruellia Brittonaiana
Dwarf Ruellia 'Katie'

'Rose of Sharon' Hibiscus syriacus
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Salvia 'Hot Lips Sage'
'Don Juan' climbing rose

Rose 'Double Delight'
Clematis 'Gillian Blades'
Clematis 'Perle d' Azure
The Morning Glory wants to be a groundcover.

Morning Glory Ipomoea 'Grandpa Otts"

New Guinea Impatiens
No blooms yet on the Brugmansia but there are buds!

Brugmansia Buds/Angel's Trumpet
I know that fall is here because the squirrels have been busy collecting the persimmons. This year they have left a few for us!

Persimmon 'Fuyu' (Diospyros kaki)
Happy Fall and Happy Bloom Day!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Plant it and they will come!

Monarch on Aesclepias (Milkweed/Butterfly Weed)

Earlier in the summer, I planted several Milkweed plants (Asclepias curassavica, also known as Butterfly Weed), hoping to attract Monarch butterflies to the yard. As you probably know, Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of Milkweed leaves, and the caterpillars, which will eventually become butterflies, only eat Milkweed. The flowers also provides a nectar source for these endangered butterflies. In January I wrote about the decline of Monarchs in this post.

I also had one plant that I was able to over winter from last year, and it's blooming now, too.

'Butterfly Weed' Asclepias curassavica
Around noon time every day for the past few days, two Monarchs have been circling around and visiting the Milkweed and the Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) planted by the kitchen windowIt is such a delight to watch them as they glide and swirl about so gracefully, and then land on the flowers for a drink of nectar.

I haven't seen any eggs or caterpillars on the leaves, but I think that these two are probably members of the fifth generation of Monarchs, the fall generation. (You can read about their life cycle here). This is the generation that will fly to warmer climates to overwinter. The Monarchs from the east of the Rockies fly to Mexico to winter and the western Monarchs will fly to areas of California's Central and Southern coasts. I think they have stopped by my garden only to refuel. 

They look very healthy but still have a long flight ahead of them to the California coast where they will cluster in Eucalyptus and other trees from late October through February. They will mate in February and then make their way back to their summer sites again to lay their eggs on Milkweed plants and to begin another generation. Hopefully they will remember the Milkweed growing in our yard and visit us again next spring.

I found a clump of Milkweed seeds clinging to one of the plants. I think I'll save them to plant in another area. Plant them and they will come!

Milkweed seeds

Aren't the colors of the Monarchs and the Milkweed just perfect in the October garden?

Wishing you a happy autumn!

Monday, September 29, 2014

In A Vase on Monday: A Few of My Favorite Roses

Yesterday morning I woke up to the pleasant sound of rain drops splashing on the big leaves of the persimmon tree outside my window. The storm, which left 0.18 inches of rain, was a welcome relief after months of hot dry weather.

During our long hot summers, the roses bloom only sporadically, but as the days begin to cool in autumn, they return for another season of blooms. This morning as I took a walk around the garden enjoying the fresh clean air, I noticed that some of my favorite roses were looking especially refreshed. I decided to bring a few inside to enjoy "in a vase on Monday."

I'm joining Cathy at her blog Rambling in the Garden and her weekly meme "In a Vase on Monday" to share my vase of roses and to see other beautiful and unique flower arrangements, guaranteed to brighten your day!

(My vase contains 'Don Juan' my favorite red climber, 'Graham Thomas' my favorite yellow rose, 'Heritage' a favorite shrub rose, 'Lace Cascade' a favorite white climber, 'Happy Chappy' my favorite groundcover rose, and 'Double Delight' a favorite hybrid tea.)