December In The Garden
So the snow has started falling, and the ground is frozen…cue sound of needle scratching across a record.
Actually here in Southern California, nighttime temps are finally dipping into the 40s, but the days have been warm and very dry, so there are still things to do in the garden this month.
If you have a vegetable garden, you can continue to set out seedlings of cool season vegetables like lettuces, Asian greens, kale, and Swiss chard. Plant seeds of carrots, radishes, turnips, peas, and beets.
Now is a good time to reseed and fertilize your lawn. Stay off the lawn (you too, doggies) and don’t mow until the new grass is 4-6” high.
Ornamental grasses start to look like hair that’s had too much bleach and not enough conditioner. Cut back ornamental grasses to encourage new growth.
Deadhead or pull up any dead flowers. Keep planting cool season annuals like pansies, Iceland poppies, Cylamen, and snap…
I’ll admit it, I spend so much time making beautiful gardens for my clients that I often neglect my own garden. You know, the cobbler’s children have no shoes… The little bit of lawn I have left get mowed when my maintenance gardener decides to show up, I trim my iceberg roses back, so my kids can get out of my car, and I’ll put in some plants here or there when I have left overs or I want to experiment.
That’s the front.
Forget about the back.
My husband and I have been discussing putting in a deck for 2 years now, and I don’t want to invest too much in planting back there, so I put in a few tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers for fresh salads in the summer. The deck will happen. The six chickens also live in back in there own fenced off chicken yard under the giant ash tree.
A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a nursery I use often that they would like to feature my yard in a commercial they are filming. Um, sure! (I believe in the say YES! and then freak out way of doing things).…
I love to wander around my yard and see the small things: the arrival of bees (or aphids), the changing of leaves, the first spring flowers. I’m not sure what happened to the El Nino and all the rain and cold weather we were supposed to get this winter in Los Angeles. A ridge of high pressure has kept the needed rain mostly to the north. It’s beautiful here, but too warm already. I was in Connecticut last week with my Client Attraction Business School peeps, and it was 24 degrees. I came home, and it’s been in the low 80s.
So I have been wandering around…Some observations: The Hardenbergia is blooming and full of bees (yay!). I have too much rosemary in my yard although I do love the blue flowers against the dark green leaves. My mini daffodils bloomed while I was away and are now past their peak, but the double Narcissus are in full bloom and the mix of their fragrance combined with my neighbor’s overloaded tangerine tree is intoxicating (someone needs to make a perfume). Plants and trees are feeling for spring: daisies, hellebores, the peach tree in my back yard are all…
Tagged with: bees
, citrus trees
, Client Attraction Business School
, El Nino
, Magnolia tree
, peach blossoms
Green is a color. In fact, when you look at just about any garden, I bet you can pick out several shades of green. As I am sure you know, gardens can practically explode with colors other than green, but for some reason there is the misconception that a shade or part shade garden means green and only green. I love designing and planting shade gardens. There is a quiet energy about them, and finding ways to add color to them through plants and other garden elements makes them all the more attractive.
Here are some easy ways to bring color to a shade garden:
Plants can bring color to a shade or part shade garden through their leaves, flowers, or bark. Japanese maple trees (Acer palmatumvarieties) do really well in filtered light. Many varieties have red, orange, and even variegated leaves. For example, the Sango-Kaku or coral bark Japanese maple puts on a show with leaves that transition from yellow to orange to red AND has bark that is a vibrant red, which looks great especially in the winter.
Other favorite plants with colorful leaves that I regularly use in shady spaces include Heuchera and Solenostemon. Heuchera is…
Tagged with: Abutilon
, ceramic containers
, colorful leaves
, crushed colored glass
, garden design
, Japanese maple
, shade garden
Confession time…When I was little, say 10 years old, my neighborhood friends and I would grab a pair of scissors to wander our neighborhood and steal prune flowers here and there from the beautiful gardens to give to our moms. We always told our moms that we cut the flowers the flowers from our friends’ yards, and our moms thought we were such generous and thoughtful children.
While I certainly don’t condone stealing your neighbors’ flowers, this little foray into the ‘dark side’ started a love of floral arrangements and flower gardens, and I am especially fond those that have that have that loose, gathered from the garden, inspired by Dutch master painters feel.
A reader asked me recently what are the best flowers to grow in a cutting garden. There are dozens of flowers that work well in floral arrangements – I mean you could dedicate your whole garden to roses! I thought I would help you out here and give you a list of 10 of my favorite flowers that are fairly easy to grow and look beautiful both in the garden as well as in the vase.
Choose flowers that have stiffer stems, have long lasting…
I have always been a huge admirer and fan of advice columnists like Dear Abby, Ask Amy, Dear Prudie. When I was still in Human Resources, I was thrilled when my boss asked my to write workplace advice column called ‘Dear Gabby’. I admit, I’m a helper, and I love giving advice when it is solicited. I know you have garden questions because I get dozens of them emailed to me every month, so I am starting a garden ‘advice’ column as part of the Eden Condensed blog. I hope you’ll learn something, get some advice, and feel more confident about your gardening skills by following along. And send me questions!! You can comment here with questions or fill out my message form.
Here are today’s garden issues:
Wilting Hydrangea Q. I just planted a big leaf hydrangea in a shady area of my garden and it’s not doing well. It’s wilting and the leaves are starting to fall off. What did I do wrong?
A. The prefix ‘hydra’ means water, and hydrangeas need a lot of water. They have fleshy roots, and if they don’t get consistently moist soil, they will wilt very quickly, especially when they…
Happy New Year, garden friends! I don’t really do New Year’s Eve as I can barely stay awake past 10:00PM, but I do love champagne. I also hate new year’s resolutions. What I love about this time of the year is the sense of new beginnings, new and actionable goals, and the knowledge that what we plant and nurture now will sprout and grow and provide us with the sustenance we need throughout the year.
As I write this, it is 55 degrees and blustery in Los Angeles, so it feels like winter. Yes, I know it’s 20 below where you live and snowing. I used to live in Syracuse, NY, so I remember what real winter is. I am thinking about my garden. It suffered a bit of neglect in 2014, but we did put in a dedicated chicken yard, and we removed the 2 dead trees from the front yard, and the roses did really well in spite of the drought. I am also writing down my garden goals for 2015:
1. Plant more perennials along my front fence. I really don’t have time to keep planting annuals every couple of months, and now that the two trees…
Happy December! I worked in retail for two major companies for a really long time, so the holiday season for me involved looong hours, not much time with my family, and cranky customers. It also involved beautiful wonderland store displays, easy shopping (I worked in a store with a discount!), and congratulatory champagne in the store manager’s office on Christmas Eve. Not having a personal life between Thanksgiving and Christmas was so much the norm that when I left retail for the entertainment industry (that doesn’t work a whole lot during that time), I hardly knew what to do with myself or my kids. Now that I have my own business, December always feels like a month of possibilities, reflection, planning, and joy. I am busy, and I love it!
December includes selling my hand blown glass miniature terrariums at my younger son’s school’s holiday boutique and the incredibly popular Unique USA Holiday Market in Downtown LA. It’s all about my garden art and supporting local, handmade, and made in the USA designers and artists. This year, I am sharing a booth with a very talented jewelry designer, April Laird, of Smithy Jewelry. Through 12/02/2014, you…
While I wait for potential clients to decide whether or not to hire me, I contemplate my own garden. It’s November, and in most parts of the country, gardens have been put to bed for the season. It’s already snowing in so many places. Hey, I wore a sweater for most of the day yesterday – it only got up to 68 degrees AND it was cloudy! Unfortunately, I can’t use the excuse of the impending winter to keeping me from garden chores. My garden has been a bit of a disaster lately, but there’s nothing like having company over to get me moving and cleaning. I am doing a series of DIY terrarium classes in my front yard, so some sprucing up was in order. The tables for the class got set up over the patch of n0-lawn, and I went to work dead heading and popping in some fall color.
Thankfully my white iceberg roses decided to bloom again just in time for the first class. I also planted some drought tolerant plants along my fence (mallow, salvia, and milkweed for attracting butterflies). Now that the two dead Elm trees are gone, there is more sun on the…
I think it’s finally fall in Los Angeles. The Liquid Amber trees are starting to turn a brilliant red. The nights and early mornings (the dog wakes me up at 5:30am!) are cool. Daytime is warm and dry, and if you’re very still in the afternoon, you can feel just the tiniest bit of chill in the wind. Fall is very subtle here, but it is also the time when the garden starts to wake up again after the summer’s oppressive heat. The roses are starting to bloom again and my herb garden is starting to recover. It is time to plant again!
I have 5 4′ x 4′ raised beds in my backyard garden and assorted containers in the front. I’d love to rip out what is left of my lawn in front and add some metal feed trough beds and a pomegranate tree. The husband is still holding on to his love of lawn although I am not sure why since it’s pretty brown and more weeds than actual grass. Like shoes that mysteriously ‘appear’ in my closet, I am sure the beds will start to increase.
What tree, honey? Oh, the pomegranate! Don’t you remember how much…
Tagged with: container garden
, container gardening
, cover crops
, edible flowers
, herb garden
, organic gardens
, pomegranate tree
, raised bed garden
, urban farm
, vegetable garden