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California and Native Plants

by Lorraine on July 15, 2011

As I open my front door each morning and take a peek outside to see how the day is looking, I wonderful fragrance of sage wafts around me.   The sages have just about finished blooming and in particular this year, they all grew to become quite large as they gorged upon  the rain that fell during our very wet winter.

They were absolutely spectacular with all the the branches covered in flowers that lasted for weeks.   The shades were from the deepest blue, to pale pink and of course white.   I would cut some branches and bring them inside to enjoy them while the bloom lasted.   What a display this year we have had  and now it’s ending as we move into another season.

Sigh…there is never a day that I regret having my garden and it’s the one place that I can retreat to when I need to simply ground myself and reconnect with nature, even if it is only in my front yard.

We have had only a few hot days so far, but typically in southern California the hottest months of the year are August and September and if we have the seasonal Santa Ana winds in the fall, the heat will continue.   And that used to be considered our brush fire season, but that now seems to include the entire year as the climate is changing.

My garden put on a spectacular show of flowers this past spring, especially the penstemons, Woolly Curls and of course the poppies.   But there were also are native Iris, Monkey Flowers and the ceanothus.   The garden was a wash in various shades of blue, with yellow and butter scotch shades emanating from the Monkey Flowers and the Channnel Island Poppy bush.

And that is only a very brief list of the entertainers.   There were many more particpants in the celebration of spring and I hope they won’t be offended if I leave them off the credits here on the blog.

Now the Fuchsias are just starting to bloom and along with their beautiful silvery foliage they will fill the eye with delight.  I particularly enjoy looking at them late in the day as the sun is setting because they  postively  shine in the receding light with their orangey-red glow.

As I open my door each morning, there is the fragrance of sage.   As I open my door each morning, there is a new beginning.   And as I open my door every morning, there is the delight and appreciation for my own life and that of nature.

What is out your door?



by Lorraine on March 2, 2011

Okay, at last…this will be my first attempt of posting some video that I shot of my garden last month and hopefully I won’t mess things up here and I will do it correctly without too much trauma.

My garden is constantly changing each day and for a while, we had some very warm weather that triggered many plants to bloom too soon.   Then we became swamped in several rainstorms and then after that, the temperatures dropped so low that we had even a wee bit of snow.

Needless to say, all of these weather changes have caused confusion for not only my garden but for all kinds of plants and crops.   The good news for farmers who grow stone fruits, is that at least the cold weather would be good for their production but for plants that have bloomed out of their normal cycle, it could be damaging.

But, I guess I don’t really know.  However  for my garden that is filled with native plants from California, there’s been quite a bit of confusion, lately.   Bulbs were coming up and as a matter of fact some of the native Irises in my garden were sending out shoots, but not now.  Frost in the mornings put an end to that attempt to show off.

But more on that in a later post because I want to see if I can manage to a share a video that I did at the end of February of the garden. At that time the Ceanothus and Monkey Flowers were blooming and so was the Howard McMinn manzanita. 

Plus, there is a brief appearance of Theo, too!   Note his beautiful blue eyes…and his jaunty harness!

The manzanita’s flowers have since turned brown because of the freezing temperatures but the Ceanothus, Monkey Flowers, Channel Island Poppies, continue to bloom.   And there are even a few California Poppies starting to put on their show.

Well, it seems that I can’t load the video, because it exceeds the allowable size for my web site.   Drat!   Back to the drawing board, but I will learn how to do this.


Valentine’s Day in a Native Garden

by Lorraine on February 14, 2011

While lover’s are sharing expressions of “love” and romance on what is “officially” the one day of the year to do so (Why not show your love everyday?), I am digging in the garden and moving some plants around.

Gardening is an expression of “love” that doesn’t entail the typical emotional dramas that far too often occur between human lovers but more of something that comes from being united with nature and observing where you fit into the natural world.

Just like lovers, there are disappointments, such as  when a plant dies or frankly it just doesn’t have the personality that you were hoping would enhance your garden, but you get over it, unlike being hurt or betrayed by someone you thought  loved you….

Those kind of hurts can take months to recover from….but a betrayal by a plant?   lolo…no drama in that.   It just ends up in the mulch pile and continues it’s evolution as it breaks down and eventually becomes potential energy for other life.

Yes, today is a beautiful, lovely, caressing day of emotion that pulls upon my heart.   The garden is filled with new blossoms, the fragrances of the Saliva’s puts me in mind of being out on a trail, hiking for the day and makes me feel quite happy.  Birds are swooping in and of of the garden on their individual missions to find nesting material for their house plans and wooing their own “Valentine” avian lovers…..

However, my garden is my “lover” and one that accepts me unconditionally regardless of my mood or frame of mind and it continuously provides me with the nurturing and love that we all need.  Just a little attention from me and it thrives and provides a place of retreat in our busy daily lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all Gardners and nature!


California in January & Native Gardens

by Lorraine on February 1, 2010

A California day in January that is perfect in its beauty.   Well, at least in my garden.   The day feels tranquil and lazy, very quiet and peaceful causing me to feel unmotivated to do anything although I did walk earlier in the day.

With the recent rains we have had in California, the options of enjoying my garden have been limited although I am always surveying it every morning, looking for anything that may need my attention.   Such as the recent gopher and mole invasion.   A “first” for the garden but they didn’t do any damage other than eating a few of the poppies that have sprung up.

Given the nature of poppies to proliferate, I wasn’t particularly concerned about losing a few of them to these annoying pests but I certainly didn’t want them to take over the garden, either and cause any further damage.

My method to make it unattractive, is to take several portions of cat pee clumps from the gang’s litter box and drop them down into the marauder’s hole.   Within hours the hole is back filled and they seen to disappear.  I haven’t had any more intrusions from them since I delivered their smelly gifts and hopefully, they will not return.

I don’t consider myself a “cat lady”, although some of my friends my disagree behind my back. But I somehow managed to end up with four cats, the most recent one being Theo.   You would think with this many cats, there wouldn’t be a gopher around but they are all too lazy and fat and more concerned about having their “tuna time” than catching any gophers or moles.

Theo was abandoned, dumped, thrown away and he is really amazing.   He’s very much like a person, a total love and that means he is enormously friendly with everyone he meets.  That is not necessarily a good thing, as I saw him trailing behind a woman who had stopped to admire my garden.

Theo napping in the warm sun.

Theo napping in the warm sun.

I had to intervene to prevent him wandering off because I think he would have kept following her.   The upshot of this, was that she and I had a very nice conversation about my landscaping and the use of native plants and she has signed up at my new social networking site for lovers of nature.

She said that she takes walks on her lunch break and loves to come by my house to admire the garden.   I had to chuckle when she said to me how often she has felt, that someone very special must live there!  What a lovely compliment that was so unexpected and totally surprised me!

She doesn’t know the “real” me….I’m only kidding.   I think I am a pretty decent person.  Who else would put up with four cats and no vacations?

She continued her walk and Theo remained with me and I returned back to working inside the house.  Now, about that!   I finally have a laptop and I can sit outside in the garden and not miss a thing going on.    Such as right now.   There’s  some glare on the screen, so there are some disadvantages but I’m so much happier being outside then confined to the interior of the house.

The Ceanothus is starting to bloom with beautiful royal blue flowers and so is the Bush Daisy and many of the WoollyCurls/Trichostema lanatum, one of my favorite plants.   The Channel Island Poppy has bloomed continuously by putting out brilliant yellow disks of flowers all winter long.

Its a peaceful and hypnotic day in the garden.   Just another lovely January in California and enjoying my native plants.