Category Archives: Gardening

Plant Of Desire: Pieris Japonica, Occasionally Known As “Mountain Fire Lily Of The Valley”

For the most part, I prefer my garden to my plants. I’d rather plant something I find boring by itself, for garden design, than a thrilling specimen that disrupts the big picture. Except, I’m really fond of my Pieris Japonica, particularly the cultivar called Mountain Fire. My best friend thinks it’s weird. You see it  […]

The Colors Of A Coastal Southern Californian Garden

I went down to see my mother and stepfather this weekend. Although I’ve shown you most of her house (here, here, here), I thought some of you might like to see just a few shots of the garden. Southern California’s very different from the North. We’re a big state, 800 miles from north to south. […]

Putting A California Garden To Bed In Late Summer

Snow does not fall in my back yard. The last time it snowed, and hit the ground and remained, was probably 1960. So the seasons do not put our gardens to bed. Instead, we do it ourselves. And, our dormant time, whether the vegetation knows it or not, is late summer. When the lavender is […]

A DIY Project For Really Lazy People With A Sense Of Humor Who Like Beauty

It’s hard for me to finish projects that involve working with my hands. Because, impatient. Because, bad small motor skills. But perseverance, humor, and community work miracles. Anyone remember the “I want gold leaf for Christmas” idea? No reason you should. How about “I am dreaming of fuchsias?” Oh how the stars align. Here we have a […]

Object of Desire: One Fuchsia In A Pot

Fuchsias. First of all, notice the spelling. Fuch-See-Ya. Even though it’s pronounced Fyusha. One of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language. Second, nod to Aussie blogger extraordinaire, Faux Fuchsia. I appreciate her consistent authenticity and her authentic consistency. Third, and the project for today, think about planting the actual plant. Oh, wait, […]

In Northern California, It’s Hydrangea O’Clock

America’s collective consciousness knows the crocus, emerging from snow. We wallow in roses and peonies, come summer. And hydrangeas? In my part of California, the time is now. Drought brings burn. So be it. Lacecaps always show a little more decay than other varieties. With variegated foliage, Or straight green. I like to hide the classic mopheads, showy and homogenous as they are, […]

A Pair Of Crocs For Every Doorstep

This is my front entry. Old school doormat from our local hardware store, basic Crocs. Minimalist, with a little earthy texture for good measure. And in fact, feng shui says that sandy yellow and black are good for my northeast facing front door. Bonus points! I like a heel band, and holes in the body for […]

When Weather Got Scary, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:56am

This is my front lawn. I’m letting it die. Northern California is dry. Actually, so’s the whole state, but that’s a lot of acreage and I can only talk about the part I know. We began drought-level water restrictions this month. We must cut usage 36% from 2013. A pretty precise requirement. Outdoor irrigation in my water district, […]

A Visit To The California Estate Of Filoli, Complete With Family Dreams Of Wendover

Last weekend, I visited Filoli, a Northern Californian turn-of-last-century estate. Well-known, much-visited, somehow I’d never made the trip. A reader of this blog was living temporarily on the Peninsula. We’d chatted about local things to do, and before she left she was kind enough to suggest, “How about Filoli, together?” It’s pronounced Figh-Low-Lee, by the […]

The Serenity Of Flowering Dogwood

3-2-1, cue month of online fawning over peonies. I always want to boycott. I cast no aspersions on preferences – peonies just seem too blowsy, too easy for me and my somewhat astringent tastes. Ah, give me dogwood any day. Give me flowers that appear to float on water. Give me random numbers made chlorophyll. […]