Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June at Last!

June nearly seamlessly followed May this year with its continuation of warm temperatures and bright days. Cleamtis 'Madam Julia Correvon' robed herself  with a wine-red cloak that catches the morning light in the photos above and below. 

My arid, high-desert garden, though an oasis in a rugged outpost, takes on some of the ragged character of the greater environment. Peony 'Bowl of Beauty,'  tough gal that she is,  bravely opens her wind-buffeted blooms.

Her neighbor, my little Japanese Maple 'Garnet' surprised me by surviving the winter to present brilliant, though ungainly, new foliage. 

A Home-Depot bargain buy, its little body struggles to put on growth while facing daunting odds with our super-dry winters and dehydrating spring winds.

Together they make a sweet duo that one day may grow into a lovely scene.

Coffee time is delightful among the soothing morning shadows.

The hummers love their little free buffet.

Only one token tomato this year since we'll be traveling for most of June. I do hope it lives up to its name!

Aloha's disease-free foliage is glossy, healthy and bright on a dry, high-desert afternoon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Missing My Garden!

Here in January, the frozen ground reflects a dour sky. Patchy remnants of last week's snow lurk and huddle in icy splotches on the cold, north sides of shrubs and rocks. Even the yarrow, almost ever optimistic, appears defeated as it slumps in limp, burnished mounds. 

My demoralized yarrow resigns itself to winter.

In nostalgic remembrance of September and October I peruse my digital memories of those bright, colorful days. I hope you enjoy them, too.

The Brandywine crabapple (Malus 'Brandywine) fruits hang in cheery clusters against a brilliant September sky.

Brandywine crabapples in September.

My young Seminole Wind is becoming a favorite. 

Seminole Wind is also known as Rosarium Uetersen.

 I can't wait to see what he does in the next growing season, his third.

Already a likely little bush.

There were plenty of roses, especially minis, for indoor table arrangements in October. Last year, the Autumn of 2011, was unprecedented in providing roses through November.

Double Delight and clusters of minis made a charming table centerpiece for an October dinner party.

Hollyhocks brought a tropical flair to the September garden this year.

A few cantaloupe seeds from the compost made their way beneath the chokecherry tree. The vines produced these sweet treats that hung like fruits from its boughs. We harvested them in September.

The refreshing September verdure viewed from my lawn chair ...

... had by November taken on the gray and russet tones of the approaching winter.

The Bradford Pears take on Autumn with glowing defiance.

Below are links my recent gardening articles for the online San Francisco Chronicle. 

French Perfume -- Brilliant in October 2012.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Double Delight, Frederic Mistral and Chrysanthemums Welcome September With Me

It's becoming a lovely Autumn.

Double Delight is glorious this September.

The fragrances of Double Delight and Frederic Mistral please me to no end.

Frederic Mistral manages a few fluffy blooms.

My little chrysanthemum bed is awakening.

Chrysanthemum plants that I have raised from cuttings explode all over the yard on this glorious September morning.

This is such a lovely time of year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Life and Light in the Summer Garden

Water, nectar and pollen welcome beneficial insects to our high-desert garden.

The monsoon rains skirt around us with few exceptions, leaving the surrounding area gasping in dust. I and the hose supply our garden and its dependent creatures with a steady, though expensive, supply of necessary moisture in our verdant little pocket.  

Somewhere, a batch of honey will be flavored with David Austin's Heritage rose.
David Austin's Ambridge Rose is a generous host for this most-welcome ladybug.

And so, the busy hum and buzz of life carries on. A host of beneficial insects, like happy children blissfully unaware of the efforts their elders make for their comfort and survival, return my efforts with a healthy, life-filled garden.
A rapidly blowing Buck rose Quietness bloom makes a cushy pollen depot for a foraging bee. Wouldn't you just love to curl up in such a spot?
A painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) on a purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) opens her wings to the moist, late-afternoon air.
A male sweat bee (Agapostemon sp.)  shows off his dandy cloths and a shapely, pollen-heavy leg.

Bright yellow bumblebees (Bombus spp.) decorate the garden beds with baubles of fuzzy flying color.

I find pleasure in providing the venue for a vibrant microcosm where bees, butterflies and an astounding array of living creatures find forage and shelter.  

 (You may click to enlarge the above photos.)

 Visit my garden insectary articles elsewhere on the Web:

A Garden Haven for Beneficial Insects

The Best Herbs to Grow for Attracting Honey Bees

Vines for Bees

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June Has Arrived

Clematis x jackmanii among the Virginia  creeper offers a shy welcome to the back garden. A baby Japanese maple 'Garnet' peeks around the corner, and  two mature Quietness rose bushes unabashedly brighten the back fence.
The wind and dust have settled, and the garden breathes relief. June opens with its usual smiling dress of freshness and bright verdure. 

Yellow and white miniature roses seem to dance in their Osteospermum jucundum 'Purple Mountain' skirt. These cold-tolerant African daisies are cheery, carefree early-summer bloomers.
My innocent anticipation of roses, color and light under a dreamy blue sky stirs with little regard to an alternate reality involving rapacious grasshoppers and greedy weeds. I wander among the roses as a restless, awakening dreamer would stretch in the dawning comfort of luxurious silken sheets.
I photographed a few of the roses that join with me in welcoming this lovely June.
Jude the Obscure, lovely, fragrant and stingy as ever, deigns to wink at me from behind his ragged leaves.
Abraham Darby, still a bit shaken from late May's horrific dust storm, recovers with a brave and brilliant glow.
I am not the only one in the garden finding Fredric Mistral irresistible.

David Austin's Heritage is ivory pink in its warm, sunny spot on a south-facing wall.

You may click to enlarge the above photos.

Friday, May 25, 2012

June Comes Early

It's only late May and everyone among our roses is pushing, stretching and opening buds as if there is no June ahead, ignoring the punishing winds and sand storms that keep us cowardly humans indoors. 

Rare morning peace in the garden
It's almost a cruel joke that the loveliest time of year is rushing past so quickly on wings of dirt, sand and dust, making a quiet garden respite nearly impossible. I managed to snap a few early morning shots before today's predicted biggest wind storm yet takes over our lives for the next 36 hours. 

Frederic Mistral, aka The Children's Rose
Frederic Mistral's deeply-fragrant blooms take me back to elusive and comforting childhood vignettes featuring great aunts and rose-scented soaps and oils.

Teasing Georgia rose
Teasing Georgia glows in the morning light.

Prairie Star rose

Prairie Star is delightfully perky and peachy, obviously relishing the sprinkler's bounty.

Royal Wedding rose

Royal Wedding's first flush delights me no end.

Seminole Wind rose, aka Rosarium Uetersen 
Seminole Wind, next to a favorite morning-coffee chair, puts on his first real show since joining our garden last year.

Quietness rose
Quietness never disappoints us, her delicate-looking blossoms taking a whipping in a wind that began rousing with the sun. 

Quietness rose bush and company
Quietness rose's first flush of 2012
Abraham Darby rose bush
Abraham Darby wants to ball up, but manages a brave show none-the-less.

Abraham Darby rose

The garden by late afternoon

As expected, the day deteriorated into a dirty, dusty mess. My poor roses!

You may click to enlarge the above photos.