Calif_Sue's blog

Early May 2017 garden
Posted on May 6, 2017 10:03 PM

I was away for 4 days (hubby and I did 4 National Parks in Utah plus 2 stops in AZ), got home last night and woke up this morning to see in that short time, with warm temps while we were gone, my garden has exploded into bloom with iris and roses!

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Brass Band
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Sally Holmes, planted 5 years ago from a 1 gal pot.
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They bloom side by side along the back fence
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Solar Flair
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Helen Hayes and Vesper bloom together, they compliment each other in coloring but HH is larger with the warm yellow suffusion
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Helen Hayes
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Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius Coppertina™) with deep burgundy Tradescant rose
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Spring 2017
Posted on Apr 20, 2017 9:34 AM

Time flies but the garden is getting ready to explode into bloom so my camera has come back out. We had so much rain that the 6 year Calif. drought was officially declared over. My garden has never looked so full, lush and green, and of course, that includes the weeds. I have been filling 2 large green recycling bins every week for a month now, I add a lot to my compost pile too.

Spring color starts with Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens 'Margarita')
I got this from Brushwood about 4 years ago and it's really filled in nicely on the metal arbor.
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Cranesbill (Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle')
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Huechera and petunias
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And gradually the iris and clematis join in.

And one by one the roses are joining in.

Helen Hayes
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Honey Perfume
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I love seeing the variety of greens, especially the chartreuse and gold colors of the foliage mixed in with darker green, it adds so much pop, makes nice background for the bloom shots too.

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The chickens blend in nicely too. Green Grin!
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The greens before the blooms explode into color. The yellow locust tree in the center is just leafing out, soon it will be the golden centerpiece of the garden again.
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And then there were three
Posted on Nov 7, 2016 1:58 PM

They warn you not to name your chickens, don't get too fond of them, don't make them your pets. Yeah, yeah, that's all well and good. For others.

Big ruckus in the coop at 7:30 yesterday morning, not their usual squawking, threw my robe on and ran down as fast as I could only to find my favorite, Lily, the Speckled Sussex, laying on the coop floor and big ol' Daphne, the white Orpington, missing. A trail of white feathers over and along the fence, through the open apple orchard, across the street and into the neighbors yard clearly indicated that she was breakfast for some one, most likely a raccoon or a fox. Lily was alive and although I could find no visible injuries, clearly she was hurt. I placed her in a box, talked to her and petted her, she opened and closed her eyes, lifted her head on occasion but from her breathing and shaking, clearly she was suffering. Hubby was out of town so a friend came over to end her suffering and bury her in the garden for me. My stupidity in forgetting to close the coop door last night led to their loss, although it was already daylight when it happened. Lesson learned. Brad promised to add a wire top over the entire run.
And despite the drama, my ever faithful Rosie, the Rhode Island Red, laid me an egg later that morning.

I am surprised how incredibly sad I am today. It's only chickens after all.

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Fall 2016 updates
Posted on Oct 4, 2016 10:35 PM

It sure seems like the summer flew by fast! We had a generally mild summer season but last week we hit almost 100 degrees for a couple of days, which then dropped about 40 degrees this week, with a couple of days of light drizzly rain. We had to turn on our furnace to nip off the morning chill in the house.

The garden appreciates the cooler weather and I am getting some nice new flushes on the roses. I picked a bouquet last week for my drab office at work. A bouquet always cheers up any room!
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I hope you enlarge and click through the shots, you miss things in the smaller thumbnails.

Took the camera out today to walk around the garden, lots birds, butterflies and loud buzzing of bees too, especially in my abutilons and currently on the blooms of the Florist Silver Dollar (Eucalyptus pulverulenta 'Baby Blue')
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And this bee posed next to a grape cluster, one of 6 different eating varieties we grow here.
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Visitor on a dahlia
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Clematis Romantika is in full flush again, it's a favorite, such a dramatic deep color! Even the back side is interesting.
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My favorite Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria Inticancha® Indian Summer), I sure post about it a lot! For good reason too, it cranks out the blooms almost year round. I have a couple now and plan to add more.
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And for fall blooms, I have the lovely Japanese Anemone (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Robustissima') blooming now.
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I didn't buy enough coleus this year, they give such a lovely and colorful display in pots, next year I will certainly get more. This one is in my hanging basket under the shed window.
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I have Autumn Fuchsia (Fuchsia austromontana 'Autumnale') planted next to the coleus, it hasn't bloomed yet this year, I think it's a bit stingy on blooms anyway but I actually bought it for the leaves!
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I always thought Wood Sorrel (Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae 'Atropurpurea') would be something hard to grow, it looks delicate to me, but no, it's a tough little plant! I have a couple in pots in both full sun and semi shade and they do just fine. The little blooms are so sweet.
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The planting around the satellite dish pergola sure has filled in, this is the shot from this morning. In an earlier post, it shows how great it looked with the yellow rose now arching over the top. I also added a shot from Aug. 2011 when it was first completed as well as another shot from Aug 2012 and May 2013.
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These two just showed up one day in the raised veggie beds and since I had nothing planted there at the time, I let them be. The Nicotiana sylvestris pops up here and there every year but I have absolutely no idea where the butterfly bush came from. I have two and neither one looks like this. It's a nice one so I will transplant it.
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I let the chickens out today because there were swarms of termites coming out of the ground from the recent first rains and so the chickens had a feast!
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Ahhh, dust bath time!
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On the home front, we finally replaced the 1978 cedar shingle roof last week! Brad and our husband & wife contractor friends installed it, just traded labor with them. Brad has been helping them on their new home they just finished building. we only hired pros for the tear off and hauling away of the old roof.
Before, during and after shots. It's a metal roof, really great looking! Now that the gutters are also finally installed, it's time to paint. Soon.
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And I am still sewing, got the bug to make quilt tops while I was sick with a virus for a few weeks. This first one I made is a nod to my garden colors. It still needs to be quilted.
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This one is the first ever completed one, a fun mix of color strips in an easy herringbone design.
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And this one I am just completing. It's a housewarming gift for that contractor couple. She picked out all the little patches of fabric from my huge stash and many of them relate to them in some way; maps of Italy and France that they visited a few years ago, architectural drawings and accounting lists which are a nod to their business, wine themes for their love of our local wineries, lambs for their side business of raising them, and some birds and blooms of course. It's a busy and fun quilt, yet quiet in the colors selected. (colors off as I took the shots at dusk with my cell phone)

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2016 Spring has sprung
Posted on Mar 30, 2016 12:37 AM

Wow, I have neglected this blog, my last post here was in October!

Just a little update with mostly the chickens and a bit of the garden. (cell phones shots so not the best quality)

Brad added the nesting box just before they started laying, using wood from an old barn door. It has chew marks on it from years of some animal, possibly a horse, nibbling or rubbing against it, adds character! Green Grin!
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The box is on a slight slant and when you open the front latched door to collect eggs, they have rolled to the edge. That way the chickens don't get tempted to continue to sit on them, not that is has stopped them from going broody and sitting any way.
This morning when I went to collect eggs, I found that Violet, who has gone a bit broody in the last few days, had stuck her head underneath the divider and was resting it on the egg. I stroked her head and she fell asleep! Hilarious!
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Rosie the Rhode Island Red was first to start laying in December and the only brown egg layer. Her first 7 eggs were all broken because she refused to go into the nest box, she was laying from the roost about a foot high so, plop, the all broke. We provided a cardboard box for a few days that she did use, edging it closer to the nest box each day and eventually she used the nest box & we got a intact eggs. She still reverts sometimes, they are not too bright!
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We are now getting 5 eggs a day, our favorite is the green ones we started getting about 5 weeks ago from Poppy the Ameraucana. Just got this egg holder (on the right) for the kitchen counter so we can keep track of which eggs are the oldest.
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They had been free-ranging for a while and we loved watching them but anyone that has chickens knows what happens to the garden with them on the loose. They made dust bowls everywhere, got into the veggie beds and kicked up dirt and bark in all directions. They also loved coming up on the patio and hanging out together at the slider door and looking inside, checking us out! They left nasty messes all over the patio of course. I was hosing the patio and deck down every day.

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So a few weeks ago Brad built a larger extended run. We let them out into the garden maybe two-three times a week for a couple of hours in the late afternoon but this run size seems to work well.
My grandson brings them weed greens so they follow him when he walks by.
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And now just a few garden shots.

Daughter of Stars
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The cute iris confusa 'Chengdu'.
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Osteospermum ecklonis Zion™ Copper Amethyst, just an awesome color. It's in a pot on my deck.

Santolina 'Lemon Fizz' in the foreground and St. John's Wort (Hypericum Hypearls™ Madelon)

Lithodora (Glandora 'Grace Ward') planted on the raised beds with iris and our 5 eating grapes, they seem to like this area with good drainage.
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First bloom of the year on my clematis Haku Ookan, it's a big bloom too. Lovey dubby
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and 1st bloom of Josephine
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This one is Dawn
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More and more color in the garden in the weeks to come, this is a pretty addition, the Speckled Sussex, check out that green!
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The End
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