Winter has not been kind in many quarters of blog-dom, and though my climate is relatively mild , the persistant cold temperatures earlier in the season along with drought and a frenzy of renovation related shovel-pruning in fall has left me with a pretty barren garden.
The Hellebores are about all I have going this month, and they started late at that . I'm enjoying them even more than usual now that they have become the solitary attraction here.
Thanks as always to Carol at May Dreams for her hostess-hood of this monthly event for garden bloggers world wide...
I've done a fair amount of 'rose editing' in 2013 . I embarked upon this particular journey a couple of years ago when it became clear to me that my garden was not going to get any bigger, and 60+ roses were using up valuable real estate. Many of the roses that have since been sent to the compost facility were either in decline, duplicates or under performers. I had gone from buying one or two roses a year , to buying none; there was simply no place to put them. As of today I have slimmed down my assortment to around 35, a couple of which have questionable status going forward. One of my keepers is the David Austin rose , Lady Emma Hamilton. I bought her the first year she was introduced to US commerce, and she has proved to be a prolific bloomer, very disease resistant (no sprays are used in my garden ) and has a nice shrub-like appearance never displaying the awkwardness that some of the modern roses are prone to.
I admit that I have tendency to plant things too close together, even though I completely understand thier eventual size. Such is my need to squeeze in just one more plant.Zonal denial is one thing, acreage denial is another.
Here is Lady Emma as she bravely awaits the shovel.
The digging begins..
The new spot awaits..
Here she is, safely installed. Maybe she'll make it and maybe she won't.
And here is a nice empty space , ready for planting.
Lady Emma Hamilton is the orange number on the left. My fruitless search for an in-garden shot renewed my resolve to dig into the photo files and fix the file folder organization and keywording. I'll do that on rainy weekend..if we ever have one.
It's my habit to look back on gardens visited at the end of the year; and at the same time I start to look forward to what the next year holds. 2013 was particularly fine and I have high hopes for 2014. Any year that I have the opportunity to visit my friends in New England is a good one for me .
What accident of fate made me a California girl ? A beautiful , diverse state--4 hours to the dessert, 3 hours to the Sierra Nevada, 1 hour to our spectacular coast. 5 hours I'm in Oregon, 7 I'm in San Diego.Walk out my door, I'm in wine country. None of this is taken for granted. And even so, when I venture away from here , I can clearly see the attributes of places that are not California. My friend Sue is a New Englander, born and raised. She does battle with bugs that don't hang around at my house -thank god. She lives with that humid thing -but the tropicals love it.It actually rains in summer and you can't buy that kind of water. In July I have to put on long sleeves to go outside after the sun goes down. I could leave the long sleeves at home when I go to New England in July if it weren't for freezing cold airplane a/c and having to wait for an airport shuttle bus outside in San Francisco.
I visited Idyll Haven in June where we gathered to kick-off our annual Idyllunion garden touring long weekend. Is this New England or what ?
One of my favorite areas of Sues property is the garden that runs along the driveway..Sue has wonderful design instincts and no fear of editing her choices if shes not happy with the result.
I try to avoid overused lingo like 'garden rooms' but in fact as the paths meander around the perimeter of the house , and encounter boundaries such as the low green picket fence or a small speciman tree , it is quite like a series of rooms . Here we see the east side . I'd be pretty jazzed if my Symphytum got that big.
Step up to the fence and see the view to the back garden.
The patio garden.
New England isn't on my travel agenda for 2014 , so I guess it will be another year or so til I get my next Idyll Haven fix.
Even the Alyssum are fried. Not a single bloom in my garden this month..the Camellias closed up shop, the Lavenders that were blooming away merrily in November are waving the white flag. Several nights in a row of consistent temperatures in the low twenties have laid my garden low. To many of my friends east of the Rockies, my twenties are mundane and maybe even warm-ish .I was significantly under-prepared ;plants that I routinely leave out for the winter appear quite dead. On the plus side, the weighty decision of whether to cut back now or wait til spring has been taken off my hands-might just as well cut !
Thanks Carol , for the opportunity to see what blooms in gardens around the globe. Except for mine.
It is my custom to go out on Thanksgiving morning at sunrise to shoot fall vineyard shots. I ended up at the river instead, and had a fine time shooting reflections in the water. On the way home I stopped downtown , took a few more riverside shots and noticed a few November oddities around the promenade .
At this upscale hotel, the guests have views of stuff that should be black slime by now...
Tibouchina in full bloom..
The Weigela on the right hasn't lost a leaf.
These Cannas look puny, but still have leaves. Very few Aloes are hardy here, but these seem robust.
Aeoniums live on...
Not to mention the Colocasias.
More Aeoniums hang out with a squirrel topiary.
Pomegranates love it here.
This quasi bonsai-ed olive tree was oddly positioned in a planter with Stipa , Canna and a few other unrelated plants.
I am in the habit of taking time off in October ; usually a trip to the coast combined with a few days of fall clean-up at home. This year I headed to the Sierra for a 3 day photography workshop in Yosemite National Park -thankfully Uncle Sam came to his senses (such as they are) in time to avert possible cancellation. I signed up for this class on a whim , after receiving a brochure during a morning members-only photo walk at the Ruth Bancroft Garden with photographer John Ricca in August. Read about that here. John was the right hand man for our instructor Keith Walklet of Quietworks Photography . Keith lived and photographed in Yosemite for many years before moving to Boise and his intimate knowledge of the park , it's sunlight patterns and shooting conditions made for a wonderful 3 days --in the end I was happily shocked to realize how much I had learned .
Mornings began before sunrise as we met for breakfast and set out to our first shooting location.We would stay out in the field til about 10am and then return to the village for some classroom time and lunch. In the afternoon we would head out again and shoot til the sun went down.
These are some of the photos I came home with..pretty sure I could not have done this pre-class. Thank you Keith and John !
My intention was to post this as my favorite plant of the week, and link it up to Lorees meme. I never quite got there.
Parthenocissus is not the most exciting or unusual plant , and for some it is probably thuggish. I planted mine in fall of 2012, in desparation to hide this wall: I loathe this wall. I hate this wall. Loathe loathe, hate hate. Featureless stucco walls are all too common in tract housing here in California. Cheaper than the siding that clads the front and the more visible south side , it is a huge expanse of nothingness that my next door neighbors are forced to look at when they are washing the dishes. Note the attractive satellite TV cable. On the lower right you can see the Parthenocissus , heading for domination. Go Parthenocissus, go !
And soon, I will have fall foliage. I will defeat this wall.