In with the New

December was wet and wonderful. Big rains arrived in a warm “pineapple express” which gave all our plants and trees a good soaking.  A freeze arrived with the New Year and it officially feels like winter in our little corner of California. Now it is already time to get out in the garden and begin pruning. It’s all part of the yearly cycle of removing the spent and preparing for the arrival of spring. Hoping your new year is full of hopeful promise and good health.


This tulip magnolia was completely out of sync between the drought and the warm rains. A few stunning blooms graced the December landscape.


I made these shitaki mushroom logs with friends several years ago. After a few weeks of rain, they finally bloomed. Home grown shitaki mushrooms for Christmas dinner!


We are back to one beehive again. Happy to see that on this first day of 2015 they are out flying and bringing in pollen.

Rose hips

Rose hips from this mornings prunings.



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Happy Bounty!

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing everyone a delicious day in and out of the kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving!
We live in the midst of such abundance that it is hard not to share it.
Wishing you a delicious day in or out of the kitchen.




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Autumn Times

It has been a busy six weeks wrapping up summer in the garden – getting fall and winter vegetables going, as well as redoing some perennial beds. We’ve had a tiny bit  of rain and way too many warm sunny days. Everyday we scan the weather reports hoping for a bit of rain in the future. The signs of drought are everywhere and it has been a long summer of hauling dishwater from the kitchen to help keep the garden going.
The autumn light is low and it makes every afternoon in the garden especially beautiful. Here are a few shots from the season and I hope you can take a few moments to go out and enjoy this gorgeous time of year.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue'

This Salvia guarantica is one of my favorites. It has taken its own sweet time blooming this year. Finally, this first week of November, the reluctant buds opened.


A last bit of the roses, viburnum color, hydrangea and big juicy rose hips. Check out the cucumber beetle cruising across the rose. They tend to be destructive but we manage to coexist.


With these very warm late autumn days a few of the roses keep sending out random blooms.

Persimmon tree all picked

The persimmons were a good month earlier then in past years. We had a sizable harvest but still it’s strange to see the tree with so many leaves and the fruit all gone.

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End of Summer….

just this afternoon when the wind was blowing through the garden there was a district feeling of Fall in the air.

Just this afternoon a wind blew through the garden and there was that distinct feeling of Fall in the air.

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August Flowers

hydrangea, amaryllis-naked ladies, poke weed, Penstemon, geranium and fairy roses, variegated cornus

Come August, flower choices get a bit skimpy around here. Four or five months with no rain make for a pretty stressed garden. Luckily, I can always count on the pinks when nothing else will bloom.

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My Inspiration

A recent week in the mountains of the Stanislaus National Forest certainly refreshed and re-energized me. There is so much in the Sierra Nevada landscape that I discover again and again that inspires and informs me in my garden. And of course a week of lake swimming  and day dreaming is bound to clear the cobwebs. Here’s a little of that inspiration.
IMG_0326 IMG_0340 IMG_0359 IMG_0387 IMG_0422 IMG_0456 IMG_0501 IMG_0506 IMG_0549 IMG_0570

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Mr. Graham Thomas

After the first big bloom of spring I get bogged down dead heading all the spent flowers. You have to stay on it if you want to get an descend and third bloom in the season. I headed out to tackle the unwieldy tall and prickly David Austin's Grahm Thomas

After the first big bloom of spring, I get bogged down dead-heading all the spent roses. I have to stay on top of it if I want to get a second or third bloom during the season. Last weekend I headed out to tackle David Austin’s unwieldy tall and prickly Graham Thomas. While there was a lot to cut back, there was also a fabulous bouquet hidden in and amongst the foliage.


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A Little Bit of Heat

I was a way a few days last week during an extreme spring heat wave. A walk throughout

I was away a few days last week during an extreme spring heat wave. Wow, was I surprised to find this dahlia size bloom in full flower when I returned.  This cabbage style rose, whose name eludes me, has never been given such a shot of heat during bloom time. I didn’t know what I was missing.

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Mother’s Day Bouquet

Sally Holmes and Seafoam Roses

A jar of roses for all my favorite mothers.


This is where you’ll find me on Mother’s Day. We planted these oaks as mere seedlings 25 years ago not ever suspecting that someday we’d hang a hammock between them. An unintentional but perfect planting.

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Climbing Cecile Brunner

May would not be May without the dependable, lovely Cecile Brunner.

May would not be May without the dependable, lovely Cecile Brunner.

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