Maintenance Information

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Friday, April 23, 2010

California Poppies!




OMG!
Another stop on our journey into the southland was the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve about an hour north of L.A.. Wow! We saw a lot of wildflowers on the trip but this was absolutely dayglo. My daughter had planned her wedding to coincide with the poppy bloom so we could go out there and now I know why. We hit it right at the peak and had a wonderful time hiking the hills with millions of blooms.
Interspersed with the poppies were lupine, gold fields, phacelia, and daisies of varied types.
The area is a high desert and sage covers many of the hills giving the air a lovely scent.
The preserve has nice, easy trails and picnic area. It tends to be very windy here but the day we went it was just a breeze.
My mother had always wanted to visit Antelope Valley and so this was a wonderful outing for us and she had a dream come true to arrive on the perfect day!
My daughter said the hills looked like they had been colored with a highliter!
I didn't see a single Antelope though.
This is a spring place and is barren the rest of the year so the time to visit is March through the beginning of May.
I hope you can go some time too!

Huntington Cacti Garden


On the recent wedding trip down to L.A. we got to do some touring and stopped at the Huntington Garden and Library in Pasadena.
This is just a section of the huge garden area. A whole hillside showcasing cacti and succulents from around the world. I love all the barrel cacti here and we were lucky to visit during the blooming season.
There are also pond areas, giant specimen trees and acres of formal gardens i.e. chinese and japanese gardens, rose garden and sections devoted to regions of the world. Oh yes, there is a library too! The library has rare documents on display and changing exhibits of paintings and books.
If you have not been there it is a great place to go and is a full days worth of sites. The cafe has good food. Beware of the heat and start early or go in the cooler season. I have gone twice in the summer and it was very humid so I would recommend the early spring or late fall.
I have to say that this is my favorite cacti garden so wanted to share the info. with you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Late Spring Flowering Bulbs


At the end of the spring flowering bulb season the Dutch Iris, Tulips and Watsonia take the stage for a last burst of vibrant color. It is magnificent and sad at the same time knowing that these will be the last of the spring bulbs until next year. The summer flowering bulbs do their thing but are not quite as much fun as the easy and joyous blossoms of spring. The summer heat also gives the flowers of summer a hard time and shortens the petal life of many flowers.
Next comes the big Rose bloom which is always the best with the first cycle in spring. Some of our Roses are already in full throttle especially the vines that I didn't prune back very far.
The Roses take the heat of Los Gatos very well except in the extreme hot weather. It will be exciting to see them all open in the next month or more.
The big wedding is finally here and I go next week to help out and enjoy the activities. Will post some photos of the ceremony in the Rose Garden- weren't we just talking about Roses?!- should be fun and exhausting!
Happy Spring and I hope that you all have a chance to be out in the garden. It is lovely out there!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Care and Feeding of Wisteria


I wish that you could smell the fragrance of these blooms. The air of the whole back garden smells of sweet perfume of the blossoms.
Wisteria is the most gorgeous of vines. Rampant but beautiful.
The flowers and the foliage are lovely and it is a fast grower so is good for arbors.
The key to living with a Wisteria is control. They need trimming heavily in winter and a lighter pruning in fall. The vines should be kept out of trees, off power poles and roof tops of homes. Without a certain amount of supervision they quickly run amock and grow over, under and through all the surrounding area.
Watch for ground creeping tendrils also as they can emerge 20' away after growing along the ground below other plants.
Wisteria has long fuzzy pods that break open to drop dime-sized seeds. To avoid the pods clip the dead flower heads after bloom is over.
Feed the vines with a slow release fertilizer in spring and fall and let the rain wash in the granules. 'Osmocote' works well. Keep the area at the base of the vines clear to avoid suckers sprouting up and deforming the shape of the larger vines. Thin canes in the winter during the heavy pruning.
This vine is moderate water requiring and needs summer water to thrive. It is tolerant to many different soil types.
Enjoy but beware! Wisteria can be a beauty or a beast!