Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Bloomin' Jade

A step outside my door (the only one in my little cottage) and a few steps along my garden walk will bring you to one of the bloomers this time of year.  My jade trees. Since it doesn't freeze here, they grow and grow and grow.  If given enough water, their leaves are fat and juicy. Since I plant shade-loving plants like ferns and cyclamen under them, they get plenty of water.  It's a lovely walk down my garden path with plants peeking out from under the jade trees.

They are like any succulent. They have small root systems. With my generous watering, they can grow more than five feet high. One winter when the heavy rains came, I had quite a surprise. My jade trees started to fall over. The ground was too wet, their heads too heavy.  The first one fell into my doorway.  I opened my door to check on the heavy rain and there it lay. It gave a real jolt of pain to see one of my friends uprooted and laying the ground.  That winter at least two more fell.  It was an unexpected change to my garden path. I had to rethink my garden that spring.

 I am a bit more experienced with the nuances of the jade tree.  It needs to be well pruned, under four feet.  Otherwise, the soft soil of the winter rains bring them down.  I've had others to fall since that first winter. I want to keep the rest for the shade they offer to my garden plants and for the beautiful white flowers they bring in winter.

Their blossoms look like little white stars. So bright, so light on gloomy winter days. And the fat, luscious leaves are contrast to the blossoms well-worth waiting a year for.

Jade with fern and amaryllis leaf

When they are at the height of their bloom, the petals and pistils turn a light shade of pink, reflecting the blossoms' stems of reddish hue.  The edges of the jade leaves join in the melody of red at the edges of their leaves.  Such a wonderful climax to the bloom-time.

This part of the bloom bush is almost gone by. The blossoms are drying up and fading away, while some others are still in bud to give a refreshing look at more white stars.

Already in December there were masses of buds and some blooms. I crept out of my sick bed to take some photos.  If you look into the blur on the right of the photo you can see the blooms still green, deep within their bud-beds.

Still nascent blooms beside the open stars.  This is my favorite time of their bloom, when there is so much promise in all the buds soon to become white stars.

I am at last recuperating from the flu.  As with those nasty bugs, they linger far longer than they are welcome.  But my body is playing a fugue.  When one illness/problem goes away, another emerges in similar theme. different voice. I now have frozen shoulder syndrome, a very painful condition of the shoulder that affects the whole arm and limits range of motion.  Thus, I am not able to post or comment as much as I used to. Please forgive me.  I miss my blogging hours, which I now have to limit to every few days.  Hopefully this fugue will end soon and I can begin a new healthy body oboe sonata.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Roses

As I emerge from the cocoon of my sick bed, I notice the roses blooming in all the gardens. I could see them blooming through my windows as I lay sick. I even crept out from under my covers once to take some photos.  They are a joy this time of year. They will be pruned soon to make the plants strong for their splendiforous bloom in spring. So now to enjoy them.

First Prize

and it's sun-dried version

The blaze of bright orange waved to me from the yard and I followed it as it budded and slowly opened.




Peony rose opens

Peony rose fully open


Peace rose

Peace rose and Calamagrostic acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' grass

Monday, December 7, 2009

Flu Season Here

I'm sorry I've not been in blog-world for a few days. I have the flu and will be back as soon as I am up to it. Greetings to all my blog friends. Stay well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Muse Day- December

Night-blooming Cereus

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting---
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

- Mary Oliver

For more Muse Day posts see Carolyn at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blue on Blue

My first 78 record was Blue on Blue when I was a teenager. I was never really fond of the song, but will never forget the title. Bobby Vinton was singing a song about having the blues.  And this post is about the blues, but in my garden, inspired by Kiki at Awake with Charm and Spirit.

First a huge thank you to two wonderful bloggers who have given me the best blog award.

I received it from Noelle at Plants Tips and Guidelines for the Desert Garden and from The Violet Fern.  Am I lucky or what. I am a great fan of both blogs. Do go and visit them. I love so many blogs that I will defer to others to list the best blogs. They've done such a good job.

Now for the blue in the garden. I have a variety of flowers and other garden structures in the garden that are blue. I'll start with the plants first.

Blue Glory Bower

Morning Glory


Plumbago ceratostigma

Some of favorites are blue gray, like the succulents.


Now into the things non-plant. Lots of blue pots, one of which if pictured below.

Echeveria in Blue Ceramic pot

My short blue picked fence

In general, I love blue, so have to hold myself back so that I do not paint all the wicker chairs blue. I'm due to repaint some of my flower pots blue. I really enjoy blue as an accent and flower in my garden.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Roses

All roses found at LA Arboretum















Friday, November 20, 2009

LA Arboretum: Trees

I love the strength and stature of a tree.  They are the old and wise beings of the plant world. As they grow older their beauty shines in a new way. Some of the Arboretum trees had this sort of beauty.

Pink or Silk Floss Tree

Underneath this tree you can see young peacock fowl. This Ceiba speciosa belongs to the same family as the baobob and is originally from South America.  Being drought resistant it does particularly well in Southern California.  The bark is very unusual with very large and stout thorns adorning it.


Right now it has pink flowers.  Later in the year these flowers will become large pods from which silk floss will fall. This is how it gets its name. Now for the flowers, which shed such a beautiful shadow of pink on the ground.


Ginkgo biloba tree

This tree's leaves are beginning to turn in autumn's coolness.  This tree is unusual, as it has no living relatives, all others being extinct.   It's extinct relatives can still be found as fossils. It originated in China. It leaves bear a resemblance to the leaflets of the maidenhair fern, giving it the common name, Maidenhair Tree.


The leaves look beautiful in the early stages of gaining their autumn color on the outer edge of each leaf. Perfect symmetry!!

There were other trees showing signs of autumn in the Arboretum, mostly maples.


A glorious abundance of gold against the blue sky. Such colors fill our souls in autumn.

I couldn't leave out my favorite tree, the paper-white birch.  This far south they are small, but treasured sights.

The silver glow of the bark never fails to inspire me. When I lived in Russia, I was able to see many large specimens of this tree in the forest.  Russians love this tree and write many folk songs about it.