Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter Arrives

Hey, remind me, you folks back east...

Isn't winter the season with snow and cold? Today the sun is roasting we Californians. Ah, I am running out of the house with just a light jacket which I will no doubt remove because it is just too warm. Good news. Last year, at Christmas, I harvested one orange from my tree we planted about five years ago. This year my tree is yielding eleven oranges. I picked one and will sample once everyone is home!

Monday, November 14, 2005

One Good Turn Deserves Another

Well, waiting for the leaves to turn in South County. This tree is slowly changing from green to yellow. Not quite the flair of its east coast counterparts but the job is getting done.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fall Colors in Zone 23 Have Something to Learn

A visit to the east coast was timed perfectly with the changing of the colors of the leaves.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Trick or Treat

Waiting all summer for this special night, the pumpkin is glowing with anticipation of the gangs of trick-or-treaters!

Santa Ana winds are blowing again and the evening is a cool 82 degrees!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Last Hurrah!

Perhaps it was the warmth of the Santa Ana winds we had a few weeks ago, but besides the gardenia and hydrangea, the zucchini is trying to create one last squash. When I saw the blossom open this morning, I decided to help pollinate. I found a male blossom which was also blooming and dusted the pollen inside. In a day or two, I will be able to tell if my job as "busy bee" was successful. Don't be confused by the yellow color...this is a zucchini plant which produces yellow squash.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Do you need to reset your biological clock?

Fall is definitely here in the OC. This morning I noticed the leaves of the sweet gum trees are starting to turn their shades of yellow and red. Some of the plants in my garden are a little confused, however. Today when I was in my garden, I noticed the hydrangea plant was having one last fling before winter. A bright pink flower cluster was in bloom. Not to be outdone, the gardenia bush by the front door gave one last shout out for the season. One final bright white bloom with its glorious fragrance made attempt to prolong the summer season.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Who's your MUMmy?

The fall is always welcome because of the long awaited blooming of the chrysanthemum--the mum! This is a plant which was a centerpiece in the autumn a few years ago. When it was finished blooming, I planted it in the ground and now enjoy its wonderful yellow blooms with a tint of orange.

The trick to a fall bloom is to pinch off flower buds during the early part of summer. Around the first week of August, stop pinching of the buds and let them set. During the month of September, the blooms will start to flouish.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pineapple Sage and Hummingbirds

This pineapple sage plant was in my garden when we moved into the house. It is a favorite of mine as the leaves are very aromatic. A scent of ripe pineapple is given off if you brush against the plant or crush the leaves. Another feature is the stalk of red flowers. Red is a favorite color of hummingbirds, so this plant attracts the hummingbirds while in bloom.


This is one of my compost bins. This bin relies mostly on anaerobic composting (without oxygen). My other composter rotates and allows oxygen to be combined with the decomposing matter.

After my grass is cut today, I will add a layer of newly mown lawn clippings which are packed with nitrogen. They really get the composter going and will heat things up. The next layer will be leaves from the trees. A composter should be layered with 50 percent green waste and 50 percent brown waste.

I will continue adding to this composter over the winter and by spring will have beautiful crumbly, humus matter to incorporate in my garden soil.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Welcome to my visitors!

I have a site counter on my blog which lets me see where my visitors are originating. I am pleased to report my blog has seen visitors from various places around the world. Here are a few interesting places to note:

River Forest, Illinois,
Charlotte, North Carolina
Bronx, New York
Thatcher, Arizona
New Berlin, Wisconsin
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Princeton, New Jersey
Whittier, California
Lebanon Beirut, Beyrouth
Tustin, California
Riverbank, California
Cambridge, Massachusetts
United Kingdom Edinburgh, Edinburgh, City of
Canada Toronto, Ontario
Arlington, Texas
Laguna Niguel, California
Philippines Binondo, Manila
Italy Villa Celiera, Abruzzi
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan
Irvine, California

Welcome to all of my visitors. Enjoy your time while you are here!

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

This is my only pumpkin from the garden. Vividly orange, it awaits its fate either as a jack-o-lantern or a p-u-mumpkin-umkin-y y-u-umpkin-pumpkin pie!


This weekend was perfect for more garden clean up. Out came the spent cucumber and tomato vines. The garden patched looked so much better. The onions are still doing great so I left most of them to grow a little bit more. Three of the onions had leaves which were drooping over, a sign that it is harvesting time.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Planning for the Spring

With the clean up starting in the garden, I am taking careful notes about what plants were where. Next spring when I plant, I will try to rotate my crops. This will eliminate unnecessary depletion of nutrients from the soil. Additionally, this practice will help to diminish any unfavorable soil born diseases.

Signs of Fall

This week saw the beginning of the end of my summer vegetable garden. The tomato plants were ready to retire. I was delighted that my eggplant had managed to produce one small eggplant. Unfortunately, someone else (or should I say something else--rabbit, raccoon, skunk, ???) had noticed the beautiful purple fruit as well. It is gone now. I was hoping to photograph it when I discovered its disappearance. Alas.

Cucumbers and tomatoes were the most prolific plants in the garden this year.

The twelve oranges on my dwarf tree continue to grow. Last year only one fruit set, so I am delighted with the increase in yield. The fruit will probably be ripe in December.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hanging Planters

We just returned from the East Coast. I love hanging planters and found some beautiful planters in the historic district of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

I have not had success in creating hanging planters in California. They require a daily watering and my irrigation system drip system doesn't provide enough water to satisfy their needs.

Origins of a Gardener

I have enjoyed gardening for years. My dad taught me how to plant tomatoes, corn and cucumbers. I helped my mom can bread and butter pickles one summer in our kitchen in Northfield Center, Ohio.

I have gardened in Ohio; Kentucky; Florida; Virginia Water, England; Texas; and California. When I gardened in Kentucky, it was fun to see if you could get the pansies to last through the entire winter.

I love when my garden produces volunteers. Once I had pumpkin volunteers. I compost and tossed the gunk from our Halloween pumpkin in the compost pile. Some of the seeds found their way out of the pile and into the dirt. The next summer I had vines of pumpkins all over the place. Currently, the most likely seeds to volunteer in my California garden is the purple cosmos plant. No complaints here since it provides lovely purple flowers!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Do I have any volunteers?

Volunteer to bloom! That's what this cosmos has done. This wonderful plant stands about waist high and is loaded with purple blossoms with fuzzy yellow centers. This variety of flowers are recommended for bouquets but I very rarely harvest the blossoms from the garden because I enjoy seeing them when I tend the vegetables I am growing.

My Rose Smells So Sweet

This lovely red rose always provides a sweet fragrance to my garden when it is in bloom. This particular rose plant is next to a white rose bush. The white rose doesn't have a fragrance.

This year I was so busy I didn't have time to fertilize the roses in the spring. Now I am paying for it with smaller blossoms.

As usual, this rose bush is very susceptible to powdery mildew. As you can see, the rose bush is planted very close to the wall of the house. This limits the amount of ventilation the bush gets and increases the chance of powdery mildew forming.

The newer leaves of rose bushes are rust red when they first appear and as they age, become saturated with green coloring.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Construction Zone: Creating Cinderella's Carriage

This is the beginning of a pumpkin. If fertilized, the small round bulb will grow into a pumpkin. Pollen will come from a large yellow flower. Sometimes I help the process along!
In the area where I live, I find I constantly am battling powdery mildew on my pumpkin, cucumber, and zucchini plant leaves.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

You say eggplant; I say aubergine!

These beautiful soft purple flowers will develop into the beautiful deep purple eggplant. Hurry!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dividing Iris

You can see the large old root with the newer nodes and fans of leaves. Gently remove the excess soil from the roots.

Trim the roots to 5 inches.Trim the fan leave to six inches.

Using a serrated knife, carefully remove the new rhizome and fan of leaves from the old stem structure.
As a precaution, you should sterilize the knife between each cut in a solution of disinfectant.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Any gardener growing tomatoes should also grow basil. You can create a wonderful summer salad with sliced tomatoes garnished with a leaf of basil and dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.



  • Pour vinegar into a small bowl.
  • Drizzle the olive oil into the vinegar while whisking continuously.
    You are creating an emulsion of oil and vinegar which will have a creamy consistency.
  • Add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Towers in the garden are created from bamboo poles lashed together at the top and strung with a garden twine. These towers will hold the plants of grape and best girl tomato plants.
This is a lesson in letting your tomatoes set fruit while it is too cold. This tomato is still tasty to eat, but suffers from a "blight" called cat face.
This tomato is on the same plant but bloomed much later when the temps were higher. Much more appealing, no?

A pumpkin vine.

A tower of pole beans.

Leaves from the pole beans growing in my garden.


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