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!

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!

Poppies

Poppies are another one of my favorite annual flowers. They have beautiful, delicate petals and long stems that swish back and forth in the wind. Bees love them in my garden! I have grown them from seeds early in February and by end of April there were blooms everywhere. Last year I was able to grow a few plants from seeds but this year I had only four plants that survived. The poppies I like to grow are somewhat unusual and have been difficult to grow here in Southern California. They are usually zoned for cooler weather than our zone 10 here.

Poppies are such stunners in the garden when they bloom. Poppies cope with the hot sun very well once they are established. Watering can be every 3 days, unless it is high heat in the 90s, I usually water every 2 days. I never fertilized them and they still bloom for the whole spring. I suppose if I fertilized them it may extend their blooms longer.

Once the flowers dry out, you can leave them on the plant so that the wind can help reseed it elsewhere or you can collect the seeds from the dead flowers and plant next year.

Fruit Punch Poppy – this was a strong hardy plant. I had 5-6 blooms, usually one at a time. They last about a day or two.
Hungarian Blue Breadseed Poppy – this poppy was short-lived, it barely opened in the morning and by the afternoon all the petals blew off. I was very sad it died but the colors were extremely pretty.

California Poppy – I’m not sure of the variety’s name. This was also very short-lived but I am really enamored by the pink, white, and yellow color combinations

Below are some of last year’s poppies in my yard.