December 15, 2017

A Flower, Future Flowers, and Fun Foliage

cyclamen 5

Don't laugh you guys: I have one flower in my "garden" on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I didn't purposely force any bulbs this holiday season and the outdoor garden is sleeping, but my indoor/outdoor Cyclamen (C. persicum) plant is starting to bloom.

cyclamen 3

Actually, this single, solitary flower has been blooming since early November, in a state of suspended animation in the cool, partially heated sunroom.

cyclamen 2

Because I only have one flower to celebrate, I snapped several photos of it from various angles. LOL.

cyclamen 4

I do enjoy the dance of a pretty Cyclamen bloom.

cyclamen buds

And look! Many buds on this Cyclamen plant bring hope for a floriferous future.

hyacinth bud

Also, under the roots and foliage of a potted English Ivy (Hedera helix) a pink Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) is budding, too.

spike tree

Speaking of English Ivy, this happy accident continues to flourish: Several years ago, I planted a small Spike (Dracaena indivisa) in the middle of a pot, surrounded by annuals and ivy. The Hedera and the Dracaena took over, and I now have a potted tree with pretty understory foliage. (I had trouble photographing this big buddy without moving everything around, so I'm sorry for the washout but you get the idea.)

spike and ivy

I need to trim the Draecona, and it scares me to think what the Hedera would do if planted in the soil outside. But I do like this thriving, potted, green, foliage thing that I can roll out in the summer and bring in for the winter. This pot full of life gives me hope.

fun foliage

I also love this foliage combo: Supertunia Vista Bubblegum Petunia with Lemon Coral Sedum. I smile every time I see it. (These plants were gifts from Proven Winners at the Garden Writers Conference this past summer.) I couldn't let the Petunias perish in the cold; they're simply too pretty, and the foliage combination is too cheery. So, if they survive the winter indoors, they'll bloom again next season.

shamrock and ivy

Finally, the Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)--also surrounded by the never-ending English Ivy--is another great potted foliage plant. I don't see any Oxalis blooms yet, but it won't be long now, as the days grow longer.

cyclamen 1

During these dark days of December, the holiday prep and cheery greetings soothe the soul. One flower, future flowers, and fun foliage also brighten my mood.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up!

December 06, 2017

And Now for Some Colorful California Memories

Mixed bed

I won't say I like or want snow, but a few too many days of brown and gray have me longing for color and brightness.

So, let's take a trip to San Diego's Balboa Park, shall we? Back in March 2016, we traveled to San Diego for a family wedding, and I had a little free time to explore. Three other previous posts cover The San Diego Botanic Garden, Balboa Park's Rose Garden, and the Zoro Garden at Balboa Park.

This post covers plants you might see while strolling through Balboa Park's paths and parkways.


For instance, Bird of Paradise plants (Strelitzia reginae) are abundant. This plant reminds me of my dear grandmother, as I'm told it was one of her favorites.


One would expect to find Poppies, and there are many--both native species and others, like this Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule).


Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans), a lovely, dramatic bloomer, is a common plant in the area, too.

Echium bee

Where you see Echium plants, you're likely to see many, busy pollinators.


Tropical Hibiscus flowers (H. rosa-sinensis) greet with volume, intensity, and flair.

Clivia walkway

There's a pathway just beyond the zoo that incorporates bright orange and yellow Clivia plants (C. miniata).

Clivia 1

This is a pleasant sight to see after several months of winter.

Clivia 2

The snails like them, too!

Topiary walkway

The pathways throughout Balboa Park are well-maintained and attractive, and encourage comfortable strolls.


This pathway incorporates elephant topiaries.


A highlight of Balboa Park is its historic botanical building. Unfortunately, it was closed during my visit--another reason to return! The lath structure is surrounded by a reflecting pond and beautiful bedding plants.

Adopt a Plot

The Friends of Balboa Park, encourage their Adopt-a-Plot program.

Exploring Balboa Park after spending the winter in the Midwest is like waking from a long, deep sleep. It's cathartic and euphoric, in the best senses of those words. After only a couple hours in Balboa Park, I felt refreshed and renewed, and I returned with nearly 250 plant photos. Here are just a few more notable beauties:

Bulbine (B. frutescens)

Red Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes'
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes')

Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)

Blue Plumbago (P. auriculata)

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.)

Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Gaura (G. lindheimeri)

Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californicum)

Honeywort (Cerinthe major)

Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea)

Dwarf Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Bottlebrush (Callistemon seiberi or C. pallidus)

Part of me wants to fly to San Diego and skip the winter, but that won't happen this year. Plus, a warm vacation means so much more after surviving a cold winter. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.)

* * * * * * * * * * *

[Special note: My thoughts and prayers are with those north of San Diego dealing with wildfires, and for people who will deal with the threat and the recovery in the days ahead.]

November 28, 2017

A Few Fleshy Fruits of Autumn

Viburnum 2

Garden blooms are gone and foliage is fading in my neighborhood, but a few fruits remain here and there. Some will last through the winter, while others offer happy feasts for birds and critters as winter's cold, icy claw will soon grip the landscape.

As I glance around the garden, the berries, drupes, pomes and other fruits catch my eye amidst the brown and gray of "once lush" trees, shrubs, and forbs. I'll refer you to a list of types of fruits for proper identification.

Can you identify what types of fruits (berries, drupes, pomes, hesperidia, other) are shown here?:


Cranberrybush Viburnum (V. trilobum)


Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)


Pachysandra (P. terminalis)


Yew (Taxis canadensis)


Crabapples (unknown Malus cultivar)


Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Those are a few of the outdoor fruits; here are two I overwinter in the sunroom:


Developing Fuchsia fruit (F. 'Marinka')


Meyer Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)

Can you correctly classify these fruits? What fruits are growing and ripening in your garden?

[Disclaimer: Not all of the fruits shown here are edible to humans! Research before you consume the parts of any unfamiliar plant!]

November 22, 2017

November's Gratitude

Thanksgiving 2017

'Give thanks
for each new morning
with its light,
for rest and shelter
of the night,
for health and food,
for love and friends,
for everything
thy goodness sends.'

~Ralph Waldo Emerson