Archive for the ‘Succulents/Cacti’ Category

Today I went outside to do some transplanting for lunch. The lens on the camera has been cleaned…sure enough, there was a sticky sunscreen blob right in the center. At least I’m remembering to wear sunscreen! Joining me today were a pair of mud daubers who took advantage of my muddy transplanting mess. They’re very noisy so I wasn’t afraid of stepping on them in my bare feet. They sound like an amplified mosquito. They’re quite pretty in the sun. This one came back to the exact same spot every time and enthusiastically stuck its little face as far down into the mud as it could, sticking its rear-end up in the air. Admittedly more interesting than my transplanting work.

my noisy digging buddy

My Jade plant, or Crassula ovata, has needed transplanting for quite a while. It prefers to dry out in between watering, but the pot I had it in did not have a drainage hole in the bottom. Forgetting that fact, I had over-watered and it was withering from the goopiness. The new pot has drainage and I will not water it for a month just so it can air out. Jade plants are low maintenance and can be an indoor or outdoor plant. They are evergreen and will bloom if you give it enough sun. Lots of sun will give the fleshy leaves a little pink color around the edges and a Jade plant left in shadier areas will get very glossy very dark jade coloring. They are known as money, luck, or friendship plants.

Jade and Mother-in-Law's Tongue

The Mother-in-Law’s Tongues, or Sansevieria trifasciata, also got a new home. Oh, I just love Latin plant names! These succulents make excellent houseplants. They spread by a creeping rhizome, so they do well outdoors as well, as long as they don’t get too much sun. Mine were outside and I will leave the bigger ones out, putting this little one in the house to see how it does.

Mother-in-Law's Tongue - long, sharp, pointed

To test my camera lens for cleanliness, I got a close-up of the ‘Cape Town’ Blue Felicia, or Felicia amelloides, which is always one of my favorite flowers to visit.

'Cape Town' Blue Felicia

Also got a close up of the Euryops chrysanthemoides, or Daisy Bush. Euryops means ‘large eye.’ Yes, I agree:

Euryops chrysanthemoides

And just because I was having fun, a lovely picture of the Hydrangea. There will be no taxonomic info on my Hydrangea because there are a hundred different species and one species has over 600 cultivars. One day I may identify mine, this is not that day.

Hydrangea pamelopticus - teehee

Thanks for joining me for lunch, now get back to work!

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I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

–Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947)

Miss Peanut answers the call of a Mint leaf

Well, the last week has simply been heaven. Every spare moment was spent planting the seedlings started during Spring Break. Several huge cans full of grass and weeds were pulled as well. There is still a lot to be done, but the garden looks tended again. It’s impossible to express just how good for me this process has been. My intellectual pursuits of the last 20 months were very intense and I had not been grounded in the way I need, which is that special brand of grounded I only get from, well, the ground. All head and no body makes one a bit insane after a time. The garden is medicine. My muscles are delightfully sore and I have a touch of color back in my cheeks. The weather was even on my side with cool cloud cover and a bit of rain midweek. The photos all came out with a bit of fog in the center, so I apologize for the quality – not worth retaking them though. Let’s just pretend that I was going for that vintage nostalgic hazy days of summer sepia toned wonder and call it a day. Later I’ll clean the lens, since I know I probably thumbed it with sunscreen. We get messy when we’re gardening 🙂

Somewhere around 42 Tomato seedlings went into the ground in various spots around the property. They had priority, of course. Those are the leftover winter peas drying on the tops of the stakes so I can plant them later.

the Brandywines are in the ground and all is right with the world

The Artichoke seedlings, 4 of them, came from last year’s fruit.

Artichoke seedling

I found a bird’s nest, probably doves, in a burrow on the ground in the meditation circle. This makes four nests that I save in a special place in the potting shed. They are among my favorite things.

I have quite a growing collection of bird's nests in the potting shed

The Hollyhock seedlings are from Andrea’s seeds, so of course I’m hoping for dark colored flowers!

Andrea's Hollyhock seeds are finally in the ground

Tom bought me an upside down hanging Strawberry planter so I would have more than just a few ripe ones at a time. He loves me.

Tom's Topsy Turvy

There were at least three of these cans full of grass and weeds pulled out to make room for seedlings.

out with the old - in with the new!

At a certain point, I had pulled out so many plants needing new homes, I had to spread out over the lawn. I find I have to make a mess before I can bring about any kind of order.

finding joy amid the chaos

There is still a lot of transplanting to do; finding new homes for what I dug up, re-potting things that have grown out of their pots, moving all succulents and cacti to pots leaving more ground for herbaceous plants, etc…

looking for new homes

When I get it all cleaned up, probably by the Full Moon this coming Wednesday, I’ll be able to sit in my rocking chair and celebrate with a juicy glass of wine. In the meantime, the bees are busy gathering pollen…

greedy little bee in an Agapanthus

…the flowers are blooming…

Roses and Grapes and Andrea's birdhouse

…completely oblivious to the fact that I’m literally turning the entire garden upside down. The only ones to really notice have been the spiders, but we get along famously as long as we respect each others space.

the ever-faithful Feverfew

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So, what happens when you throw summer school into an already busy life? Crazy acceleration! My summer algebra class started June 22nd and runs through August 16th. My daughter in law, Emily, said it would be a difficult schedule but worth it since I’d get a lot done in a short amount of time. That sounded great to me as I’m already going to be 50 before I get my degree. I’m “burnin daylight” as my Grandfather would say! She’s absolutely right though: I’m very happy with getting an entire semester under my belt in two months and will probably do it again next summer.


So far, I’ve done just fine with the class and am keeping up with my business as well. Everything else, including the garden, has fallen by the wayside for the most part. Yoga class will be there when I’m ready to go back and my friends have all been understanding. Tom has filled in where he can: I never miss a meal even though I could probably stand to skip a couple. teehee. Even the garden is holding steady on her own.

2007 Summer Solstice Moon

Oh, how I miss the garden! When I go outside these days, I have just enough time to make sure everything is watered and not being eaten alive by snails, then it’s back in to do homework or something equally “chore-y”. There hasn’t been much sunshine in my San Diego neighborhood for the last month or so, so things are ripening but doing so a bit less aggressively than usual at this time of year. It has occurred to me that this may be a gift in disguise…nature slowing things down so I can catch up? Why not!

Rose with dew

The downside of the cloudy/fogginess has been that my squash aren’t doing well at all and my tomatoes and roses are getting mildew. But for now, I’m going to trust nature and wait. The sun will come out eventually and she, in all her wisdom, will compensate with extra good sunshine love. All will be well and I needn’t interfere. Right?

There was a moment a week or so ago when I panicked and threw one of those ‘inner temper tantrums’. Questioning myself; why did i take all of this on? can I pull it off? what was I thinking? everything is going to die off in the garden and my orchids are turning yellow and all because I overextended myself. my clients will suffer and my husband will run away and my friends will hate my guts! when will I catch up? NEVER! Then I realized I was being a big whiny baby and told myself to shut the hell up.

purple Iris

Am I not the woman I wanted to be when I was little and tried hard to see my future? There’s a business that I enjoy with my husband, a family that loves me, faithful and supportive friends, a home I’m proud of and a garden….the garden. I’m in college now and fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, getting a degree. None of this came out of giving up or being a wimp. I’m all grown up…so shut up and deal with it and trust yourself. Be patient with yourself and try to enjoy the journey for a change! I had to tell myself these things out loud because the noise of my doubt was drowning out the peace of mind I should have had. Then, I came across this article and the picture made me laugh. Are you the person you always thought you wanted to be when you ‘grew up’? How far off are you? Is it better than you ever dreamed of? It’s not too late to congratulate yourself or get back on track. It’s never too late to believe in yourself, especially if you think you’re all grown up…which you never really are, are you?!


So yes, it’s been quite challenging…But, I can do whatever the hell I set my mind to if I’m willing to work hard enough, and I am! So there, Self! Neener Neener! Time to look those challenges right smack in the eyeball and tell em how it’s gonna be! and then go to bed early….


* all of today’s garden photos are from 2007, one of my favorite summers in the garden.

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Of scenes of nature, fields and mountains;
Of skies, so beauteous after a storm—and at night the moon so unearthly bright,
Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and gather the heaps,
I dream, I dream, I dream.

from In Midnight Sleep – Walt Whitman

Sundays are my favorite day to garden. Lately, I haven’t been able to do much, what with being out of town and it raining so much, and another storm coming on Tuesday. Today was a sunny day and I ventured out to assess the storm damage and see what dirt I could manage to get under my fingernails.

The entire lawn is a swamp with water standing in puddles thanks to our California clay deep down keeping the rain from soaking in any further. The rain bucket (huge trash can) was entirely full and I managed to fill up two more buckets after emptying out all the vessels that were sprinkled around the yard. Next year, or when the budget allows, I’d like to have the whole rain chain/barrel set up…but it’s expensive, and for now I’m making due using the passion fruit vine as a rain chain.
a bucket, dear Liza, of rain
After I got my rainwater situation under control, I dumped the unused dirt out of the wine boxes I used last season for pumpkins. They need a good drying out and then I’ll oil them well with linseed oil and use them again this spring. When the boxes are finally unusable I take the ends off and nail them to the outside of the potting shed. I love wine boxes and can’t have enough of them scattered around being used for one thing or another…mostly books and plants.

Also needing attention was a sorely neglected Malabar Chestnut that I had set outside and forgotten. By the time I got back out there most of it was dead and the dirt had washed out of the pot. Poor Baby!

half dead 'money tree' or Malabar Chestnut
She got a good trimming off of the dead stuff, which left only one small stem with roots

After a gentle re-potting, she sits quietly in the infirmary window.

The broom corn has completely taken over the pot that held the juncus effusus spiralis which I bought on one of the many nursery visits with my friend Andrea, a fellow green thumb. It reminded me of my own hair…anyways, it needed help immediately

broom corn mess

I took the entire clump out of the pot and cut the grass away and divided the juncus into smaller pieces. This is a great way to propagate perennials. I use an old bread knife if I just cannot divide things with my hands or pull them apart with a garden fork. It seems aggressive but most plants will bounce back with a little love.

juncus effusus 'Spiralis'

Now, where there was one, I have five – fabulous!

Other exciting news from the garden today:
The first jasmine bloom of the season – right outside my bedroom window 🙂
The rosemary is blooming – one of my favorite shades of lavender:

rosemary blossoms

The swiss chard seems to be thriving in the stormy weather:

swiss chard

The lemons are squeaky clean. I never pass by my lemon tree without singing the Peter, Paul and Mary song…lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet…

There wasn’t much in the way of storm damage, only a flooded potting shed, soggy broom, and a few decorations blown off the fence. Even the hail didn’t do a lot of damage. Color me thankful and impatient to plant in the soil while it’s still wet.

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