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, April 25, 2011

Matilija Poppies, I Owe You So Much

                  Matilija Poppies (Romneya coulteri), Topanga Canyon, CA 
                                                              Photo by Kathy Vilim

I first saw Matilija (ma-tila-huh) Poppies on a trip to Catalina Island many years ago.  I was visiting the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens (Catalina Island Conservancy, Avalon, CA) and there they were:  So elegant, tall and wild, their petals like crepe paper. They stood together, a big stand of them, swaying with the breeze at easily 5ft in height!

Sometime later, I ended up at a plant sale at Theodore Payne Foundation.  I don’t know why I was looking at native plants.  Perhaps I wanted plants that could handle my hillside without much care, something drought tolerant.  My hillside gets so much wind & sun and grows wild with native shrubbery & cactus. Or, perhaps I was drawn to search for Matilija... 
Read more.. at BeautifulWildlifeGarden

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter from Topanga Canyon

Penguins on Quail Egg (left)  Ukrainian Easter Egg- Pysanky (right)

Easter is here: time for me to enjoy these hand painted treasures. Thought I should share them with you.

The Pysanky is an ancient form of Ukrainian folk art. Sometimes the eggs are decorated in lines & geometric designs in which the colors have meanings.  Other times eggs are painted with pictures such as animals, birds, or in the case of the one above: plants.  The eggs are painted using a wax-resistant method or batik.  It requires the use of a special tool called a kistka which is used to design in the wax. Artists are still making the Pysankys today. I have tried my hand and can tell you it is quite an intricate process, involving many layers of wax.

The Quail egg hand-painted with a trio of penguins is another folksy expression of egg art by an artist who exclusively paints animals. Visiting her tiny shop (It is amazing how many eggs you can get into a tiny place) , you are treated to every size egg, from quail to ostrich, painted with any number of animal portraits. She will even custom paint an animal portrait just for you from a photograph, if you like.  

Thanks for enjoying my treasures. Hope you will have a wonderful weekend!

For more on the Pysankys, visit the Ukrainian Museum

Topanga at Springtime

Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), Topanga, CA, Photo by Kathy Vilim
The sweet, delicate fragrance of Jasmine drifts through the open window from across the street .. heady, overpowering, delicious.. intoxicating. Stronger for some reason in this pre-dawn darkness.  My cat purrs huskily atop my cocooned body as we both drink it in.

Springtime in Topanga Canyon. This is the time of year to enjoy the scent of Jasmine: while the grass is long & green & wild, and the hillsides are full of wildflowers.  And it is just this one kind of Jasmine, Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) wildly growing over fences with reckless abandon that surpasses all others.

The delicate Jasmine blooms will not last when Summer's heat is upon us.  So, this is the time to enjoy their heady fragrance in Southern California.

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns