I can see why Monet so loved to see the backlit petals of flowers.
The colors of borage always make my heart beat faster.
I was overjoyed to greet the sunshine this morning. After only a few days of cold, rain, and wind, I was ready to get back outside. (Sorry to all my friends in colder climes) No GRIMY HANDS GIRLS' CLUB for me today; we have more company coming and must prepare lots of food and comfy beds. But to start the day, I wanted to take you on a short walk around a very small, but life-filled garden.
All the rosemarys are in full bloom. Most of these plants were started from plate-side garnishes I couldn't bear to throw away. On warm days, they are bee thronged.
Apples are blooming, but the cold is keeping most bees away. I used my paintbrush on dozens of blossoms. We'll see if my pollination worked.
The aloes have kept the hummingbirds happy.
Hollyhocks are already in bloom. I've been using some of the blossoms for appetizers. Stuffed with my homemade flower cheese, they're delicious. Sorry, bee, I won't bother these new blossoms.
Cactus preparing to flaunt its first fiery bloom.
Scabiosa, the old fashioned pincushion flower, is already attracting syrphid flies and butterflies. Saw male and female dog-face butterflies in the garden on the last warm day. Also, flitting over the bronze fennel, two anise swallowtails.
Aloe 'Pink Blush' has been faithfully flowering.
Native California Eriogonum. To the right is a tiny (barely perceptible) syrphid fly. They feast at these blooms constantly. I think syrphid flies (aka flower flies) are some of my favorite garden visitors.
The humble, yet eminently, butterfly friendly cosmos. These are self sown.
The nectarine is singing after all the rain. Can you hear it?
The plum is humming along.
This is the last of the pineapple sage. I'll cut it to the ground next week. This keeps the hummers happy during the winter.
Clumps of freesias spring up everywhere. They must have been planted decades ago. I adore them.
Love the light striping on the back of the freesia petals.
Nutmeg scented Pelargonium. Don't you love those little bird flowers?
Apple scented Pelargonium. One of my favorites. I use the blooms of my scenteds (I have about 30 or 40 varieties) as an edible flower addition to my cooking.
Humble, but lovable, calendula–the ancient pot marigold. These are great in cooking and were once used in place of saffron, but honestly, NOTHING can replace saffron.
Pot marigold. I use their petals constantly. As their name Calendula (or calendar) suggests, I can depend on them to be in bloom every month of the year.
Violas (edible) are tucked among strawberries and lettuces.
'Meyer' lemons in bloom. See the green lemon at the upper right? This was another housewarming gift from our friends Susie and Ellis Bassetti. I had to leave my big 'Meyer' behind in my Cambria garden. Now I have three and a Kafir lime, with lime leaves used for flavoring Thai, Chinese, and other cooking. They're fabulous.
Brugmansia. My grands know that these are poisonous, but they make great hats!
Blanket flower is already in bloom in the butterfly garden.
Apricots emerged at the worst time. Maybe some will set fruit.
A confused Christmas cactus. I think this one came from a start from Jeff's Aunt Connie.
Crocus 'Barr's Purple' from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.
Mini daffodils. I love them. I think these are Tete a Tete. I have them in pots everywhere.
Muscari (grape hyacinths) are also tucked into pots everywhere. Some of the clusters have been in pots for 30 years. I adore them and their sweet scent of grapes.
If you saw the article about my gardens in COUNTRY GARDENS magazine, you know that I have planted edible nasturtium everywhere. I use them daily in salads, and I make bouquets of them for the kitchen. My seeds are from Renee's Garden. For cooking, I like to use the spurless nasturiums (the bugs like to hide in the long spurs). The spurless are 'Whirlybird.'
This is a rare California island Penstemon. I was so in love with it when I saw it in the container display on the deck at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. I begged them for a start. After a year, they sold me two. One survived and is now four feet wide and growing in a pot. Shortly after they sold me the plant, their gardens and that deck were destroyed in a huge fire. I better save seed for them.
'Frank Headley' Pelargonium.
The native California redbuds are doing their thing. These little buds are edible and can be pickled too. They're delectable.
Abutilons for the hummers and for their graceful ballerina blooms. The kids use these are faerie skirts. I have bad luck with Abutilons; I don't know why.
Moth Mullein that traveled with me from my Cambria gardens.
The gorgeous native California Ceanothus is dripping in blooms. I purchased these at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Nursery in a one gallon pot and planted them street side. This is now about 8 feet tall and bends gracefully over the wall surrounding our gardens.
The sweet garlic is in bloom and WOW is it heaven scent.
The grape twigs I planted a few years ago are starting to flaunt their leaves. Aren't they gorgeous?
California poppies are my favorite flower. I've filled egg cartons with hundreds of seedlings and am beginning to transplant them throughout the garden. I also seeded them into containers.
This is the basket of our Vespa, which is always filled to overflowing when we stop at the local Miner's Hardware Nursery. I also have a big tote bag filled with plants, and Jeff has a plant-loaded tote bag dangling from a hook. I guess this is a great way to control spending.
Jeff came outside late one night last week to track me down and found me working on my bird book. I find it tough to settle down and work indoors when the days are beautiful, so if I rob from the morning, I have to repay by night.
This started out as a short posting with few words, but then it morphed into this; there is always so much to say about the flowers that grace my life. I hope I didn't wear you out with this. Thanks so much for the notes from members of my Grimy Hands Girls' Club. I've been swamped and dealing with some doctor's tests, but promise to pack things next week. Sending sunshine out to you all.
P.S. I am happy to be able to do a special give-away of this great and useful book about getting published. I get so many letters asking how to get published, and I think this book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, will answer not only the immediate questions about how to, but also what to do AFTER your book is published, which is something as critical as getting published. A book's success depends on the marketing and word-of-mouth. Good luck to all who leave a comment. If you don't want to be entered, just say so. I'll pick a winner next weekend. To enter, just leave a comment.