Welcome to my Garden Blog

Nature: wild & untouched. Photographing it, preserving it, taking walks and drinking in the landscapes as they unfold.

Gardens: touched by loving hands. Cultivated, nurtured. Drinking in those landscapes is wonderful, as well.

In my garden one enjoys some of both. Generally unpruned & wild, my plants reshape the garden as they grow.

Beyond the garden borders, natives from the Santa Monica Mtns await. Oak trees with their shady canopies. Cactus & Sage in the sun.

Always there are animal creatures to join in the fun.

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you as they unfold.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Organic Gardening in November

Here I am doing a little gardening. It's November and the weather in SoCal is wonderful! I am trying a tip I got from another gardener, to add organic material to my garden soil. I am using kitchen scraps that have been pureed in the blender, instead of waiting for them to break down in the compost bin. I dug several holes & filled with the organic mix. This blend contains: avocado, eggshells & coffee grinds. We'll see what happens!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Old Pine Tree Friends

I recently lost my pine tree friends. All the time I lived at this place in Topanga, these 2 were always with me. Together. Partners. Their branches touching. Stopping spot for birds flying across the Canyon. Resting spot for me, my back to the tree trunk, respite on a hot Summer day, looking out from there to the hillsides beyond.

Now they are no more, thanks to Mr. Pine Beetle. I tried to save them.. Had a tree man come out & shoot 'em up. To no avail. Watched them lose all their pine needles. Still, the birds came & enjoyed them.

Now, I have taken them down, after one broke in half & crashed to the ground quite loudly! Pine trees are not native to the Santa Monica Mtns. The 100ft pines were planted in the '50s back when the fire dept was giving them away for free to encourage planting. Now, the hillside will have a more native look. More open. Goodbye my friends, and now we move on.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Autumn Dawn over Topanga

The days of October are so short. Dawn does not come until 6:30 A.M. I wait, listening to an Owl hoot and crickets chirping. As the sky lightens from black to more blue, the Owl decides finally to go to sleep. His song is replaced with a Coyote cry.. and crickets fade away. Pink clouds form over the Topanga State Park giving me this great photo opportunity to start the day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Calabasas Pumpkin Festival

Had a nice day looking at pumpkins, arts & crafts by locals, & listening to live music. Happy to see the County of LA had a "Smart Gardening Booth" and could talk to folks about backyard composting & waterwise gardening.(www.smartgardening.com) for more info.

Also happy to see my friends from Topanga Art & Tile showing their creative tile pieces.(www.topangaarttile.com/about.php)

For more info on the Festival, which is ongoing through the Oct 17/18 wknd, (www.calabasaspumpkinfestival.com).

Friday, October 16, 2009

After the Rain

The world is so quiet without the sound of the rain, I thought to myself as I started my day. Off for a walk down the street with my dog, everything so alive & vibrant the day after the rains. Raindrops still hung to Peppercorn leaves. I missed the crunch of Peppercorns under my feet; they were all soggy and mixed with fallen leaves. My neighbor's sprinkler still blasted away needlessly.

The fog which had blanketed the sky yesterday, today instead hung low in the Canyon, a brilliant, fluffy white lit by the sun. I paused to watch it move across the hillside ..

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sedum Brings Color Every September

Every September, I look forward to my Sedum blooming faithfully on my deck. It blooms only once annually and always in September. How does it know? It is a welcome first sign of Autumn at my Topanga home when I see the red blooms, every year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hawk Circles gliding effortlessly

It was the loveliest day yesterday in the 80's, instead of 90's. I sat on the backyard steps, watching a hawk gliding effortlessly on the breezes. Behind him a jet plane made its stiff flight.. unreal. Soft breezes made their way up the canyon to me. I let them wash over me & soaked in the dappled sun. So much life all around me. The heads of the Buckwheat dark brown now after Summer. The ground so dry. Everything waiting for the first rain. The long golden grass, matted down. My eyes adjust to take in the little houses on the opposite hillside far away..

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tomato Hornwood Caterpillar Disappears

Well, the Caterpillar has disappeared as abruptly as he came. Perhaps he is under the leaf litter, going through the metamorphasis that will turn him into a moth. His friend disappeared a couple days before.. Which is fine, as that leaves more Tomatoes for me! I will keep an eye out for new Moths..

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar Arrives

This weekend I was surprised to see my first Garden Pests in my Organic Tomato bed. These caterpillars are so good at disguising themselves.. I think they are super ugly.. My husband thinks they are "cool". (That's because he thinks like a little boy.) Still, can't bring myself to kill them. I have a looked them up, found that they probably can't decimate my entire garden, so for now they get to stay & eat. IF, they promise to turn into butterflies quickly & move along. Manduca quinquemaculata.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sky Over Topanga - Smoke meets Storm

On my walk with Buddy this Topanga morning, the skies were quite interesting. In the East, smoke cloud could be seen.. gray with pink .. but overall, the clouds were gray & fluffy, rain clouds.

Hurricane off of Baja met Smoke from the Angeles Forest Fires.. An unusual coupling, for sure. The storm clouds kept the sun at bay, so though it still reach 100dgs, it didn't feel like it. There was a soft morning breeze and not so much smell of smoke.

Hoping some light rain might find its way to Topanga and help with the Station Fire in Tujunga.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Water Bucket Arm

Woke up with "Water Bucket Arm".. common malady of the dedicated gardener, filling their buckets too full on a too Hot Summer Day.. Ouch!! Nursing my wounds & hiding from the 100dg day again.. day 4?

Sweet Fennel Plants, Topanga, Santa Monica Mtns

Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare is found along roadsides, esp. closer to the Ocean. It blooms May-Sept. Originally a Mediterranean native, it has now made California its home. It has a pronounced odor and taste similar to licorice or anise. Leaves can be used in cooking, but care must be taken not to confuse Sweet Fennel with Poison Hemlock, since they resemble each other when not in bloom. In Spanish days, Sweet Fennel was spread on the mission floors for a pleasant scent.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Way too Hot in Topanga!!

We are having a Heat Wave! It got up to 108dgs at my house in Topanga today, 105 down on the Blvd. I had to run an errand in Calabasas, where the temps reached up to 118dgs in the sun! I was so happy not to have my dog with me. I knew it was supposed to be Hot, Day 2 of a 4 day Heat Wave, so I took time this morning to deep water all my roses. Last night I left a hose on my favorite Orange Tree, while the Grapefruit Tree looked on, jealous. And, put shade netting up over my vege beds.. All I could think when I was out was: what is it like in Palm Springs then?!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Buddy in a field of wild Mustard.

Wild Mustard grows throughout the hills of Topanga Canyon. Originally donated by Europeans after a massive CA wildfire in an effort to stabilize hillsides, the Mustard plant decided to make the Santa Monica Mtns its home!

August Days in Topanga

After 15 days in a row of wonderful foggy mornings & below normal (80's) temps, we were surprised yesterday by a bit of tropical weather. I thought: storm in Baja? Lots of high clouds & muggy. There was even a 20% chance of rain! A big deal for canyon plants. But, that was not to be. Still, a pretty day in Topanga.

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns