Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Once Upon a Time


This was in 1996 (or 1997) in our backyard at our first home together. We had an awesome view of San Francisco Bay and, behind the Husband and all that greenery, of San Francisco.

It had been about 20 years since either of us lived in a house. What a luxury that was. No flights of stairs to carry groceries, packages, or laundry. Open the front door and sit on an actual porch. Until sound walls were built by the freeway a few miles below us, we heard no traffic. And, we had a huge backyard with nothing in it so we could transform it into anything we wanted. Yes, definitely a wonderful first home for us to get used to each other.

Doesn't the Husband look cute? In college, he was given the nickname "Farmer Dick" by his friends. Not because he was a farmer, but because he wore overalls a lot.  (That's another thing the Husband and I had in common when we were young.)  He makes a handsome farmer, the Husband does, so I say.

I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Transplanting Roses

I'm tired. Satisfyingly, though.

My left knee is growing stiffer by the second, as are my shoulders and hands. I'm fine with that. I accomplished my goal today before it started raining. For about four hours I've been digging holes by the back fence for roses which I transplanted from pots  (the orange roses, for instance) and from the middle of the banana plants. I've always wondered what the Mama had planted first, the banana plants or the roses.

All the transplanted roses began as cuttings that the Mama stuck in the dirt. Whenever she trimmed her roses, she'd propagate a few branches, so who knows what generation the roses are that I stuck into the ground today. If you're interested, here's an old post about the Mama's roses.

I also have a bucket of rose cuttings, which, if my body doesn't protest and it's not raining too awfully much, I'll put them into the ground tomorrow. Rose cuttings don't grow for me in pots. Mostly because I forget they're there. Unlike the Mama, flowers have a better chance of living if they're in the ground. We shall see if that includes roses. Now, it's time for me to ice my knee and think about making Cream of Mushroom soup for dinner.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Blooming Blooms Bloom

Despite the cold temperatures and lack of rain, the first of the wildflower blooms have appeared in the front yard. This morning, Molly the Cat and I saw a cosmos (upper left corner), lupine (upper right corner), and California poppy (lower right corner). They're all volunteers from last year's plantings.

Also presenting itself is the first freesia (lower left corner) of the season. Not sure, but I think they're from bulbs that got planted last fall. These flowers have a light fragrance. Mmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Yesterday & Today in the Front Yard

The other day I came across these photos of the Mama's front yard in 2010. Neat and proper, how the Mama loved her gardens and landscaping to be. A philosophy that differs from mine, which is essentially a higgledy-piggledy one, although you might say that there is order in chaos.

It has been almost two years since I've taken over the Mama's gardens and landscaping. Flowers have gotten out of hand. The canna lilies, for example, were winning in their plot to take over the front garden so I dug out most of the bulbs and transplanted many elsewhere last month. The Mama's rosemary bushes, on the other hand, are getting straggly in a way that I wonder if they may be on their last legs.

The Mama's roses got rather tall. Some nearly reached the roof. She deadheaded them, but after someone mentioned how tall the roses were, she was no longer interested in cutting them back. So I thought. Now I wonder if was because it was too difficult for her to prune them and she didn't want to ask me to do it for her. Here's a link to the story about the Mama and her tall roses.

At the end of December, I got brave and pruned the roses back. They're still on the tall side. Here's how the front and side gardens looked yesterday. Notice how full the bougainvillea and jade plants have gotten near the front door. I suppose I ought to trim them for easier access to the front step.

As some of you may know I've written previously about how the Mama loved having a lawn. Green and plush, which was difficult those last several years of her life because we were in a horrible drought. We were limited to our water use, so the Mama had to choose: the lawn or her vegetable and flower gardens. She settled for the Husband watering the lawn sparsely, but there was usually evidence that she had watered the lawn when we had gone off for the afternoon. Here's the Mama's lawn in 2010.

And, here's a picture of what the ever evolving landscape looked like last month. Higgidley-piggidley in a somewhat orderly way. The daisies, roses, geraniums, and most of the succulents were plants that the Mama kept in containers.

I like to think the Mama's spirit is pleased with the changes made to the once-upon-a-time lawn. What do you think?

I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. Here's the link for you to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Night Sky?

What do you think that edited photo is?

Did you guess young apricot tree stumps and roots? I didn't think so.

Here's the original shot.

I was hacking away at the stumps this afternoon. It was either now or never, getting rid of these apricot trees that were grown from seeds that the Mama planted maybe seven or eight years ago. The trees are too close to the fence, and if all five apricot trees reached full growth, well that's a lot of shade back there. Nothing else would be able to grow. Not to say the neighbors would gripe about the mess of fruit falling over the fence. (I am leaving one tree intact.)

I thought I could dig the tree stumps out. Ha! As I sawed the trunks as close to the ground as possible, I started seeing possibilities of garden art out of these things. So, we shall see.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Front Yard Progression

May 2016
It's been awhile since I've updated the progress of the front yard, which some of you know was a once-upon-a-time lawn. The Husband and I didn't like the lawn because of the upkeep (on his part) and its need for too much water, especially during droughts. But, because the Mama liked having a well-manicured lawn, well, there you have it. When the Mama soared into the universe, thus began the undoing of the lawn.

September 2016
January 2017
July 2017
Today, January 30, 2018
Hopefully, come late Spring, sunflowers will be growing in that empty patch on the left, as well as here and there in the foreground. Can't get enough sunflowers. I'll also be sowing wildflowers in that empty patch to see if it was simply a fluke that they didn't so well last year. Last fall, I transplanted some canna lilies nearby. If they like the area, they'll take over like a wildfire, which is okay with me.

Onward and upward.

I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. Check out this long-time meme here.  Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A New Point of View

Let's see:

A view from up high. I don't know why it took me so long to get a bird's eye view of the front yard. As you can see, all those pretty daisies I showed you the other day only fills up half the yard.

Gardening in the rain. Last year I watched a video of a professional gardener saying rain doesn't stop her from working and rain doesn't bother the plants that she's putting into the ground at the moment. I immediately felt bad that I got on the Mama's case for not coming in from the garden when it rained. Her spirit probably smiled when she saw me ignoring the few raindrops as I pruned roses on Monday and pulled up weeds this morning.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Imagining the Poppies

This morning as the Husband and I walked home, I got to see what others may see as they come to our yard. Ooooh, right?

Last year those bushes of pink daisies were a third to a half in size of what they are now. Until last month,  the bush on the right and the one beside the green pot (which is an olive tree) had no flowers at all. Amazing, huh?

The white alyssum flowers in the foreground are all volunteers. I love volunteers.

Next month, we ought to be seeing other volunteers blooming in the yard. Much of that green stuff you see are California poppy sprouts. Imagine them all in bloom. All that orange. Wowza!

I'm linking up with Our World Tuesday. Click here to check out the meme. Thank you, Our World Tuesday team.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Reminder


This morning Molly the Cat and I were traipsing about in the backyard when the doorbell rang. Molly inspected the perimeter of the yard, making sure all was well, while I checked how much the garlic had grown in its pot. I'd spied a bit of green yesterday morning just before I stepped inside, thinking I'd look for sure when I went back outside. But I didn't go back outdoors. I let melancholy rob the rest of my day.

This morning I woke up still not wanting to make an effort. What good is that? I told myself. There are roses that need pruning. I visualized myself getting the pruning shears and small saw out from the shed, as well as the rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide from the bathroom to sterilize the equipment. Okay, up and at 'em.

Downstairs, opening the drapes, I noticed the layer of ice on the rooftop next door.  That settled that. I fed Molly her breakfast and made coleslaw. I've found that preparing part or all of our afternoon/ evening meals in the morning, preferably before breakfast, makes life easier when figuring meals is a downright chore.

The coleslaw done, I decided to get some morning sun. Chilled air welcomed Molly and me when I slid open the patio door. Molly blocked the door, hesitant, as if saying, "I don't know about this." I opened the door wider. "I'm going out, Molly."

I checked the pot of garlic. Yippeeee. Green garlic shoots. I heard a man clearing his voice. The next door neighbor was out early, I thought.


Annoyed, I wondered who was visiting so early in the morning. Nine o'clock for surprise visitors is early. I heard the clearing of a male's voice again. What could the neighbor want? As I stepped inside, I saw through the kitchen windows a dark truck parked in front of the house. Oh no! It was our former neighbor, who over the years due to family and health issues had become snarly and negative about everything.

The Husband was upstairs in the bathroom and couldn't hear the doorbell over the bathroom fan. Thank goodness. But if the Husband had, he would've been able to handle our former neighbor with a pleasant "hello, how are you?" and a "thank you for dropping by" while standing at the door.
I stepped back outside.


I didn't want to invite the former neighbor's negativity into the house. I didn't want to hear him repeat his distaste and hate recycled from Fox News, nor have him go on and on about how far our town, state, and country have fallen into hell. Maybe if he inquired about our lives and attempted to carry on a cheerful conversation, or, more importantly, to take steps to get out of his blue funk, then maybe I could put on a happy face and open the door.

Maybe it wasn't the former neighbor. I sighed. I went back inside and walked slowly to the kitchen, looking out the windows. It was him! He was heading back to his truck. He looked towards the house. I quickly went out to the back. Sitting on the bench, I heard him start his truck, take off, turn right at the corner, and drive down the street.

If anything today, he, this former neighbor, was a reminder that I could not, would not, and will not slide into darkness.

Green shoots of garlic popping up through the soil is something amazingly beautiful. That, too, is a reminder.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Sweet Begonia

"I beg on ya to make sure I have a nice protected spot come summer," said the begonia, which has been doing quite well on its own.

Just when I think this begonia's no more, it shows itself to be a survivor out in the elements. Maybe it would like hanging out on the north side of the yard. We shall see.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Now I understand the Mama's impatience about planting her vegetable garden. During her last several years, she was sowing seeds into the ground earlier each year. April, March, even February.

Some years, the Husband and I didn't even get the chance to turn over the ground and work in compost and bags of top soil, which meant she got less yield. On one hand that was okay because how much bittermelon can I eat, as no one else would. On the other hand, we had less squash, tomatoes, beans, and her Filipino vegetables to eat, requiring us to head over to the Marina farmer's market every so Sunday. Except for the traffic that was a fun outing for the three of us.

Supposedly I must wait until after the last frost to sow the flower seeds I gathered last year, along with that big packet of wildflower seeds I bought last Spring. Part of me says to put some in the ground now so that they can benefit from the rain the Farmer's Almanac says we'll be getting this month.

I've already begun to propagate rosemary and Marguerite daisy branches. The experts say this is not the time, but I've put some in a glass of water with half an aspirin anyway. Maybe roots will grow. I hope so. The rosemary bushes are about 20 years old and the daisies are probably 12 to 15 years old. They're getting sparse. I can simply purchase new plants, I know, but, it turns out I've inherited the mad horticulturist genes of the Mama.

I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Autumn Hasn't Left

It's winter but the ornamental pear tree on the front yard doesn't think so. For the past few weeks, it has been slowly shedding its colorful autumn leaves. I love the warm yellow and red colors on the ground. I've already raked twice. Maybe I'll rake once more just so they won't be flying over to the neighbors' yards or into the gutter and clog up the storm drain. Not thoroughly though. I think the leaves make a warm cover for the bulbs, tubers, and seeds that are in the soil beneath them. Not to say, the dried leaves will turn into lovely mulch and soil come Spring.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Peeking Bougainvillea Vine

By now, if our climate was the way it once was, the bougainvillea near the front window would have died back from the frost. Instead, one of its vines taps at the window, calling to us inside, "Hiya! What ya doing? A gorgeous day, don't ya think?"

I suppose if the frost doesn't get the bougainvillea this year, I'll have to prune the vine away from the window.  The castle look in the Sleeping Beauty story really is not a good idea to attempt.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tradescantia Fluminensis

Quite a mouthful to say. What if you imagine yourself to be in Italia, near the Prealps, hours north of Venezia (Venice)? Suppose you pronounce it with a flourish, as if you're singing . . . tra(y)-des-can-ti-a flu min-en-sis.

Be still my heart.

Tradescantia fluminensis is the formal name for the green wandering jew plant. Maybe you grew it as an indoor houseplant when you were a young That Girl/Mary Richards thing like me in the 1970s.

It turns out the vines by the back fence that grow back with a vengeance, no matter how much I believe I've removed them, are of the species tradescantia fluminensis, hot-cha-cha. I found out last night when I posted this photo on my Facebook wall (my "back fence"). Thanks to Mike for pointing me in the right direction.

This plant grows quickly and spreads happily, especially in its role as ground cover. Some places consider it a pest because it can be quite invasive if its owners are not giving it attention.

Imagine this: A vision of green vines cascading down a chocolate fountain kind of planter. Ooh-la-la!

Hanging out at Our World Tuesday. Click here to check out bloggers from all over the world. Thanks, OWT team!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Young Banana Blossom

This morning I came across a banana blossom, the first one since the garden came under my supervision. The blossom is still young. Proof of climate change?

Doesn't the blossom look like a goat's head to you? Baaaaa.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sweeping Thoughts of the Mama

I need a broom to sweep the dirt off the sidewalk in the front yard, which means a slow walk around the house to the shed in the backyard. I push apart the rusty sliding shed door and immediately spy the broom in the filled, and so far neat, interior.

The broom, mind you, is not pristine. It looks a little frayed. Still, I find myself say, "I can't use you."

Oh no! That's the Mama in me speaking. A broom lasted literally forever for her because she let it sit for many months before using it, and when she did, it was sparingly.

I shook off the Mama's voice.  The broom in the shed is solely for outdoor purposes, including sweeping dirt from the cement. So what that we bought the broom within the past year or so. So what that the broom will get more bent out of shape because I really need to sweep with extra muscle. It's not going to put us in the poorhouse if we need to buy a new broom. (At least, not yet. Maybe not ever if the current GOP tax bill loses in Congress.)

Needless to say, but I shall, I picked up the broom and did my sweeping. Near the end of my task, as I pushed dirt into the garden, I realized what I really needed was the push broom in the garage.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gardening is Part of Me

Do I garden because I love it? Is gardening something that's simply in my genes?

In her last years, the Mama would sit in her garden or at the kitchen table and ask, "Who will take care of the garden when I die?"

"Don't worry," I would tell her.

That's what I liked about the Mama. She didn't ever ask me to tend to her garden when she was gone. She didn't want me to feel obligated.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Surprise! It's an Olive!


Our olive tree has its first olive.

It's a cute little olive.

Our olive tree is two years old, which we bought at our local olive festival in its six-inch pot of glory. It's about two feet tall today. One day it'll go into the ground. My, oh, my, think of all the olives that it may produce.

What shall we name our first lovely olive? How about Daisy?

Sunday, July 23, 2017


I don't think I'm there yet—a succulent crazy mama.

I did go to a succulent and cactus show a couple months of ago. It was something to do. It was free.

And, yeah, okay I did buy $30 worth of plants, which I finally planted in that ceramic planter above.  The purchases were the orange and red moon cactuses, that spiny looking tree, the cactus with the tiny white flowers on the right that's blending with the white rocks, and the succulent in the metal planter on the left. Maybe that little succulent in the center of the bowl. I can't recall. I also can't remember if I kept their name tags.

Yesterday, I dug out the Mama's spindly looking aloe vera plants in the back yard. They were nesting next to the apricot tree and geraniums,  getting too much water and not enough sun.  I thought I would plant them today in a sunnier part of the backyard, but I felt too tired. Maybe tomorrow morning, I'll at least stick the largest plants into the ground, and a few of the new growth in old shoes.

Yes, shoes. I have two bags full of the Mama's and my old shoes to turn into planters for succulents. I don't know about the Mama's platform shoes, maybe they'll become part of a border. That might look cool, don't you think?

I tell you if it weren't for gardening, I don't know how I would've coped with everything these past 15 months.

I'm sharing at Jesh's All Seasons, her weekly meme that she hosts at her site Artworks by JeshStG. Click here to check it out. Thanks, Jesh!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Saying Hello to July


The amaryllis is in bloom. I had no idea the amaryllis could have a second bloom, six months apart. It isn't unusual, according to what I read today. My trick: Do nothing. I'm thinking that it may be getting the right amount of moisture from the foggy mornings.  Hurrah!

The drawer full of hens and chicks is new to the front yard. I finally pulled the succulents out from beneath some rose bushes and planted them in this drawer without a bottom. I placed the two plates there to cover the dirty spots on the drawer. Beats having to repaint the drawer.

The flowers fizzed out in the VHS-Tape Planter. Cie la vie!

The pot of frizzing spider plants on the other side of the yard called out "Dibs!" I hope they like their new home.

Many years ago in another town I recall a house lined with sunflowers on its south side. I thought it was so cool and wanted to do something like that one day. Looks like that day arrived.

I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Click here to check out other participants. Thanks, Jesh!