Posts Tagged ‘Hydrangea’

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!


Read Full Post »

Today is Tuesday, so time to honor the Muse. Today, she takes the form of mentors, those people who come into your life and teach you things, and I would like to talk about my father-in-law who passed away last Wednesday. He leaves behind a very large family that adored him and a lifetime of friends who loved and respected him. He came into my life when I was still a very young woman, about 20 yrs old. He gave me a job when I desperately needed one and that’s how I eventually became a Northcutt myself.

There are many things I am grateful to him for, but the one I will highlight here is that he shared with me his knowledge of gardening, took me under his green thumb and taught me how to grow things. He had been a sharecropper in Oklahoma before moving to California all those years ago when so many people fled the dust bowl. He also had a small farm here in Ramona, Ca. By the time I met him he was mostly settled back into the suburbs just a few miles from where Tom and I live now, but his backyard was always lush and blooming with as much as would fit. The crowded state of my own backyard testifies to his influence: a little bit of lawn in the center with all the edges packed with fruits, vegetables and flowers.

He taught me how to grow peppers and potatoes and how to train vines, told me when to cut back my roses and to plant garlic under them to help keep bugs off, and how to cage my tomatoes. Thanks to him, I know about burying rusty nails in the dirt under a Hydrangea to change its color and many other nuggets of gardening wisdom and folklore that all seemed like magic in the beginning. He taught me to garden by the cycles of the moon and to read the Farmers Almanac, told me why things were not doing well and how to fix it. He told me to loosen up the dirt around the base of plants so they could breathe, answered all my questions and told me silly stories. Most impressively, he knew all of this without ever consulting the internet or a book.

Over the years he must have given me a hundred planting pots , every size and shape and material. He picked them up, along with the half dead plants that were in them, in alleys and abandoned lots, or from the recently vacated houses and apartments he was working on. We always had fun trying to bring those poor plants back to life and more often than not we had success. If I admired a plant, he would immediately whip out his pocket knife and give me a cutting, along with another pot and some dirt, and told me how to grow it. My hands were always dirty when I left his house, but they were never empty. Every time I visited we took a walk together around the yard to tour his garden, where he was always happy and always in denim overalls. We had to stop at every plant and discuss its progress, every bloom was appreciated and snails were collected and thrown over the fence – I won’t say in which direction 🙂 There was a turtle that lived in the yard and we fed it broccoli together. If there was something new growing, he told me all about it. Billy Wayne Northcutt taught me more about gardening than anybody else. It was something we had in common, besides Tom. He passed along to me one of his life’s passions and for that I will always love him and am deeply grateful that he took the time and effort to teach me something so important. Thank you, Billy, from the bottom of my heart.

If you have a mentor in your life, it is an honor, say thank you. If you are a mentor to someone else, it is an honor, say thank you.

Read Full Post »


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.

Read Full Post »