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Protecting the Garden: A Dog’s Tale

May 29, 2016

Awakened by a noise, the sleeping dog jolted. He sat erect and stiff with a low growl in his throat. His head jerked to the right. Something in the shadows had moved. The dog lunged across the grasses and ran into the jungle like the wolfdog in his dreams.

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He followed an unfamiliar scent and treaded around the bottlebrush, rustling the foliage. Delicate red spikes dropped, sticking to his fur. A hummingbird dived in for nectar. The dog growled at the intrusion and tuned away.

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He sniffed along a path between Santa Barbara Daisies

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and whimsical Love-in-a-Mist.

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The dog, still a wolfdog in his mind, confidently moved alongside the butterfly bushes, purple clusters dangling over hydrangea blooms.

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Bored, he settled among the shadows and guarded the jungle entrance, satisfied his courage and colossal statue had banished the unseen intruder.

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Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp.): full sun; zones 5-10, spring bloomer, attracts butterflies

Dwarf Callistemon (bottlebrush): full sun, zones 8-9, 12-24, spring bloomer, draught tolerate

Santa Barbara Daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus): full sun/light shade, zone vary by species, annual, blooms spring – fall

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascene): sun-partial shade, all zones, annual, blooms late spring/early summer, reseeds

Hydrangea: full sun on coast, partial shade inland, zone vary by species, late spring/late summer/early fall

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One of the Best Blogging Days

May 8, 2016

One of the best blogging days is when I get to wish all the wonderful Moms around the world

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Happy Mother’s Day.

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A Rose Bed, a Garden, the Most Beautiful Places

April 25, 2016

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Touring gardens is a great way to discover what you don’t like and what you want to implement in your own yard. Here’s a garden that I recently visited.

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Twilight Zone Grandiflora

 

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Chicago Peace Hybrid Tea

 

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Challenge Creates a Beautiful Reveal

April 11, 2016

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Rain was expected through Friday evening, and since I didn’t have the proper material I placed a patio furniture cover over my peony plant. There were over a dozen buds and three blossoms. Too much downpour can cause developing buds to wilt and die, which happened last year.

Peonies are my favorite flower. Waiting and watching the tiny buds mature into stunning saucer-size ruffles is like anticipating a beautiful flower delivery. But keeping my peony under cover too long was a concern. Plants need light and sun, and circulation.

Saturday, it rained all day and into the night. I stood on the front porch and listened to droplets settle on black plastic, concrete, and surrounding plant life. It was a welcome sound in California where the drought is grim. Everything was wet. Water ran from the downspouts. Cottontails, robins, blue jays and doves were tucked out of sight like my peony.

I decided I would uncover the plant on Sunday, even if it was raining. In the morning, I looked outside into the early faint light. The earth was soaked, but the sky had stopped crying.

Gently, I lifted the black plastic and squealed for Iron Man, who was nearby, to come quickly.

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Many of the buds had bloomed beneath the warm cozy cover. Layers of bright white ruffles looked up at us unharmed.

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It was one of those moments when you’re a young girl again and the doorbell rings. You answer and no one’s there, but below is a beautiful bouquet of flowers addressed to you. Just for you.

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The Fever Has Begun

April 1, 2016

If you haven’t had the urge yet to mosey through your local nurseries, the fever should hit you any day now. Where I live, frost is still a possibility so I am looking only at color spots. Here are five beauties that stood out above the other blooms at OSH and Green Acres.

 

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Above and below

Ranunculus: tubers or perennials; all zones; full sun;

1.5 feet tall

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Nemesia: perennials and annuals; zones vary by species;

full sun


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Gerbera Daisies: annual and perennial; zones 10-11;

6-12 inches tall; full sun; part shade in hottest areas


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Dahlia Hypnotica Orange: tuberous-rooted perennials;

all zones; full-part sun; 15-19 inches tall

 

All of the above are suitable for growing in containers.

Do you have a favorite?

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Masses around the Oak

March 9, 2016

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A few years ago, I bought one or two Chrysanthemum paludosum. Now I have tenfold. Chrysanthemums are self-sowers, and each year I look forward to a new crop,  late winter – early summer. Last year I decided it would be pretty to have a solid mass growing around the oak tree. (Chrysanthemums are drought tolerant, therefore compatible to the oak.)

When it was time to remove the 12-18-inch annuals, I simply shook the uprooted plants wherever I wanted them to germinate. I actually heard the seeds falling to the ground like wooden rain sticks.

When this year’s crop dries up, I plan to do the same. What fun, and how beautiful it will be to have a solid mass of Chrysanthemums circling the entire oak tree!

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Growing Tips:

USDA Zone 9a – 11

Deer resistant

Great fillers for garden beds, containers, and baskets and as borders

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Bloom Time Depends on Zone and Microclimate:

Late Spring – Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer – Early Fall

Mid Fall

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Mustard

March 1, 2016

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“Out of each wintry season

it happens again and again.

That yellow mustardy growth,

a photographer’s gold,

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signals sunny days ahead

over hills and fields and country roads.

A smidgen before spring

it happens again and again.

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Wild and free producing yields,

that warmth, that sunny glow

paints the earth mustardy yellow

where fallow grasses grow.” –016 DMA

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For a fun read on Mustard history and more, check out Eat the Weeds

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