I used to be terrified of bees mainly because I’m allergic — which is certainly a plausible rationale for fear, but I have so many bees here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells–they love rosemary and lavender and other herbs, that I’ve decided to quell my anxiety and bee friendly.
Are you thinking about Pepé Le Pew? I’m thinking this is another beneficial creature that enjoys a stroll around the garden along with the coyotes and bunnies and possums and raccoons. I don’t include rats or ground squirrels in that group ‘cos I really really don’t like them!
I don’t think there’s anything that enchants me more than a volunteer plant.
Where did you come from, my lovely friend?
Whether it was born from a seed scattered by the wind or bird or a garden angel, a volunteer plant seems to be healthier and grows more vigorously than others.
I didn’t plan for this California poppy, but here she is in all of her shiny, orange, exuberant glory!
In my fantasy-driven universe where animals and growing things speak, it’s like she selected this perfect location between a rose and lavender, and says, “Here I am, Princess Rosebud, aren’t I so very beautiful?”
Yes, it’s true. You are a very beautiful child of the universe and thank you for choosing me to care for you. I am grateful!
I took a look around and thought it’d be fun to share my other gardens at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
The little side yard next to the driveway…See the gigantic ceanothus to the left of the flowers? I thought it had died and now it’s taking over that entire space.
This is one of my favorite places; a rose arbor with a hideaway pond/waterfall along with chairs and a table, perfect for morning coffee or afternoon tea.
This sweet smelling herb garden under the bedroom window is starting to bloom, too. Sage and flowering borage, also known as starflower:
We haven’t had any measurable April showers that would bring May flowers; such is the life of a SoCal garden. We’re halfway through the month with no rain in sight. We’ll need to enjoy these flowers until the summer heat and drought turns everything brown and drab.
This simple DIY project reallyreally exacerbated my OCD issues. However, I was determined NOT to give up until my inner demons were soothed.
The fifth time was a charm, at least I think so. I’m not good at math but I used sixteen pavers with the exact same distance between each one. The middle of the arch aligned perfectly with the big living room window and that made me SO happy. It’s a nice transition between the pygmy palms and the ponytail palms and my dry river bed. I realize the standard rule is to leave 24 inches between each paver or stone, but I’m short and that’s a big leap for me, ergo the reason why they are so close together.
I have an unending supply of these adorable little mounding succulents that are ideally suited to completely fill the spaces between the pavers. If I remember correctly, it’s a kind of spreading sedum and seems to love it in my backyard garden. It won’t take long for them to grow.
I thought about painting or stenciling the gray concrete but it would have spoiled the theme of the dry river bed. The rest of my front yard is planted with California natives; coyote bush, sages, buckwheat, and this gigantic Rhus integrifolia, also known as lemonade sumacor lemonade berry. It began life as a one gallon plant and must really love it in that spot because it’s as big as the house!
(I probably don’t need to tell you that you wouldn’t want to be here when I hang a picture on the wall.”Move it just a bit to the right, I mean to the left; up a tiny bit. OK. PERFECT.”)
Confession: I never have, but I did something SIMILAR…a garden nursery crawl!
SO MUCH FUN.
The get-together was originally planned for last week but I came down with a mysterious and debilitating migraine and we postponed the outing for a week.
I was picked up in a snazzy (does anyone even use that word nowadays?) metallic blue Tesla, and we were off.
Our itinerary included places I had never previously visited–hidden gems in SoCal– and I wasn’t disappointed. An added plus is that it felt as if things were almost back to pre-Covid times.
We weren’t offered a menu of wine and cocktails at every stop on our crawl; instead I found Marzano tomatoes (best for homemade sauces) and orange mint and perpetually producing spinach; more strawberries, Yerba Buena, wasabi mustard greens, and an exotic hot pepper, plants not usually found at corporate garden shops.
We saw adorable and friendly goats and followed secret garden pathways that revealed exotic and delicious edible veggies, fruits, and herbs.
If I wasn’t under constant assault from aggressive squirrels and bunnies, I would have brought every single one of them home with me, but first I have to figure out new ways to outsmart those little critters.
When we returned home, we sat in the shade and enjoyed fresh herbal water festooned with nasturtium flowers and chatted about the next day when we’d plunge our hands in the soil to put these babies in the ground and watch them flourish.
A pub crawl would be fun too, but we woke up with clear heads and zero hangovers, so it’s probably a much healthier activity than to to go from one bar to the next and get progressively more drunk.
PS I’ll post a recipe for the herbal water tomorrow. It was amazing!
One of my proudest skills is the unexpected ability to propagate plants. Currently I’m propagating lavender, rosemary, roses, and a variety of bushy daisies.
Another simple (and thrifty) joy of mine is to go to the section at the nursery where the sad unloved plants are piled up and sold .50 cents to a dollar. I call them my “rescues”. Sometimes all they need is to be transplanted, maybe cut back, offer a bit of care and tenderness, and they’ll thank me by bouncing back and thriving.
A couple months ago, I “rescued” six Autumn Sage one gallon plants. I transplanted them to serve as a border around the deck.
Leaves on Salvia greggii are narrow, leathery and aromatic. This low water need perennial boasts a long flower season. Blooms appear from spring to fall.
They responded to immediately and have now grown into gigantic, beautiful plants with lipstick red flowers. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are happy, too! Even better, I pinched off some new growth and have successfully propagated them to another part of the garden and the little babies are also healthy and flourishing. Success!
This little one returns every spring to nest in the same old birdhouse.
For some strange reason, I woke up with a raging migraine that haunted me all day. I have no idea what triggered it. Thankfully, I rarely get them but this one was especially dreadful because I was nauseous for hours and hours. I slept most of the day which is so unlike me but my body insisted.
At one point when I forced myself to drink water so I wouldn’t get dehydrated, I looked out onto the deck and was greeted with a melodic, warbling song and couldn’t resist grabbing my camera for a couple of photos and then I went back to sleep.
On a side note, I semi-watched Perry Mason and Wagon Train and Mash and Happy Days, not my usual choices, only because I didn’t have the energy to look for the remote to change the station or turn off the TV. I was able to discern a lot of nuance from Happy Days that I had originally missed, in case anyone studies old TV shows.
I feel better today.
P.S. Migraines are debilitating; I lost a whole day; my heart goes out to anyone who suffers on a regular basis.
The word “purple” is not a pretty word. Say it out loud. It doesn’t even sound pleasant, right? I looked up the etymology of the word:
Old English (describing the clothing of an emperor), alteration of purpre, from Latin purpura ‘purple’, from Greek porphura, denoting mollusks that yielded a crimson dye, also cloth dyed with this. (From Oxford Languages)
I like these words better: -lavender -lilac -mauve -periwinkle -plum -violet -amaranthine
As much as I noticed all the sunny garden yellows a couple weeks ago, now THIS color palette caught my eye, and the bees are happy, too!