Friday, July 30, 2010


Picking nectarines this week.  At times like this I think they are my favorite fruit...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pumpkin blossom

Last winter when we pruned trees we put some of the branches on the ground for 'decor'.  The pumpkin vine has twined through one of them as shown here. So pretty!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Busy bees

Look at the pollen sacs on this bee!  Amazing!  I wonder if the pollen from this chocolate cosmos is chocolate flavored?  : ) 

Sunday, July 25, 2010


This pelargonium was sitting in a cluster of pots near my shady, woodsy garden ever since I got it.  I was vaguely dissatisfied with it, but liked the splash of color so it sat there for a couple of years.  This week I moved it, here by my herb pots, and now it is a feature plant and the only color here.  I think it looks great.  It's like getting a whole new garden.  : ) Moving plants in the ground too often can hold them back from growing, but since this one is in a pot it didn't phase it at all.  Go red!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hummingbird feeder

A couple of years ago I started wishing for a 'cool and cute' hummingbird feeder.  Thanks in part to Robby and Candace, I tried at least four styles. For various reasons they were all rejected and we are back to the standard red plastic with glass bottle.  It seemed the little birds did not care for cool, and just wanted good access.  With the new feeder, they are downing a pint a week and clearly like this one the best.  Here is our baby, busy eating. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My lilac bush is dying limb by limb.  : (   I have loved lilacs as long as I can remember.  Alcott's influence perhaps? One of my favorite scents since childhood, yet I do not recall ever seeing a real shrub, being born and raised in San Diego.  If we cannot save this one, I will be planting more.  This is a shrub that just sits there most of the year and does nothing, but those few weeks in April earn its place in the garden.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Still to come

I wandered around today thinking about what perennials will bloom later.  In the shady garden there is a hosta, Japanese anenome, eupatorium 'Chocolate', and Kirengeshoma palmata (except that in spite of continuing to try to grow it just gives up along about now and doesn't really bloom at all).  The phlox paniculata 'David' should be blooming by now and isn't so hopefully that is still to come. 
Out in the back garden there are helenium starting to bud up, as well as asters and mums.  The penstemon is regrowing after transplanting and will probably start blooming once the weather cools. It is nice to have more to look forward to when everything is drooping in the heat.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mid summer, but fall's a comin'

Today's bouquet is so fall!  I love fall. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer rain

We woke up to rain this morning!  So we ran out to replant all the little flowers we dug up to reconfigure the center bed in the front yard.  We were thinking it was perfect timing, that they would be gently watered in and have their first day under cloud cover.  By ten though it was hot and sunny, so oh well. 
I love rain, and summer rain is such a treat, even when it ends in a hot humid day, like someone said at church, a free Florida vacation day.  : P  The up side is cleaner air, and the joy of out of season weather. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tiny treasure

I went out to deep soak trees, this being the first week I have had to remind myself of my oath to not complain about the heat.  : )   Look what I found!  Not such a good photo, but these eggs are about an inch long.  They have small holes pecked in them, and their occupants eaten by some predator.  They were by the orange tree.  There must be a nest, but the foliage is so dense I couldn't see one.  But no, wait, google search says these are blue jay eggs, and probably from a nest 20 feet up in a conifer.  That means the jays are nesting in the deodar cedar, makes sense.  We do have jays.  We do not have robins which was my first thought, but robin's blue eggs do not have spots.  I wonder how these eggs got down next to the orange tree.  Said predator must have stuck his beak in and carried them down.  I suppose on the other hand the wind could have tossed them.  Whatever, aren't they great?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Perennial care 2

A few years ago someone from a hot summer area said it helps to whack everything back in late July which stimulates new growth for fall.  Since we have such a long growing season this works for us and I have done it to good results.  Those rudbeckias will be cut back to the basal clump in a week or so when this round of bloom is looking ratty.  With rudbeckia especially I like the break from the color.  The all summer perennials are the ones that need cutting back, along with annuals. The spring bloomers are finished and just hanging on til frost.  The so called fall bloomers are still growing in anticipation of flowering in a month or two. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Perennial care

Perennials tend to grow tall in my garden.  They end up flopping over like the rudbeckia below.  I have a great book called The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust.  In it she explains how some perennials can be pinched or cut back early in the season to promote shorter bushier growth.  Of course one needs to know which ones can be so treated, but I find most of mine can.  At least all the overly tall tending to flop varieties benefit from this treatment.  This spring I did not do any cutting back, except for the mum, which must be continually pinched until even up to the first of August, here, to get fall blooms.  Otherwise, in this area the mums will bloom in June.   I did get a few plants, the dahlias, and heleniums staked with hoops, and that helps, but pinching or cutting back as the plants emerge in spring is easy and results in a better looking plant.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Baby hummingbird

Jerry and I were so tickled a bit ago when we saw two hummingbirds at our feeder.  I commented that one was much smaller and Jerry commented they were sharing.  Then the larger bird flew over and fed sugar water down the throat of the little one!  She did it several times and the little practiced drinking on her own as well.  Then they flew away.  I wonder if this is the pair I saw the other day, and the parent was teaching the little guy aerial stunts and advanced flying?

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I could write three posts about the rudbeckia, and I will, but I thought first I would point out the birdbath.  So far I have not been able to rationalize the $99 any birdbath I admire has cost.  So I have made do quite nicely with simple glazed plant saucers.  I love plain clay pots!  I had this one on an awesome manzanita root my dad left us, but it fell apart a couple of weeks ago.   Jerry replaced it with this chunk from our old pine tree.   I have other saucers on the ground, for ground level critters, toads, cats, birds or whatever else is out there to reach comfortably.  When the flocks of finches come through in winter they really enjoy bathing in this bath.  We were out shopping nurseries recently and I saw lots of cool saucers at Leo's.  I want to think about getting a bigger more colorful saucer, but meanwhile this one is fine, and was only $7 at Target several years ago.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1 flowers

Continuing from February 1:
Alyssum (as always)
Wax begonias

Continuing from March 1:
California poppies
Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine'
Geranium 'Biokovo'

Continuing from April 1:
Calla lilies
Corydalis ochroleuca
Geum Mrs. Bradshaw
"little tree" Solanum atropurpureum

Continuing from May 1:
Star jasmine
Verbena bonariensis
Annual phlox
Pomegranate tree
Gerber daisy
Oakleaf hydrangea
Lamb's ears

Continuing from June 1:
Hydrangea macrophylla
Drumstick allium
Echinacea 'White Swan'
Annual red coreopsis
Dahlia 'Bishop's Children'
Fuschia 'Gartenmeister Bonsteder'
Monarda 'Jacob Kline'

New for July 1
Wine cups
Hydrangea paniculata
Verbena, ground cover
Chocolate cosmos
Crepe Myrtle
Moss rose
Yarrow 'Walther Funke'
Phlox paniculata
Lemon tree
Hydrangea paniculata
Lemon verbena
Agastache rupestris