Sunday, June 26, 2011

The lens of another

My buddy mike visited yesterday.  He is an avid appreciator of just about everything, and thus has a lovely outlook on life.  One of the things on top of his pile of loves is gardening.  I really enjoyed the photos he shot with his iphone and the Histamatic app. Hipstamatic which has the cute tag line of "digital never looked so analog". LOL.  Nice to see the garden through the lens of another.  :-)

Apricot lovin' update


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Apricot lovin'

Last year I had 5 apricots off of the tree that's right outside the back porch.  I think the year before I bought the house, the tree had no water and that was before two wet years in a row. Now it's producing. Anyway, when you have five apricots on the tree you just eat them. But when you have 30 or more, it's time to get creative.

Saturday afternoon, perfect weather, a glass of Syrah rose from Paso Robles, a good friend and of course an apricot tart. Heaven.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quick cute

I was given this cute micro cast iron urn. And I had thought it would be a good paper weight, and then I stuck a little aloe in it.  The scale seemed pretty funny so I took a shot.  Tiny town. LOL

Monday, June 20, 2011

Plant of the week: Orlaya grandiflora

This plant is a real Cretan.  I mean it's from Crete,  oh man I wanna go to Crete. For the moment I will just settle for Orlaya grandiflora, which is from Crete by way of Annie's Annuals.  I planted four or five plants last year and saved every freakin' seed I could, I mean Annie's is awesome and all but she charges a fiver for a four inch annual. But I had a plan and it didn't involve buying this plant again.

This spring I unpacked the paper grocery bag full of Orlaya seeds, stems, and leaves ( I was in a rush, but hey I collected them). I cleaned the seed form the debris, by the way, you may want to know that Orlaya has cocklebur-esk spiny seeds, so if you are going to collect the seed you may want gloves.  Well, I planted a ton and a ton came up. I gave quite a bit away, but I also planted a nice swath in the front near the porch.

This is a really nice alternative to Daucus carota or Queen Anne's lace or wild carrot as it is known. Orlaya is a little more refined in habit, with smaller softer carroty foliage.  If you want lacy doilies in the garden this is the plant for you. Each "Queen's Anne Lace" type flower has an outer ring of large flowers creating that doily look.

So far a week or so of full tilt bloom, we will se how long it lasts.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I think I have a crush on Agastache 'Acapulco Salmon and Pink'

Yeah, I think I have a crush on agastache. All the signs are there. :-) We spent some time in the garden together this morning.   I wrote about it a while back and I just can't stop thinking about it. The more time I spend with this plant the more I like it.  It's polite, well more or less.  I haven't found any seedlings in the garden, and it stays in a nice clump.  Let's see,  it smells lovely wearing a lemon mint cologne.  The pink and salmon flowers, which are MANY,  have this way of cutting through the grey light we have had recently (or like the last 9 months).  Oh and the hummingbirds like it, and I like hummers.

Sigh,  what a plant. I had wondered if I were over doing it  (seeing too much of each other, you know how it is, too much of a good thing) when I planted TEN more plants this spring in addition to the mature one I already had.  But I think for now I'm just going to see how things go. For the moment it's bliss.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plant of the week: Berlandiera lyrata

I'd like to think I can always spot a great plant.   But sometimes they have to land in my lap. This was the case with Berlandiera lyrata. To look at it, it's not that different from so many yellow daisies. And too be honest it is kinda floppy. But thanks to my friend Suzanne,  a sad plant came into my possession.  Tortured further in a pot with overly rich potting soil, everything changed when I committed to planting it in the ground. Then it flourished.

So here's why you want to plant this guy, two reasons (maybe more).  One, the flower smells like chocolate (they call it the chocolate flower).  No, I mean really smells like cocoa, baking cocoa, one problem though is it seems to smell best in the morning or when it's overcast (but definitely not all the time).  Two, the plant is pretty tough and heat tolerant, being native to Texas and Mexico etc. Three, it doesn't seem to attract many pests.  Four, it bloomed for months and months last year and it's doing it again. Ok that was more than two.  Ok one more for good measure, and this is true for most yellow daisies, but these cheery yellow flowers always make me smile.

Gawd!  Why doesn't blogger make a scratch and sniff blog?!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Surprise Saturday visitor in the garden

Yesterday I was singing along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros quietly to myself in the back, potting up some seedlings when I felt a presence.  Thinking I had the whole world to myself, Denise from A Growing Obsession was standing right next to me!  What a nice and unexpected visit.  If only Denise was a neighbor on my block, just think of all the cups of sugar we could borrow.

I had been meaning to arrange another visit to her place and of course to pillage the garden for cuttings.  Well, Denise brought them to me.  A fist full of golden bay cuttings were thrust in my general direction.  What a friend.

Then I was escorted through my own garden to the front to see something else she'd brought me.  Now this would melt any gardener's heart. I had also mentioned I wanted a cutting of the Santolina 'Lemon Fizz',  but instead of cuttings she brought a whole plant potted in one of my favorite lines (Sedona) of ceramic pots!

I think it looks great.

Thanks Denise.  Drop by anytime.  :-)

Bay cuttings ready to root!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

plant of the week: Agastache 'Acapulco Salmon and Pink'

I remember the first time I met Agastache 'Acapulco Salmon and Pink', it was in England and I thought darn the English always get their hands on the best plants.  I had all but forgotten about it until last year when I saw a tight 4" plant sitting at the nursery.  I decided it deserved a trial in my new garden. 

Of course it conformed nicely to my color palette of salmons, pinks, apricot and the like.  For some reason I thought "well, it's blooming now and in a while I'll be cutting it back". That was not the case.  I think I planted it in May or June and it bloomed non stop until December.  What a doer!  I cut it back, and when the plant began to replenish itself, I decided to take cuttings to have a few more in the garden.  You see it has this frothy effect that I really like and one is enough but more is more.  

One thing I would like to mention here is that the plant looks delicate, and it is in some ways but not in others.  The stems are relatively brittle, but the plant didn't mind the 113 degree record heat we had last summer.

And!  This Agastache has a lovely but strong minty lemon fragrance. What's more you don't have to crush the plant to smell it, just a small caress will do the trick.

Can't wait to see the babies catch up with papa.  But by then I will probably decide there's too much. Repeat repeat repeat!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Plant of the week: Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'

Plant addiction is a serious disease, one that must be moderated if you want to survive.  So, I have developed a technique to retard the otherwise unfettered growth of my plant collections, that is being very skeptical.  And I'm more likely to try a plant that is very new to me than a cultivar of a plant I already know but have not had luck growing.  

In the past I have not been very impressed with the performance of Euphorbia x martinii in this climate. It always seemed as though it did better in places with a bit more winter chill.  But when I ran into Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' I began to wonder if I could make room for it in my collection. I purchased a plant and decided I would grow it as a container plant before I committed to giving it a permanent spot in the garden.  But it was beautiful enough to make its way into my pots on stands display.

I bought the plant for the foliage, which has lots of nice autumnal tones of yellow, orange and burnt orange.  Blooming well would be a nice bit of gravy.  Well, my gravy boat has come in.  The blooms (bracts) are variegated like the leaves are, and the effect is a golden luminous frothy display. AND... on top of that I thought wow I like this but then the display just keeps going. It must be going on two months or more with blooms.  Not that the plant keeps replenishing dying flowers but the original crop shows no signs of fading.  I thought they would be brown by now. And I've seen this plant in gardens while driving etc., it seems to be very consistent.

On a more silly note... how gay is the name Ascot rainbow?!  First of all you think of a man wearing an ascot, pretty fruity right? And then rainbow on top of that!  Kinda glittery name. It turns out the Ascot part comes from where the cultivar was discovered in Australia.  But still.

P.S. this photo does not do it justice, it was taken in the blazing sun.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the 10 freeway

While in Pacific Palisades again this afternoon I drove once past the Lake Shrine Temple.  A place which at once looks inviting and then like it requires an invitation.  But today I decided I would take my curiosity a step further.  Armed with my iphone I reconnoitered that I it was free to visit.  Pretty much that's all it takes for me, free.

I had a nice walk around.  Following along a wide shredded bark path I was impressed when I saw glimpses of a large pond (lake) with waterfalls and water jets. Further along is a large lawn area with a tall structure with golden lotus blossoms on top.  In this same area there is a shine devoted to Ghandi. Also around the pond are interesting structures such as a ship and a windmill cottage.  The overall feeling is of a more sophisticated miniature golf course (where you could meditate) with a bit of Disneyland thrown in and landscape style of Mimi's Cafe.

The Self Realization Fellowship center is one of many in California,  which are devoted to Yoga and which respect all faiths. Buddha and Jesus are represented in the garden.

It's worth stopping in if you are nearby. Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset, on your way to Malibu.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Afternoon break pot refresher

Took a quick break from office work this afternoon.  I didn't think to do a before shot but here's the after.  There was just Aeonium 'Cyclops' in this tall rectangular pot before I got started. Then I packed a few goodies in so they wouldn't get lonely. The tall pot looks pretty good with the addition (crammed) of Sedum and big Echeverias, don't ya think?