Category Archives: Gardening

The Small Fall Of The San Francisco Bay Area


In the USA, Fall has been usurped. The Northeast rules our iconography, and yet. Sweaters, boots? It’s still in the 70s where I live. Waves of forest red? We’re still growing roses. I’m here to represent other autumns. We know when the oleander drops. You see, contrary to popular mythology, California does have a fall. […]

When Fuchsias Wander And Anemones Erupt


I like gardens for some of the same reasons I like middle-aged cities. Buildings and shrubs hunker down in place; although things change year to year and season to season, you can find your way around. Just recently I moved my pot of fuchsias. Now if that isn’t one of the silliest English sentences ever […]

How To Grow A Gardenia In The San Francisco Bay Area, And Other Dialogues


Harbor a hidden guilty love of gardenia fragrance, for 30 years In November, hire your fabulously talented garden designer to redo your backyard Respond, “Yes,” when he asks if you’d like him to put a gardenia in a pot, hidden from sight around a corner of your house Stare blankly at the resultant green and […]

Meanwhile, In The Garden, Light Comes And Goes


The back yard is green. It’s hydrangea time. Yeah, they are leggy, pruning mistake. Lesson learned. Leslie asked me how my white roses are doing. In truth I neglected them to deal with my mother’s Alzheimer’s-provoked move. The poor guys responded by sinking into a despair of black spot, rust, and unnamable blight. But a couple […]

Can’t Even Come Up With A Title, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:44am


Just sitting here on the sofa, listening to the Pandora Worldbeat station. Vaguely-Argentine guitar played by a guy named Johannes Linstead. I thought he might be Swedish, given the name, but no. Canadian. I watch my hands, the veins that run between my knuckles are rising. Age. I’ll be 60 in September – I look […]

An Enduring Love Affair With My Fuchsia, And Its Friend, A Small Haws Copper Watering Can


My fuchsia has grown and is blooming. It’s such a pleasure to watch the buds swell over days. Then one morning you wake up and they’ve opened, little triangular petals curving away from purple centers.   Right now the fuchsia is surrounded by primulas, violas and heuchera (burgundy leaves forever!). Also a ratty alyssum falling […]

A Different Kind Of Adult Coloring, Without A Book


I just got back from a few days in Santa Barbara. The trips are very full and tiring, 5 hour drive down (I’m afraid of airplanes, small ones in particular), 2 days helping tend to someone in stage 5-6 Alzheimer’s, 5 hour drive back. So, a short post. On one of my previous trips, I […]

If You Plant It They Will Come, Or At Least You Hope They Will


I’ve planted a butterfly garden. At least I’ve planted my side yard with flowers, mostly natives, that butterflies are said to enjoy. This is what the space used to look like. Overgrown with thistles, here seen through a shrubby plum tree, a mock orange, and bamboo. Thistles, filling the space in sunlight. Thistles, finally cut […]

The Calendar Of Greenery


My garden is, from a distance, mostly green. But at a certain time in the spring, in one spot, small bright flowers grow. Native geraniums up close, a fringe bush in the background. Forget-me-nots. This usually happens around Easter. Oxalis. This year it’s early. And this year, a lone calla lily is blooming. I have […]

The Garden After A California Rain Or Two


When last we left California, a long drought prevailed. (I wrote “reign” at first, but we will eschew the puns today.) Happily, in December, and January, the rains came. We’re in recovery. Long-term drought still running, 40% of the state still deep in, but the short-term is OK, and snowpack above average. We’re all cautiously […]

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