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Monday, January 11, 2010

Miniature S.F. and Train in the Conservatory of Flowers

We had a lovely trip to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco on New Years Eve. On special display (until April) is a miniature version of the famous sites of the city made from recycled stuff- so much fun! A train circles with a bonsai rock garden landscape. There is a game of "what can you find in the scene" for the children and a also a childs fantasy train with some inventive characters.
It was great to escape the cold day and see this display as well as the rooms of orchids, giant ferns and lotus'. I had a little trouble with my camera lense fogging up but enjoyed being in the sauna atmosphere!
Catch it if you can- it really cheered up our New Year!

The first Crocus!



It is always a great treat to see the first spring flowering bulb bloom, in this case a Crocus, a tiny harbinger of what is to come. Contrary to their title many of these spring flowering bulbs bloom in the dead of winter. These little crocus' are among the first and I had a lovely mini rock garden iris pop up the other day too.

This weekend was spent carefully clearing away leaves and weeds so that we would not miss out on any of these lovely jewels.

Also hidden in all those fallen leaves were a bunch of snail eggs, slugs and snails who feast on my lovely flowers so getting rid of as many of those as possible is definitely called for.

If you would like to grow crosus' or other spring flowering bulbs, they are planted here in the late fall (early November) and can be stored in the fridge in paper bags until you are ready to plant them.

I will publish more photos of our bulb garden next month as they come into full bloom.

The Sleeping Beauty Rose



I was out pruning the roses on the weekend, as is the custom during the football season, doing battle with the giant climber that grows on an arch by our front path. I call this rose "The Sleeping Beauty Rose" because it grows to mammoth proportions engulfing not only the arch but much of the front yard. It has some pretty scary thorns too. So each January, and sometimes during the year too, I pull on my leather gloves that come up to my elbows and go in armed with some long handled loppers. It is a job that requires 2 huge green waste bins and usually a few bandaids.

My daughter, Carolyn, cracked me up one day when we drove up to the house and I remarked that this huge climber reminded me of the rose that surrounded Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Carolyn piped up saying that that was good because Sleeping Beauty lives here. She had just been in a play where she had played Sleeping Beauty ( a good part as it involved lying motionless for most of the play- perfect for a teenager!).

From then on this climbing rose, which is actually 'Mermaid', has been known around the house as the sleeping beauty rose. Pictured here after its winter pruning.

All of this is a reminder to prune the roses this month. Hopefully yours will be a piece of cake compared to this one! Also it is a good idea to remove all the leaves in addition to the pruning.

Rust spores and fungus' can overwinter on the back of the leaves so removing the leaves and raking up under the plants helps to avoid diseases next year.

Enjoy the winter chill and the sounds of cheering football fans as you clip and rake!