Today’s temperature – high 70’s – amazingly beautiful weather so gardening chores are fun and dressing the house for Christmas is a bit easier.

I glanced out at my small old conservatory this morning and Cali my fearless Yorkie was soaking up some rays….near the large pots of lavender that are thriving in this weather. Even my bougainvillea is happy and blooming away.

I potted up some paperwhites last week…here’s the growth after only 7 days.

These were planted 3 weeks ago… nothing says Christmas to me like pots of Paperwhites everywhere in my home.

This amaryllis is blooming almost on cue! Can’t believe I got the timing right this year.

Found a new use for my garden cloche jars…

Love these vintage teddy bears…I began collecting these a few years ago.

Top Things to do in December

  • This is a good time to add small evergreen shrubs and trees to your pots if you want them to look good through the winter months. The nurseries have a wonderful selection of them to choose from.
  • Water your flower beds, pots and flower boxes throughout the winter months – especially before extreme cold temperatures – dry roots don’t do well in extreme cold.
  • Now is a great time to plant new trees and even most landscaping plants – the nurseries are stocked to the brim with them.
  • Now that the leaves have fallen from your trees this is a good time to assess whether or not they should be pruned this winter as you can see their limb structure more clearly.
  • Enjoy the holidays outdoors by dressing your outdoor living areas with pillows and blankets in pretty wintery plaids and flannels – summer is over!
  • Enjoy the holiday season and spirit by sharing special times with friends and family.

Now more than ever a wish for peace on earth.

Will always incorporate this treasured photo! Nora….

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

It’s nearly time to close the book on the gardening book for 2012 – it does seem like this year really flew by. All in all I think our weather was better than it has been the past few months. Only two really hot months (July and August) and fall kicked in as soon as we turned the calendar to September. Fall has been long and wonderful. Cooler than normal nights and mornings and lots of days of San Diego like weather…no complaints from me this year.

I love planning a beautiful tablescape for Thanksgiving! 

Hopefully you have over-seeded your lawn, planted your pansies and tulips – if so, well done! You will be rewarded next year and your neighbors will appreciate and value your hard work.

You can continue to make changes to your landscaping this fall through December; in fact the nurseries are bringing in new plant stock every day. The best time to plant trees is now through March for the very best results.

I will plant my paperwhite bulbs soon so they begin blooming in early December. Christmas isn’t Christmas without a windowsill of fresh and fragrant paperwhites.

This silver bowl makes a beautiful vessel for the paperwhites, as the container must hold water. Love the green and silver miniature balls at the base of the bulbs.

How simple is this? Jars with a simple ribbon on a silver tray.

How simply elegant?

You can never have too many paperwhites!

Top Things to do in November

• Last chance to finish up plantings of pansies, cabbage and kale. 

• If you haven’t ordered bulbs – it’s not to late – but hurry – don’t miss the opportunity to have a glorious spring next year. 

• Plant trees and evergreen shrubs and bushes. 

• Replace landscape plants that didn’t make it through the summer – now is a great time to do this. 

• Begin a first round of forced bulbs for Thanksgiving – plant the second round after Thanksgiving and you will have continuous bulbs in bloom in your home from Thanksgiving through mid January. Narcissus (paperwhites), Amaryllis, and hyacinths are best performers for indoor forcing. 

• Plan on what you will do to create the magic of Christmas in your home. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

The cooler temperatures and rain is one of the reasons why there is no better time than right now to update your garden landscape. Your garden can look its very best this fall and next Spring with a few timely garden chores. Best of all, all of the nurseries are restocking their inventories with wonderful fresh plants from California and Oregon, and the greenhouses are stocked with fresh and fragrant pansies and the offers from bulb companies abound. 

Good gardeners understand that timing is everything with gardening – and this month is the critical month to nail timing! Beautiful lawns of lush rye and fescue, planters filled with colorful pansies, tulips and daffodils in all their glory and trees filled with spring flowers – plan for all of this now – and get planting if you haven’t already done so.

Top Things to do in October

• Enjoy the best weather of the year. 

• Purchase fresh pinon wood and fire up your outdoor fireplace, fire pit or chimenea – nothing smells better in the Fall. 

• If you want dark green grass during the fall, early winter and early spring – and have a Bermuda grass lawn, scalp and over seed with a blend of rye and fescue this month for best results. 

• Before you remove your summer annuals – walk through your gardens and assess the winners and losers – make a mental note, take a picture, or jot this down in your garden journal. 

• Add soil conditioning mulches to your flower beds before planting fresh pansies. 

• Do think about color combinations with your pansies…and the color of your tulips. Making the right color combinations and pairings will make a huge impact next Spring. 

• Last call for bulb orders and plant as they arrive. Remember the “early, middle, late” mantra when ordering. And think sweeping drifts, not tulips planted in one-by-one – this is one of those things where more is definitely better. 

• Pay special attention to areas to cleanup around peonies, roses and other flowers that are prone to fungal diseases; don’t leave any debris in place. 

• Don’t completely deadhead faded perennials, biennials and annuals if you want to collect seed (non-hybrids only) or wish to let them self-sow for next year’s show. Nicotiana, poppies, larkspur, and many others fall into this leave-alone group; some plants must be left in place or seeds shaken around during cleanup to insure the next generation. Plants with showy or bird-friendly seed heads, like coneflowers, also get a stay of execution. Sow seeds of poppies, larkspur and cosmos – this will add a cutting garden dimension to your garden next year. 

• Continue to enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies - your garden should be a swarming with them.

Dress your house with Fall décor.

Love this tone-on-tone color scheme.

Love white pumpkins! 

Check out my other Autumnal pins on my Pinterest Boards. 

Happy Halloween! 

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

It never ceases to amaze me how plants almost immediately react to cooler / less humid weather. They perk up almost overnight as night time temps get back into the 60’s instead of the 80‘s. A fresh pruning of your annual flowers and most perennials with a good drink of water, and milder temperatures make a big difference in how your plants will look. 

The September “things to do” list is following a hot and dry summer in nearly every state. Watering your plants is the most important thing you can do to keep them alive and thriving. Knowing we may have a dry winter, it’s very important to continue to water through the fall months. My roses, perennials and even my trees have put on new fresh growth as the night time temperatures have cooled and I have continued to swelter away as provide them with necessary hydration.

Potting Shed envy – Guilty! 

Top Things to do in September

• Peak planting and dividing time is upon us; 

• Assess your garden areas - take notes of what worked and didn’t. Mark areas that would have been easier to maintain with groundcovers or different shrubs. 

• Be sure to water trees and shrubs now through hard frost, so that they enter dormancy in a well-hydrated state. Evergreens are particularly vulnerable to desiccation and winter burn if not well watered before the cold and winds set in. 

• Stop feeding woody plants. 

• Be on the lookout for dead, damaged, or diseased wood in trees and shrubs and remove those limbs, this is also a good time to remove suckers and water sprouts. No more hard pruning until later in the year…don’t want to risk encouraging regrowth. 

• Take a break from daily container watering! 

• Turn back the sprinkler a few notches….a little less water is okay now. 

• Do some garden clean-up – make your garden look like July and August were not that hot! 

• Continue to support your roses and climbing vines. 

• If you are a true gardener – you have already scouted out the nurseries for some new provisions….it’s a great time to replace casualties of the summer weather / and long vacations away from your garden. 

• Enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies - your garden should be a swarming with them. 

• Place your tulip and spring bulb order for best selection – please don’t procrastinate – early bird gets the worm!

Cutting back Purple Cone flower in July provides for new flowers in September. Don’t forget to spread the seeds in these seed heads – hundreds of seeds in every flower. Just toss them into the soil below.

Purple Angelonia has bloomed all summer – I cut it back last month and it’s putting on fresh new flowers.

My favorite climbing rose – Abraham Darby – blooming again after rains and cooler weather. More blossoms to come through December as the weather cools down – what a treat to have repeat bloomers in the garden.

A beautiful example of crepe myrtles that have been pruned properly – they have bloomed since early June.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Rose Rosette….sad for any of us who love to incorporate roses into our gardens as there is possibly a catastrophic disease spreading throughout America attacking old and new roses alike.

Rose rosette disease is a viral rose disease spread by a tiny insect. The virus is specific to roses with Rosa multiflora being its primary host. 

Symptoms of the disease –

• The plant's leaves will turn red in an irregular pattern. Eventually they will become deformed and brittle. 

• Many deep red, succulent new shoots will suddenly emerge. 

• The plant will be much more frost tender. 

Rosa multiflora being the rose most vulnerable to this disease, will exhibit the most severe symptoms. Other rose varieties will most often exhibit thickened stems displaying many more thorns than usual when infected with the virus. 

The virus is spread in 2 ways: 

• By grafting.

• And by a wingless mite that blows about on the wind. 

The nearly invisible eriophyid mite will infect new plants between May and mid July in the U.S.

What to Do If Your Rose is Infected -

• Shovel prune it 

• There is no cure for this virus. The infection will kill a small rose bush within 2 years. A large rose may survive for as long as five years. But if you allow an infected plant to remain in your garden you risk the virus spreading to your healthy roses. 

• There is no treatment but you can prevent your roses from becoming infected in the following ways: 

o Plant cultivated rose bushes as far from known stands of multiflora as possible 

o Treat the plants with Sevin, insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprays weekly during the summer months to control the mites that spread rose rosette. 

Top Things to do in August 

• Pray that Rose Rosette does not come to your garden. 

• Water – of course! 

• Move pots and baskets to the shade to give them a break from the sun and heat. 

• Cutback things that have lots of brown leaves…like spirea or perennials…remove dead plants – your beds and pots will look better. 

• Drive around and look at gardens that are performing well in these extreme conditions. 

• Look at how your irrigation system is performing – you may want to modify coverage this fall.

• Look forward to September – and the break in the “heat dome”.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -