Thursday, January 15, 2009

Garden Blooming Blog Day- January '09

Welcome to the second installation of Garden Blooming Blog Day.
This month is dedicated to the memory of the woman we called the Yellow Rose of Texas, the effervescent Grace MacBride. She was my neighbor, my friend. Grace and her husband, former Diamond Bar City Councilman Dexter MacBride, were living assets to this community, even after failing health forced their move out of state to be with relatives.
A toast to you now "up high"- our ever Amazing Grace. You live on in the hearts of all those you touched with your intelligence and feisty sense of humor.

The rose on the upper right is Sunny Knock Out, the first scented rose in the knock out series.

Tamora Rose is a favorite of Clair Martin, since 1983, the Curator of Rose and Perennial Gardens at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino.
It never went dormant. This weekend a dozen blooms will fill a vase for my mother's enjoyment. Then it can be pruned properly.

Mary Rose, below, is another English lass gracing the front garden. She is a lady who rewards patience. The first few years she was planted, she was a disappointment. Not at all like in the photographs. But as she spread her arms stronger, each year they held out larger trusses. Now, bobbing in the breeze, the pink ruffled skirts resemble dancing fairies in Antebellum gowns.

This pointed red rose bud must reach way high for sunlight to feed its blossoms.

It is next to one of my rare weeping hibiscus 'La France. The hibiscus flowers drape down into the tall rose branches. I'm not sure why- but the hibiscus flowers are a darker shade of pink than they ever have been before. Maybe the orchid fertilizer? This is the latest hibiscus bloom we've had here. It usually usually peeks in August and then dives until late the next summer.

The violets (below) are like miniature bears. They come out of hibernation in warm weather. I never bought these. Not on purpose. They may have hitched a ride with some plant from my mother's garden. They like to hide until the coast is clear. Then- when the rains come- out they pop. The flowers make adorable cookie decorations when they are painted with a sugar-wash and dried.

Don't you love daylilies? They are such responsible plants. They don't require much attention. Sun, shade- they are not into entitlements. Just love them and let them bloom. Begonia 'Richmodensis' adds a tropical flare to sun and part sun locations. She's like a teenager. Just try to hold her back with regular trimming- and she rebels by putting out more than you took off. With adequate water- she's almost always in bloom.

Asclepias Tuberosa- the common butterfly weed. Self sows. A magnet for Monarch butterflies. I would not describe it as invasive- but this is a rebellious little charmer which has a habit of popping up in places like in the middle of a gravel walkway.
Do not plant if you don't like butterflies.

Alstromeria sometimes called the Peruvian lily. Loves the drainage of our hillside location. It made a lovely little pillow to land my head upon in one of my infamous garden falls last year. Glad it liked its sunny spot so when I went head first over the walkway, my face plant wasn't into cactus. This smaller, buttery yellow variety is especially lovely come late spring with the iris pointing up from it.


Cyclamen- aka the last Christmas decoration- will keep going until at least Valentine's Day.
In our mild climate, it is not unusual to have a bed over-summer afew seasons before it bows out of the landscape

The tropical Billbergia came from my mother's patio garden.
The Sunset Western Garden Guide reports it needs regular water- mine hasn't read that chapter. She was thrown in a wheelbarrow to divide about 5 years ago- and there she has bloomed over the edges with almost no care and only the rarest of supplemental watering.

Ahhh- Geranium. No need for a hothouse to overwinter here. Not for the flowering types. Not for the varieties grown for their luscious scented leaves.

Speaking of leaves- The two ficus with variegated leaves were
moved from the side entrance to the back patio, where hummingbirds sometimes climb into the protection of their arms to build little nests. Last year, one baby got so big, it was named Baby Huey before it flew off.

If you can't find the Sunny Knock Out Rose here locally, Great Garden Plants is happy to ship here.

Greenwood Daylily Gardens has GREAT plants developed for California's idosynchratic climate.

Billbergia is often in stock at California Cactus Gardens in Pasadena. Be warned suburban shoppers- parking here is miserable. Plan on parking in the neighborhhood and then walking in the nursery. Awkward- but worth the inconvenience.


  1. Lydia,
    How did you hear the news?
    Loved your dedication to Grace! Such a great lady and she will be missed.
    I also love your roses and other flowers! Oh I wish John would make a flower garden like that! I used to get involved in planting all sorts of things that bloom but I am afraid that now my knees won't take it! Let's just hope now that John tested his soil in the failed garden of last year and has righted it, maybe this year will bring in a bumper crop of veggies!
    Thanks for a wonderful blog!
    XO Trisha

  2. Greetings Trisha! Edda wrote earlier to see if I had read the dedication in next Tuesday's City Council agenda. The notice was there, I have sent a note to their son through his tennis school in Maryland.
    Maybe you could suggest to John interplanting some flowers with the vegetables like the French do.

  3. Lydia, such a garden! I'm so impressed. Love the photographs. Ewe dew gud werk! :O) Thanks for sharing.

    Oregon Sue

  4. So much bloom in a garden in January. Hard for me to imagine from where I am.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Welcome, Carol. Thank you for starting this guilty pleasure of checking out gardens once a month.

    If it wasn't so much work, I would be totally spoiled living here. Not only are there flowers year round- there is no shortage of birds, bees or butterflies. Not even in the winter.

  6. okay, you win the prize for fab-oo flowers and blooms! your January blooms trump everyone else's!!! I am enchanted with your rose garden, Lydia. Too beautiful for words,
    cheers, Debra

  7. Wow. Southern California in January is like the middle of summer here in Maine. It will be months and months before I get to see any daylily blossoms. Thanks for sharing yours!

  8. Good morning to Debra and Kris! What nice messages to wake up to.
    If you think it is nice now- just wait. The garden gets bloomier for the rest of the year.


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