Midnight Lily

This Odessa Calla Lily (Zantedeschia rehmannii violacea) is dark as a moonless night. In shade, the deep purple bloom is nearly black. Today, sunshine illuminates the royal purple curve of the petals. It’s one of my favorite flowers, especially since it thrives in the hot summer sun of rain-deprived SoCal.

Photo Journey

I have never been able to successfully grow a dogwood; too bad because they are magnificent, but someone else has done really well with them.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s so green and evocative of spring. I think it’s Miner’s Lettuce, but I’m not 100% sure.

Seed Magic

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!

Happy Monday!

Spring Garden Tour

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.

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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:

Borage
Edible sage

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.

Have you ever gone on a pub crawl?

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!

Confession: Secret Talent

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!

Shades of Purple

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!

Vernal Equinox/Spring is Here!

It began at 2:37 a.m. Pacific Time.

The sun crosses the celestial equator south to north. It’s called the “celestial equator” because it’s an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator.

If you were standing on the equator, the sun would pass directly overhead on its way north. 

Can you feel it?

How will you celebrate? We’re going to plant a lemon tree and some blueberries to add to the peach, plum, apple, pomegranate, grapefruit, and orange trees already in the ground.

Sadly, I had inadvertently killed my favorite lime tree and was disappointed to learn that no one in my area has any lime trees for sale. According to the nursery, the pandemic caused an explosion in home gardening and it’ll be quite some time before they’ll be back in stock, an interesting phenomenon directly related to Covid.

Those old poets sure knew how to describe the ethereal affirmations of an ephemeral season.

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

William Wordsworth

Hello, Yellow!

Not a shamrock in sight! I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I should probably write about that or the color GREEN, but my entire garden is bursting in bright, joyous YELLOW, so that’s how it’s gonna go down…

Don’t pinch me, the leaves are green!

Primroses, sunflowers, and daisies…