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.

Winter Blooms

The last few weeks I have been blessed with quite a few winter flowers. My daffodils and narcissus bloomed a lot more than last year. What is even more surprising is that I thought they only bloom during spring yet these are blooming now in my winter garden. Perhaps our Southern California weather is confusing these poor plants.

I think there are about 15 flowers in my narcissus bed now, whereas last time I had two. The yellow colors of these narcissi really stood out in my mostly green garden right now. The daffodils are beautifully colored but it has a little bit of a stinky floral fragrance as well. Below, my pink hyacinth is wedged in with the narcissus and are blooming also.

Stinky daffodils

My Queen Anne’s Lace bush is also flowering like mad in the garden. They are taller than me (5’2) and falling all over other plants in the garden. I have no idea how to stake them at this point but I had to cut some down to tidy the pathway a bit. The cut flowers turned into a beautiful, unusual bouquet something-or-other here. The flower is about 5-6 inches wide.

Another adorable plant that bloomed is my calendula “Pink Surprise” that bloomed out of season right now. This plant usually blooms in the late spring or summer but here it is now. This flower is really magnificently colored just like in the picture. It is a perfect blend of red, yellow, and orange. This makes me smile when I see it out there. It has survived ALL YEAR long in the heat and cold while all the other calendula died. What is most surprising is that it had the weakest flowering period of all the other calendulas out there. I guess it spent all its energy on sustaining itself instead of flowering last year.

Last and one of my most favorite, the chrysanthemums. These are the largest mums I have ever seen! Last week, I went to an Asian flower market fair and they had these for sale. I bought a container and I knew these mums could be split into several plants. Well, after I bought them, I split them into seven plants. I cut off the flowers to have this beautiful bouquet and planted the roots. The flower is about 4-5 inches wide. Oh, they are so beautiful. They brighten up my whole house!

Statice

Statice is one of the best cut flower you can grow.  They last more than a week in a vase.  I love them for this very reason.  I started these statice seeds sometime in December of 2019 and by June 2020 they were already blooming.  I had a statice mix so some of the plants are blue, white, yellow, and pink.   

The statice plant is not a common plant that you can find at a local nursery.  I found these while stumbling through seed catalogs. I don’t believe the seeds for this plant can be found in the seed section of the nursery either.

Statice are easiest to grow from seeds.  I found them easy to grow in full sun and somewhat dryer soil conditions. I have never had to fertilize mine and they still look great.  It is a tough, long-growing plant from what I can tell.  This is my first time growing them so I’m not sure how long they will live but based on research, it seems they will live probably well into winter.  I am happy to report it is still thriving and growing in my garden so I don’t think it will die back any time soon. 

Just a quick update on the seeds I grew from this post called “Growing Seeds“, I mistakenly left these seedlings to grow next to my sweet pea plants which had been outside.  Some spidery pests attacked the seedlings and now they are dying as you can see below.  I am so sad to see all my poppies dying.  Some of the carrots, beets, cilantro, lavender, and kale were salvageable. I think for my Christmas vacation I will grow a new batch of all of these again.  I will try to salvage whatever I can with these ones for now.  I’m hoping to put these out in my raised bed soon. 

On a happier note, I finally purchased myself an inexpensive amaryllis bulb and it is starting to emerge as you can see from the picture here. I can’t wait for this pink beauty to emerge!

More Succulents

Winter seems to be the best time to see succulents grow and bloom. When many things out in the garden are dying, you can depend on these succulents to bring out beauty and hope. Below are some of my favorite succulents growing in the garden.

This picture shows one of my favorite succulents so far and I do not know its name. It has little pink, peachy flowers blooming from its stalk. The leaves are green with hints of pink. The other orange star succulent has just started to show happiness at last too. All summer long it was not looking healthy but in the last month it really changed into a beautiful orange-pink color. Love that one!

Not sure what these ones are but they are all looking healthy and happy this winter.

The above succulent is called a Giant Chalk Dudleya. The summer heat had been pretty rough on this little guy and his leaves got scorched even though it is said that it likes hot temperature and dry soil. Well, I left it in the hot, hot sun and he was burnt. He lost some leaves but just recently the inner leaves started to look more improved. I need to figure out where to put him because he is supposed to be a beautiful showpiece once he gets bigger.

The above succulent is starting to have new growth at the very bottom of its legs. Cute pink petals which I am completely enamored by!

These succulents below were little petals I found while walking my dog. The neighbor moved out and left a pile of destroyed plants on their lawn so I picked them up. I have long admired this succulent and was going to work up the courage to ask them for a petal or two. I took them home, left them in a bowl for about two months without water or soil and they sprouted as you can see on the first picture. I later planted them all but the largest petal is the one you see on the below that. It is so adorable! The mother plant had petals that were a dark mauve color.

On Christmas Day, I had the best surprise ever! This Black Dragon hibiscus decided to bloom. It was mostly closed early in the morning but by ten o’clock it fully bloomed. The flower bud is practically screaming “Merry Christmas” when it bloomed. This has to be my favorite in the garden this month and likely to be my favorite forever.

Clary Sage, Dondo Blue, and Bachelor Buttons

I haven’t written in a while because the weather has been chilly and we had Santa Ana winds which made my whole backyard looked pretty messy. I also had Thanksgiving shopping to do so that kept me indoors quite a bit. I thought about doing a video to show my yard so perhaps that will happen during the Christmas holiday. For now, I wanted to share some of the plants that are still flowering in my garden, most notably clary sage, dondo blue, and bachelor buttons. I always get their names mixed up but by writing this post I will clear up any doubts about what these are.

Clary sage is an herb. The leaves and flowers are used for teas and aromatherapy applications. I have not tried using them for that yet but sounds very interesting. This plant likes full sun but grows well in part shade too. It needs moist well-drained soil. Leave it too dry and it will look like my plant below!

Love this purple clary sage. The color is so vibrant.

Dondo blue is a great easy care plant. It likes full sun but will grow in part shade as well. It likes moist soil. What I love about these is that they bloom from late spring until now. These would make great “fillers” in containers, the leaves are fuzzy and nicely shaped. The blue color is the prettiest, the pictures here do not do them justice.

Bachelor buttons or cornflower is a tall and bountiful plant. They are a bright vibrant blue as captured in the picture below. One plant can have stalks that shoots out as many as 40-50 flowers. They are about 24-28 inches tall and spreads as wide, if not a little more. They were so beautiful when they bloomed for the first time in the spring. They last a few days in the vase so you can take some for your office desk!

These guys like full sun but I have a few bushes in part shade as well and they bloomed the best. They like moist, well-draining soil. Bees love these too.

Below is one of my flower arrangement early this spring. They seem to do best in the spring but continues to flower when the weather is semi cooler in the fall /winter. One plant in the picture is the yellow and white STATICE which I will mention later in a subsequent post. All these flowers lasts more than a week in the vase, so I would say they are excellent cut flowers for your home.

Sweet Peas

I realize this is a little late in posting about sweet peas since their blooming season is over back in September. I was so focused on other flowers that were my top favorites that I didn’t get a chance to share sweet peas before. They really are adorable and I am crazy about them!

Old Spice Mix Sweet Peas

These were the prettiest little things ever. I have never seen any plant that has such vibrant beautiful colors growing out of the same stem before. I love the purple-blue and dark purple colors together. All these flowers were grown from seeds. These were the Old Spice Mix seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds store.

Beaujolais Sweet Peas

These were easy to grow from seeds. They sprouted very quickly and I had to position them strategically in this container pot below so that they have room to climb on the stakes I provided them. They looked gorgeous in the months of June and July here. However, after the weather got hotter here in California around July/August, it started to get dry yellow leaves. It also seemed to attract some kind of spidery pests that left sticky cobweb-like goo on the leaves. The flower remained pretty for a while. The seed packets said they are only good for cooler growing zones but they seemed to do well here in zone 10 too.

The container above has five or six sweet pea plants grown together with sunflowers. I tried to let them cling onto sunflower stalks but they don’t seem to like that but rather clung to each other instead. After they flowered, they turned into seed pods, which I used to replant new ones later on.

Azureus Sweet Peas

These blue sweet peas are gorgeous! These colors are true to what they looked like. They didn’t live very long and took a long time to grow but they are so adorable!

I should mention all these are scented flowers and they smelled divine! They require a lot of water to keep the soil moist. I put some in pots but they didn’t grow as well as the purple Beaujolais that was grown in the ground. Next year, I am going to put them all in the ground to see how well they do.