Posts

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I sometimes write about the goings on in my life.  And so I begin the post with fair warning- if you are looking for gardening content – there will be some, but not a lot.


Do you ever look back at your calendar for the past month and wonder where the time went?


I did just that and was pleasantly surprised to see how much went on.  I thought that I’d share with you a small snapshot of the past month in the life of ‘az plant lady’ (me)!



The most exciting event was visiting my daughter in California and being there for her ultrasound when she found out that she was having a little boy.

I am so excited and can’t wait for January to get here so that I can hold him in my arms!

Surf shop in California
While visiting my daughter, who is in the Navy and stationed in California, we stopped by the small beach town of Carpenteria, which is just south of Santa Barbara.  

We visited a couple of nurseries in Carpenteria where I discovered a new flowering perennial introduction and enjoyed a very unique experience at another nursery.

It was fun to stop and watch the surfers.  *Did you know that surfing is a really big deal in California?  My high school had a surf club and I had many friends and family who were surfers.  As for me, I’ve never set foot on a surfboard 😉

Santa Barbara Mission and rose garden.
We stopped off to visit the beautiful mission of Santa Barbara, which was founded in 1786.  I always enjoy visiting the mission, but I must confess that my attention was diverted by the adjoining rose garden that was in full bloom.

I’ll share more about my visit to another special rose garden later this week.

My husband and I both enjoy visiting this area since we spent time there when we attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, which is where we met.

The college has beautiful grounds and I recently shared some photos of our most recent visit there, which you can see here.  

Back home, homecoming at our local high school arrived early this year.  Our daughter, Ruthie had fun getting ready and had a great time!


Earlier in the month, Ruthie took part in the ice-bucket challenge for ALS on behalf of her grandpa who died from this truly horrible disease 3 years ago.

I was so proud of her.


Has your husband ever had a dream of owning a certain car or motorcycle?

Mine has wanted a Harley Davdison motorcycle for over 9 years.  He has stacks of old motorcycle magazines dating back from 2006 that he has kept hidden away in a huge Rubbermaid plastic tub.  

I am married to someone who is so giving and self-sacrificing and it was so nice to see the joy as his dream was finally realized.  

He has been walking around with a smile on his face for weeks now and he looks forward to driving to and from work on his new bike.


Surprisingly, my granddaughter, Lily, has been quite taken with her papa’s new motorcycle and asks to see “the Harley Davidson” when she visits.

It is really kind of funny since her parents aren’t into motorcycles at all.  But, she adores her papa and his new bike.

While at our local Harley Davidson dealer, my husband saw kid tattoos and picked up one for her that had a scorpion on it.

Lily likes to wear little tattoos of Minnie Mouse or other cartoon characters, but I was shocked when she wanted to wear the one her papa bought her with a scorpion on it.

If my granddaughter turns out to be a ‘biker chick’ when she gets older – it will be her papa’s fault 😉


Two weeks ago, we received record-breaking 5 1/2 of rainfall within a few hours time!!!

My husband had to delay going to work in order to sweep water off of the patio to keep our house from flooding.  When he did finally get on the road to get to work, it took 30 minutes to drive 4 miles!

The garden loved the rain and now all the weeds are beginning to come up, so I’ll mix up a batch of my homemade weed killer.  

So what will the coming month bring?


Right now, I’m busy designing landscape for four different areas on a golf course, where they are removing large areas of turf, in favor of a drought tolerant landscape.

My dining room table has been taken over by large sheets of vellum (what I draw my designs on), drafting supplies and the like.

I tend to get involved in creating designs this way and can easily spend an entire day in my own little world.


This month also brings another first for us.  My husband and I are both alumni of Arizona State University and have season tickets this year.

We are so excited and hopefully, our team will do well this year.

Next week, we will be adding a new member to our family.


Meet Polly!

We recently said “goodbye” to our 15 year-old golden retriever and decided to welcome a new dog into our lives.

Although Polly is not ready to come live with us yet, we were able to visit her and her litter mates.

It will be hard to wait a whole week to hold her again.  In the meantime, I’ll stock on doggy toys, puppy food, dig out the baby gates again and be sure to have a lot of pet/floor cleaner on hand 😉

********************************

Well, that is a snapshot of the past month and some of what will be happening soon.

Thank you for taking a little time out of your day and allowing me to share a little of my life.

I appreciate it so much!


Do you like to visit plant nurseries?

I do – especially when I am traveling.  It is always nice to see what plants are popular in other areas.

Last weekend, my husband and I made at trip to California to visit our daughter who is serving in the Navy.

I always enjoy visiting California – not just for its nice weather, beautiful beaches, laid back people and the scenery – although those are all things that are reason enough to visit.  The real reason that I enjoy spending time in California is that I grew up here.

I am a 4th generation, native Californian.  Those who came before me were farmers, lumbermen, a city sheriff, a truck driver who worked his way to oil company executive and a social worker (who was my dad). 

Now that my daughter is stationed in California, I now have more reasons to make the trip over.


During the course of our trip, we stopped by one of our favorite small towns, Carpinteria, which is located a few miles south of Santa Barbara.  This is a wonderful beach town that is backed up by tall mountains.

As we got out of our car with the intent of heading to our favorite cupcake place, I noticed not one, but two plant nurseries just a few yards away.  So, my husband and daughter patiently waited for me while I headed into to see what discoveries I could find.


I had not brought my nice camera on our trip, so I had to rely on my iPhone camera, which did a pretty good job, except that I tend to take a lot of pictures and my battery soon died.  Luckily, my husband had his phone and I used it to take the rest of my pictures.

Believe it or not, I don’t buy a lot of plants when I visit nurseries – my landscape has more than enough plants in it.  But I am always on the lookout for plants that I don’t know about or are new to the market.  

Often, nurseries can serve as inspiration for your own garden with creative plant pairings as shown in the photo, above.

This particular nursery was filled with mostly flowering perennials, annuals and vegetable transplants.


I love a colorful garden and was excited to check out the flowering perennials.  I did find a new perennial introduction called ‘Echibeckia’, which is a cross between purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia).


I saw this shrub that had been pruned into a tree.  Its brilliant purple flowers were almost blinding.  I’m not sure what it is – but it’s gorgeous!


*Update – a very kind reader (Rusthawk) was kind enough to identify this plant as Tibouchina – thank you!


I love Mediterranean climates and the plants that grow well in them.  Many of these plants also grow well in the desert garden like lavender and lantana.


Like I mentioned before, I do love flowering perennials and I have both black eyed Susan and purple coneflower growing in my garden.  However, I don’t have them in my regular landscape areas where it is not fertile enough and doesn’t get enough water.  I plant a them among my vegetable gardens where they help to attract pollinators.


In addition to pretty perennials, I am a sucker for beautiful containers like these.  Too bad that I don’t have a big enough budget to even consider buying these.  I’m still figuring out what to do with my free Tuscan planters.


Butterflies and hummingbirds were flying about, enjoying the nectar from the colorful flowers.

Butterfly Weed

If you add butterfly weed to your garden, you’ll be bound to attract any butterflies nearby.




There were so many butterflies fluttering about that people were able to get up close to them.


A monarch butterfly was feeding on the purple blossom of a butterfly bush, seemingly ignorant of the people who stopped to admire it.  A very nice woman, standing next to me, took a video and was kind enough to share it with me – Thank you, KD!


After I tore myself away from staring at butterflies, I decided to see what else this nursery offered in addition to to flowering perennials.  My attention was immediately drawn by the variety of potted succulents.  If you like succulents – there is no better place to grow them than in California where they enjoy the Mediterranean climate with its warm, relatively frost-free temperatures.


As I was looking at the succulents, I saw a bright flash of purple and bright green off to the side.



New leaf lettuce transplants had just arrived along with potted artichokes.


While my garden is not quite ready for fall planting, I am already envisioning rows upon rows of leaf lettuce, which is my favorite vegetable to grow.




Who says that vegetable gardens can’t be beautiful?  


I plant both red and green leaf lettuce varieties in my garden each year.  I like the gorgeous color contrast that also looks great in your salad bowl.




I also like these assorted kale transplants.  I didn’t add any to my garden last year, but may consider doing so this year.


Have any of you grown kale?  How did it do for you?


As I slowly walked back through the nursery, I stuck my phone in my pocket and was ready to join my husband and daughter who were patiently waiting for me.


BUT, as I walked out the entrance I found myself facing another nursery.




I’ll give you this glimpse of the entrance of the most unique nursery that I have ever had the opportunity to visit.


Behind its fairly unremarkable entrance, lay secret gardens filled with unusual plants that I will show you next time.