I has a garden sphere!

new garden sphere, alternanthera, aspidistras, fuchsia, nandina, caladium

In other news, it sure does look like the kalanchoe is going to bloom. Sadly, this means it will also die :( especially depressing because it was a very expensive plant (by my cheapo standards). Evidently the seeds are easy to start but I don't know if I'm into that, especially since this one has only lasted 6 mos.

kalanchoe buds

And here are a couple of pics of stuff in the back:

rosemary, gomphrena, statice, lambs ear, loropetalum, chiapas sage

dietes bicolora and chiapas sage

back porch bed


This is not what I expected my kalanchoe 'fantastic' to do.

It looked like this in May when I bought it:


I kind of liked its small rounded shape, and it went well with the pot...but here it is today:


I feel like it has become a gangly teenager or something. Is it going to bloom? There are some itty bitty hints that there may be side branches coming out of the places where the leaves join the stem. More on this later!

And here's a view of the back with the AMAZING chiapas sage. I love these plants...and so do the hummingbirds!


Wish it would rain a bit--I'm too stingy with the water to keep the lawn looking nice in summer :(

late summer scarlet flax

Thanks for the input of all on which photo to enter in the Gardening Gone Wild Picture this photo contest. I'm going with the crowd favorite--scarlet flax going to seed in the foreground with blooming garlic chives behind:


Most people seem to notice the translucence of the flowers, but I love the drying sprays going to seed. I'll definitely be saving some to plant next year. I think I'll collect whole seed pods, and just bury a few in the ground and see what happens.

and so it goes

Sometime after gardeners have posted their last picture of juicy slicing tomatoes and bragged outrageously about freezers full of homemade marinara, they have to go out and deal with this:


Yuck. Wouldn't it be nice if all those wilted vines just vanished into little wisps of fog when the last tomato was gone? But they don't, so the gardeners go out and wrestle them down, trying not to squash the eggplant, the peppers, etc, and still this is left:


And this gardener, at any rate, is not OCD enough to pick up every single freaking cherry tomato. So it ends up looking like this:


But this is a good thing, because if you look closely at the foreground there is one remaining tomato plant--a tiny sungold volunteer from the ones I was too lazy to deal with last year. So I'm just going to look at those mushy little remnants as the seeds of next year's tomato crop.

late summer

...time to start cleaning up the garden. Before:


...and after:


This is the tallest of the 'Bloody Butcher' stalks--it was supposed to be able to grow to 12 feet:


...ours made it to 10:


It's a little hard to see below what I'm saving from the cleanup process:


...but if the sun weren't so bright you could see that I have some scarlet flax seed pods, some fennel, six or seven ears of 'Bloody Butcher' and the last summer squash.

I'll keep the tomatoes for another week, mostly because there's no room in the greenwaste at the moment!


One of the highlights of Catalina is the Casino:

The Casino

But it is noteworthy that it has beautiful (and waterwise) plantings as well:

Casino plantings
The island itself is incredibly dry but is also somehow quintessentially californian:

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden includes this amazing opuntia 'tree':

Cactus tree

Evidently it is one of the plants that grows larger than normal on the island.

And here is the Memorial far behind its garden:

Wrigley Memorial and gardens

Definitely a place to return to:


in case you were wondering...

>>>Dear Goth Gardener:

>>>What are you doing today?

Going out to deal with 2 of the icky patches in the garden.

>>> Are you fashionably attired?


>>> Can we see?

Certainly not.

>>> Hold on, are you wearing that tuxedo shirt that is stained with paint because you wore it to paint the garage last summer and also sweatpants and the 'gardening sneakers'?

Uh...is there a camera somewhere in here?

>>> Just a good guess! But don't you think that your fashion choices pull down the tone of the Goth Garden, not to mention the neighborhood, rather a lot?

Well, what would you wear to clean up the ick?

>>> I see your point. What else are you going to do today?

Probably buy some different cat food to try to stop the random poopster's reign of terror, go to the gym, and start a picture of Nyarlathotep.

>>> Uh, right. Well, gotta go! Ciao!

Pip pip and all that.

Garden Ick

Ugh, garden! How do you get all these icky corners?

Number 1: Behind the large wild iris in the slightly swampy spot AND next to it/under the hibiscus...
Icky due to: some kind of spotty stuff on the iris leaves, potential snails/slugs due to the neighbor's over-watering, tons of dropped hibiscus flowers decomposing, and about a billion ash tree seedlings...and this is where years ago the deceased possum was discovered, and in my mind its smelly little grey ghost still haunts the spot, making me reluctant to disturb it

Number 2: Between the statice and the orange tree...
Icky due to: accumulated leaves, wild grass, shadiness and potential spiders/slugs

Number 3: Behind the phormiums in the corner where the ivy comes through/under/over the wall
Icky due to: my enemy the ivy, wild grass, inches of dropped bougainvillea bracts (also thanks to the neighbor, although they are kind of pretty), some kind of mushrooms, and sometimes it's a favorite possum pooping spot...and even if there aren't current possum poops (good luck), there are still the ghosts of possum poops in my memory

Number 4: Behind the larger black knight buddleia...
Icky due to: the fact that to clear it out, you would have to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around among the dropped leaves, spiders, possum poops, mushrooms, and wild grasses...thus this corner has NEVER been cleaned out, sadly

a weird week

I could easily have found things to do in the garden, but instead I spent it indoors battling a strange allergic reaction (thanks, new skin-care product!). But it's mostly gone, so let's pass over that yucky episode and see what the garden was doing. Of course, since I was confined indoors, wearing light, non-binding clothing and not moving around a lot, the garden was being excellent. It was a great week for the wild iris:


I love the loropetalum in the foreground. I never regret adding purply-black things to the garden (gosh, I wonder why?) Well, apart from the gothic excellence, they go really well with cool minty green and with raspberry pinks:


And here is the goth garden itself. I've pulled out the 'superstition' iris. They were wonderful in spring, but looked pretty tatty the rest of the year. But what to add for a pop of color? The absinthe is that same awesome minty green as the lambs ears but my go-to raspberry doesn't fit the theme of the garden...hmmmm....


Re that last pic: Will I never learn to wind up the hose before going out with the camera? No, probably not.


A week ago, the neighbor kids came and picked the tomato plants bare (at least as close as they could get with short arms...). It was a lot of fun, especially as the toddlers became bored (about 3 minutes) and shouted 'is there anything ELSE we can pick???'

Today we have this:


Sadly, this week the plants seem to be under attack by a) a caterpillar and b) a fungus. I am less dedicated to organic gardening than to getting delicious tomatoes from the garden, so, this weekend I've sprayed with BT (awesome, organic) to get rid of the caterpillar and now am about to spray fungicide (not so awesome or organic) so the plants are stripped bare in preparation. Essentialsaltes' co-workers, hopefully, will help out with the excess!

And this is the 'Bloody Butcher' corn. Twelve feet tall? Maybe close. Interesting colors? Definitely. A little chewier than 'sweet' corn from the store? Definitely. Not inedibly so, but definitely not what we're used to: