Sunday, June 10, 2012

New site for the garden

Debbie's Garden is closed for the season.  You can find me and the garden at Garden Home on my Encouraging Words blog.  Thanks for reading, and for now I will keep the archives open. 

Happy gardening,  Debbie

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New clematis for Mother's Day

Here is my new clematis 'Durandii', a gift from Robby and Candace for Mother's Day.  This interestingly colored plant is short, 3-5 feet, and not a climber.  I read that it is often planted in an obelisk and I like that idea.  I am looking forward to see how this one likes my garden. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6- the week in the garden

The clematis are blooming.  I am still amazed that these grow here.  I undersand that the viticellas, like this one, and the texensis do best in hot climates.

I like this yellow nasturtium. This one has come up from seed and grown this large just in a month.

Nigella.  One of my self seeding spring annuals.  Love the seed pods.

Larkspur is another favorite self seeding spring annual. 

Geum Mrs. Bradshaw.  Love the color of this easy ever green perennial.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The week in the garden- April 28

 Artichokes!  This one tasted great!

 Beautiful chard.  I prefer the red, but this is what grew from a mixed packet.  So pretty!

 Hydrangea opening.  This is the one Robby found for me.  I wanted a white one.

 My favorite rose, Evelyn. 

 Calla lily.

 Nasturtiums going crazy.  Can you see the wheelbarrow down in there?

The back garden with the roses in first flush. Someone is coming Monday to use the garden for a photo shoot!  : )

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday April 22, the week in the garden

This is the burgeoning spring season in the garden.  Very soon, if not already we are at the peak of bloom season.  The roses are into their first big flush and other flowers are blooming daily.  

 Crown Princess Margareta, a David Austin rose that grows as a short climber for me.  Nicely fragrant and gorgeous in first bloom.  More photos next week.  Both the individual flower and the shrub are lovely.

 This iris was a gift from Jen.  I am so pleased I picked this one!

My unknown peony from a bareroot start from Costco. 


Dianthus barbatus 'Sooty'.  I raised this one from seed and it is a biennial, which means it takes two years to get this far.  It has the typical clove diantus fragrance.  Worth the wait! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The week: rain and fragrance

The week in the garden began Easter Sunday in Robby and Candace's garden for dinner.  Do you see Calla?

 I got to see bees swarm in a tree across the street and find a bee man to take them away to make more bees for polinating our valley.

The rest of the week was all fragrance and rain.  Have you noticed how moist air holds fragrance?  So lovely to step out to a blast of delicious smells.  And the rain!  Booming crashing gushing rushing downpours of rain!  So thankful for the water. 

 Snowballs growing bigger, turning whiter.  These are not fragrant.

Annual poppies.  One of my favorites.

 Lilacs!  One of my new lilac shrubs died coming into spring, just when we throught it was about to bloom.  Apparently we have a fungus in the soil.  : (  So sad.  I love lilacs.  Will have to research another blooming shrub.

 A new rose, Charisma. Nice to see it blooming. 

 Nasturtium leaves with water drops. 

 A quiet corner in shade.  Calla lilies, cyclamen, corydalis and azalea.

Shady garden blooms, Solomon Seal, hellebores and Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine', so fragrant!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Snowballs and lilacs

One of my garden dreams is bouquets of snowball viburnum, viburnum opulus compactus, with lilacs.  My snowball bush is gorgeous this year! I love the little green puffs of flowers that will continue to grow to about 3 inches and fade to white before fading back again to green and then brown. 

The new lilac bushes made it through the winter and this one is blooming nicely.  I can't decide whether I will like the white lilacs with the snowballs or the purple lilac, while the snowballs are still green. If this year is anything to go by, it will have to be green snowballs with white lilacs, or white with purple. Wonderful either way. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

new direction

For a few weeks I have been seriously thinking of going in a new direction.  I think I am going to do a .com blog type thing that will hopefully tie my many endeavors together.  I could do the thing where I have multiple blogs, but it appeals more to have just one big this is me type place.  I assumed I would call this new place  Then a few days ago I had an email from etsy that seemingly introduced a simple thought: what are ways to inspire yourself to work?  The linked blog post is here     I started clicking links and reading, spent the whole evening reading actually.  This post most  caught my eye...
Apparently my assumption of a site name was not the best.  So for several days I have been thinking about this.  What is my overarching theme?  Does it matter, do I need one?  Do I think  this person is valid?  I don't really care if the idea moves me forward.  I am intrigued with the concept of multipotentiality.  Jerry calls me streaky, moving from one thing to another and never quite mastering any.  It is the same idea, just with bigger words.  The idea that everything I do could have a common theme seems so boxy, and boxes always move me forward, even though I rarely know how to create them.  I am starting to get a picture of what I want.  And I think the theme is sensory. 

There is of course another side to this and that is old tapes playing away in the background saying I am not good enough, have nothing of value to offer, and so forth.  At this point I see two encouragements.  Last summer I was reading Isaiah and was struck by the beginning scene where Isaiah is called and goes to the I can't do that I am not good enough bit, and then the burning coal is placed to his mouth and he responds, saying, (my words) Let's do this!   I thought OK, why am I not doing that?  And it has made a difference. Then just this week another thought, from James, that joy can come from anguish, that the 'stuff' in our lives can be as childbirth, pain leading to joy.  I want that. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012


 Last summer we found three gallon sized manzanitas at Buttonwillow Nursery, for typical gallon size prices, maybe $6 each.  We had been researching and watching for a while as we both love these native plants, with their blue green leathery leaves and peely red bark.  We learned that in addition to good drainage manzanitas need mulch, and overhead sprinkling, mimicking rain.  Eventually they will need dry summers as if they were in the wild.  The two plants in more shade grew quite a bit over the summer and fall and we were a bit worried about the one that seemed to just sit there.  So you can imagine my delight when I was out yesterday and noticed it is in bloom.  These are buds and will open slightly to allow for pollination, but keep the urn shape. A good resource for information on native plants is Las Pilitas Nursery, located both in San Diego and the central coast.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I like to grow a crop of potatoes in spring and fall.  I keep learning more about how it all works.  Back in January I had some red potatoes that were past use, but it was still freezy outside.  I put the potatoes in a pot and covered them with a few inches of dry potting soil and set the pot in a sheltered spot up close to the house, for warmth.  Last weekend I remembered the pot and looked for the potatoes.  They were starting to grow, so I moved the pot into the sun and gave it some water.  Who knew?   I have read that potatoes will store in the ground, so it makes sense.  Last fall I had potatoes growing that I had put in during the spring bareroot season.  The apparently just sat through  the heat then grew.  I am not a confident potato grower yet, but I am learning.  All this makes me wonder if whenever there is a potato or two that would go in the compost if one could just bury it in the ground and perhaps get a small crop.   Maybe we should try it and see. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Let the season commence

Today I stepped out thinking about sowing another crop of cool season veggies and saw to my surprise and delight that the daffodils are opening. I was thinking this week that anticipation may be one of my favorite things. Those who know me know I usually overdo it. But it certainly is affirming to look forward to daffodils blooming around Valentine's Day and then see them do it.  The three shown here are now on my counter in celebration. 

Altogether I counted 2 dozen kinds of flowers blooming, although only hellebores and violets are fully out.  Hellebore hybrids do not seed true, as shown by this purple one blooming along with the whites.

I am amazed that the nasturtiums came through the winter with no ill effects.  Usually those planted in fall do not have time to bloom well before they freeze, and the ones that are spring planted likewise are killed by heat.  This one is Empress of India, a more difficult to grow clumping variety.  I like the dark leaves and flowers.  Looking forward to seeing these bloom for the next several months.  

Another surprise is the asparagus, already pushing up.  Peas are blooming.  I am cutting broccoli and lettuce.  I sowed more lettuce, spinach, carrots, chard and beets.  I also sowed breadseed poppies, more nasturtiums and some other flowers.  Altogether, I had a profitable couple of hours.  

Apricots!  Yum  : )

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Early spring bulbs

Daffodils are to me the heralds of spring.  However, they are not the first of the bulbs to bloom.  The hyacinths began to open as they shoved above the earth this year.  There are more there coming along and altogether make a lovely pot of bloom.  These are so easy,  I just stuck them in a pot, three bulbs the first year, and added a bit of water once it turned cold.  As they begin to die back I move them to a sheltered place and allow them to dry in the pot and sit for the summer.  In early winter I bring them out again and add water.  Very simple!  I grow them in pots because somehow it makes them more friendly.  Hyacinths have always struck me as pompous, but their scent is amazing, and worth having.

 The little muscari have also spiked up some bloom.  These are very easy in the ground.  Galanthus are another very early bulb, but mine have not yet put up buds.  I hope that does not mean they are already declining.

And finally, the daffodils are up right on schedule and I assume will be opening right at Valentine's Day.  It is just really too bad these are not red  : )

Friday, February 3, 2012

February flowers, the first of the new cycle

It seems like the season is off to a late start this year. 
The violets are just now blooming, and they often are out by the first of December. 

 Hellebores are opening, and again, they are running a couple of weeks late.

This year the roses just never stopped.  So nice to have roses!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I actually got some broccoli this year!  The dry season helps.  Last evening I was making alfredo sauce with pasta and chicken and remembered there were a couple heads of broccoli ready to cut so I ran out and cut them and added them to the dinner.  Overall, I am not really convinced I get my money's  worth from growing broccoli, but freshly cut is so different from the stalks in the markets. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

24 degrees

Blog post with no photo.  Sorry, Robs, but I am just not thinking enough in the middle of the night to get a shot of the temperature display on the ceiling.  : )   But last night it was cold.  24 degrees and holding most of the night.  I love weather.  Despite my frustration with relationships that do not seem to go any deeper than weather, I talk about weather every day to multiple people.  24 degrees is a big deal here.  We do not get this every winter.  In fact, it is a record low for this date.  That's all.  Just wanted to say, cool, it was cold last night!  : )

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Seed time, indoor vegetable sowing

Mid-January in the San Joaquin Valley is seed sowing time.  Many veggie and other seed packets will say sow indoors 8 weeks before last frost.  Although realistically we rarely get frosts after Valentine's Day, and very very rarely we get a frost in April, the marker day for last frost is March 15.  So what can be sown now?  Tomatoes, green beans, peppers and chilis, all those warm season veggies we would buy ready to plant in March.  These do need to be inside, with warmth and light.  But in just a couple of weeks we can sow another crop of the cool season veggies outside, radish, chard, beets, spinach, carrots and so forth. If anyone has gotten into the new fad for parsnips, they are grown like carrots.  Potato and onion starts will be out soon as well.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The time between

Christmas is over.  The daffodils have not yet appeared.  It is the time between, winter.  During the holidays there is so much extra going on the garden gets by on its own, with brief forays for flowers and greenery, or filling of birdbaths. Once the distraction passes, there is not much to do besides wait. Winter in the garden means time for pruning and really not much else.  We wait and watch for the sprouting bulbs.  My hyacinths have doubled since I took this picture a couple of years ago.  I am excited to see if I actually get 6 flower stalks.  The little things keep a garden going even in the slow times. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year in the garden

Here we are past the solstice and into the growing days of the New Year.  These corydalis stay green and bloom all year, which endear them to me.  Aren't they sweet in their fernyness? 
There are a few other plants still blooming, through the past month's cold nights,  pansies, snapdragons, alyssum, a few violets, and so forth.  A few others we can anticipate this month, hellebore and grape hyacinth among them. Soon it will be time for bareroots, and winter seeding.
But the flower that has my interest right now is the rose.  I won't post yet another picture, but I do keep thinking about how they are blooming better now, right at pruning time, than they did all summer.  Last year I pruned them hard, as is typically recommended. I am seriously thinking that this year I won't prune them, beyond the few necessary cuts needed to keep them in bounds.  Evelyn wants to grow ten feet tall and wide and does need some restraining, but I think the smaller bushes might be fine with very little pruning.  An experiment for the new year.