Saturday, May 31, 2008


My husband has gone crazy for the jacaranda trees this year. They have been here every other year, but this is the first year he has noticed them. They do seem to be blooming in abundance. These are photos are two trees near our house. It doesn't really show how stunning they are in person.

Other Critters Like the Flowers, Too

Some are easy to spot. Others, you have to look a little harder.

Busy Bee! You Bet

This was one busy honey bee. While watching it work, I would land on the flower, collect its bounty, reposition and start all over again.

Blooming Cactus

One of the benefits of living in Southern California is the variety of plants which grow here. I was enjoying an afternoon walk with my camera today and stumbled upon this cactus. As fabulous as it is, it was wedged back in a corner almost overlooked. When I bring my camera, however, I am more attentive to those things which are growing.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Irrigation Zones

Here are the zones for my backyard irrigation system.
Zone 1 RH Lawn
Zone 2 LH Lawn
Zone 3 RH Beds to gate
Zone 4 Wall Beds to Second Tree
Zone 5 Wall Beds to BBQ area
Zone 6 Beds from BBQ to FP
Zone 7 Spa Equipment area
Zone 8 Hillside

Guerrilla Gardening

Perhaps you have heard of this illicit form of gardening meant to enhance neglected public spaces. In the cover of darkness, gardeners transform tired, weeded plots of land into beautiful public spaces. Here are a few tips on getting started.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sunflower Volunteer

In a funny conincidence, I am sitting at my computer and looking out the window at a volunteer flower. It is a sunflower. I cannot imagine how it got here. I planted sunflowers two years ago in my back garden, which is quite a distance from where this plant is. Nonetheless, I will enjoy watching it from my window on a hillside which is mostly shrubs and trees.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Join the Hunt for Bees

My sunflower seeds arrived from The Great Sunflower Project! I am very excited
The seed packet reminds us that Bees are responsible for every third bite of food. This project is a tracking study conducted by San Francisco State University.

I encourage you to sign up to help in this study. You sign up; they send you seeds. Plant them, grow then, record the activity of bees. Easy!

Go on, click the link.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jennifer Griffin's Story--Inspirational

This is not a story about gardening. It is inspiring and we can all use a little inspiration from time to time.
Jen is a quad amputee that has found the benefits of Pilates life changing and wants to share her story with you. She is captivating and motivating to all who are blessed to know her.
Vote for her on Inspire the World to Fitness

Read more about her on her blog "get well jen."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Casey Got Wheels

Casey has torn her ACL in her knee. The vet says she should limit her activity to see if we can get her walking again. But she still likes to get out and about. Red wagon to the rescue!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Library Luncheon

The Parent Teacher group from our school has a Library Luncheon each spring. Hostess decorate a table to coordinate with the event's theme. This year's theme, "Beautiful by Nature." I loved this table.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Interersting Succulent

Echeveria Gibbiflora
Hmmmmmm. I wonder just what this plant is called. Very pretty. The leaves are rigid. These types of plants are all the rage here in SoCal as garden shops take the lead in greener gardens. A garden of succulents takes less H20 but have a softer look than cactus.

Echevaria Gibbiflora or Blue Wave has distinct ruffles around the edges and varies from green with a bit of pink, to a lot of pink, depending on sun and water.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Constructive View

Here is the rebuild of the forty-foot wall on the perimeter of my property. The first wall didn't last too long--about three months--before it leaned and moved. You can imagine why when you see the footing foundation which is required but wasn't included with the first wall.

The city inspector came by today and noted the whole rebar cage which was constructed yesterday has to be 3 inches from soil on all sides. This means this entire rebar cage will have to be lifted and placed three inches off the soil with gizmos called adobes. Additionally, not all of the sides have three inch clearance, so more excavation to be completed.

Here are the stacks of bricks (*), plants, and piles of dirt all dislocated because of the rebuild. I think I am being a really patient with this process which essentially is undoing all of the work which was just completed. I am pleased the landscaper stood behind the error and is doing all of this work.

(*) This is just one stack of bricks. There are several more scattered around the yard. Also, note the dirt is on top of the new pavers. Uggh
For those wondering why the first wall failed it is because the property below the wall is sloped. That means a condition called soil creep can compromise the integrity of the wall. Therefore, if someone tells you they can build a simple wall without footings on your property, but your neighbor's property is sloped, beware.

Naughty Cats Like to Sit on Flowers

Who knows what goes through the minds of cats as they prowl through the neighborhood. For some reason, the cats think these flowers were planted for them as a soft floral cushion. Naughty cats...stay off the flowers. Thank you.

Romantic Roses

A walk in the evening hours last night with a dear friend allowed for the discovery of some lovely neighborhood gardens. The roses climbing this garden entrance were stunning.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Majestic Tree Roots

If you read my blog, you know I love the trees. This is a tree from Mt. Vernon. So amazing.

Mt. Vernon--Father of our Country also a Great Gardener/Farmer

Our recent trip included some time in Washington, D.C. With some time our our hands for sightseeing, we decided to visit Mr. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Thanks to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, a private, non-profit organization founded in 1853 by Ann Pamela Cunningham, we have the honor of visiting the estate, gardens and farm of our first president. All are impressive, but of course, I enjoyed the gardens and farm the most. George was considered quite an innovative farmer. He practiced crop rotation, mulching. He was definitely ahead of his time on the buy local concept. His farm was able to supply all the needs of the estate!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Lucky Lady Bug

The garden has been undergoing a renovation for the past months. Trying to keep a happy face on the whole thing, I haven't really revealed the living nightmare the whole project has become. For a clue about the scale of the problem, I will reveal that they entire driveway has been relaid, as well as major portions of patios. We are waiting for city approval for the 35 foot wall to be rebuilt because it was installed incorrectly.

So today when I was in my garden I found something very special--a lucky ladybug. So maybe she is a sign of good things to come...or maybe she is there because much of the new plantings are infested with aphids. Glass half empty or half full?

Anyway, I hope she enjoys her meals and has brought a lot of friends with her!

Artichokes On the Way

The artichokes got a late planting this year and I wasn't sure it they were going to produce anything. The plant is large and you can tell it is a member of the thistle family when you see its leaves. We were gone for ten days and when we came home--artichokes! I'm going to let these get a little bit bigger and then grill them on the barbecue.

Note on Size: The spread of the plant in the top picture is about 3.5 feet!


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