A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Not Even Disney...

...can make this kind of magic.

I'm having the most delightful day so far.

It's a three-day weekend and I have no deadlines looming.  Papers all graded for the end of school.  Two weeks to file and clean and pack away for the summer.  It's an unbelievable day here in Southern California, the kind even we have a hard time believing when they come.  Slightly warm, with a cool breeze to move things around.  Blue cloudless sky (at the moment).

With nothing to nag at me (except the gym in about an hour) I decided to just follow my whims today.  Jim Brickman played "Harvest" at 5:15 - as usual - and I decided to see if I could catch a little more sleep.  Normally I can't go back to sleep once I'm that awake, but I've been really tired this week and had no problem dropping back off for another hour or so.  I took the dog out for his morning relief and noticed some of my potted plants looking wilted, so I tethered him while I watered my front courtyard.  That's all it took for me to decide it was time to update the garden report here (I've been asked to do so), but I decided to wait just a bit longer for the day to warm up before I took a garden tour.  While I waited I settled in for a good hour on Pinterest.  I found a collection of teaching-related pins and had a good time snagging some great ideas.

And then it was time for the tour.  I'm so glad I went out there.  Lots of new things to make me smile.

My hydrangeas are covered with buds this year.  I didn't cut this one back as far as I usually do and it's going to be stunning.  It's in the front courtyard next to my front door.

My granddaddy was a fantastic gardener.  The house I remember him in best was in Redondo Beach.  About 1/4 acre, with fruit trees and fuchsias and roses everywhere.  It was there I fell in love with pink oxalis and baby tears.  We kids had a swing under the grape arbor.  But my favorite plant was a huge blue hydrangea.  Granddaddy would take his coffee grounds out and work them into the soil around the base of the plant and it did the trick.  His hydrangea was always blue, as long as I can remember.

I don't drink coffee, but learned that you can do "blue" with hydrangeas by adding aluminum sulfate.  This year I've been adding the stuff and it looks like I may get a couple of blue hydrangeas this year!

For years we had a stucco wall surrounding a front courtyard.  (I still miss the pink trumpet vine that covered it.)  But it finally came down thanks to a combined effort from the trumpet vine and the Santa Ana winds and we replaced it with a wooden fence.  Disney freak that I am, I see Fort Wilderness in the design  so have dubbed the house Fort Miller.  Anyway, I have a variety of flowers in front of Fort Miller and the hollyhock is already in bloom.

In the south side yard, milkweed (aesclepias tuberosa or 'butterfly weed') is coming up in several places.  I get a big kick out of raising Monarch butterflies in the house each summer so whenever this stuff pops up I sing a song of welcome and threaten damage to anyone who pulls it out.  (Not really; everyone here loves the Monarchs.)

Back in the front, the roses are doing well.  This is Week's Roses' "Brass Band," which I call my desert island rose.  If I could only have one, this would be it.

It goes really well in arrangements with another Week's Rose, "Hot Cocoa".

My absolute favorite part of the garden is my Fairy Garden in our north side yard.  My room ("The Sanctuary") has a window that looks into this space and it is a joy to wake up to.

I call this the hydrangea wall and it's up against my window.  The plant at the near end in this picture is a brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) variety "Ecuador Pink."  Then a half-dozen different hydrangeas, all different types and colors.  At the far end is another brug, "Creamsicle," whose blooms start out vanilla white and age to sherbet orange, hence the name.

At the other end of this space I have a collection of miniature roses in pots.  The nasturtiums - the rowdy little boys of the garden - are teasing this little rose.

"Cecile Brunner" is an old climber.  Her miniature pink flowers have the most delicious fragrance.
She's been in this space three or four years, now, and I guess she's decided she likes it here after all because she's growing and blooming like crazy this year.

Another miniature rose.  They are from the old Tiny Petals Nursery.  I bought these just before the new owners of the stock decided not to sell them via mail order any more, so if you know where I can get them, please leave me a comment.

I grow this passion vine for the Gulf Fritillary butterflies it attracts.  This is its third year.  There is an old garden saying about perennials:  First year weep; Second year creep; Third year leap.  This vine is definitely doing its Third Year Leap dance.  Much to my delight.

At the base of the birdbath which is  at the base of the passion vine trellis I have tucked these little Labrador Violets.  They are special to me.  I had planted them a few years ago and enjoyed them.  But two years ago I went through a dark time.  One morning during that time I went out to cheer myself up with a little garden therapy and found that my violets had fried sometime during that week.  I sobbed as I cleaned up the mess.  Then I noticed a half-dozen tiny seedlings had emerged under the debris.  They taught me an important lesson about life and its cycles.  And now, whenever I see them, I am reminded to hope.

Back at the hydrangea wall.  Gorgeous pink.

This lacecap reminds me of Disneyland fireworks.

After my lovely, leisurely tour I came back into The Sanctuary to upload my pictures onto facebook and paused to look out the window just in time to catch sight of this.  The very butterfly for whom I planted the passion vine in the first place, doing her best to cover it with fritillary eggs.  She was remarkably cooperative about posing for pictures.

 I haven't had the same luck raising fritillaries indoors as I have Monarchs so will just keep an eye out for caterpillars and hope for the best.

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