Baby Succulents

There are some really cute and adorable succulents growing right now that I wanted to share. It has been hot here in southern California. A lot of my succulents are growing in the half-day shade area and I’ve had to water them at least every 3 days to make sure the leaves don’t get crispy.

Ladyfinger Cactus
Sempervivum Lively Bug and Hens and Chicks Golden Nugget
Sempervivum Mona Lisa
King protea
Sempervivum Suixie from Slovenia
Various Sempervivums

I’m not sure the name of the above succulent but it has the prettiest flowers and petals.

Flowers

So far the summer here in my neck of the woods have been pleasant.  I know many places across California have had a terrible heatwave over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) but we’ve been getting the high 80s in Orange County.  The temperature have been good to me and my plants.  I am constantly impressed by flowers that keep popping up in my backyard.  In this post are the latest finds this past week.

Heartleaf Four O’clock

These Four O’clocks are great drought tolerant plants.  I hardly watered this plant in our heatwave and it still managed to grow and bloom every day. I love the purple and yellow colors. This was in a container that I inherited from my father-in-law.

Yarrow

I’m really not sure what this flower is but I think that I planted it from seed.  On a plant identifying site, PlantNet, it is suggested that it resembles a yarrow. I think this is prettier than yarrow because of the delicate flower forms within this flower and the baby blue color.  See how there are about three dozen little flowers within this flower? Amazing! Since I am still not sure, we will call this a yarrow.

Kalanchoe

I love the colors of the kalanchoe flowers below.  The yellow is really a very bright and cheery yellow. I forgot to water it a few times and it had some dead leaves and the resident spiders spun webs all around my plants. 

The colors of this kalanchoe are wonderful, these are all my favorite combination of colors. I’ve never seen these colors on a kalanchoe before.

Lemon Aura Sunflower

This adorable sunflower below is only about 14 inches tall but it is such a sweet beauty and perfectly formed.

Anemone

Anemones are so pretty. I planted many anemones late in the spring and so far this adorable white anemone is the only one that popped up and I had it in a pot while the others are in the ground. Strange, I tend to kill things in pots. Sorry, the below picture is a bit blurry. It was the best I had of this one before the petals fell off. I did manage to cut one to put in my vase for work.

This vase has an anemone, yellow alstroemeria, pink and yellow dahlia, and an orange rose in the back

Blackcurrant Swirl Angel’s Trumpet

This Angel’s Trumpet flower below is the prettiest so far this summer. Previous blooms were marred by sunspots but these are just perfect. It only bloomed for a day though. I have it in a pot but it will do better in the ground I’m sure. I have three that grew successfully from seeds and now I am begging friends to take them but no one has room for them.

Rudbeckia Sahara

These reddish looking rudbeckia Sahara was a plant I purchased and the ones below it were ones I grew from seeds.  Maybe the variety is different or the soil environment is different but the colors on these plants are wildly different.  The flowers seemed to be dried and fried, very unhealthy looking. These red ones were advertised to be more orange, yellow, and red colors. I am a little disappointed they didn’t turn out as pretty as the ones I grew from seeds below that.

The two pictures of the rudbeckia Sahara below are the same flower and they were grown from seeds in a pot. The petals became lighter as it aged. I really love the light orange colors in these. They make me smile when I look at them.

Algrostemma Milas

This is my first time growing these Algrostemma Milas.  It is such a cutie!  I love the brushstrokes in the center.  They seem to be tolerant of drought and heat.  So far they are only about 18 inches tall and they are flowering generously.

Purple coneflowers

This purple coneflower is the slowest to grow.  I didn’t know that when I started growing them from seeds. It has been a year now and it finally flowered! It is definitely worth the time waiting because the colors are amazing!  Who would have thought to put purple and orange together on this flower!  It really stands tall and loud in the garden.

I know there is a bit of a blur on these pictures but I can only blame a) on my camera b) on my eyes.  At the time I took the pictures, I had bifocal contact lenses on that made things look kind of clear to me at the time but in reality it is not once I take off the lenses.

Dill Flowers

These dill flowers are the neat, aren’t they?  I love the smell of dill.  I like to pinch off a few leaves to smell once in a while when I’m in the garden.  I am going to leave the dead flowers into the winter, hopefully this will set many more seeds for next year’s growth. 

More Lily Trees

Here are more of my favorite lily trees growing in the garden.  I love their wonderful fragrance.  They are so tall and stately in my garden.  Many of these are about 3-4 feet tall with at least four flowers in bloom. 

That’s all for now! I hope next week I will have more exciting flowers to show you.

Interesting Mix of Flowers

A few new varieties this week that I haven’t shown before and there are some old favorites as well.

I am what I call a haphazard gardener. I say that because I don’t usually plan where my plants go. I don’t have a garden design plan. I know all the gardening books always suggest gardeners have them but I don’t. I just haphazardly plant them wherever I think I have room for them. Now that is crazy and dangerous so don’t do what I did or you may end up with a beautiful jungle! The worst part of it is I don’t keep track of the names of plants that I grow either. I really should because that would make it easier for me to identify most of my plants. I did try looking up the names of the plants below but a few were in a mix so it is hard to get the exact names. All I can say is just enjoy them for their beautiful colors and forms.

Poppies

The poppies below were grown in a seed starting tray. At some point I had plant labels but it either got lost or the words faded away so it is difficult to know who is who here. This one below is incredibly CUTE with its lavender and white colors. I have never seen one like this before and I really love it.

The bee and its white poppy!

This looks to be the Shirley Double Poppy seeds.

Thai Silk Rose Poppy with its ruffled pink, cream, and orange colors

Four O’clocks

These Four O’clock plants are sprouting everywhere and normally I would oppose such invasions in the garden but these plants produced such beautiful, abundant flowers. Below is one of my favorite colors. I have a bright pink one in my yard too but I didn’t get a chance to get pictures for this post. This was grown from seeds and it has grown so big. The bush below is about 3 feet tall.

Kirigami Ornamental Oregano

This ornamental kirigami oregano is the cutest little thing! I love the different shades of lavender, pink and green. It flowered happily when I had it in the ground a few years ago but after I moved it into a pot it has been kind of lackluster! I was lucky this time to get some nice colors here.

liLY TREES

I love lilies! I’ve had these the year before and they are coming back again this year with double the blooms and height. These have a lovely fragrance.

Nicotiana Lime Green

These are really lovely lime green flowers. It would look great with any groups of flowers in the yard, a nice accent.

Dianthus

Sweet Potato Vine Green

This potato vine is one of the few potato vines that have colors. I love these groundcovers. They have potatoes growing out at the roots but they are not edible.

DAYLILY

Columbine

That’s all for now! I will have some new flowers to share next week!

Vibrant and Unique Blooms

These past few days there have been an endless amount of flowers appearing in my garden. While some of these flowers are not unique on the internet, they are very unique in my area. I’ve never seen most of these at the local nursery stores before.

My Stokesia Laevis Peachies Pick below just started flowering. It’s strange that this plant is called something “peachies” but has no peach color at all. It’s white and purple mainly. It comes back every year around the beginning of summer.

Another purple beauty is this Liatris Spicata Kobold which dies back at the beginning of fall and makes an appearance at the beginning of spring each year.

This Rudbeckia ‘Sahara’ is supposed to have beautiful shades of burgundy and more orange colors but so far I have seen them in these darker ruby colors. I was hoping to see more salmon colors. The best thing is that it has grown 5 times bigger than the previous year at almost 3 feet tall. I like tall plants to hide all the hard surfaces like fences and walls.

Below is an awesome dahlia and I have no idea which kind it is because I don’t think it resembles anything I ordered. I have had the wrong plants shipped to me several times and I never know the truth until they sprout flowers. It seemed to be getting larger and larger each day. It starts out mostly red, then orange/yellow, and then finally mostly yellow in the end. So far, this is my favorite dahlia.

Another dahlia that I have no idea what it is called since it doesn’t resemble anything I know. It might have been from a mix.

Another gorgeous dahlia in my garden. It might be the Cambridge dahlia. I plopped this one on my desk at work and it cheered the heck out of me. LOVE IT!!!

This Rose of Sharon hibiscus has a great shade of pink that I love. I was trying to buy one shade of purple Rose of Sharon but ended up with 3 – 4 of them in shades of pinks and purples.

The little cutie below is called Five Spots and I am completely in love with it! It’s a small plant and super adorable in a pot. This plant makes me think of God’s creativity and awesomeness.

A must have for your garden is this adenium obesum, or desert rose. I love that it requires very little water and that it has gorgeous reddish pink flowers a few times a year.

In this pot below are some lovely pink impatiens and a beauteous purple and white Blackcurrant Swirl Angel’s Trumpet. I grew these from seeds and they are fast growers.

This multi-orangey colored flower below is a Four O’clock. Strangest name ever but it is super pretty! I didn’t grow this plant but it appeared in my yard a few months ago. I kind of knew what it is so I let it grow. I’m really glad I did because it is a flower I find very appealing in my garden.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a fun-filled weekend!

Dahlias, Lilies, and Poppies

I’m so excited about this post because it is about three of my favorite flowers: dahlias, lilies, and poppies.  Many of my dahlias are not fully grown yet since I planted them only a few weeks ago. They seem to be taking a long time growing, maybe I am just impatient.

The other slow grower is the poppy plants. I started seeds in February and they are starting to flower now. Although they are slow, I love seeing them flower. It is always spectacular!

Now, lilies are fast growers and I planted them a month or so ago. They are easy to grow in poor soil and hot conditions like we have here in Southern California.

DAHLIAS

LILIES

POPPIES

Purples and Pinks

I know I talk a lot about purple and pink flowers and you will probably hear it over and over the rest of the year. I  keep finding myself gravitating towards these colors! This year I grew some new hibiscuses that are pinks and purples as you can see below.  I am also sharing some pictures of alstroemeria, hollyhocks, nicotiana, clematis, and an interesting succulent called lampranthus deltoides.

ROSE OF SHARON HIBISCUS

HOLLYHOCKS

Zebrina Hollyhock Mallow

ALSTROEMERIA

Inticancha Indigo Alstroemeria

Nicotiana Perfume Deep Purple

Plum Gorgeous Vancouver Clematis

Lampranthus deltoides

I hope you enjoyed the glorious flowers today. Below is a gorgeous view of my garden a few days ago where it was partly cloudy and sunny.  The way the sunlight shined on the garden is beautiful.

Daylilies and More

My daylilies started blooming a few days ago. They are always a delight to see! I love the colors in this batch. Last week I poo-pooed the idea of buying “mix” or “collection” of bulbs because you usually end up with colors no one wants to buy, like orange but this is one of the few good ones out there.   The below flowers are the Daylight Savings Reblooming daylilies. I’ve had them for at least 2 seasons now and the blooms are better each year. 

These next pictures are other flowers that bloomed the last few days. The white lily tree below has flowers that are as big as my hand as you can see. I have small hands but this flower is about 6 inches wide. There are three gorgeous gigantic flowers on one stalk. It is scented, almost like a gardenia. This lily tree is from a mixture and I have no idea what kind this is.

Big Kiss White Flame Gazania
Sweet William

Hibiscus is my number one favorite flower and this Rose of Sharon hibiscus is the best. I love the colors and the prolific blooms.

Rose of Sharon
Same hibiscus but color faded the next day
Angelonia Augustifolia possibly

Lastly, the Dusty Miller below is extraordinarily beautiful and vibrant this year more than ever. It seems like a good year for all Dusty Millers because I see them all flowering in my neighborhood.

Brugmansias and Trees

One of my favorite trees to grow is the brugmansia or also known as Angel’s Trumpet. They are highly fragranted, fast growing, and produce abundant beautiful flowers year round. They are so easy to propagate in a glass of water.

The brugmansia below is propagated from another plant and it is a little over a year and a half. It is about 3 feet tall. You may notice in my posts that I like to say how old and how tall my plants or trees are. I do that because I feel sometimes new gardeners like myself like to know how big plants could get and how long it takes to get such and such sizes. I find that very few gardening sites tell you how big plants are at certain stages. If you look at all the tall things growing in my yard in these pictures, know that they are about at least three years old because that’s how long I have been gardening. My BEFORE garden pictures were posted in this earlier blog here.

Charles Grimaldi Brugmansia

They can get pretty tall like this one, which is about 10 feet tall if you trim the side shoots. Bees love them and so do pests like aphids. I don’t remember what kind of brugmansia this pink one is because I’ve had it for over 15 years.

The mother plant Charles Grimaldi of all my Charles Grimaldi brugmansias. It blooms continuously throughout the year.

The picture below does not do this Duranta Erecta justice. It has beautiful purple flowers all year long. In the late afternoons, I can hear hummingbirds zipping in and out of this bush like Star Wars pod racers. This tree is 20 years old and is now about 16 feet. I have seen most people keep this type of tree much shorter around 6 feet but I just let it grow to enhance the landscape.

“Duranta Erecta” Sweet Memory Bush

The Red Baron peach below is about 2 years old and will be turning red sometimes in September. Right now there are some peaches on the tree but it is still slightly brown and green so my dogs have not discovered it yet. Once it ripens and stands out more in the tree, I will have to figure out how to keep it from being snatched off the trees by my dogs. It drops leaves in the winter and then develop buds which later turns into beautiful reddish blossoms.

This here is my Cranberry hibiscus tree which I grew from seeds. It has been about 3 years and they have these beautiful reddish foliage like a maple tree but better because these stay like this all year. This tree was about 10 feet tall at one point but it was growing awkwardly so I trimmed it down and trained it to lean more upright. It was leaning 45 degrees when it grew! Now it is somewhat upright, more like at an 80 degree angle. The flowers are really pretty cranberry-colored like the picture below. It blooms during the day and closes up each day.

This is a three year old papaya tree grown from seeds. It is about 3 1/2 feet tall. I’m not sure when they are supposed to have fruit but they get yellow leaves when I try to give it water. Besides the Red Baron peach, this papaya is my other favorite fruit tree in the yard. I’m hoping it will flower and give me fruits soon because I love papayas!

I am also growing some cherimoyas, a starfruit, a persimmon from seeds. I don’t know where my persimmon plant is out there right now.

Cherimoya – 2 year old from seed about 12 inches tall
Starfruit: the center woody stick about 8 inches tall after 2 years

While I was outside, I noticed this Columbine flower which I am sure I never grew. It was such a wonderful surprise since I have been wanting a Columbine for a long time. I will leave you with admiring that flower.

Gladiolus Garden

My garden is currently colored with gladiolus flowers in shades of pink, purple, and cream. This year is the best flowering season thus far, probably because it has been in my garden for 3 years and also I gave it a bit of bone meal fertilizer early in the season. The colors are deeper, stalks are greener and petals are more perfectly formed. I didn’t even know they were so ruffled until this year!

One of my greatest love about the gladioli is that they make great cutting flowers. They last for more than a week if you cut the stems off by an inch every few days and change water. These flowers below are stunning in vases! I have been putting them in vases to leave on co-workers’ desks these past few weeks. At home no one appreciates flowers like I do since my children are both boys and even the two dogs are males!

Amazing Orange

I don’t normally like to grow orange flowers but some of these were from a discounted “mix” pack in seeds or bulbs. One thing I’ve learned is never to buy a “mix” of any plant offerings online unless you don’t mind getting ugly colors. I didn’t know that so I bought several of daylily mixes and I got a bunch of bright orange that I would’ve never purchased had I known.

However, now that I have them, I learned to like them since I raised them from pups. They stand out in my garden of pinks and purples.

Now this Big Kiss White Flame Hybrid Gazania (what a mouthful) is actually one that I picked out on a seed website.  Have you seen anything more vibrant? The flower is about 3″ wide with bright yellow-orange and red petals. I gush with delight when I see this flower open up every morning!

This is an orange California poppy that was in a mix. I was hoping it was pink or purple but this is what sprouted. It is cute though.

This Ruby Spider daylily is the BOMB! What an amazing show of red and orange in this outrageous beauty! I would love to have a bunch more of these.  Sadly, it opened for a day or so and I was not able to enjoy it more.  There are some new ones getting ready to open soon though.

At Last rose is one of my favorite of orange roses. Flowers are smaller than most roses but it has beautiful shades of oranges and yellows.

Below is an orange zinnia from a mix. This is really an unexpected color in the seed mix but I think I am in love with it. This picture is actually a day before it fully bloomed that’s why it had those neat beige colors in the center. I wish it stayed like that forever.

These daylilies below are all from a mix. As you can see they are quite orange and almost red. I’ve had these for a couple of years but this is the first time I’ve seen it flower.  They are all over my garden and so ORANGE!

Here are some of my pretty garden pictures. The best time to catch beautiful pictures of my yard is on a cloudy day because it shows off the colors so vibrantly. In the picture below I have a plumeria, pink alstroemeria, iris, and tall pink Verbascum Southern Charm way in the back.

Below is another garden patch nearby where I have a 3 year-old sage bush with purple flowers, purple magnolia, purple daisies, purple roses, lily tree (center), and the pink, fast-growing Strybing Beauty.

In this picture below are General Sikorski clematis, blue chicory flowers, plumeria, and magnolia Souvlangiana.

Below are some rose mallow, yellow daisies, and a Red Baron peach tree. The Red Baron will change its leaves into red sometimes in early September, I believe. As you can see it has grown quite a bit since last year when I first wrote about it.

That’s all for now. I have more to show you in a few days!

Five on Friday

Has anyone heard of a blogger movement where bloggers post “Six on Saturday”? I don’t know much about it other than bloggers would write about six things in their blog on Saturdays. For some reason those words sound annoying as a title so today I am making fun of it by writing “Five on Friday”. I’m pretty sure I won’t be writing “Five on Friday” again so this is IT!

1. Nicotania Deep Purple is a tobacco plant. These flowers are a gorgeous purple.

2. Sprekelia formosissima is also known as an Aztec Lily. This is a very unique flowering bulb.

3. Black hollyhocks are beautiful and interesting plants. There are not many black flowers out there that looks quite as cute as these guys. This year they grew about 12 inches taller than last year and are producing more flowers.

4. Zinnia in orangey pink color, beautiful but so far I have only one!

5. Impatiens in pink. I adore this pretty little flower, so sweet and similar to an orchid flower. Those colors are exquisite.

That’s my five for today! Have a great weekend.

Gardenscape

Recently I started playing a gardening game called Gardenscapes in which you get to restore a neglected garden to its former glory.  It is a lot of fun re-doing the fountains and hedges, reviving and cleaning up old plants.

In the real world I do that in my backyard too. For many years I have lived in my house and neglected the yard. We had grass put in when my boys were young.  The last four years I became interested in gardening when I inherited some of my mother-in-law’s plants. I realized gardening is a great mental and physical benefit so I started hauling out almost all of the grass in the backyard to create my garden. I am so glad I did because my garden now is so colorful and lush. I have put in a lot of back-breaking work but when flowers bloom, it was totally worth it.  It has frequent visitors such as birds, bees, ladybugs, butterflies, slugs, and worms of all kinds.  There is a healthy ecosystem in my backyard.

Although it looks like a “jungle” as my mom and kids like to call it, I really like that the inner garden is disguised by the big trees and bushes maturing over the years.  It makes the garden feel like a “secret garden”. Below, I have two official entrances to my garden, each are flanked by trellis arches with clematis and passion flowers growing on it.

Passion flower trellis

Did you see the passion flower fruits that are hanging off of that trellis? I was so excited to see them since I didn’t know whether the kind I grew would bear fruit!

Clematis trellis
This view is from the back of the garden.
Right side of the garden

The above picture is the right side of the garden and starting from the front right is my sage, magnolia souvlangiana tree, blue chicory, purple daisies, pink rose bush, and pink Strybing Beauty bush next to the tall brugmansia tree on the far right.

The scenery above is a view into the front of the garden.  In the front I have a holly hock bush, pink geraniums, foxgloves on the right with the yellow Charles Grimaldi brugmansia in the back. On the far left, I have the purple and white foxglove bushes, a White Bouquet tansy ground cover, orange At Last roses, and an orange tree behind it.  I have some poppies growing in this area that hasn’t gotten tall enough to make it in the picture.

Finally, below are a collection of some new flowers blooming these past few weeks. My pink Pompom poppy finally has a couple of flowers that didn’t look diseased, most were in very bad shape.  I tried growing them many times but this is the first year that it flowered.

Poppy
Purple Emperor nasturtiums
Princess Victoria Louise poppy

Cinco de Mayo Rose

Since today is Cinco de Mayo, I would like to do a quick share of my Cinco de Mayo floribunda rose. Yes, this rose is really called that and I bought it this past January because I saw a picture of the color of this rose in a magazine. It’s a gorgeous red with a shade of purple, it’s a very unique red. I bought it bareroot but as you can see how beautiful it has grown in just a few months!

Cosmos

This spring I planted a couple of new cosmos. I love the colors and flowers of cosmos. I try to grow them from seeds every year. They are so vibrant and fun. I put quite a few in the ground but for the first time this spring I am growing several in pots because I didn’t have room in the yard.

Cosmos planted in the ground can get pretty big and unwieldy so I am mindful of that this time around.  They are very easy to care for and can tolerate poor clay soil. I think they make attractive wispy plants between larger leafy bushes.

Rose bonbon
Cranberry
Apricot lemonade
Lemonade

In the garden I have a few more exciting flowers in bloom below. As you can see my clematis from last year has really taken off with four times more flowers! I have a sunflower looking beauty below that I am not sure what kind it is. Then, I have a 3′ tall branch of a poppy called Drama Queen that is deep burgundy with frilled edges. It really is the most dramatic looking poppy I have ever seen!

Clematis General Sikorski
Sunflower
Drama Queen poppy

In the picture below I have a couple of Epiphyllum orchid cactus cuttings that was left neglected with no soil, water, or pot and yet it is starting to flower, whereas the ones I have in pots are not doing well at all. I think it might be because I water them too much. Neglect is what it needs!

Have a great week ahead!

Bonsai

I have always been intrigued by bonsai trees but the last couple of years I was blown away by how beautiful a wisteria tree can be as a bonsai.  I’ve always loved wisteria trees but have heard they are vigorous climbers and need a lot of space to grow out.  Since I have a lot of other things growing in my backyard, I didn’t want to worry about an unmanageable wisteria, turning it into a bonsai tree seemed the perfect solution. 

I bought the wisteria about a year and a half ago.  I let it get used to the environment for about a year.  This winter I trimmed its roots and planted it in the bonsai pot below. 

I wasn’t sure if it would make it because it was dormant when I trimmed it down.  The last few months it started sprouting healthy green leaves.  The wisteria below is called the Blue Moon wisteria and this is what it looks like now.  One annoying thing about wisteria is that it takes at least 5-7 years before it flowers! 

Below is another wisteria I am growing, it is the Japanese wisteria.  I transferred it to this bonsai pot while it was dormant a few months ago.  It has not broken out of dormancy yet.  I hope I will have much success with this one too. 

Another pretty tree I want to put in a bonsai pot is this bougainvillea.  The colors in this tree are wonderful, all my favorites!

I left the bougainvillea out in the sun after I stressed it out by trimming and transplanting.  I shouldn’t have done that even with a tough, drought tolerant wonder like this bougainvillea.  I should have left it in the shade for a few days to de-stress, give it plenty of water, and then bring it out in the sun after it acclimated itself.  Below is what it looked like after being left out in the sun.

That was pretty sad to see.  I’ve never seen a droopy bougainvillea before!  I gave it water and put it in partial shade and it recovered. 

I am also trying my hands at weeping willow trees and azaleas too.  I may have some pictures to show for next post. 

As always, below are a collection of new flowers in my garden.

Bearded Iris
Lemonade Cosmos
Rose Bonbon Cosmos

These Champagne ranunculus are so lovely.  Everyday there are different shades of salmon and light/dark pinks. My all time favorite!  I love these.  They look like perfect roses.

Magnolia Trees

I love magnolia trees! I have two kinds in my yard: Souvlangeana and Genie. Souvlangeana is more common in my area. It is a pink and white colored flower. It starts out with a deep purple bud then once it starts to open, it turns light pink like the first picture below. The Genie is the second picture and it remains a dark purple throughout the flowering cycle.

I bought the Souvlangeana thinking it was going to be a dwarf tree but later found out that it is not a year AFTER it was planted in the ground (oops!). Magnolia trees will grow to be over 15 feet tall and definitely should be careful when planting them too close to your property or power lines. The Genie tree above is two years old and is about 4 ft tall. They were only about 1 ft when I first planted them.

Souvlangeana flower.

The tree above is the Souvlangeana. This one is about two years old also. This year it has bloomed a lot more than the first year. The first year I had only one flower!

This is my Genie tree that is about to have two flowers. See the purple flower above.

This is my garden on an early morning stroll. Lots of pretty colors out there. I love pinks and purples so there is a bit of that here. The neighbor behind me grew bougainvillea but he told me most of the blooms are on my side as you can see the deep purple colors.

Below are some of my other favorite things growing in the yard.

Rose mallow

Abandoned succulent that is about to set gorgeous yellow flowers. I rested this bunch against a dirt area with no water and total neglect. Look how happy it is. It’s about to have beautiful yellow flowers that bees are attracted to.

Happy succulents: Aeonium kiwis.

This picture above is an onion that I put in the ground. The stalk is growing to about 3 foot tall, stiff, and strange-looking like something out of the movie Little Shop of Horrors.

That’s all for now. Next week I will share about turning some of my favorite trees into bonsai.

Poppies, Ranunculus, and Hibiscuses

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with taking care of all my plants. The heat and strong winds caused a lot of stress to me and my plants. Everything got dried up quickly and the leaves were turning yellow. I am spending a lot of time watering, mulching, and fertilizing. Along with caring for these existing plants, I also had some seedlings I was growing from a couple of months back. Several of the poppy seedlings I put out in the ground got eaten by pests or die from heat. It was very frustrating to see all your hard work go kaput within days.

Right now my biggest challenge since I have a million plants out there, is I need to figure out an irrigation system. I have been DEEP watering many plants by carrying buckets around the yard. It is hard work and my right arm has been screaming in pain! Mulching helps a lot in keep plants happy but summer heat of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or more here will demolish many plants in no time. I need to be prepared.

I have also inherited 8 of my father-in-law’s trees so even more plants to care for! I feel it is my obligation to not let plants die, that’s why I work so hard in watering, mulching, and fertilizing. I did get a very nice red maple and a redbud tree from my father-in-law that I have always wanted so that’s a good thing.

As hard as I have to work for my garden, they still bring me the greatest joys in seeing them bloom in the spring and summer months. I think this year my garden will be quite EPIC and I can’t wait to see mature plants bloom more prolifically. I also added some newbies like these ranunculus and poppies below which are devastatingly beautiful.

All of the above pictures were from a Champagne ranunculus collection. It’s hard to believe but the various shades of orange, salmon, and pink is from the same plants at different times of the day and after a number of days. They have been in bloom for at least five days already and they look like they will last a few more days. I am thrilled with having ranunculus in my garden. These have my favorite colors pink and coral. I definitely want to add more of these for next year.

The above picture is my Afghan poppy. It is the most amazing looking poppy and plant I have ever seen. It is about 4′ tall and the flower stayed like this for several days, unopened. I’m not sure if it would ever open because today my gardener blew the petals off (I’m so mad about that). If you look out in my yard and you see this amazing plant standing majestically in pink and white, you would smile at it too. Luckily, there is another bulb forming below this flower so I should have another flower soon.

These purple poppies are called Poppy of Troy. I was lucky enough to get several flowers. They are sneaky though. They bloom early in the morning and by afternoon the petals usually fall on the ground. I am at work during the times they bloom so I had to ask my husband to take these pictures during the day. I love these. The purple is so beautiful.

The above are Apricot Chiffon poppies. These are sneaky too, blooms during the day and closed up by late afternoon.

The rest of the below pictures are some of my favorite blooming hibiscuses. These are gorgeous and will be blooming for the next several months.

I hope this post showed you some of the best things God has to offer for us to enjoy. With a little of our own hard work these beauties will give back tenfold!

Succulents with Flowers

Around this time of the year many succulents are blooming or growing babies. I found a few of these adorable Echeverias at my local Walmart Garden Center. They have tags on these pots but I’m not sure I can trust Walmart’s labeling. Anyone interested in the actual names written on the pots let me know and I will find out for you.

I’m not an expert on these plants but it appears winter is their time to flower and shine as you can see here. This one below is so adorable and its flowers are in my favorite yellows and pinks. Echeverias tend to shoot out 8-12 inches tall flowering shoots like this. The flowers last about a week or more. They don’t require much water in winter but definitely more in the hot summers, maybe once a week in extreme Southern California heat. They like morning sun and afternoon shade. Too much sun especially in the summer will scorch their leaves.

This one below is also very beautiful. I love these shades of pinks and yellows. I especially like that the plant has these colorful petals. My camera skill is not so great in capturing flowers up close, as you can see the flowers looked a little blurry.

Another Echeveria below with light blue green leaves.

The pink succulent below is an aurora borealis kalanchoe. It is so pretty with green, pink, and cream leaves. In late fall and winter it shoots out 7 inches long stem of pink flowers. Super adorable! These flowers are bell-shaped.

I cannot remember the name of this orange succulent below. I’ve had this for a while but this is the first time I’ve seen it bloom white flowers.

The awesome pink plant below is a “cobweb” Hens and Chicks succulent. It sprouted these adorable pink flower stems and I believe these last almost a month. It has white cobwebs on top of the plant as you can see. Very unique!

As usual, I’d like to end it with other highlight blooms from this week. Here are some amazing blooms from my Red Baron and Babcock peach trees. The Red Baron will eventually have reddish leaves in the fall and that is one of the main reasons I purchased this tree last year. This tree is the closest thing to a red maple which is what I wanted originally. After seeing these beautiful reddish pink blooms, I think I made the right choice in choosing this tree because those flowers will turn into peaches!

The Babcock peach tree’s blossoms look like cherry blossoms from far away. They are so pretty and delicate. The inside of that flower looks like a butterfly landed right in the center.

My bearded irises are blooming like crazy too and it is about three times more abundant than last year. I also inherited a purple iris from my father-in-law who passed away a couple of weeks ago. It bloomed the day after I brought it home from his house.

Anemones, Passion Flowers, and Alstroemerias

The weather has been warming up a bit in Southern California this week and I am seeing some pretty amazing flowers out in my backyard. This time I have the prettiest anemones, passion flowers, and alstroemerias in the greatest shades of purples and pinks.

Bluish purple anemones
Magenta-like shades of purple anemones in the early stage of bloom
Anemone changed to lavender colors by the next day or so.

Anemones is my new favorite flower this year. I recently discovered these delicate poppy-like flowers earlier this January. I bought the two above purple and pink anemones from my local Walmart a few weeks ago. The roots were root-bound and the leaves were yellowing from neglect but I am happy to say I was able to save those two. They seemed to be very happy and flowering. The pink is dark pink before it opens up but changed to lighter colors of purples and pinks as time goes by after it bloomed.

The passion flower plant vigorously climbing on a trellis entrance leading to my garden.

The above pictures are my purple passion flower plant. Isn’t that a magnificent and unusual flower? These pictures are from my first flower from that plant. The rest of the bulbs are coming but it has been several days and they haven’t made an appearance. I can’t wait for them all to pop out and eventually turn to fruit. I’m not quite sure how that works yet whether the flower turns to fruit later on or does it require another passion flower to pollinate. I will post later on if it ever becomes a fruit.

The above picture is my purple alstroemeria. I love this color of alstroemeria. It is truly that vibrant and stunning in the garden. This is the first time I’ve seen it flower and I’ve had it for at least one year.

I will leave you with a collection of some of my other favorite plants and flowers that did not managed to get a full post on its own.

Two beautiful hibiscus plants above: orange hibiscus and a deep red hibiscus.

Picotee amaryllis

Strawberry pot
Flower buds from my Red Baron peach tree

Pre-Spring Blooms

There are a few unique and interesting flowers that appeared this past week I wanted to share. A few were unexpected surprises because they haven’t bloomed much in the past. This year started out with some BEAUTIFUL blooms that I haven’t seen before.

The above picture is my muscari plant. They grew from tiny little bulbs and spread themselves all over my garden. I had planted them over eight years ago and each year around this time they would make an appearance. The last two years I haven’t seen much of them but I guess the weather must have been good for them this year. They are only about 6-7 inches tall but each clump has about this many flowers. I regret not getting a side view of these beauties for the blog. Their tiny bulbs have spread out over the years so I actually have over 12 clumps of these flowers in one area of my garden.

These white flowers are so darn cute and I don’t remember ever growing them. I have never seen them before (I think) and I don’t know what they are! If anyone out there recognizes them, do tell. They looked like they came from bulbs. There are several of these in my yard in a couple of places. I must have gotten them years ago because another plant that looks similar to this one appeared nearby. This pinkish red flower below is so pretty and vibrant. The flowers are only about 2 inches wide but they are so adorable and unique in my garden.

This adorable pink hibiscus below just bloomed this week. The flower is about 5 inches wide and it is a complete showstopper! I need to figure out how to get this hibiscus to bloom more because for the past three years it would only eek out two or three flowers a YEAR, one at a time! Talk about stinginess!

My aeonium Sunburst succulent also started growing new babies this winter. See them growing on the sides there? Absolutely the cutest! The mother plant is almost 2 feet tall with a face about 18 inches wide (yes, she’s a big one!). I believe she has been in the ground for about 2 years. She was only about 6 inches tall when I put here there originally.

Below is a beautiful but a little bit neglected geranium. I love these beautiful purple maroon flowers and it is so low maintenance. I grew these on a partial shade side of the house but it doesn’t have any trouble flowering as you can see. It does look a wee bit dry from lack of watering but it’s a knockout in the garden. It spreads its roots out over time and you can pluck them out to give away or plant in other places.

Lastly, these pretty bright orange and purple daisies are just screaming for attention in my garden! They are wickedly pretty! I love their bold colors!

Purples and Pinks

I must have said it many times but purples and pinks are two of my favorite colors in flowers. You can probably tell from the pictures of flowers in my garden. To me these colors signifies femininity and gentleness. I guess you could say I am a little feminine because I like beautiful flowers and jewelry too.

In this post, I wanted to share some of my favorite purple and pink flowers. Let’s start with pinks…

These are beautiful camellias in the pictures above and below. The light pink is really delicate and gentle, this is the ultimate feminine beauty. I have had such a difficult time getting this bush to bloom before but this year has been more abundant. I think the improvements came after I started watering and fertilizing it more!

Jasminum Polyanthum Pepita: beautiful pink buds turn into fragrant flowers
Rose Mallow

I love, LOVE these daisies! I love the blending of pinks and whites. There are even shades of salmon colors in this flower. I can’t wait for it to fill my backyard!

Now the purples…

Alyogyne huegelii Blue Hibiscus

This “Blue Hibiscus” really does look more blue than the picture showed. For some reason I cannot catch the blue colors on this camera, it always comes out looking this purple. It is beautiful with several blooms at a time. The location for this plant is pretty dry and clay-like so I am happy it is doing well here.

Purple statice
Purple daisy

The above flower looks almost like a Lauren’s Grape Poppy but I think it is an anemone. It has that beautiful shade of purple. It opens during the day which I don’t usually get to see but evenings come, they closed up and so I had to FORCE it open here.

Oh, I love magnolias so much. This is a pretty purple magnolia. This is the Souvlangeana variety. It start out like the first picture. The flower takes several days to open up fully but I think the color is the prettiest when it first start to bloom, after that it is mostly white.

These are all the pretty daisies in my garden. I put together this bouquet for my friend for her birthday this week. Let’s hope it brightens her desk today!

Dogs in the Garden

One of my favorite things to do is hanging out in the garden with my dogs and my flowers. Looking at old photos this year, I found many adorable pictures of my dogs hanging out in the yard helping to dig holes, eating rotten figs, or just enjoying the sunshine. Here are some of my favorites.

Hunter is the tan and white Harrier dog we adopted from a pet rescue in Mexico. We drove about two hours down to San Diego and picked him up. He was about 8 months old when we got him. Below was his first day home with us.

Below is the picture of him now. Not much different but you can tell he has aged a bit after four years. He is rounder and communicates with deep meaningful looks more often than he used to.

This look says, please let me go behind the fence where the fig trees are
Lord Waggles

This Café au lait colored dog is named Lord Waggles. He is mixed with some type of small dog breeds but I think he is most like a Maltese mix. He is so good-natured and a true gentleman. He is the quietest of all little dogs that I’ve ever seen. We adopted him from a friend who adopted him from another family who no longer wanted him. He was about a year old when we got him. He is five now. I cannot understand how anyone could give up such an adorable little guy like this one.

His chin is a little dirty because he was eating slugs and dirt in the backyard.
This was a picture of my yard about three years ago. Below is the same area now, more frontal view.
I had to put a little white fence in the bottom right of this picture because my dogs were digging a large hole there near my clematis.
Hunter is up to no good as usual.

The picture above is my favorite of all Hunter pictures. I fenced off this fig tree area so that he can’t go in and snatch figs off the trees. Somehow, he found a way to get in but he doesn’t know how to get out. I left him there for about 10 minutes. I meant to leave him in longer to punish him but I gave in.

The other day he wanted me to let him in behind these 2 foot tall chicken wires so he can look for figs to eat back there again. Look at his pitiful face begging me! First he would look towards the gate, then turns around and looks at me, and back at the gate.

Today I found a few more beautiful flowers in my yard to share. I will leave you with this collage.

Beaded Xara Necklace

With the weather being so cold in the morning, I haven’t been outside to work in my garden. I thought now would be a good time to talk about my indoor garden of beads.  

Long before I started gardening, I was interested in beading, crocheting, and knitting. Now, with the weather being colder outside, I have been focusing more on these indoor hobbies.  

Let me start first with beading since I have been doing them the longest.  I discovered beading six years ago during a vacation to Portland, Oregon with my family.  I bought a bracelet that someone knitted using fine silver wires and Swarovski beads.  I always thought beading was about stringing beads onto a rope or chain and call it a bracelet or necklace but now, I realize there is so much more to beading. The bracelet below was the inspiration for all of my beading work thereafter.  The bracelet also spurred an interest in knitting and crocheting because I wanted to make a similar bracelet myself.  Alas, I have not been able to duplicate such a bracelet.  I am still trying to perfect my knitting.

I tried making some of my own bracelets shortly after unsuccessful attempts to make that inspirational bracelet. Here are some my very early bracelets. Shown below are three different bracelets with color combinations to go with my outfits at the time.

Decent right? But not the greatest!

Below are some earlier ones that were much more improved. These are just a small sample of what I’ve made. I will show other ones on other posts.

Beaded bracelet and ring I made

For now, let’s concentrate on my latest addition: the Xara necklace. This necklace can be achieved by following Debbie Roberti’s Xara pattern.  It was fairly easy to do and it took me about 3 hours to complete.  The hardest and most time-consuming part of beading is choosing the right beads and color combinations to make with the pattern.  I have a stash of beads from other projects so I tried to work with what I have first.  The large center beads in this necklace is the Paisley Duo and it has two holes, on the top and bottom of the beads.  In making these jewelry pieces, I always choose color combinations that work with my wardrobe.  A lot of times though, I find that I love greens and purples with gold or bronze similar to those found in jewelry from India. 

This necklace I made in silver tone but with a little bronze to make some of my dark-colored outfits stand out more.  I love the look of silver and gold together too. 

There you have it! I hope everyone enjoyed my bit of beading today even if you are not interested in girly beading stuff.

Borage

A few years ago I was looking for plants with blue colored flowers and stumbled upon this herb called borage.  Borage is a plant I highly recommend growing if you are looking for a low maintenance, inexpensive plant to fill your garden.  This plant requires average water and full to partial sun.  They grow very fast and the spring is when you will see the most flowering.  However, they have been flowering this fall and winter here in Southern California too.

Borage can grow about 30” inches tall and 18” wide. If you let the flowers stay on the plant it will set seeds and appear everywhere in your yard!  I don’t mind this kind of invasive plant because it is quite pretty with blue star-like flowers. All parts of the plant are edible, except the root.  I have not tried to eat the flowers yet but the leaves taste delicious. They are hairy and spiky so you would have to be careful when you pick them.  Once they are washed, they are not too spiky.  People say they taste refreshing like cucumbers but I think they taste like something else which I have no idea what, just that it is herb-like.  Sometimes, I would pick up the leaves right off the plant and eat them (and saying “ouch, ouch” as the spiky hair pricks me!!!). The nice thing is bees and butterflies love them so it’s a great pollinating plant.  

In the picture above the borage sprouted in this hibiscus container and makes a nice decoration for my otherwise boring pot. They have really huge, green 6-7 inches long leaves. I did not plant those guys there, they just sprouted about 3-4 plants. Soon they will have nice blue flowers to go with the pink hibiscus. I can’t wait for spring to arrive!

In my garden there are a few other wonderful things happening this January as well. I discovered my narcissus, hyacinth, “Pink Surprise” calendula, and the Alyogyne huegelii “Blue Hibiscus” flowered. What a wonderful surprise for a very windy winter! Also, I have no idea what the white flowers are in this group so if anyone knows, please let me know. Happy Sunday!

Amaryllis

I have been wanting an amaryllis for several years but I always held back because they were very expensive. I always see them sold before Christmas and they don’t seem to be an affordable option for an indoor plant. This year, I decided to do a little more research and found out you can grow these outdoors and they do bloom for longer periods of time than most flowers, that justifies the high price for me.

I bought several amaryllis on sale recently but so far one has bloomed quicker than the rest. So the following pictures show the progression of my amaryllis’ blooming cycle. It is so worth the wait and the price.

I purchased this Pink Surprise amaryllis in the pot and it came with just the bulb planted slightly above soil like this. This pot does not have drainage holes and I was instructed to keep it moist but not soggy. Every few days I would water when I see the top is dry. After about 2 weeks it started to have that protrusion you see in the picture above.

After another couple of weeks or so it started to have the stem and the flower buds started to open.

Once the petals appear in the bud, it is just a matter of days before they all open up like the remaining pictures. This one bulb produced eight flowers that were about 5-6 inches in diameter. It is so lovely! It’s really one of my top favorites.