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.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Aloe From Louise

Aloe, sweet aloe, you are such a healthful plant, so full of life-giving medicinal nectar.  Aloe can alleviate pain from bug bites, help heal cuts, or give your face a soft glow...  And so, it is only fitting that my aloe plant should be my mother-in-law's plant.  Louise died of cancer just months after I met her, even though she had lived a very healthful life.  She ran every day, always ate at the salad bar when she went to restaurants, took her vitamins, and tended her roses in a sunny community garden.  She neither drank nor smoked, yet lung cancer claimed her anyway.  Louise was a beautiful spirit, her bright blue eyes full of life.. cut too short.

Louise's husband brought us the aloe plant she had been growing outside the front door of her Laguna Beach condo.  I accepted it into my Topanga garden readily, happy to have a piece of her garden, one of her plants, here with us.  At first, I wasn't sure where I wanted to put it, so I left it out front near my door in its wooden bucket.  Weeks passed, okay maybe months, and still it sat.  But it looked pretty, so I left it.  Until .. one day I realized it was "not to be moved"! The aloe's roots had broken through the bucket's wood bottom and rooted the plant firmly into the soil, just where it was!  So it remains many years later. A much larger version of Louise's aloe in a pot.

Every time I walk out my front door and see that aloe, I think of Louise.  I feel her presence reminding me to stay healthy, and keep her son healthy and happy, too. 

(Presently, I am trying to think of a way to transport a cutting of this magnificent plant to my sister-in-law in Portland, without killing it.  Any suggestions are welcome.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just An August Day

On Saturday I decided to take a trip to the beach.  Before I left, I watered well in my shade patio, where it was breezy & wonderfully comfortable under the shade of the big oak tree, even though it was approaching mid-day.  I filled the water fountain, for the succulents that grew in it and overflowed it. I hosed off aloe that were covered in dust webs, onto which pine needles had fallen & were piling up.  The canna lilies were doing well, with sphagnum moss tucked into the top of their pots. Yay!

Out in the front yard, I noticed my pomegranate tree has some fruit turning red.  Already?  Seems early. So I went to look at them, and held them in my hands.  The red patch was actually HOT from the sun! It was more accurately a brown patch on the still green fruit. This was the part of the bush that got the most sun. And it needed water.. like everything else. The sun has felt so strong lately.

Mid-day, I went down to Venice, happy to get a break from the mid-90s heat in the Canyon.  The beach was marvelous: sunny, 80's, with breezes that brought the smell of salty sea to my nose.  I was surprised how few people were laying out.  Then on my return up PCH, it was a different scene altogether.  The highway was snarled, and the beaches were dotted with colorful umbrellas.  I enjoyed watching a group of surfers just south of Sunset Blvd... the waves were good there.

Later in the afternoon, back home, I washed sheets and hung them on the clothesline.  I saw my black cat (Munchkin) sitting on the stone wall near the outdoor washing machine.  What was he staring at so intently? A rattler!  I good sized one, too.  The rattler had come to investigate a pool of water that escaped near the washer.  The canyon is so dry that water attracts all kinds of creatures, not just birds.  I picked up the hose and sprayed the snake.  That made her retreat back through the jade bushes under the Cypress tree.  Likely she has a nest there, as I have seen snakes there in years past.  I say "she" as I have decided she is the mommie snake.  Happily, no snake has ever entered my rose garden, which they seem to acknowledge as "my space".  Although there are a variety of different reactions one might have to seeing a snake, I recognize that they are native wildlife, and that it is important to be able to co-exist. Just have to be alert, especially when watering.

Now it is Sunday morning, and my black cat (Munchkin) is making noise. I thought he wanted to go out, but he simply wanted to alert me that Bodhi the Garden Peacock has arrived on the deck.  I love how my pets work together to notify us of their needs.  Time to feed Bodhi! Get out the sunflower seeds!

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns