I am the type who is ALL or NOTHING kind of gal when it comes to hobbies. My hobbies are gardening, crocheting, knitting, beading, quilting, belly dancing, drawing, and painting. I throw myself into my hobby wholeheartedly and exclusively.
I love the color of blue in the garden and chicory plants are the answers to that! A couple of years ago when I was trying to fill my barren garden, I wanted to arrange the garden by color. All the flowers I grew in each of those areas have the same color either in pinks, yellows, oranges, purples, or blues. It seemed hard at the time to find nice plants in blue colors that would thrive in our hotter zone 10, Southern California. Most of the blue flowering plants only do well in the cooler climates.
When I was looking for seeds to grow, I found out that chicory served many purposes. Most people know that chicory roots can be used to make chicory coffee but may not know that the leaves and flowers are also edible. Chicory also has many health benefits such as aids in digestion, improves heart health, relieves anxiety, reduces arthritis, and treats constipation. I didn’t really care about all of that at the time of planting seeds but I was glad that I was growing something that does more than look beautiful!
Here are my simple tips to grow chicory: full sun is best, can tolerate part sun too but not much flowering; no fertilizer or special care; staking may be necessary since they can get up to 3-4 feet tall; leave about 2 feet wide room to grow; can grow in dry tough soil. They do tend to look like a garden weed when they are little though, so be careful when you weed.
Brugmansias (Angel’s Trumpet) are one of the best and easiest plants to grow. The large bell shaped flowers are large and fragrant, especially at night. They have a very wonderful, intoxicating scent so grow them where you would like to smell them regularly. They can reach as high as 10-12 feet tall, provided you trim the side shoots. They like moist soil but can tolerate heat and dry soil as well. I usually give them a deep watering each week. I rarely fertilize and they still bloom prolifically. But if you fertilize, choose a fertilizer that has the higher phosphorus which is the P in the N-P-K of most fertilizer compositions.
Side shoots from brugmansias should be trimmed back every few weeks because they grow very quickly. I sometimes take the trimmed branches and leave them sitting in water for days and even weeks so that they root. They are very easy to propagate.
If you grow these beautiful trees, beware that all parts of the plant are poisonous. Bees love these flowers. This tree also attracts a lot of white flies and pests.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your yard or patio, this plant is also good in large containers. Choose a heavy pot though as they can get pretty top-heavy with flowers and branches. These plants are not usually found at Home Depot or most garden centers. I usually purchase them online and they can be very pricey. If you live near me, I could give you a cutting 🙂
It’s worth it to grow these though because they smell wonderful, flowers every few months throughout the year, and great as a privacy bush.
Last week I started planting a huge batch of poppy seeds, spinach, carrots, lavender, cilantro, and root vegetables. Seed growing is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. You need good seed starting soil to get them to grow. I found that the ones sold at garden centers work too. Since I grow a lot of seeds, I mix my own batch of soil consisting of coco coir, compost, and perlite or vermiculite.
For starting out with seeds, you can purchase these:
Seed starting pods or trays that can be purchased from any home improvement or garden stores
Labels or plant markers ( I use address labels to label my seeds)
Toothpick or a chopstick to poke holes in the soil
DIRECTIONS FOR SEEDS GROWING
Water the potting mix from the bottom of the tray. Let the water soak up into the potting mix. Once the mix is wet thoroughly, probably an hour or so, then you may begin putting in seeds. Don’t forget to empty the leftover water in the tray. If the seeds sit in soggy soil for too long, they will grow mold and rot the seeds.
For this batch of seeds I grew, I used a chopstick to put a very light indentation to drop my seeds in the center. I dropped about 10 seeds in because I know that some may not survive down the line so I always grow an extra big batch. Also, since I am a HUGE fan of beets and turnips, I usually put in A LOT!
Once you get the seeds in, cover very lightly with about less than 1/4 of an inch of soil. Label as I do in the pictures or stick your plant markers on the side of each pot. Put the plastic cover over the plant (cover usually comes with the plant tray).
Place the tray in a dark, preferably warm closet. Check on the plant in two days, there should be new growth coming up. Vegetables are usually quicker to sprout than flowers.
Once the new growth appear in any of the pods, take the cover off the tray and place the tray in a warm sunny spot INDOORS. Keep the soil moist for the next couple of weeks. I like to keep my plants indoors for at least a month until the seedlings outgrow the pods.
When you are ready to take the plants outside, take them out and place them in a shady but bright area outside for a few hours each day. You should gradually increase their time outside each day and in full sun until after a week, you can start leaving them out overnight. Apply fish or light water soluble fertilizer a week later. After that you can place them in a larger container or in the ground or a raised bed. I highly recommend you let them grow bigger for another few more weeks so that they will be stronger and less likely eaten by smaller bugs and pests on the ground.
As you can see from the pictures, the plants are doing remarkably well in the last few days. They have grown more leafy and leggy. To ensure they will keep thriving, make sure the soil is moist (don’t forget them like I did and left it dry in the window)!
I recently became a convert of nasturtiums. For a long time I thought nasturtiums come in yellow or orange. I was not a fan of flowers in those colors so naturally I never gave nasturtiums a second thought. One day I heard that nasturtiums were good companion plants for drawing pests and bugs away from vegetable plants. I started searching on the internet for nasturtiums and found some really unique and exciting colors. Here are ones in my garden now. I must say though, yellow and orange colors have become my new favorite colors in the garden. The above picture is the Caribbean Cocktail Mix, it is a pinkish red color and it is vibrant.
I know this picture above has nothing to do with nasturtiums but they are the pretty flowers I recently deadheaded. Don’t they look great as a wallpaper on the computer or an artsy print?
The nasturtium above is another variety called Tip Top Apricot. It is very pretty! The inside has brushstrokes of reds in the center. Below are more variety from the Caribbean Cocktail Mix of seeds. They are so beautiful and the fall season seems to be their favorite time of the year because they are expanding and blooming happily in my garden right now. Pictures were taken in the garden today and I wanted to share.
Nasturtium doesn’t require a lot of water. They seem to do better in drier soil. It’s an easy to grow plant. I just found out also that it is edible too, so I will have to try that. I hope this post inspires you to grow some nasturtiums in your garden. They are great beauties!
The names of these two aggressive, sometimes invasive growers are contradictory to their genteel and lady-like names. When they are planted in the ground they spread like wildfire in any season. These two are some of my favorite flowers growing in the garden right now .
Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace is such a wonderful name and I adore it. It is also known as Daucus Carota, which is also a nice name too. The flowers themselves really look like a lacy bouquet. I grew these from seeds two years ago and I found that they have been spreading themselves in many places all over my yard. When they first started to grow they look like carrot leaves. Small green clusters grew from thin stems but eventually they open up to reveal reddish flowers with a mix of white. The variety I have are dark pink and white flowers.
They like lots of water but can grow well even in dry spots in your garden. They don’t require fertilizer and can stand clay soil, see the spot where I put them below, it is pretty dry most of the time.
Blushing Susie Thunbergia is one of the cutest flowering vines I have ever seen! I grew them from seeds and it took them a while to flower but when they did, they were so vibrant. Before they open, they have pretty light green, heart-shaped buds that looked like paper lanterns. When they bloom they have the brightest orange-red, light orange, or yellow flowers on its vines all at once sometimes. They like moist soil and lots of places to climb onto. They are a bit invasive, so I recommend growing them in pots and far away from other plants you don’t want them to overtake. This one is also fairly low maintenance… no fertilizer, just water.
I love these invasive flowers and I don’t mind them reproducing or spreading all over my garden. I do mind though that the Blushing Susie is strangling my tomato plant and alstroemeria. It can easily be cut down and moved elsewhere though since I had it in a pot. Try growing them from seeds. The package or some websites will say they are for certain growing zones but I always defied those warnings and grow them out of range anyway!
I never used to like succulents because I always associated them with spiky cactus plants. They are in the same category of low maintenance, low water, and heat tolerant plants…so I thought they are all the same. One day, I saw my mom had these beautiful Aeonium Sunbursts in her front yard and I am forever sold on its beauty.
Succulents come in all shapes and sizes but my favorite varieties are ones that resemble flower shapes! Succulents are so easy reproduce. Just pinch off a leaf or branch, let it dry out for a few days, put it in cactus potting mix and DON’T water for at least a few weeks until they sprout roots. They like to be watered once a week and morning sun/afternoon shade after that.
These pretty rosette-looking cuties are one of the Aeonium Kiwis. They are green when they don’t get enough sunlight but when it is in the sun, it turns into this color above, with hints of yellow and red. They can be more vibrantly red and yellow too depending on how much time they spend in the sun. So beautiful! Truly one of God’s magnificent creations!
One of my other favorite succulents are in the “Hens and Chicks” collection. I think it is such a ridiculous name but once I saw them sprout babies, I realized why they are called that. In the picture below, a couple of them already sprouted babies on the side. They all do that later in the year and I separated them into pots and gave some to friends.
In general, I love succulents because they are very colorful and easy to care for. My hopes for my garden in the future is to have a rock garden designated for my succulents where they get the right amount of light and water each day. As always, I’d like to leave you with my favorite succulent: Aeonium Sunburst.
I love this time of the year when chrysanthemums really take off. I have a few varieties of chrysanthemums that are not the standard varieties which are the yellow and white chrysanthemums. I never liked these flowers before because I was never around them enough to see mature plants produced abundant flowers. One year I planted some yellow ones because I heard they have low water needs and are heat tolerant. The second and third years I have seen stunning, prolific blooms. I really love them and plan to fill my garden with a lot more.
These dark purplish red chrysanthemums are in the second year of blooms. They are about 3 feet tall. Last year they were about 12 inches tall and the colors were a much lighter pink. A few days after flowering, they turn into a salmon pink color, which I love. But I have to snip them off to encourage the other buds to fully bloom.
These chrysanthemums are also very pretty, they are a darker colors like this when it first bloom but after a few days in the sun, the outer petals turn into a mustard yellow. This one hasn’t expanded as well as the others, I think the soil where this one is located needs more cultivation.
Something else that I’ve been meaning to share is one of my cosmos plant from previous post, which I thought was never going to bloom, suddenly had a grand bloomfest! See them below.
Another wonderful plant I just acquired is the At Last rose bush. It has such beautiful, peachy-yellow blooms. I am in love! I will propagate these to have more plants. See if they make you smile too.
Now, I will leave you with one of these pretty chrysanthemums to ponder.
Daylilies are one of the prettiest, most extravagant flowers I have ever seen. I would love to grow a whole field full of them. The colors are bright, bold and vivacious. I purchased a few mix collections from Spring Hill some years ago. Here are my beauties:
They are very easy to grow: dig a whole about 6 inches deep, put them in pointer side face up, and water. I planted them in the fall and the first spring it bloomed one or two flowers; they were very short and small. They also only bloomed once. The second year was this year and there were several blooms appearing one at a time for at least 3 months. The branches were taller and blooms were much bigger. They are very easy to maintain and doesn’t mind the heat waves we have here in California. The package says they are hardy in zones 3-9 but I live in zone 10a and it coped very well.
Try growing some. Don’t be intimidated by zones if it falls a little out of the zone by a few numbers!
Last time I shared pictures of flowers in my garden. This next set of pictures are some more of my favorite flowers blooming currently. These are blooms that have been shocking and surprising all these past couple of weeks.
The time and effort in nurturing these plants have been extremely satisfying for me, especially when they surprised me out of nowhere and bloomed. The hibiscus below was such an example. I grew it from seeds last year, planted in the ground this March and now it has grown about 3 feet tall. A few weeks ago I saw some buds but it stayed small that way for a while. I was worried pests would damage the buds. I lost the labels for this hibiscus so I had no idea what color it was going to be. A few days ago I saw it bloomed for the first time in the evening and my first thought was “ooohh, what a cutie!” At the time, it was around 7 p.m., it was closing its petals for the night. I was super excited. The next day I got out early enough to capture the other picture, it was another bud opening, the other one closed for good. See for yourself…
Other surprising blooms this week are these hibiscus flowers. Never have I seen this many flowers all at once, so I was pleasantly surprised. The most spectacular thing about this hibiscus is in the morning it is a dark bright pink (first picture below – from another day) and at the end of the afternoon, it turns into a beautiful salmon pink color. LOVE this plant!
Here are a few more of my favorite hibiscuses. I should probably relabeled this post as HIBISCUS since there are so many. I did say in the beginning of my blog posts that hibiscuses are in my top five of flowers!
The next wonderful surprise happening this past week was this red hibiscus that I have waited two years for it to fully bloom. Every year in the past there would be a few buds but they always fall to the ground before any of them bloomed. This is the first time I actually got to see a full flower and I am so giddy with happiness when I saw it. There are a few more buds on the tree getting ready to bloom and so far it is only giving me one every few days!
Here are a few of my other delightful finds this week or the week before and the week before that. The below are blushing susie vines and a bougainvillea.
Next, are lovely bunches of hydrangea flowers in four stages of life. This one is very pretty because it starts out peachy pink and gradually over several days changes colors to a nice light lavender. These past weeks they bloomed more than they ever have. But then, this has been in the ground for only a year. I expect next year is going to get even better.
This year one of my plumerias bloomed the best in all the 19 years that I have seen it. It has varying shades of pinks, yellows, and whites. I have only seen it as a boring pink all these years but this year has been spectacular and it is taller than the roof of my house! I didn’t know plumerias can get that tall but this guy does.
Heretofore, if you made it all the way down here, I will leave you with one of my newest favorite…the gerbera daisy! I love the bright pink in this flower. Makes me happy just to look at it!
Today, I wanted to share some lovely flowers from my garden. There are a variety of clematis, bachelor’s buttons, opus asters, California bluebells, paper daisy, four o’clocks, and chicory in this collection. Most were grown from seeds. I hope to show you a second part of the “Flowers Galore” next week.
The above picture consisted of paper daisy, some other daisy ( I cannot think of the name of this type of daisy) but I believe it has the word “golden” in it, and the last is the opus aster.
I wish I can remember the name of this one above because I want to have more of these cuties. It was not from seeds. This bloomed for one day and closed up to a pretty peach flowers at the end as you can see here.
The above are pictures of four o’clocks, dahlias, and a rose mallow.
Also, the latest update on my gingkaku melon that I talked about several weeks ago. It has ripened and have gotten bigger. I think I will cut them open sometimes next week. The yellow one looks slightly smaller than the ones I have gotten from the Asian grocery stores. It did have such a sweet, ripened fruit fragrance though so maybe I will cut them tomorrow.