Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blustery day!

We had almost 2 inches of rain overnight.  As it paused, Jerry and I went out in the blustery wind to pull weeds.  Although it is one of my favorite things to do, it is chilly enough out that I had to give up and come in to get warm.  : )  I was not dressed for midwinter weeding.  Another front is moving in.  In spite of the trouble for farmers caused from the rainiest December on record, the rain should mean better ground water supplies for summer.  No weather is quite so fun as a blustery day! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Robby had this poem in third grade.  It was so him that puddly rain to me is always kittens, pansies, diamond rain drops, and fun times with Robby. 

Rain in the Night by Amelia Burr
Raining, raining,
All night long;
Sometimes loud, sometimes soft,
Just like a song.
There'll be rivers in the gutters
And lakes along the street.
It will make our lazy kitty
Wash his little dirty feet.
The roses will wear diamonds
Like kings and queens at court;
But the pansies all get muddy
Because they are so short.
I'll sail my boat to-morrow
In wonderful new places,
But first I'll take my watering-pot
And wash the pansies' faces.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Dark of Winter

As the Winter Solstice draws near, and I walk out in the dark of a misty rain, the garden whispers in still quiet corners, rather than bursting with the abundance of midsummer.  Midwinter, yet violets bloom.  Wintersweet, blooming behind still green foliage, broadcasts such a strong sweet scent one must bend close to smell the violets.  In other sheltered places the fuschia continues to bloom as do the begonias.  Pansies reach for what sun they may find.  Spring bulbs push up from the blanket of fallen leaves. This year as I work outside in the cold the song in my head is the Heron Carol, in the moon of winter time when all the birds had fled, the mighty Gitche Manitou sent angel choirs instead... I love that the early church chose to celebrate Jesus, the light of the world, in this time of darkness. 
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. I Peter 2:9"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blog decisions

As this first year of Debbie's Garden comes to a close I need to make a decision.  A friend sent me this link  for a different kind of garden journal.  Plant Jotter allows one to actually keep records of plants planted, with their locations, as well as keeping track of what's blooming when, and what works best, and so on.  So it might be a more useful option for me.  The other option would be to overhaul this blog with a new look and broader perspective.  I have ideas for the look, thanks to some photos Jeff took while he was here at Thanksgiving, but I am not sure about expanding thoughts.  I do think continuing this is fairly pointless, as I know that while some things change from year to year, more do not. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Evergreen perennials

Most shrubs are too big for my California sized yard.  Without snow cover, we need some green all year.  The evergreen herbs and perennials serve well in this capacity.  My new favorite is corydalis, shown at right above. This year it is bigger and already blooming. Others are hellebores, geranium 'Biokovo', violets, geum, columbine, lambs ears (although they can get slimey from too much fog), stokesia, and yarrow.  Foxglove shoots up early enough in the season to be a a nice green tuft all winter.  Alyssum is so always present it might as well be perennial.  I also have ferns that keep going all year (as above).  Add in the lavendar, rosemary and thyme and while the garden may not be gorgeous these two months while it hunkers down for winter, at least it stays interesting. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Deciduous shrubs

I love fall color in the garden.  Keeping in mind a balance of evergreens, I keep adding new colorful deciduous plants.  Our new front yard landscape opportunity really helped!  The colorful shrubs I see now include blueberries, barberries, Euonymus alata "Compactus" (burning bush), dwarf pomegranate, red twig dogwood, viburnum opulus, oakleaf hydrangea, hydrangea paniculata,  Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (plumbago), nandina and Japanese maple.  Wonderful! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The great irony of the garden is that cilantro grows best during the cool months when tomatoes do not grow.  Sigh!  : )   Another fun cool weather herb is Amsterdam seasoning celery.  The happy yellow green color is nice in the cold.
Otherwise, the evergreen perennial herbs are some of the best all year color we have here in the valley.  Lavender, rosemary, oregano, mints, chives and thyme are must haves.  My favorite is lemon thyme, variegated green and yellow, with a red tint during winter, and purply flowers in summer.  Just beware that once in the ground those herbs are there to stay, and removing them may cost a shovel or two.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter veggies

Winter is the time for lettuce, chard, spinach, peas, broccoli, beets, carrots and more.  This year I never found decent broccoli plants so I do not have any.  I find broccoli difficult anyway, as it goes moldy when it is too wet out.  Chard and beets need to be up and growing by now I think, at least I have never tried seeding them out this late.  Come first of February they can be planted again.  They both do best from seed sown directly in the ground, and the red stems make them a welcome addition to the garden.  Chard is a new veg to me, and I love it!  I have a new pot of lettuce sprouting.  It took three tries with this head variety, as it evidently wants good chilly weather to grow.  The other pot of lettuce is ready to start eating, and the spinach is almost there.  All these leafy greens can have leaves snipped off and just keep growing.  The peas are looking good.  They also need to be up and growing strongly before frost, or they just sit and mope.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1 flowers

Continuing from February 1:
Wax begonias

Continuing from March 1:
California poppies

Continuing from April 1:

Continuing from May 1:
Verbena bonariensis
Pomegranate tree
Annual Lobelia

Continuing from June 1:
Echinacea 'White Swan'
Fuschia 'Gartenmeister Bonsteder'

Continuting from July 1
Verbena, ground cover
Agastache rupestris

Continuing from August 1

Continuing from September 1

Continuing from October 1

Continuing from November 1
Johnny jump ups
Icleand poppies

New for December 1
Gerber daisy beginning again