April 27, 2007

Spanish Lavender

There is something about having an abundance of lavender in the garden. The silver toned leaves and the pretty purple flowers look beautiful beside my roses. This spring, I placed a lavender plant in between all of my roses. The uniformity appeals to me and it is a good start to developing an under planting scheme for my rose gardens. I chose spanish lavender because it is considered hardy in my climate here in Southern California. I do have one french lavender plant tucked in a shady spot. It is not flourishing as well as the spanish, much to my regret. It's blooms are more delicate and appealing. I haven't given up on it though.

The lavender has another effect: Scent. When guests come to my patio, the first thing that they remark on is the pervasive scent of lavender. Most find it relaxing and calming as I do.

About the only drawback I find with the spanish lavender is that it attracts an large number of bees. At any time of the day, you can find little bumblebees gathers pollen from my lavender. I'm learning to live with the bees as I do with the other wild creatures of my gardens. The bees help my vegetable become pollinated and are a sign of a healthy, organic garden.

I'm planning on harvesting my lavender this year and creating sachets. Since I garden organically, even in my rose beds, the flowers will be pesticide free and perfect for giving a calming fragrance to my closets and drawers.

April 25, 2007

Kamikaze Pilot?

I am late with my plantings this year. While I had purchased three heirloom tomato plants for my garden, it took me weeks to get them into the soil. I've talked my husband into giving up the front bed this year so that I can devote the sunnier raised bed to our tomato and bell peppers plants.

The three tomatoes are a paste, a beefsteak and a beefsteak yellow tomato. The peppers are a red and a yellow Corno de Toro and my two overwintered blushing beauty peppers. I'm hoping that with the additional sunshine and cages to support the weight of their pods, I might get a better yield from them this year. I have yet to plant the other chile plants that I purchased at the monster pepper and tomato sale last March, but all the plants I bought are still healthy in their little pots. I will attempt to get them into the ground sometime this week.

The rest of my gardens are in full bloom as the days turn warm and sunny here in Southern California. The scent from the lavender is simply incredible. The extra plants I put in this spring have made such a difference in the level of scent of my garden. It feels very peaceful out there.

Songbirds are coming in to bathe in the birdbath or eat in the birdseed house that hangs on the tree. A hummingbird has taken up residence near my flowering maple plants. I have to be careful as he enjoys dive bombing at me like a tiny kamikaze pilot. The loud buzz about two inches from my ear is what gives him away! I suppose that this is his way to play.

April 22, 2007


This is Greenscene weekend over at the Fullerton Arboretum. Greenscene is a plant event featuring tables for the local plant societies, garden clubs and various vendors that sell garden related products and plants. I felt that this year's event was much larger than last year. There were many new vendors selling handmade teapots, vases and pots or handwoven baskets and sun hats. Even a few jewelry vendors, although they didn't seem to have much patronage. It was overcast and threatened to rain, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the large number of people that came to enjoy the event.

I was amazed at the number of vendors selling succulents this year. Twice the number as last year's event. Since I was planning on creating a new cactus pot for my yard featuring a small aloe vera plant that a friend had given me, I welcomed the opportunity to select a few prickly pots among the various sellers. The herb vendors were not to be outdone, while there were only three or four booths selling herbs, all featured large, healthy and uncommon plants perfect for a medicinal or culinary garden. I selected a thyme and oregano for this season's culinary herb garden.

As I always do, I wandered over to the community garden plots that are hosted by the arboretum. These small plots of land are free, from what I understand, but you MUST tend them and make them look attractive in order to keep them. It is pleasant to tour the community garden for this reason. You view examples of homemade tomato cages, lovely arbors, perfectly constructed paths and raised beds holding a wide assortment of vegetables, flowers and herbs. Despite the prospect of a long waiting list, I always think how wonderful it would be to garden in one of those little plots and have room to grow bigger vegetables, but I have my own little salsa garden at the side of the house and containers for my patio. I suppose that I should be grateful for what I have, small though it is.