From the monthly archives:

January 2009

Blue Eyed Grass and Scarlet Monkey Flower

by Lorraine on January 27, 2009

A few days ago I discussed what was currently blooming in the garden but I didn’t have any pictures to share at the time.   I mentioned that the Blue Eyed Grass and a Scarlet Monkey Flower were blooming and I’ve since taken a couple of pictures of them to post.

The Monkey Flower is in a container and seems to be doing very well in it’s location.   I really enjoy it’s vibrant orange-red color and needless to say, so do the Hummingbirds, as they visit it on a regular basis.

Scarlet Monkey Flower

Scarlet Monkey Flower

This is the only one that I have right now but I do have other varieties of Monkey Flowers in the garden.   None of them are blooming at this time but I know that within a month or two they probably will be.

The ones in the garden are either orange or yellow and they bloomed from Spring right up into Summer last year, until it became too hot.  I”m looking forward to seeing how many flowers they will have this year because they have grown larger since I originally planted them and should put on quite a show.

Here’s a photo of one of the Blue Eyed Grass plants.   I’m guessing that I have about 25 of them either near the walkway and scattered in other parts of the garden.   I love the soft violet color and the flowers are on long stems and tend to bloom for a long period of time.

Blue Eyed Grass

Putting in my garden was a large expense for me but having it to enjoy everyday, has been priceless.   With all the difficulties that people are experiencing at this time, at least I have the opportunity to go into my garden and temporarily tune out the world’s difficulties.


Native Garden Respite

by Lorraine on January 25, 2009

My life has been a bit stressful lately with trying to keep up with the many things that I do and the best place to unwind is in the garden.  We’ve had a bit or rain the last few days and the garden looks so happy about that!  I know, I know an anthropomorphic statement.

I sat outside for a bit, relaxing and seeing what’s sprouting…lot’s of seedlings from last year’s wildflowers and enjoying the blue, green and gray colors of the foliage.   A number of plants have started to bloom due to the previous warm weather and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, as we could still get some frost.  And all those seedlings are going to be a problem because they will smother the garden if I allow them to grow.

I’m gradually pulling them out as I see them, but it’s like trying to hold back invading Mongols.  Letting them grow isn’t an option and I have to remove them before they get too large and difficult to pull out.

I will be posting more current comments about the garden and also my adventures with the Forest Service, soon, as I’m lagging in posting regularly but always determined to do it. 

The Sespe Wilderness is beautiful and I’ve been doing my volunteer trail work with them every month for three years.   This coming Sat. is where I’ll be and very happily so!   Nothing like hiking boots, good friends, streams, wildlife and hard work.

But today, I’m going to post something from last Summer, actually June about my experience (Or lack of) with irrigation.

What I know about irrigation.   Not much!  I’m running four lines of  drip system and have since found out that this is no longer the recommended method for watering.  NOW I FIND OUT!   Oh well….too late to switch it all out.

Apparently mini sprinklers are now the preferred method of irrigation for native plant gardens.   Bart O”Brien discussed this briefly at the Salvia class that I attended earlier this year and he said that the Santa Ana Botanical Gardens are using them instead of the drip lines.

He feels that it’s better because with using drips, you can’t be sure if the plant(s) are getting enough water until it’s possibly, too late.   In other words, the plant(s) is dead.

For me, irrigation is a big irritant.  It seems that every time that I turn on one of the lines, there’s some sort of blow out with one of the emitters.  Today was no exception!  I don’t dare leave the house when one of the lines is running, due to the fear that if  an  emitter decides to misbehave while I’m gone, I will find a mini version of Old Faithful spewing water all over the garden and sidewalk upon my return.

I will be taking a class on irrigation that is scheduled at the Theo. Payne Foundation and hopefully I will learn enough as a novice to know what to do and what system is best to use.  I’m confused on this topic and I’m sure that there is no one single answer.

Like life, everything is complicated, isn’t it?



by Lorraine on January 18, 2009

Now that there are more things blooming in the garden, I’ve noticed that a few Hummingbirds have returned.   Once the Fuchsias had stopped flowering (which was a favorite of the Hummingbirds), they moved on and out of my garden in search of their meals, elsewhere.

I have a single Scarlet Monkeyflower (Scrophulariaceae) in a container in my sitting area.   With the warmer weather it has started to bloom and now the Hummingbirds are back.   What’s most amusing and makes me laugh, it that one of my chairs is right next to it and yesterday while I was sitting there, a little furious female Anna’s Hummingbird came right up to my face, as if to tell me that I was in her way and then started to suck the nectar from the Monkey Flower plant.

I swear, her wings created a breeze against me!   She was only about 12″ from my side and I could look down on her as she fed and see her shiny iridescent green feathers.   She was so beautiful and delightful.  What fun having a garden is……

I also have a Fire Cracker plant in a container by the front door and they are going for that one, too.  Sorry, but I don’t have the botanical name for it but it’s quite pretty with orange, tubular flowers on it.

Today I completed planting a few Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) and one sage that needed to be replaced due to an “accident”.   The weather has been so beautiful and Spring-like but not normal.   I’m hoping that we will be getting rain in the coming months.   California desperately needs it.

I will take some photos of the Blue Eyed Grass and the Scarlet Monkey Flower and post it soon.   I still need to add comments from last Summer and also some of my hikes with the Forest Service.

{ 1 comment }

A New Year in the Garden

by Lorraine on January 16, 2009

It seems as though all of my good intentions to write consistently have been to no avail.   I guess that’s because daily life (read job and yes, I’m glad that I have one) have kept me busy as well as the Holidays.

I still have posts from last summer that I want to add but I also want to give the latest news about my garden.   It’s beautiful!   What else can I say?   Even during the winter months it always pulls me into it’s tranquil embrace. 

Typically there is something that is always in bloom and one of those plants is the Wooly Blue Curl.   The one plant that supposedly is very difficult to grow but for some reason, I’ve had pretty good luck with most of the ones that I put into the garden.

I’m noticing that the India Mallow plants seem to be going into another stage of blooming and I also have some bulbs coming up, too.   I’m guessing that all of this is happening because of the unusually warm weather we’ve been having here in S. CA.

Normally, January and Feb. are the rainiest (Is that a word?) time of the year and it’s colder, too.   But not this year.   I’m hoping that we will still get bunches of rain which will of course, make all of those wild flower seeds I scattered in my backyard and down the street, bust out in blossoms.

I read the other day, that the City of Los Angeles is considering water rationing.   Southern Calif. is really in big trouble.   Not enough of a snow pack in the Sierras, which means not enough water for Southern California.

The big lawns have to go and as far as I’m concerned, so do the golf courses.   Boy, I’m in trouble now, aren’t I? 

All those golfers will be out to get me.   LOL!


New Years Day

by Lorraine on January 5, 2009

As usual, I’m finding it difficult to believe that a year has just disappeared, again.   Boy, it’s quite a reminder for me not to waste anytime in moving forward in my personal goals but to keep focused and not distracted.

The garden certainly isn’t concerned about the fact that a year has passed since its inception, as it just growing and developing into a place of beauty and refuge.  If gardens were able to think, I guess their only concern would be water and pests and luckily for mine, that isn’t an issue.  The gophers seem to be spending their time in my backyard, not the front.

I spent New Years day in it and as usual for the New Year here in southern California, it was beautiful.   When the football game ends at the Rose Bowl and the television camera pulls back, showing the San Gabriel Mountains and how beautiful it is here in the Winter, I just know that every person who’s dealing with snow in other parts of the country, wants to move here.

Typically, New Years Day is clear with beautiful skies but trust me, smog is a very big issue.   There are some days when it would be difficult to see the mountains and the San Garbriel Valley can be very hot in the summer.  But if you happen to be tuned in on the Game, you’d think that, that’s the way it is all the time.

New Years Day in the Evening

New Years Day in the Evening

I love being in the garden and for the day, I just did some trimming here and there and pulled out some of the small poppy plants that have come back like weeds.   I have learned that seeding poppies wasn’t such a great idea for the garden and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.   They have come back in spades and I’ve found some seedlings in the dry stream bed and in areas where I don’t want them to grow.

I love their orange color and they are the state flower, but I can see that they can be a problem with their aggressive and invasive behaviour.   Some are even coming up in the cracks in the sidewalk but I don’t think they will last long in such a spot.  They won’t get any water there unless it rains and I’m not going to be helping them out because I don’t want them to spread!

I can see it all now.   The entire neighborhood will become covered in poppies.   Maybe that won’t be so bad, huh?