Pictures of a Garden Rose

…from many perspectives.


Drinking from a small Waterford crystal pitcher.yellowishrose6Sunshiny orange and yellow.
yellowishrose1 yellowishrose2 yellowishrose5Bashful
yellowishrose7Warm temps and big surf. Just another winter day in SoCal!

What’s your Sunday?


Southern California Rain. Stuck Inside The House.

Being the princess that I am, I don’t like to drive in the rain. I like to be DRIVEN around in the rain, but my private chauffeur/tugboat man’s not here, so I decided to stay home and concentrate on indoor activities, something that as a California girl, I really hate!

Our office can always use a bit of organizing-such a perfect job for a rainy day. My tugboat man and I found the table discarded on our street; hauled it home, and refinished it (well, he did all the work). Perfect for the office sofa!


Lots of seashells and rocks and a glimpse of my 70s sewing machine. Oopsie doodle, Chanel bag photobomb.officerain3

From the office window, my camera’s pointed down to the California native and drought tolerant part of our front lawn area, which I designed and planted with my own dainty hands.officerain Gloomy and drippy day. Right across the street. You can see where I looked for Angel Boy playing at recess when he was in elementary school. Ever the protective mom…officerain2

Here’s a bright spot of color…my on-time blooming Christmas cactus.
xmascactus2014 xmascactus20142What do you do when it rains?


Not a Sunflower

And not an artichoke, either.

These are SUNCHOKES.sunchoke1 I wonder what they taste like. Anyone tried them?sunchoke2According to Wikipedia, The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunrootsunchokeearth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.[2]

I haven’t harvested my tubers yet ‘cos I’m still enjoying the flowers — that’s about all that’s flourishing in my garden during this horrible drought in California — but when I do, I’ll probably roast them with garlic, since we got a HUGE string of garlic from Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world, the last time we drove through central Cali.

Sunchoke Liqueur

Sunchoke Liqueur

Have you ever tried sunchoke liqueur? Maybe best of all, in Baden-WürttembergGermany, over 90% of the Jerusalem artichoke crop is used to produce a spirit called “Topinambur (de)”, “Topi” or “Rossler”.[13] By the end of the 19th-century, Jerusalem artichokes were being used in Baden to make a spirit called “Jerusalem Artichoke Brandy”, “Jerusalem Artichoke”, “Topi”, “Erdäpfler”, “Rossler”, or “Borbel”.

Jerusalem artichoke brandy smells fruity and has a slight nutty-sweet flavour. It is characterised by an intense, pleasing, earthy note. The tubers are washed and dried in an oven before being fermented and distilled. It can be further refined to make “Red Rossler” by adding common tormentil, and other ingredients such as currants, to produce a somewhat bitter and astringent decoction. It is used as digestif, as well as a remedy for diarrhea or abdominal pain.

If you’ve cooked with them, please send me your recipes. Thank you!


Alabaster Blooms


I just found out that it’a Giant Spider Lily (Crinum asiaticum). 

I don’t low the name of this plant; it was here when we moved in twenty-five years ago, but it blooms every summer and the fragrance is strongest after the sun sets.

How about helping me solve the mystery — if anyone knows what it is, please let me know!

whiteflower1 whiteflower2

Endurance and Survival

Life lessons from the garden.

We dug up a stand of cactus a few weeks ago, intending to immediately replant them in a different location, but life happened in the form of my son’s emergency surgery and my torn retina  —  and the cactus patiently waits for its journey to a new home.

Surviving and thriving.


Anticipating its release from a hostile environment.

Blossoming in spite of life in a barren, derelict wheelbarrow.




Ruby Red Moon Cactus

I’m in love with this bright red little guy. 


The Gymnocalycium cultivar — sometimes called ruby ball cactus or moon cactus — is actually two cacti in one.

A pure red cactus seedling lacks the ability to produce chlorophyll and will die unless it’s grafted onto a green one. The green feeds its mutant mate sugar molecules produced from water and carbon dioxide.

Once established, the two parts grow together so you can’t even see the seam.

I’m going to try and graft the babies on either side of the main ball onto other types of cacti in the garden. Wish me luck!

Blooming Blossoms in the Midst of a Drought

Apparently, we’re  in the middle of another drought in Southern California.

Winter is usually our rainy season but iIt hasn’t rained since December.

Water is very expensive; even though we plant a lot of drought tolerant plants, they still need to be watered occasionally.

With fires in Los Angeles started by stupid people who decided that eighty-five degree sunny weather was the perfect time for a campfire, and the howling winds stirring up dust and drying out my garden, I was still able to find a few colorful flowering plants that are strong enough to survive these crazy record high temperatures.

Anyone else thinking climate change thoughts?

Orchid FlowerorchidflowercloseupFlowering Succulent succulentflowercloseupSweet AlyssumsweetalyssumcloseupYellow Perennial Daisy

Sometimes Things Fail…Epically

This is an example of a fail.

Not a major failure in the grand scheme of things, but a fail nonetheless.

It’s okay to laugh — I laughed at myself.

It’s one of my better qualities; self-deprecation, not taking myself too seriously.

But seriously, WTF was I thinking?

Check out my Goldfinger — 24K pond — I got a little carried away with being all crafty and thought a simple restoration was in order — you know, Mother’s Day is coming up and my Angel Boy is gonna be here, and I’m singing  the song of a happy mommy.

This morning I received an email to let me know that my tugboat man is a comin’ home too!


My Angel Boy AND my Tugboat Man! Woooohoooo!

I’ve been re-inspired to complete a bunch of projects and clean the house (yes, again) so I’ll have free time to play with my two best boys.

So…ya wanna see the debacle? Here ya go — you might need to put your shades on, it’s kinda bright…in the sun….the blinding glare of a haphazardly spray painted nature pond.

I’m definitely conveying a mixed message here.

Is it a garden sanctuary or Jersey Shore? Wow.


I had to turn off the pump for the waterfall; too much overspray from the gold paint. Yes, you’re seeing correctly–for some reason, I painted the trunk of that tree.


I’m very proud of this pond — except for the gold. I dug it out, mixed and poured the concrete with no help from anyone, and that includes placing each and every rock and boulder.


This is an epic fail. My task this afternoon is to empty the water and try a wire brush to remove as much of the paint as I can.

If THAT fails, I’ll have to send out a mayday call for a captain to assist.

Magic Mushrooms

Right now we’re waiting for the doorbell to ring announcing our first treat or treaters. So far it’s been a productive Wednesday. We woke up about 6:30, checked emails, watched a bit of news, had a cup of coffee. The captain likes homemade granola with coconut milk, but I don’t usually eat anything first thing in the morning. I checked FlightTracker to make sure that my son’s Jet Blue flight to Boston departed on time, which it had.  Since Amtrak is still down, he’ll have a hard time getting to New Haven; I’m a little concerned about that. I’m too far away to come to the rescue.

The captain and I discussed our day’s plans. Usually we go to the gym in the morning, but today I had other ideas for exercise. When the captain’s home, I work him half to death on projects that I can’t do when I’m alone. I really wanted to go to Mountain Meadow Mushrooms in Escondido. They have free mushroom compost which is supposed to be awesome for gardens and I want to get ours ready for winter veggies. This business was featured on Mike Rowe‘s Dirty Jobs show (Mushroom Farmer).

It’s about 25 minutes or so from where we live.  The compost is in huge piles; you fill your own containers or truck for free, although they have a loader there for larger amounts, but I’m not sure of the cost.

We got our shovels out and started working! I just took a break to take the pic.

Lots of flies! Mushrooms are actually embedded in all the stinky compost!

From the parking lot, this is the beautiful view of the Daley Ranch, a great place to hike.

Back at home, we he immediately unloaded and prepared to rototill.

Good news for a mom. My son made it to New Haven. Happy Halloween everyone!

Rats and a “What Husbands are Good For” List

I’m a list maker –and not just for the grocery store, either.

I make lists of things to do, things to buy, projects to accomplish, so why not a list of what makes having a husband worthwhile?

The list can change from day-to-day; sometimes there is really no good reason I can think of, ha ha.

big-blue-bunny-logoBut today I was jonesin’ for a Blue Bunny drumstick with chocolate ice cream.

My captain confessed to me that he had enjoyed one on the tug and he knows that is one of my very most favorite desserts to have for a special treat.

It has about 350 totally unnecessary calories, and I have to feel that I’ve earned it in some way by exercising approximately that equivalent number.

If only I were a few inches taller, I wouldn’t have to be so disciplined, but at only five feet, it’s imperative!

I was on a mission to find me some Blue Bunny, which is kind of a rare brand in my neck of the woods. I went to their website and found a couple of locations. I wasted two hours and never found any; so I had to settle for another brand.  I also took the opportunity to stop at TJ Maxx and a couple other stores, so it wasn’t a total debacle, just a waste of time and gas.

When I got home, I went to work turning the compost which is most def NOT one of my favorite chores.

It’s full of bugs and ants and it’s really hard to do, but I love the results, so I thought of my ice creamy reward and powered through.

A while ago — the last time he was home — we were having appetizers on the deck and I ran out to the compost to dump the veg peelings and coffee grounds, which is something I normally do at least once a day.

This is exactly what our compost bin looks like:compostbin

I lifted one side of the lid with one hand and simultaneously threw in the trash.

At that same moment as I was dumping the coffee grounds and cucumber peelings and eggshells, the biggest RAT in the entire western hemisphere jumped out of bin right at ME, onto my FOOT, and it was covered in the trash I had just dumped.

OMG, you could probably have heard the screams for miles. I was beside myself. I was out of my mind.  My captain extricated himself from the deck (a bit slower than I would have wanted) and ran over to where I was sitting on the grass hyperventilating and pointing and still screaming, “Rat, rat, rat on me!!!”

He made a diligent search of the entire area, but could not find the monster. He had the nerve to say that I probably scared the mutant rodent more than he scared me. I was very traumatized. But that’s my captain. He’s very calm in a disaster, which is what you want in a captain.

He’s the turtle to my rabbit, as I always say.

So that leads me to my list of what husbands are good for:

1. When you scream that it feels like ants are crawling all over you, they come and look down your shirt and brush you off without complaining.

2. When you scream that there’s a rat that just jumped out of the compost as you opened the top to add some vegetable peelings, they (while taking their sweet time getting off the cushy swing on the deck) rescue you and offer all kinds of comfort (wine) while you are enduring post traumatic stress.

3. They actually turn the compost, so you don’t have to see a rat.

4. They are great for going to get a shave ice with on a hot day — that’s not really a fun solitary activity.

FYI — I found this cute trinket at World Market; it comes with two hearts and I sent one to my captain in the last package. This way he’ll always have my heart with him.
Here’s what the card says:
Love This box contains two love amulets which belong together one is yours the other is a gift from you to your loved one. This (sic) are lovingly handmade by the Mayans of Guatamala. You should both wear the amulets when you are together.

He carries this with him in his backpack wherever he travels to the four corners of the earth. I hope it keeps him safe when we’re apart.