Monday, September 21, 2009

Finally Somethings look good!

My brugmansia has been trending downhill for over two years now. Something keeps sucking it dry. I managed to keep it alive but not much more by spraying it when I spray the roses. When I finally discovered that spider mites were destroying the roses this year, I treated the brugmansia as well and look at the result. The first leaves after treatment were quilted even though they were green and healthy and the second phase of leaves look like they should, green and smooth. No flowers or buds yet but with growth like this I am optomistic that I will see it covered before winter arrives.
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Monday, September 07, 2009

It can't get worse.

Despite a mild summer, my garden has gone to pot. This year I discover I have spider mites - never a problem before. They hit all the roses except Mutabilis and nearly wiped out my new bedding roses in their first year. I got some stuff that is supposed to kill them systemically. I can't really tell if they are dead yet but there are healthy stalks that give me hope. Never got a tomato or a zuchini from my raised bed. Only green beans - and they were very good. Everything in the bed is dying with some kind of white stuff - well the tomatoes are not dying - not that it makes any difference.
Well, moving right along. Maybe I have learned something and next year will be better.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

It am hot!

Even with the heat, I have a few flowers. The crocosmia are looking quite nice although the leaves are beginning to brown and this is the only clump from the three or four from last year that survives.

Graham Thomas rose is blooming although the flowers are small and turn crispy after opening. Also this year the flowers are turning apricot rather than bleaching white like last year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Perking up in July

A few more flowers this week. The white verbenias in the planter are starting to bloom nicely. I just have to remember to water them every other day.
Next is gaultheria. I planted two dozen of them last year with the hope that they would like it here and multiply. Most didn't make for this season but this one is looking good. I don't know if they didn't like the winter or they need more water.

Next a closeup of mutabilis showing the color range. They open yellow and turn pink and then fushia. Finally another shot of my purple shrub rose. This week it is looking pretty showy with the full range of color from purple through red to lavender.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth - No Fireworks here

Havn't got much more to show this week. We are still pretty much in between something. The first picture is something I regard as success. It is a small part of the bed area between my lawn and the retaining wall. It is the closest thing to my hopes for luxurious flower beds. I will give credit to Digging Dog. I think all the plants came from there and they suggested the combination of the yarrow and the aster. (You can see the yarrow just beginning to bloom and the aster is the tall, dark leaved plant in the background). The other plants are euphorbias who seem quite happy.
The other picture is my 'purple' shrub rose. It is a deep purple in the spring but not in July.
I would have more roses if I could persuade the gardeners that roses are supposed to have flowers. They want to shape them. Sigh!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

As June goes out with a blast

The green beans are beginning to form. We should be picking them in a week or so.

Next is the Sea Kale (statice) which is beginning to look like a keeper this year. (The definition of keeper is mostly survival. If it survives, I keep it.)

Finally two pots on the patio. The sweet potato vines always look great. It's the other stuff that is the problem. The black one is overwhelming the flowering ginger in the first one but the second looks alright.

Another week like this one and who knows.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just a Few Gems

It's slow in the garden this week. The beans are just about to flower and look much better than last year. Not much action with anything else in the raised bed.

Over in the other part of the yard we have a salvia blooming its little heart out and finally the lavender looking good and smelling better.

With all the wonderful coolness, I expected more from the garden. Oh well, maybe next week.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June Flowers

Some pretty flowers this month. The garden isn't spectacular as a whole. The roses are past their first blooms and the rest arn't enough to catch the eye.

Still, I have some beauties. The first is an alstoemeria (I think I got that right). I have always wanted one but the ones at the nursery cost an arm and a leg and usually the colors are muddy so I never bought one until this year at the SFGS. It is gorgeous. I just hope that I can grow it when it gets hotter (and if if will survive the winter).

Next is my brugmansia. It is starting to look good but I always have trouble them when it gets hotter.

Verbenia bonariensis grows beautifully for me and make a pretty airy presence wherever I plant it. It also reseeds happily and every year I have more plants. (It survives the winters just fine)

Then the small white bedding zinnias. They were great last year and starting off fine now.

And finally my red daylily.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Water Lily - the rest of the story.

Last year I was into garden goals - and I accomplished the ones I set. This year, not so much.

This water lily was one of my goals last year. I accomlished the goal but never really got the benefit. I was excited about having a small water feature in our courtyard filled with floating leaves and flowers. What I got was a container filled with green scum, a few lily pads and not flowers.

Needless to say, my wife is not a raving fan of this water garden. She does not appreciate the aesthetics of galvanized metal and she doesn't like green scum.

So I have vowed this year to do better. More fertilizer for the lily and find something to fight the green scum. I have inserted fertilzer plugs every few weeks with no noticeable impact on the lily. There are still only a few skimpy leaves. With the scum, I have kept the water relatively clear. It may be some stuff I got to spray the water to prevent mosquitoes. It may have nothing to do with the spray. I don't know. I do know that I expect some appreciation from the lily and I'm not seeing it.

Maybe it's still too cold for lily growth. Maybe, the lily just doesn't like me. All I know is that unless it starts giving me a little appreciation, it won't get another year.

Monday, May 25, 2009

This week in the Garden

First up - Mmw. Cecile Brunner with long bloom stalks. Then the deep purple shrub rose.

Then my new shrub roses for the foundation planting. These are Flame Mediland - a little blue for my tastes but it looks promsing to fill in the spaces where the pittosporums died.

Next is Mutabilis, always looking good.

Finally some new african daisies. I like the color blends available. This one blends orange, brown and purple very nicely.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Flower in May

As you can see the roses are beginning to bloom. Graham Thomas -slightly out of focus, followed by Mme. Ceclie Brunner.

Cecile has been tiny for the past two years and I have wondered if she would ever get big because the catalogue says 3 feet. This year I have some bloom stalks that are tall as you can see. It still remains to be seen if the whole plant will get bigger.

The next rose is a dark violet shrub paired with Cecile and finally Ginger Syllabub growing up the bell tower in my entrace courtyard.

Mutabilis is blooming but only a few blossums and I am still waiting to see flowers on my newest - Fire Mediland which I am using to replace some Pittosporums that died. I havn't used roses for landscaping plantings yet and so if this works, I will be doing more.

Anybody using the new landscape roses like flower carpet ($25 at my nursery, wow!) or mediland or others. Share your experiences with me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flowers This week.

More iris this week. Suspect is the first with the dark falls and caramel colored standards. It is an arilbred but looks more like a bearded. Oyex, the second definitely shows the aril in the shape and shadings. It has small leaves and not much of a presence until it flowers. Then you can't take your eyes away.

And finally, my irrepresibly pink sweatpeas. Every blessed one of them is pink, and not just pink but a particularly disgusting lavender pink. Since they are growing in the raised bed where I hoped they would be finished by planting time, I don't know how long I will put up with them.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flowers This week. p1

This week, I am seeing more flowers in the yard. Here are two to start things off.

The first is a euphorbia with cheerful orange bracts. The second is the sweatpeas that I planted last fall in the mistaken belief that they would start growing and blooming early and yes I don't believe that April is early.

At least this year they came up last fall and didn't die. The next problem is that they are pink. I was sure that they were assorted colors and I most definitely would not have selected a packet with exclusively pink flowers, especially a magenta pink like these. There are only a few flowers so far and these sweatpeas had better put on a good show to make up for their pinkness.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Repotting Cymbidiums

This afternoon I repotted some of my cymbidium orchids so I thought I would share the process. I use coir bricks as the potting medium. Coir is the fiber from coconut husks and you can buy it compressed into bricks which you soak in water before use. I use the mixed bricks which contain larger chunks of the husk.

The second picture shows the plants waiting to be repotted.

The third picture is the coir after soaking.

The fourth picture is one of the plants broken apart out of the pot. You don't need to be delicate with them. I also clean out dead leaves and the dry fibers around the pseudobulbs to make the plant more attractive.

The fifth picture shows part of the plant repotted with the remaining part waiting it's turn.

Finally, the last picture show the class of 09 perky and eager to grow and get ready for blooming next year. I am hopeful that these will bloom for me. I usually don't expect plants to bloom the first year after repotting but i don't get around to repotting them until well into the summer. This year I am early enough to hope that they get a good long growth season.

The two plants that are blooming now need repotting but I will wait until the blooms fade.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Cymbidium

I'm awash in orchids this year.

Well, maybe not awash but three plants with blooms is my best performance yet in the foothills.

King Arthur (Sweetheart) is my best bloomer, both here and in So Cal. This year I had two plants bloom, one in December, when it normally bloomed for me down south and now this one in April. Behind him you can see the pink I showed a week or so back.

I am feeling very optimistic that next year will be a bloom bonanza. Several of my plants are over grown and need repotting. I am going to do it soon to give them the best chance at blooming next year. The ones I potted last year should be definites. I received my coir bricks last week so as soon as the rain stops, I'm ready.

Friday, April 03, 2009

First Iris

Here is my first iris this year. It's an Arilbred. You can easily tell from the beautiful brown blotch and if you look carefully you can see the domed shape of the bloom. I am particularly pleased because it is a true test of a plant to come back a second year on my rockpile.

Logic would argue that arilbreds would be a good bet given that they like dry summers (at least from one parent) but you never know. Then, also sometimes wet winters make a plant that you would otherwise expect to be happy die on you.

Some of my others seem to be coming on strong, others are still there and some are missing. Life is a great experiment and it's wonderful when you can experiment with something as beautiful as this. I am lousy with marking my plants but this one is most likely Burra Sahib although it isn't so domed as the picture in the catalogue.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Put a Tiger in Your Tank, Pam

Pam Penick, Gardener, Designer and Blogger extraordinaire uses stock tanks in her landscapes, both as water gardens and planters to raise her plants to higher levels. It was an inspiration to me as I looked to find a container for a water lily last year (there is a story there but let's save it for later). Anyway in my daily web browsing, I found this lovely pool and since it's an idea that not even Pam has incorporated into her garden, I want to share it with her. I love it when I can reciprocate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What's going on this week.

First a look at the new plants I got at the SF Garden Show. These are all perenials from Digging Dog. I am now figuring out where to plant them. My plant selection processes are not altogether clear to me. The general characteristics I seek are plants that I think will grow in my rockpile and are not pink. Beyond that I don't have a plan and so when I return, it's always a problem figuring out where to plant them. Then there are the completely irrational selections - like a three pack of flowering ginger varieties. They are supposedly hardy but I know they are forbidden by the plant cops. The original plan was to grow them in pots but Iam seriously thinking about putting them with rosa mutabilis and the elephant ear (also forbidden). I am a sucker for tropicals. If it weren't for the plant cops my backyard would be as tropical as you can get in the foothills. Also, in spite of my poor record with cymbidiums here, I bought another and also a dendrobium that is supposed to be hardy in SF. I expect to bring it in next winter.

Next a progress shot of the roses (or one of them) that I planted last week. Looking good.

And finally a pink cymbidium. This one was one I got for helping a lady repot some overgrown cymbs that she got from her mother in SF. It's not bad although I avoid pink whenever possible. There is one more cymb with buds ready to open.