Thursday, September 18, 2014

Be Still and Meditate

Wednesday evening while I was watering the roses, I saw a beautiful Praying Mantis.  This is the first time I have seen one of these in my garden.

As I understand it, the praying mantis comes to us when we need peace and calm in our lives.  This would make sense considering the chaos that has been going on around my house.  Maybe she was trying to tell me it’s time to step back, calm down and enjoy a little stillness and meditation.

Here are some images I took of her.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Ever since the construction started, I could hardly stand being in the front of the house.  The only time I’ve gone out front is to water the flowers.  It’s just so difficult to see everything displaced and the yard torn up, trees gone…  But the other day, as my husband was walking past the house on his way home, he complimented me on how pretty the flowers looked.  At first I thought he was only telling me that to make me feel better, but Monday evening as I was watering, I realized he was right.  As he put it, "the roses looked 'radiant'”.  Funny how nature seems to adjust in the midst of chaos… Most of the roses are in bloom, the Brugmansia is putting out its fragrant trumpets, the Lisianthus is blooming and the Rosemary is making its dainty blue flowers just as it does every year at this time.

As I continued to look around, I noticed more volunteer Butterfly Milkweed that had seeded itself in different places around my home -- even in one of the Brugmansia pots.  (I had a large Butterfly Milkweed that was destroyed when the side garden was paved over.  I had a feeling I would not see the last of it!)  I also noticed a Morning Glory vine beginning to show itself and even more exciting news…. not one but two Passion Flower vines!  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the landlord does not find them and rip them down.  Right now they are small enough to not be noticeable, but if/when they do start climbing, they may be goners.  I will keep my fingers crossed!

Here are some images I took Monday evening of some of the flowers blooming in front of the house:


The Valerian I dug out of the herb bed and put in a pot.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Focusing on the Positive

Construction is still going on in the front of my bungalow so I have not taken any photos of my roses or anything on the front porch.  Everything I managed to save after the landlords decided to pave over my side garden has taken well to either being moved to a new location on the patio and/or dug up out of the ground and placed in a pot.  It still saddens me to think of how much I lost.  They haven’t laid down the gravel yet, and I can see some of the plants they cut down trying to force their way up.  Unfortunately, someone stomped on them so they were flattened the day after I discovered them.

In addition to the construction, the landlords also cut down all the trees.  We now have no shade.  Have I mentioned it is 103 in Pasadena, California right now?

But enough of the negative and onto the positive.  As I am in this transition phase, I decided to do some reading.  I pulled out some old books I’ve had on my shelf that I hadn’t read in a while.  The first I pulled was Ellen Dugan’s “Garden Witch's Herbal: Green Magick, Herbalism & Spirituality”.  I started to skip around to refresh myself of its contents.  Then I thumbed to the chapter, “Garden Challenges and Starting Over”.  This really hit home with me and gave me hope that all magic wasn’t lost.  What perfect timing to open up this book and find this chapter.  It was just the inspiration I needed.  As Ellen puts it… “Where there’s a will there’s a way or…. Where there’s a witch, there’s a way to garden.”  I immediately started to see things a little differently after reading about her own trials and tribulations.

Moreover, this was the first weekend, even with the heatwave, that the garden felt like it was getting back into a groove and finding a balance.  I put together a small herb bouquet of oregano, thyme and mint and could feel the positive energy.  Couple this with the impatient hummingbirds fluttering above my head eager for breakfast at the newly relocated feeder (which I might add did not take them long to find), and for the first time, it felt like everything was going to be okay.

Later that evening I went around the front of the house and took a good long look.  Despite the ground being dug up and debris strewn about from the on-going construction, the remaining flowers seemed to be okay.  Most of the roses were blooming and the Valerian (which I’d dug out of the herb bed and placed in a pot) was still green and thriving.  One of the Angel Trumpets (Brugmansias) was starting to flower again just as if nothing had happened.  The other potted plants and flowers, while full of dust and somewhat displaced seemed to be all right.

Of course I will be VERY relieved when all of this is over, but for now, despite the transition, things are okay.

So without further adieu, here are a few photos I took recently of some of the flowers on the patio for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens:

Forget Me Not
There are not many blooms on these anymore, but they do still put out a few dainty blue flowers here and there.
Such happy flowers.  I am happy that these are surviving the heat wave.
Black Magic Petunia
I love their soft, velvety petals.
Orange Viola
These put me in the mood for Halloween!
Bee Balm

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adjusting to the New Space

I'm getting used to the new space.  I really enjoying the privacy and the fact that it's just outside the living room so I can turn on the stereo and listen to music while I work.  I sure hope my plants like listening to Stevie Nicks repeatedly.  I also like the fact that I can watch the Hummingbirds while I lounge on the couch.

So this weekend was my birthday weekend and my husband got me some Odessa Calla Lily bulbs.  I planted 4 of them in a pot.  I can't wait to see them when they bloom because the flowers are black...Well, probably more like a purplish black, but it goes with my new obsession with black plants and flowers.

We paid a visit, as I do every year for my birthday, to Descanso Gardens where I picked up this pretty black Bugleweed/Ajuga.
I also made a new friend...  
This beautiful Praying Mantis was on the Crinadonna Lilies.  
It made my day.
Here are some photos of the Nasturtium seedlings.  They are really growing fast!
Bachelor Buttons, Black Magic seedlings are getting bigger.
And the Bewitched Blend Pansies I had in the fridge for a week are now starting to sprout.
There are two beautiful blooms that spiked up on the Penstemon "Red Riding Hood" 
They look more pink then red I think. 
I potted some Oregano this weekend too.  I think now that I have a smaller space, I may get back to basics and grow some of my favorite, fragrant herbs.  In the small space, the aroma really stands out, especially after I water.
Also potted another Thyme.  I love how this smells too.
Bloom on the Lisianthus.  They have been going strong for several months.
This is the white Calla Lily I tried to save after my garden was paved over.  I hope it will grow in a pot.  They used to get so big and full when they were in the ground.  Hopefully this one will be okay.  I only had room to save one of them.
Red Mandevilla.
The Miniature Roses are loving this new patio space.  I think it's because they are in part sun and they seem to like that better then the bright full sun they had been getting on my front porch which is where I relocated them from.
Pentas keep blooming.  I thought the hummingbirds were supposed to love these, but so far they only go to the feeder.  I guess they are just being lazy!
Vinca is still blooming non-stop.
Fragrant Alyssum potted with Vinca.
Here is spear fern that was given to me by my neighbor when she moved.  I moved it into this corner of the patio because it is in shade most of the day.  I had a yellow Calla Lily there previously, and it wasn't very happy about so much shade so I did some reorganizing.
Blooming Lisianthus.
Columbine flower bud.  
I have 3 of these Columbine/Granny Bonnets and all of them have kept on blooming straight through Summer.
This was moved in from the front porch to go along with my intent to have a lot of fragrance in the new space.
Hydrangea is starting to make a flower bud.
Bee Balm is making flower buds as well.
Here is my trusty Sage.  I have had this Sage in a pot for a few years. 
It never complains no matter where I place it.
This is the Rosemary I dug up and saved from the side garden.  So far it's not minding being in a pot.
Fresh Lemon Balm.  
I just potted this in a basket.  It's in the shade here in very similar conditions as I had in my herb bed.  I had to sacrifice the Lemon Balm in the herb bed during the construction, so I bought another one.  I just love the fragrance.
So far, so good in the new "Secret Garden". 
It really turned out to be a blessing in disguise.