Friday, January 30, 2009

Red And White Striped Roses Blooming for Friday Floral

This is my favorite rose bush, it is a red and white striped floribunda rose.  I can't find the tag though so I can't tell you it's name.  I planted it because it reminded me of a beloved Rosa Mundi I left behind at a previous garden.

This rose usually gets one large burst of flowers during the season on one giant cane that has rosebuds opening in huge clusters.  Right now it's just sending out a few teaser flowers.  We've had some rain this January so it is getting ready for the big show.

Every petal has a different pattern in either red striped with white or white with red splotches.  When the rose is completely open the colors are very distinct.  But, if you pick the rosebuds before they are fully open, the colors will bleed into each other.  This should be named Temptation! 

These have a very light rose scent.  I broke my rule about only planting roses you can smell for this one, but I think it's well worth it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Garden Art at my Store: Gothic Rose and Vintage Scrollwork

Here's the latest garden art design in my AngelCityArt store; I've named it Gothic Rose.  I usually post about my new art on the AngelCityArt blog, but since this is garden related I thought I'd preview it here.
It's a large pink and white Double Delight rose against a background design of gothic scrollwork.  The design reminds me of the great old ironwork you find in Victorian English gardens or vampire love stories set in the rainy Pacific Northwest (or New Orleans, but I'm ageing myself).  There are curling leaves in the corners in a cool vintage style.  I used Photoshop to stylize the rose photo so it looks more like a painting.
Hope you like it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Euryops: Drought Tolerant, Fast Growing Winter Flowering Shrubs For Southern California

If you are looking for a nice drought tolerant shrub that flowers almost year-round try Euryops. I planted these as a quick fix for a bare bed about four years ago. I knew they were fairly fast growing and flowered in winter.

The plan was to get something started quick and fill in the blank spots later. They lived up to their mission and then some. These currently rank as one of my more brilliant choices, if I don't say so myself. They have bright yellow daisy-like flowers that cover the shrub like a golden carpet. Their leaves are deep green with deep serrated edges that reminds me of Shasta daisy foliage.

Euryops pectinatus are from South Africa, making them fine choices for our similar southern California climate. They can grow to a height of 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. They're good for a low screen and bold color impact in the back of the landscape. They also make good container plants.

In my garden, these heat-tolerant shrubs take full blazing sun in the summer and still look green and pretty. Sunset gives their zones as 8, 9 12-24 or USDA Zone 9-10 which means they are cold tolerant to about to 22 degrees.

There's another variety that has silvery leaves called Euryops acraeus which is said to do better surviving a bit of frost.

After a few years Euryops shrubs will develop a thatch on the inside. The structure reminds me of the Australian Tea Tree with the peeling bark and twisted branches. When I trim them I try to cut a few inner branches to help them fill out better. However, if you cut the entire plant back all the way you risk killing it off, so I do my pruning in phases.

Another interesting characteristic of these shrubs is that they really seem to bloom the heaviest on the side that faces west. I imagine it's because there's more sun to drink up on that side.
Just keep that in mind when you are landscaping your garden retreat.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Daffodil Flowers in Sparkling Waterford Crystal: Friday Floral

Yes, it is January, but I already have daffodils flowering in my garden.  I planted these bulbs years ago.  We've had a little rain here in southern California so they've taken that as their big chance to flower.  I know we're still in the dead of winter, but they seem to have their own schedule. 

Which reminds me to remind you; check your rocks.  I try to use markers for my bulbs but sometimes they don't all get marked.  I just located a few bulbs coming up under a nice collection of pink granite in one of the flower beds.  Now I've been turning over rocks and stepping stones just to be sure I haven't forgotten any others!

There are a few different daffodils in this photo.  One is a paper white variety; all creamy flowers with a wonderful fragrance.  Another is a bright white version, and there is also the traditional daffodil with the yellow center and white petals.  They are perfuming my entire living room at the moment, making me feel luck, luck, lucky.  They want to point upwards in the vase, I forgot how they seem to move overnight.

The flowers are in my favorite (and only) Waterford crystal vase.  I believe this is their pineapple pattern.  I especially happy to report this is one of the few breakables to survive the Northridge earthquake.  I found it completely unscathed, sitting on top of a pile of rubble in my living room.  There is just no substitute for quality craftsmanship.  I am sorry to hear they are now in receivership, so I've added an extra photo of their beautiful work with the sun shining through to make rainbows, and picking up the color of the glass marbles in the bottom of the vase.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Floral; Gollum Jade is Flowering and Looking Like Sea Coral

OK, this is the late night, almost full moon edition of Friday Floral. Here is a flowering Crassula Portulacea, commonly called Horseshoe or Spoon Jade. Or more lately Gollum Jade and now Shrek Fingers. I'm sure it will have a new nickname when another movie comes out. Anyway, this has typical crassula-type flowers, almost exactly like my crassula ovata, or regular JadePlant.

The flowers are beautiful. They have five small petals measuring about 1/4" inch across, with long stamens. Their color could be described as almost white with a drop of salmon pink. Some of the flowers have tiny stripe down the center in white with two drops of salmon pink. I'm going to have to get better with the macro on my camera!

I am excited to see this plant blooming. Like most of the succulents growing in my garden, this was grown from a cutting. This plant is about 5 years old and has just recently started to bloom.

The name horseshoe jade (and most others) comes from the way the leaves are rolled on the tips.

The leaves are about as thick as a pencil, but the top has a little dent in the middle.

Yes, I suppose it could look like an antenna if you are a sci-fi fan. Sometimes there is a little red tint around the leaf edges.

Actually, I think it looks like sea coral in this back view.

Really, doesn't this look like something out of the Great Barrier Reef?

Here's a photo of a little frost damage on my crassula portulacea. The tips got tinged.

When it first happens succulents turn a dark, sickly creepy looking green right after they've been frozen (by all that water succulents are famous for storing). Then if the damage isn't too deep the frozen bits become brown. I've also seen it show up as dots too; like freckles all over a leaf. This damage won't go away, but it won't get any worse either. I think this must have happened last month when we had a touch of frost.

Last year I had to brush off brown frozen bunches with a broom because I forgot to cover the plant one night. But it has recovered and seems to be fine now! I'm going to add these plant photos to my main Crassula Portulacea Page on theGardenPages...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Free Trees and Discount Garden or Landscape Equipment for Los Angeles Gardeners

There are still a few great deals out there for southern California gardeners if you know where to look. I've dug up a few cool deals for your garden right now. Better get them while they last! Those budget cuts could kick in at any time!

Discount compost bins and classes:

I've found two links, visit them for more information and phone numbers.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
Some compost bins can cost $80-100 plus, but theirs are $40. And they show you how to do it with free classes and information. Or go for a worm bin with free worms for $65.

Los Angeles City Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation
They have a wonderful facility in the heart of beautiful Griffith Park. This is where I got my compost bin. They have several demonstrations set up to show you how to handle our crazy southern California soil problems, what types of mulch to use and lots of info on dealing with drought. It's so cool even Huell Howser has been there! They also have monthly Composting Events and Composting Workshops and Bin Sales.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Recommended Shrubs and Trees
Wondering what to plant this spring? Find trees that are exactly suited to southern California. Here's a list of trees and shrubs that are drought tolerant, provide shade to help reduce your power consumption and play nice with sidewalks and concrete!

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Free Trees Program
Free trees for residents! This program is part of the Green LA Program. They also have a downloadable Tree Guide. To get your free trees (while they last) you need to register, take an online class (so you know how to take care of your shade trees) and send in your form. They even deliver them too!

Even more free stuff: Get Free Mulch for your new Free Trees. This is courtesy of the city's green bin recycling program. You provide the shovel and bag (and a little elbow grease), when you pick up your free mulch in selected LA cities. Click on their link on their site for more info and locations.

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sprouting Amaryllis, Daffodils, Calla and Freesia, Happy New Year From theGardenPages

This New Year's Day I have sprouting amaryllis, daffodils and freesia bulbs in the garden. We've had a bit of rain in Los Angeles, so there are a few bulbs that take this as their cue to get an early start on spring flowers.

I am enchanted by the fragrance of freesias (top photo). I pick them up at the bargain store, divide a few every fall and I've been spreading them down the walkway. The purple seem to come up first, followed by groups of white and yellow. They sort of flop over, but I pick the flowers so often they aren't on the ground for very long.

I am especially happy to see the amaryllis, or Naked Ladies. These little bulbs were on the outskirts of a big clump I divided last year.

These bulbs were the 'runts' of the group, small and shriveled papery little things with not a lot of meat on the inside.

I put these in the ground, marked them with a little white stake and crossed my fingers.

I am taking their leaves as a good omen, appropriate for a New Year's day when we all hope for a better year.

Amaryllis flowers are giant, light pink trumpet shaped affairs, bourne on bare stalks later in the year.

The flowers are so fragrant I can't resist encouraging them to grow everywhere.

And they are from South Africa so they fit perfectly into one of my drought tolerant beds.

This rubble of green with soon be white calla lillies. They go completely underground during summer and come back at the first hint of serious water.

The daffodils are up and I even have a pair of flowers.

These are the Paper White variety with glowing white flowers with a smell from Heaven.

I think it's safe to plant your bulbs now if you're in southern California.

Let's all hope for a better 2009.


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