Thursday, December 23, 2010

It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day!!

Just in time to let us bolster ourselves in the garden before the next blast of rain comes in and Christmas arrives and more rain.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Garden Christmas Week

We got so much rain last night, just a steady downpour, that the paths were flooded all day.

The plants are all doing fine and the weeds are coming up looking just real healthy.  The rain is supposed to be heavy all week.  It would be great to get to those weeds before they get so big but it doesn't look like there will be an opportunity soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's up!

Many projects have been keeping me so busy, things that I have put off for years and can wait no longer.  The gardens have been left on their own for so long while I traveled and painted my heart out.  And the house had gotten to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore.  So......When we got back from our 7,000 mile trip through the US I was inspired to redo the large garden areas.  I turned the beds and added fertilizer and planted about 250 plants.  I enjoyed every bit of it and certain helped stimulate the economy!  The plants took off and were blooming before I ever expected them too, each plant is like a child to me.  I only lost 3 but am still mourning them, wondering what happened. 

 Then I tackled the house.  The biggest project was to have floors refinished.  For people that usually do projects themselves rather than call in outside help it was quite a change to have someone come in and refinish the livingroom floor, put in new hardwood floor in the dining/entry area. (A lot easier, too!  As we age this is the way to go!)  I did lay the new kitchen floor myself though.

Now we are finishing the last few things before Christmas.  The garden has been doing fine on its own.  The poppies are blooming still as well as assorted other of my baby plants.  It is going to be interesting when I try to figure out if I have any "self-seeded" to tell them from weeds, that is the question.  The weeds are starting up too and hopefully I will be able to get out and weed before they get too large!

And, maybe I will get a chance to paint before winter is over also!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Frost coming!

Well, we've had some rain and it has been warm until last night.  There are frost warnings for the whole San Francisco Bay Area through Thanksgiving.  Since I am in the process of tearing up my kitchen floor and shopping for a new refrigerator I didn't have time to do much to protect my baby plants last evening.  I did get out there and water them down though.  I was banking on the fact we are so close to the bay that we never have frosts like other parts of the area has.  I was lucky, the weather channel said we were to get down to 34 degrees but it only got to 37.  So, I still have some time to protect them before the worst frost comes before tomorrow morn!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Looking back!

So glad I started this blog when I did. Things in the garden are starting to slow down. It is getting cooler, we've had several sprinkley days. Things are growing slower with the shorter days. And it is hard sometime to realize all that has gone on in the garden since late July! Reading back in the blog it helps me appreciate all the work I put in on those hot days; all the compost turning and planting, turning all that dirt, hauling trash barrels full of prunings, and all those crazy 4 o'clock tubers!!

Speaking of those 4 o'clocks....I still am hoeing that flowerbed every other day keeping those guys from growing and taking the bed back! They grow so fast! you can almost see them rising from the dirt like something from the dead!!!.. (A little Halloween drama!)

I am still turning the compost every other day. The latest batches are almost done. I am waiting for the wysteria leaves to turn and drop. I will use them in the last compost batch of the year.

The deadheading has stopped. It is hard for me to wait to see it anything will be reseeded...and if there are some new plants, will I recognize them and not hoe them out?? And what is in store? Will the few winter frosts (if any) kill my little babies??!! Will the snail come out from wherever they are and eat everything?? Worry, Worry!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall is here!

The days are getting shorter, it is a getting much cooler in the mornings and a wee bit of rain here and there!

I have stopped deadheading, hoping for some reseeding to happen. It will be like magic to me if anything does reseed. When I have tried to plant seeds in the garden it never seems to come up. But maybe the plants know better on how to do it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two and a half months from starting new flowerbeds!

It has been overcast all day, we may have some rain tonight or tomorrow and for sure Sunday. Ah! a welcome break from heat and watering all my new plants. I really am amazed at how pretty the garden is after only 2 1/5 months since I was digging up this flowerbed!

Plein Air at Ardenwood Saturday

East Bay Artist are meeting at Ardenwood for painting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Centaurea gymnocarpa 'velvet centaurea'

Centaurea gymnocarpa 'velvet centaurea' leaves look almost exactly like Artemisia absinthium 'Powis Castle'!

A Beautiful October Day!

Cool, overcast till noon, then sunny! Love it.

I bought 3 more retaining blocks and finished the side flowerbed project!

AND!!.......My sister wants to check out Annie's Annuals. So tomorrow we are going up to have fun again!!! I am getting tired of planting and I am hoping that will help save the credit card!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall weather, at last!!

Ahhh, coolness, overcast, and a little rain!

and the narcissus are starting to bloom....

The new look of the Side Flowerbed

The retainer blocks are in place, although I do need to get 2 more to finish. These should hold the dirt up on the higher level without slipping.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Retainer Blocks

Yesterday I bought 15 blocks for the side flowerbed, figuring that is about all my little car could hold at one time. They are 28 lbs each. I was trying to keep the bender board to hold back the dirt from falling where the blocks go, but at the same time I am moving it back about 3-4 inches so there will be more room for the blocks. A couple of the plants were planted pretty close to the bender board and I don't want to move them.

Using the wagon I have unloaded all but 3 blocks. I put the first 6 in place, trying to keep them each at the right height. Rather difficult when working around all the baby plants. The muscles aren't hurting much but tonight and tomorrow morning I have grandkid track tournaments to attend and hills to climb so don't want to be aching for that. So... think I will be leaving the rest of the block laying for tomorrow afternoon. It is cooling off today too, so by tomorrow it should be nice weather for hard work!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Must be time to buy more plants!

Everything is planted, weeded, watered and ou-ed and awh-ed over!
It must be time to buy more plants!! But I am running out of planting space........but there is an area in the Little Garden Room that I think I am going to make into a rock garden/succulent area!

I am thinking I really need to get some more of those retainer blocks to bolster up where I have the bender board in the side flowerbed. I knew it was going to be a temporary set-up with the bender board but I had plants to plant and nothing gets in the way of that!

It is still hot but is to cool down tomorrow, can't wait!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yesterday's surprise!

I was in the "Little Garden Room" watering several plants in a flat that haven't been planted yet. Out crawls the prettiest little snake out of the ferns and along the top of the plants I was watering. He must have been thirsty because he seemed to be drinking water drops on a stem. He was about the diameter of a pencil, black background with 4 yellow stripes, 2 on each side of him going lengthwise down his body. When he had enough he just slid into the ferns.

I ran to get my camera but never did find him again.

It is hot again!

We have had several pretty warm days again and now we are going to scorch again! It was 72 degrees at 9:00 this morning. It is 81 in the shade 2 hours later! I was up early watering everything. Last go round some plants had their leaves fried! There is a hot light breeze too. It feels like the October that we had the Oakland fire. The hot breeze draws all the moisture out of the plants and the fire danger in the hills is very high.

Luke's Totally Awesome Rupert Goldberg

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Compost day! and a question!

6 wagon loads of compost is now in the veg. garden. And, the new compost is turned and the next batch is in line to be composted!

2 plants that are different but look close, but no tags! What are they?
Jen, do you know?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Side Flowerbed is done!

This morning I finished putting the edging on the brick path and cleaning up from all the work the last few days. And the Side Flowerbed is done! I had to put border fences up because our dog, Joe, wanted to lay in there.

Everything is watered and only one bed needs to be weeded.

Looking Good!

This morning I finished putting the edging on the brick path and cleaning up from all the work the last few days.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I planted 55 plants today!

I had to wait forever for it to get light enough to be able to get the Side flowerbed finished. It wasn't getting light at all till about 7:30 am. I have to say, the weather was great to do this job. A touch of a fall chill, overcast and a threat of rain! So different than a few days ago when it was so hot!.....The weather has been so changeable like this since the start of summer. I installed a bender board to create a 2-level bed. Then I had to level both levels to get ready for planting. The planting of about 55 plants was finished around 5 pm. A long day!

Anyhow, the planting of that flowerbed is done!

Tomorrow I have to clean up the paths, deadhead and weed the other beds. I also have some plants for the Little Garden Room to plant.

Now I'm going to go jump in the hot tub to sooth the muscles!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Plant's from Annie's Annuals

This morning I have been working on turning the soil in the Side Flowerbed. I should be done by tomorrow morning . Then the planting begins!

This is my list of plants from Annies:
3 Adenophora potaninii "Bush Ladybells"
3 Agrostemma gihago "Ocen Pearls"
5 Alonsoa meridonalis "Apricot"
4 Alonsoa meridonalis "Red"
3 Anagallis momellii "Blue Pimpernel"
2 Cheiranthus x Allioni "Siberian Wallflower" Orange
4 Eschscholzia californica "Apricot Chiffon"
7 Eschscholzia californica "Rose Chiffon"
1 Eschscholzia californica "Alba"
5 Nemophilia menziesii "Baby Blue Eyes"
3 Penstemon helerophyllus "Blue Springs
2 Plectranthus zuluensis
2 Tellima grandiflora "Fringe cups"
2 Verbascum hybrid "Southern Charm"
2 Verbascum chaixii "Album"
2 mimulus puniceus
1 clianthus puniceus "Parrot's Beak"
1 Hollyhock "Double Azalea"
1 Sideritis Orotenerifee "Canary Island White Sage
1 aeonium noble (succulent)
1 Lewisia cotyledon "White Splendor"
Anagallis monellii

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What a wonderfully fun day!!

We had so much fun today and we had to leave before the party began! We were the first ones there and they wouldn't let us in till a few minutes after 9!... Not even to peek, but we did anyway, peek that is. They were busy getting ready for the party, prettying every thing up and doing last minute deadheading just for us. The flower beds were beautiful as usual and we were so excited. We had only 2 hours and we were on a mission!!

Well, we proved we could do it!! I came home with 60 plants, Cathy had 30 and Jen had at least as many! We are true plant-aholics!

Tomorrow we start digging and planting. Thank heavens it is going to be cooler for the next few days!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Looking forward to tomorrow!

The Side Flowerbed in August, 2010.

I have the side flowerbed about 1/3 turned with manure. I thought I would be done by now but the heat really slowed the progress down.

Years ago we started some "4 o'clocks" from an old seed packet. They took forever to grow and it became a joke between my hubby and I. Then they got going, bloomed beautifully and then started reseeding like crazy! (They are the yellow flowers.) And over time they just did their thing. Well, after getting a little tired of pulling them out of the bricks in the path and lately all over the place, even the neighbor's yard, we got tired of them. So, when I started digging up the bed I was shocked to see that they have a tuber like thing for a root. Some of the are as big as a huge sweet potato! So it has really slowed me down with this area picking all those tubers out. And here I was just pulling up the stem for all this time!

A 4 O'Clock tuber:

So.....I won't be done with the flowerbed when I get home from Annie's Annuals big "planting party" and sale tomorrow. But, now that it has cooled off a lot I should be ready to plant by Monday!

The Side Flowerbed before starting to turn in manure in renewal of this bed. the white on the ground are manure bags:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How my garden does grow!

This is the Back Flowerbed a couple of months ago. I had finished digging in chicken manure in 2/3 of the flower bed. The background of the photo shows I still hadn't taken out all the penstemon. That was taken out and manure was added to the soil.

At this point, I had already planted my Lion's Tail (the orange in the center) and the silver dust (the white mound in the foreground and center right).

And look at it now!
I had not expected all my new little babies to bloom before spring so what a joy it has been as most of them have decided to have flowers for me already!
The only ones that haven't boomed are Aquilegia fragrant columbine and Ursinia anthemoides "Solar Fire".

Here are some in bloom now:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Changing seasons

It is beginning seem like forever since I've painted......The garden is looking like it will be ready for Winter and I am so looking forward to Spring! One more flowerbed to go and then the big patio area. We are starting to get caught up with the trash cans of cuttings. Our neighbor has been letting us use theirs too which is really helping. Currently we are 6 cans to go. Every week I do manage to fill one though. The pick up can holds 1.5 of our smaller cans so eventually......

We are currently experiencing another heat wave. Thank heavens they don't last long. We have about 2 more days of this. It is probably the last of the season. We usually get our first rain the week of Halloween and it is usually starting to get nippy in the evenings too. Good for the kids in their costumes....Unless they are a ballerina or something like that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Done with the big changes in the Little Secret Garden Room

The waterfall! Once the plants fill in the back area this area wil be finished.
Considering I worked with rock and stone we already had, I think it turned out well.

The patio is tightened up. It is still a small space but bigger than the old patio. We had lunch out there this afternoon and it was a very restful, serene place.

I have a few plants to plant in the planter. And Oct. 2, we are heading to Annie's Annuals and there will be more to plant when we get home. I am making a list and checking it twice!

The squirrels are still having fun!

The squirrels have REALLY enjoyed the sunflowers this year! If I would have known this secret to keeping them from eating our tomatoes I would have been planting sunflowers for years.

I just planted them this year as a whim, to have something covering a bit of the fence. I planted them just before we left in the first week of June on our "Slice of America" trip. It was just a surprise to me when we returned a month later that the squirrels hadn't been attacking even the green tomatoes like they usually had done every year. Instead, they were having a good old time jumping and frolicking up and down in the sunflowers! Then the sunflowers were ripening and they started tearing off the flower pod and depositing them all along the top of the fences. Finally the wind blows them off after they have eaten all the seeds. Meanwhile, the sunflowers look pretty mangled.

This is a section of the squirrels pantry.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This morning I had fun at Reagan's Nursery, Fremont, CA. They had a sale 30% off. Just in time for me to fill in my Little Garden Room's water area. Again, I am yearning to see the plants grown and fill in!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Take 3

This morning I redid some of the stones, and added some more of the flagstone and the small stones. There are still more small stones to add but I am basically happy the way it is. When the plants are planted and grown I think it will look fine. Now to decide on the plants and then to get them.

In the meantime, I have to finish the patio area and around the patio

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Take 2

Ok, take 2. Saturday, I lowered the waterfall, redid the rocks (putting the biggest on the sides), and added some flagstone (because I ran out of original round sandstone rocks). The color of the 2 kinds of rock are similar so surprisingly it doesn't look bad. The flagstone adds interesting water flow. I added some more medium size rocks. There is still more flagstone to add and also medium and small rocks before being done. I am worried a bit about how to hide the actual waterfall reservoir. I am thinking I can put some flagstone around it, we will see.

Haven't been able to work on the project since then so tomorrow will get something done.

I have also been looking into what kind of plants to put at the back the the water features. Reagan's Nursery had a sale of 30% off on water plants last weekend...I wonder if it still on, may check on it tomorrow.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dirt and Rocks!!!!

I dug a hole to house the pump for my pondless waterfall. Thank heavens it wasn't rocky in that area.

Then I realized what I really already knew...The pond just had to be moved to a more prominent spot. So, I dug a hole for the new location for the pond. I was thankful it is a small pond and not real deep. It was a little harder to dig out because it was where the old nectarine tree had been so there were quite of few roots to cut.
Great, I got the pond level and everything works

Then I did a first take on the waterfall. I know it is going to take several tries before I am happy with the laying of the rocks for the waterfall. This try showed me that I am going to have to be creative with rock. For all the rock I have, it is not quite enough. I had to use most of the middle size rocks around the pump area. I have quite a bit of the next size down and then there is the pea-gravel size.
The two big ones in the front certainly need to be moved. I am going to try some flat sandstone for the actual waterfall area. Hope it looks ok with all the rounded sand stone rocks.

I have to take a couple of days off though....the body needs to recover from moving all the rocks yesterday! I feel every bit the senior citizen this morning! The house needs cleaning and then as I take breaks to rest the aches and pains I will be researching plants for my pond area. We are headed to Annie's Annuals Oct 2nd. I'm saving my allowance!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Laying the Patio in the Little Garden Room

The other day I laid the blocks for the planter box on the back side of the greenhouse and filled it with compost.

All the compost of weeds and branches that had been in the hole from the old pond was removed. I finished filling the hole with dirt from the garden. I had to remove big rocks that had formed a path next to the pond. Then I filled those holes in and leveled the whole thing.

Then I moved the bricks from the patio on the other end to form the new patio area.

I am not finished with the patio but need to go on to next steps so all will fit together. This photo shows the new planter box and patio. Some of the rocks are sitting back there at the edge of the patio.

This is the same area from the opposite direction. In the background is where I took the bricks from.
From that far end today I laid out where the new path will go.

Another view of the area I took the bricks from. See, more rocks! You can see my "little girl", the statue near the chair. She is part of a fountain at my tiny pond. I went to home depot to see if they had a spillway for a waterfall to try to improve how she is sitting in the pond.....unfortunately they didn't have any that would work .......BUT, they had this "pondless waterfall kit in this dilapidated, torn box for $30. A real bargain so, I bought it after checking if everything was there. Couldn't resist. I love water in the garden. Now to figure out how to put it in so it looks ok. Those blocks in the shade of the closed umbrella are my props to figure out how and where I am going to locate it. And what am I going to do with those rocks. They are sandstone with "bubble holes" in them, mostly roundish and not very distinguished.
After I get this all in, then the plant selection begins. This area gets partial sun and is usually pretty hot.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Working on the Garden Room

The blocks on the bottom of the photo is where a pond was a year ago. The pond liner developed a leak and it was taken out. Instead of just leaving a hole there I used it as a compost container. I filled it with leaves and greenery. I have decided to change things so...
I had to remove the compost because I have decided to move my little patio in the Garden Room to this spot. I filled the hole with 10 wagon loads of dirt from the garden.
Here the hole is filled with dirt and the garden blocks on the left are laid out for a planter box I am going to use for tuberous begonias. There are a large stones on the right side that were a path. I will be moving them to the other side of the Garden Room. From that side........
This is the other part of the Garden Room. The brick patio there will be moved to where the old pond used to be. The stepping stones, literally stepping rocks will be moved over here.
Just an update on the Back Flowerbed...
And thought I would just throw in a photo of the geraniums in the patio flowerbed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shakespeare Festival, Day 2

Shakespeare Village

A little lesson in fencing.
Donna's new little "puppy in training" for Guide Dog for the Blind. Puppy's name is Loraine.