Monday, October 15, 2018



I have a lot of pets, when we bought the new property a year ago i left a large corner to bury them all at home, we always plant a tree with them. I call this area the stairway to heaven, a hill with a panoramic view. Noels death was sudden, an elderly, blind, diabetic cat, i found her deep in a coma. This is the first time I have ever done euthanasia, my husband has always handled the final details, but it was up to me this time. Panicked, I raced to emergency, while waiting for the doctor she began to run in place on the table, I knew instantly she was running up her stairway to heaven...

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Thursday, October 4, 2018

garden chronicles, oct update, the bones of the garden are laid...

the first rains of fall struck last night with thunder and lightning, this morning I headed out for a garden walk...

we purchased our house a year ago, once the inside was decorated I was eager to get outside and start the foundation planting for the property. we planted the majority of the trees in late winter, we have spent the last six months trying to get the irrigation around the 11 acres, on weekends only... we are  at about 85% completed, my husband has already laid around 13,000' feet of pipe, with more to come, it has been a daunting task through rocky soil and we are far past the youthful stage of life!
we live on an irrigation canal, our water shuts off oct 15th, I thought it would be a good time to start snapping some pics of where we are this first year at the end of the water season. so far I would say we have only planted the bones of the garden, the foundation trees and shrubs lining the property. I planted evergreens for privacy, two fall foliage sections, a white garden in the backyard, a pink spring garden and an orchard. I wanted to look from a distance and see trees blooming in spring or glittering with fall colors against evergreen backdrops in the fall.

we have a teardrop entrance I call buffy's garden, we picked buffy up after visiting Yellowstone as a wonderful remembrance, she is our official driveway greeter. with a metal gazebo still to be painted, leveled and reinforced with some additional welding this will be covered in boston ivy to turn scarlet in fall. we still need to add pavers and furnishings, I have been dying to work on this area but my husband reminds me we need irrigation more than hardscapes... this is the closest I have to a garden right now, everything will bloom blue, yellow and white in this area. I can't tell you how much I covet these few flowering plant, my pickings have been very slim this year!

for the record, my pictures shows warts and all, I am so far from having a gorgeous garden, this is the beginning stages, weeds, open trenches, hoses scattered, deer cages, just general mayhem, but I foresee a beautiful garden in my future, right now we are in the trenches!


the gazebo is fronted with lemon trees, backed with olive trees, a river of navy agpanthas on one side, mounds of atemesia on another, spotted about is numerous perennials including yellow pokers, salvias, euphorbias, sages, rosemary's, yarrow and bearded iris.

I have to confess I adore water... hosing is one of my favorite pastimes, good thing too, since I have been hand watering about 700 plants daily just to keep them alive until the sprinklers were installed these last six months! so far my husband has put in 22 hoses, I made sure that almost everyone has an extra cute faucet...


the front driveway was flanked with the original silk trees, we did severe pruning and removed the dead trees, adding replacements. new gravel was spread from the gate to the house for a fresh start in the winter rains.


a pepper tree was added for color and fragrance and to screen away the neighbors pump, it has doubled in size since planted in 6 months.

3 radiant red crepe myrtles were planted to show off their red blooms when looking toward the barn.

the fruiting olive trees thrived this summer!

a host of fall color trees were placed by the house and side yard

a rosemary hedge will eventually circle a lawn next spring

Katie has faithfully gardened every day with me!

not much to look at, but the promise of a delish future! there are a good forty fruit trees planted here, thanks to the deer I didn't get to taste anything but figs this year, but with sturdy cages in place until they are tall enough to fight off my foes, I will have a wonderful, albeit wee selection next year! it takes about three years before you can count on a decent crop of fruit. once the irrigation is finished these will thrive next year.
with the backside of the barn facing the trees, this will become fruit central in the years to come, I want a patio with planters and a picnic table to enjoy the spoils of our fruit! all in good time, so many ideas, so little time when my husband still works beyond full time.


I love iris and was thrilled to have level land to start a fresh new garden. right now I need to build up my iris stock for future gardens, I decided to put them here on a temporary basis. the back of our house has extensive views when the skies are clear, so much smoke this summer severely curtailed my vistas, but I wanted to have a gorgeous array of color spilling forward, against the wide open backdrop. the plan is to install a pool in the next 2 years, because of that we are not landscaping the area until after, but for now I have a 4' wide border by 175' long, there are close to 700 iris in this one section. once the pool is installed I still want a 4' border the entire length, but perhaps in just large color blocks, backed by white roses cascading down the rock wall.

this is the best seat in the house, smack dab in front of the fragrant iris with a hundred mile view on a clear day


the patio is flanked by white roses facing the wide open view and the long iris border.

with a huge array of birds I did a feeding station, the four feeders need to be filled daily!

a picnic arbor with bench and table is planted with jasmine and white clematis,
a welcoming spot to enjoy in spring

all the trees and plants on this side of the backyard flower white so they will glow in the evening and not detract from the view.

the roses has been devoured by the deer, fencing to come by spring.


from the white garden in the backyard, looking to the front of the property I planted undulating trees reminiscent of coastal coves.

a large smattering of mixed evergreens for screening and hedging run the entire length

a fragrant hedge of spring bouquet viburnum has been a deer favorite...

the first cove is planted with fall foliage in mind, with an evergreen backdrop, in time the red and yellow maples will pop in the years to come. 

but a touch of spring color will be welcome!
I have been busy planting 1000 daffodils to brighten the spring landscape
Katie eyes the start of a 400' long English laurel hedge, I read they are poisonous after the fact, must not be true because the deer are enjoying them...


this section is to attract the butterflies with vitex, buddleia and brightly blooming red and orange shrubs. I want to be able to walk around my property and have distinctively different gardens.

while cleaning up the fence line to plant the English laurel I found this rose climbing sky high in an oak. I managed to drag 20' canes down to cover 40' of fencing, the deer promptly ate the rose hips, but maybe I will see flowers next spring when they tend to be elsewhere.

I adore liquid amber, I put in about a dozen one gallon plants sold to me for $2 each, I hope I see this forest in my lifetime!

my husband has loads of attachments and implements for country living, I had him stash them off in one section screened off with hedges and evergreen trees like eucalyptus and California pepper. in time I am hoping nothing orange jumps out from a distance but is subtly tucked away in a cloak of green...

I am crazy about variegated myrtle, I had them at our old house, the smell is fantastic and with the added bonus of blue black berries I was eager to add this 6' tall hedegeline in to mask boys town...

I will always love the smell of eucalyptus, coupled with pink flowers and pretty seed pods I just had to add one on the property... ok, two, I added silver dollar too!

this is the northern corner of the property, a bee man contacted us to place his hives on our property, this was the area we designated, he ended up going across the street, but this will forever be bee corner for us now! it ends the English laurel hedge on the north side and starts the white oleander hedge running on the eastern front.

looking back toward the house I planted 3 Chinese pistache, another fall favorite with the scarlet orange foliage and berries. if I should live so long!


fronting the road, I have gone with a thick evergreen border, with full size white oleanders and green giants sandwiched with moon glow junipers mirroring both sides of the driveway




the east and southern corner kicks off more mixed evergreen and fall colors running along the southern fenceline

the driveway entrance is flanked with 10 Italian cypress at the head of the driveway.

the side of the entrance gate has a dozen Bradford pears for spring and fall interest

outside the gate, the entrance is lined with red hot pokers for maximum easy color.


on the south side I lined the property with evergreens, redwoods, green giants, pines, in front I planted 6 yellow gingkos, 5 red maples and 6 more yellow gingkos for bright fall color from a distance.


in front of the barn will be my main garden center with a greenhouse and garden, right now the foundation trees and shrubs were planted on the canal side. every thing here will bloom in the pink, reds and burgundy family.

this weekend I stood up some fencing to begin the outline for the green house and color garden


the canal cuts through our property, I want to refresh our bridge and make it extra cute!



nothing even started, just 140 pots, deer protected, and ready to go! perhaps this winter???

if you hung here this long, good for you, you racked up at least 10,000 steps on your fitbit for this perimeter tour ;-) from these humble beginnings I can't wait to see how the garden fills in over our lifetime~