Sunday, July 31, 2011


Every year when the yard begins to bloom I take pictures of the various flowers.  Here are a few of the many colors found in my yard.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Ambitious KITCHEN GARDENS are seldom achievable in a small space.  Vegetables that are hungry for space such as potatoes and cabbages may lose out to flowers.  But if you are content with smaller vegetables such as lettuces, carrots, beetroot, and dwarf beans, and can relegate tall climbing beans and expansive plants like globe artichokes to the mixed or herbacious border, it is quite practical to grow a wide range of vegetables even where space is quite restricted.

Grow a whole a range of vegetables, from lettuces to peas, in containers like windowboxes and growing bags.  Even potatoes can be harvested from pots and growing bags and tomatoes of all types have been grown with great success in growing bags.  This kind of small-scale vegetable gardening is demanding, and the yields always very modest for the ffort involved, but if the idea of harvesting your own fresh vegetables just before you pop them into the pot appeals, you may find it worth the efffort.  It can certainly be fun.

If you have a reasonably sized garden - large enough to divide off a section for a kitchen garden - growing them in the ground is the most practical way to procude your vegetables, and much of the fruit.

Fruit trees and bushes are often ornamental and can be easily integrated into the flower garden.  Trained fruit trees like espalier and fan apples look attractive even with bare branches in winter.

Herbs are much more easily accomodated than vegetables.  Many are highly ornamental and lots of them make good container plants.  Others look perfectly in place in a border.  If you want to make a real feature of your herbs, make a herb garden a key part of your garden design.


Hard landscaping (paving, walls, fences, pergolas, and so on) is what gives a garden a strong sense of design, and provides the skeleton that gives the garden its shape.  But it is the soft landscaping - the plants - that provides the flesh, shape and texture of the garden.  The same basic design can look very different in the hands of ggardeners with different ideas on the use of plants.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I love this time of year!  The weather is nice; not too hot; not too cold.

During Spring Break I had taken a week off from work.  On one of the days, the girls and I went to Green Thumb Nursery in Ventura and picked up some spring flowers for the planters in the front yard.

We cleaned up the planters and placed each new flower artistically in preparation for Easter Sunday.

Two days later we marched out the front yard to discover that the snails had eaten all the marigolds.

Two weeks ago, the little family took another trip to Green Thumb and we purchased more flowers; vegetables and snail bait.

We worked on the planters in the front yard most of the afternoon.  Cleaned out more weeds; pulled out plants we didn't like any more and then planted a nice variety of flowers and vegetables:

Bush Beans
Early Girl Tomatos
Habanero Peppers
Serano Peppers
Yeallow Banana Peppers

Victor has been faithfully watering my plants in the front yard and has also been on Snail Watch.  All the plants are growing nicely.  We should have edibles in about two months.

We will be planting in the family garden this Saturday.  Victor and his friend, John, have been preparing the garden spot this past week and it is almost ready for planting.  We will get up early on Saturday to run some errands and then we will return to green thumb to buy more vegetables.  We will probably have honey dew, cantalope, and various other squash plants.  The kids will pick other vegetables they enjoy eating to plant in the garden.

Thanks to the horses and chickens we don't need to amend the soil with bagged amendments from the store.

I'm so excited to be planting our garden.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

JANUARY - Time to Plant Roses

WHY WOULD ANYONE PLANT SOMETHING that looks like a bundle of sticks set out on trash day?  Because with a little care, the leafless roses sold at this time of year (for the uninitiated, they're called bare-root roses) will be bursting with blooms in fewer than four months.  Not only that -- these thorny, lifeless-looking plants are a lot less expensive than roses sold in nursery containers later in the year.  Roses that cost $17 in a container in spring or summer cost $7 right now, if they are the older, nonpatented varieties.  Patented roses, including this year's newest, cost between $10 and $15.  Discount chains sell them for less, but they usually stock a lower grade of smaller plants.  It's a special once-a-year opportunity and, for a gardener, better than the after-Christmas sales at department stores.

If you are like me there are many wonderful nurseries in the area.  Green Thumb Nursery in Ventura is my favorite.  They have an amazing variety of roses to choose from.  I prefer the Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras.  I will be branching out a little this year and looking for a couple different types of roses.  The roses I have chosen have received high marks from the South Coast Rose Society for their performance in cool, most coastal areas wehre roses can get mildew.

This year I am looking for:

Queen Elizabeth - a pink grandiflora
Blue Nile or Paradise - both are a lavender rose
Joseph's Coat - an orange climber
Angel Face or Deep Purple - a lavender florigunda

Every year I plant about 6 new rose bushes.  Each year a lose about two bushes to the dogs or to the gophers.  This year we are going to try some things to prevent loss...  I will let you know how this goes.