Archive | April 2013

San Diego Gardens

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California Pepper Tree

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

I took quite a lot of pictures in my daughter’s neighborhood while in San Diego. They live in an area where there are lots of older craftsman and Spanish style bungaloes and cottages, with front yards just filled with flowers. These smaller homes do not waste space on water-hungry lawns, but instead, landscape with beds of plants suited to the hot, sunny and dry climate. Except for roses, which do need regular watering, but don’t like rainfall. If irrigated often enough, roses love San Diego, and San Diego loves them back. Even the smallest and plainest of houses often have yards filled with enormous rose blossoms. And when I say enormous, I mean 8″ or more across…salad plate sized, and bigger. They are amazing.  Here are a few pics I took walking around the area. Many of the plants are ones I see here in central Florida, but many more were new to me, and so interesting.

This home was much larger than most within walking distance, but not nearly large enough to warrant the $1,000,000 it just sold for, if you ask me.  No one did of course, but I would have trouble paying that much money for a home less than 2,000 square feet in size. I think Erin said it was about 1,800. Of course, I would have trouble paying a million dollars for ANY home, since…well, not to put too fine a point on it, but…I don’t HAVE a million dollars! At any rate, it was very nicely landscaped, and I couldn’t resist a picture. The upper vine is bougainvillea, of course, which is RAMPANT in San Diego. (They even trim it until it becomes bush-like and use it as hedges.)  The lower vine had a very pretty cup-shaped flower on it that I didn’t recognize. Inside the fence was a small courtyard with various container plants. Small citrus trees, and jasmines, and the like. It not only looked good, it smelled great, too.

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This garden fascinated me by the use of black rock as a mulch. The purple and orange color scheme really popped against it, though the picture doesn’t do it justice, I’m afraid. The purple plant in the background is sea lavender, which is planted in medians and commercial planters, too, and is very pretty. Up close, the flowers look like statice. In the foreground was salvia leucantha (Mexican sage), and bird of paradise, plus some smaller annuals.  It was really striking and well-maintained.

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This is just a cute little cottage with a very small front yard that was packed with roses. I thought it was very sweet.

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There were a lot of areas planted in front of fences, near the sidewalks, which was nice, because I could stop and take a good look at what was growing. This mixed bed had purple fountain grass, salvia leucantha, something that looked like a type of cuphea, and a glorious patch of pink small-leafed ice plant. Both that and the more typical ice plant are everywhere you look, and come in the brightest shades of red and pink you can imagine. I believe some of them are probably on the invasive side, but they are still widely used in gardens, too, and frankly, they are so beautiful, it tends to make you overlook any problems, I imagine.

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This is another patch of small-leafed ice plant, interspersed with some type of succulent. I thought it was gorgeous!

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Sadly, the day I took most of the rose pictures was so sunny, they are mostly way over-exposed. This one was a wonderful blend of pinks and yellows, and the bloom in the foreground was probably close to 9″ across. It was wider than I could spread my fingers!

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Many fences enclose smallish courtyards with containers of plants grouped here and there. This one was rather modest with the planters, but the colors of the roses were just wonderful.

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Others were really packed with plants, both in ground and in containers, and almost all of the gardens were beautifully maintained.

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This is a tree rose from the same garden.

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Erin is new to gardening, but she planted this lavatera last year as a plant about 18″ tall, and it is just fantastic now. The hummers love it. She also planted peppers, tomatoes and CORN in the back part of the garden.  In the foreground, you can see the big green leaves of Myres’ grapevine.

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Close up of Erin’s lavatera.

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A picture of one of the millions of succulents seen in nearly every yard, maybe an agave of some sort. I’m not sure, but it had wicked points and was about 2 feet wide. I just liked the color.

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A wildly over-exposed picture of Erin, Myres and Kaelen, but I swear to you, the bougainvillea was just that red, and I’ve never seen one with more blooms on it in my life!

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And lastly, the most…er…unusual thing I found “blooming” in a neighboring garden. And believe me, this guy wasn’t going to stop grazing for anyone.

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Lots of photos for one post, I know, but I wanted to get them all up while I had a chance. Hope you enjoyed them!

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Like A Bad Penny, Here I Am Again!

( Reposted From Bookin’ It )

Back home from San Diego, after much sturm und drang, having gotten caught in airline hell on last Tuesday, when American Airlines stopped flying for the better part of the day. Caught in long lines, flight cancelled and rescheduled…THREE times…finally arriving at 2:30am! I was 24 hours in transit and exhausted, but by golly, I MADE IT! And got to spend 4 days of blissful Granny Time with Kaelen. Then I came down with some sort of dread disease that meant I had to wear a mask and not touch him any more! Eeeeep. And more flight trouble on the way home because…GET THIS…two passengers in FIRST CLASS decided to have a FOOD FIGHT, and apparently made such a mess that my flight out of Dallas was delayed for almost an hour while the crew cleaned up the cabin! Can you imagine? First Class JERKS is what they were. So I got home that night at 2:30am, sick and miserable. But you know what? I’d go through it all again to spend those four days with my lovely new grandson. What a sweet baby he is!

I have been quarantined at home by my doctor here, who says I’m teetering on the edge of pneumonia, but she is determined to head it off. So I’m to take my meds and REST. No housework. (Awwww…say it isn’t so!) Just “read, relax, rest, and recuperate.” I think I can do that. And I’m not banned from blogging, so hopefully, I’ll soon be back in the swing of that. I have two books to review here and tons of garden pictures to share on Who’s Your Granny, so I’m good to go. And just so you can see the reason I ever got caught up in all that airline mess in the first place, here’s a little piccie for ya.

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Now tell the truth. If this were YOUR brand new grandson, you wouldn’t regret the Flight From Hell, either, would you?

Be back soon with my next review!

*going off now, tapping my ruby slippers together, and repeating over and over, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”*

Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny, Go!

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(Reposted from Bookin’ It)

*me, humming the Beach Boys around here, as I finish packing*

Just a quick note to let you all know I’m off to San Diego in the morning, to meet the wise and serene Kaelen. I can hardly wait to get my hands on the little guy for some serious baby-to-granny bonding! I will have computer access and my iPhone, so I can check in from time to time, if I’m not too busy lovin’ on that baby, of course, but I won’t be posting any reviews or the like until I get home next week.  Thankfully, Gramps will hold down the fort until I’m back, but that doesn’t include doing my blogging for me, as I’m sure you understand. Gramps is a lot of handy things, but a blogger, he is not.

Can’t wait to share more photos and adventures, though not to worry. Kaelen will NOT become the focus of this blog, no matter how truly adorable he might be. I swear on a stack of Harry Dresden books, I will be back to my normal reviews and commentary, such as they are, shortly after my return. And the subsequent posting of a few hundred baby pictures, of course.

😀

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

(Not really)

Yes, really.

(Shaking head “NO” here.)

(Nodding head “YES” here)

(Nuh-uh.)

(Yuh-huh.)

*sigh*

*pout*

😀 😀 😀

Okay, I’m outta here!

Hello, World!

(Reblogged from Bookin’ It)

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My name is Kaelen. (My Granny would never have seen that coming!) Kaelen is Celtic for Mighty Warrior, and after the way I spent the last forty-eight hours, I think my mommy and daddy called it right. It was a long battle, but I made it! And I think my mommy is a warrior, too! She and I struggled for a long, long time, but she got me here just fine. I met my daddy right away, and he looks like a warrior, himself, so I guess it’s a family thing! I weigh 8 pounds and 11 ounces, and I’m 21 inches long. I’m told that means I’m not only mighty but BIG, too. I can’t wait to get to know all about the world, but for now, I’m just going to take a wee nap. Even Mighty Warriors need their rest, you know. ‘Nite.

Waiting As Fast As I Can!

(Reblogged from Bookin’ It )

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Soon To Be The Proud Parents of McPumpkin McMuffin McDougal

(Okay, only that last part is true, but he’ll always be MY McMuffin!)

My daughter, who lives in San Diego, is in the hospital today, giving birth to her son, who is our first grandson. Oh, the agony of waiting to hear!! I will be flying out next week, probably, to meet my little McMuffin in person, and I’m so excited. It’s always exciting when grandchildren arrive, but we have had to wait longer than might be usual for ours, so we are extremely happy. My son & his wife had given up on having a baby, but after ten years, we were blessed with an adorable granddaughter. And my daughter and her husband have been waiting for seven years, thinking it might not happen for them, either. But now it has, and I will have both a granddaughter and a grandson.  How perfect is that? 

I will try to let everyone know before I take off for that long flight to California, but if I should forget in all the excitement, and seem to drop off the face of…Wordpress!…that’s where I’ve gone. And be prepared. There WILL be pictures! 

😀

Fantastic Solution for Flower Beetle Problems!

Abraham Darby David Austiin Rose

Abraham Darby

I was outside working today when Mark asked me to come look at something and tell him whether he should rescue the critters or not. (He has learned that many insects are welcome in my garden.) Imagine my surprise when I looked into a white plastic 5-gallon container and saw about 50 dead or dying flower beetles (see earlier post) floating in 3 or 4 inches of water!  I remembered that when I was reading about them, most articles said they were attracted to pale colored flowers, and I had noticed that  seemed to be true. They were ignoring Louis Philippe, for instance, which is red. I think they saw that white bucket, thought it was the biggest white flower in the world, crawled in , and conveniently drowned!  I plan to test my theory by locating several of them throughout my rose garden until this year’s infestation is over. It beats the heck out of walking around and plucking them one by one to drown them in a butter container full of soapy water. Not that that’s hard, but it does take some time. How nice it would be to wake up each morning and find that the beetles had been thoughtful enough to commit suicide during the night!  Will let you know if it continues to work, but I am optimistic. I mean, how likely is it that the drowning beetles would have yelled out warnings to their friends to stay away from the big white flowers? I’m thinkin’ this might be the best answer, ever!

Louis Philippe, Angel Face, and “Dulce Maria”

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(Click to see larger image)

A couple of my roses had buds yesterday which I quickly snipped to save them from marauding flower beetles. I just had to share.  The glorious coral-pink one was a rooted cutting given to me by my good friend, Felix. He didn’t know the name, but calls it Dulce Maria. This is the first time it has bloomed for me, and I just love the enormous petals and the vibrant color. The fragrance in this first bloom was very mild, but the flower makes up for it in size and beauty. The red one is Louis Philippe, which smells very nice, but these first blooms of the spring are a bit on the smallish side. It is never a huge flower, but is one that I love probably more than all other roses, for its history, as well as its blooming habit. And the third one is Angel Face, which is the most beautiful, feminine, and heavenly smelling little rose imagineable. The lavender color is fantastic, too. I wish my iPhone did a better job at capturing the colors for you, but maybe you can get an idea of how nice these three roses are. 

And here is my cat, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, checking out Dulce Maria. He’s a nosy boy! But he knows a pretty rose when he sees one! Again, click to see full sized photo.

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Are your roses blooming yet? Which are your favorites?

Euphoria sepulcralis (Fabricius) A Common Flower Beetle.

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Flower Beetle (Euphoria sepulcralis)

(Photo found online)

Thanks to the April edition of “Wind Chimes,” the Central Florida Rose Society’s newsletter, I have identified the beetles ravaging my roses! (A hearty thank you to Elaine P. who sent me a copy of this wonderful newsletter!) As you can see, the flower beetle isn’t quite as shiny and pretty as the Japanese beetle, but they are obviously just as hungry. Watch out for these guys if you are growing roses here in central Florida. They will be on them like a duck on a June bug for the next couple of weeks, and hand picking is still the best way to rid yourself of them. Again, that butter dish full of soapy water is the easiest thing for me. I pluck ’em off the unlucky bloom and drop them into the Sudsy Soak of Doom, and that’s that. I have also been making the rounds in the morning and cutting new blooms for indoors before the flower beetles sink their nasty little chompers into them to eat the pollen and petals.

One thing to note, these particular beetles do not damage foliage at all. No, they want to go straight to the heart of why we grow roses to begin with…those sweet-smelling and gorgeous flowers.  In a few weeks, they will disappear, leaving eggs in the soil that will turn into grass root-eating grubs. Thankfully, I don’t grow much lawn for them to thrive in, so perhaps my infestations aren’t as bad as some might be.

One thing for sure, these guys are not our friends! Good luck in getting rid of any that show up in your own garden. And if you are a rose lover living in this area, you might think about joining the Central Florida Rose Society. I really enjoyed reading their newsletter, and hope to attend some of the events listed, too.  Once again, thanks Elaine, for contacting me and sharing the newsletters, and enjoy the cuphea photo!