Halloween Dec Update!

Spookifying continues! Halloween is on Saturday, and we have a few more things to do before the big day. We completed one of our yearly traditions yesterday; we created our 2020 gravestones for the front yard. And just in time too! One of our neighbors complained that we had not gotten them up yet, and the neighborhood was waiting... Oh dear. Such pressure! Well, we're on it! It's a really fun family tradition, that we've been doing for over two decades. When our girls lived with us, they helped us determine what the gravestones would say. Now that they all have homes of their own, we ask them for input, and take suggestions from all the family members! The gravestones are actually old cabi

Squirrel Attack!

Everyone in our neighborhood is complaining about the squirrels. It's not just me. So there's some comfort in that. And I've stopped buying pumpkins. Since I recorded this video a couple days ago, 3 more pumpkins have bitten the dust. That's at least a half dozen pumpkins taken out by the marauders. BUT the knobby ones are still untouched. However, I don't have great hopes that the squirrels will stay away from them for long, once the smooth rind pumpkins are gone. Now, let me tell you what we have done to try to deter the squirrels from eating our pumpkins. Actually, to be accurate, they are not eating the pumpkins - they are chewing the pumpkins to get to the seeds, which they then promptl

A Halloween Tour at Descanso Gardens!

The day after our daughter's wedding, we were the best kind of tired, but we felt we needed a little break from the house, and from the hectic pace that we had been keeping leading up to the wedding. Thanks to all of our readers who sent well wishes for our daughter. We appreciate every one, and feel blessed to be part of such a supportive community. The wedding was special to us for many reasons, but mostly because our daughter was so happy. My daughter and I cried many happy tears before, during, and after the wedding (the men were very confused!) and we felt blessed to be such an important part of such an important day in the life of our first precious daughter and her husband. Today the

Our Backyard Wedding

Our beautiful daughter was married in our backyard this Saturday. It was a Zoom wedding so that the only people in our backyard were my husband and myself, the bride and groom, and a photographer, and videographer. But I wanted her wedding to be a special as she is -- and so we transformed our backyard with the most extraordinary flowers - in particular, a spectacular floral arch from Mark's Garden. My husband was the officiant, and performed the marriage ceremony, I walked the bride down the aisle, and her sisters participated by doing readings, and giving toasts -- and my youngest was the Zoom emcee for the event (a necessary person if you are thinking about a virtual event!). We had ever

Flowers for a Special Occasion

I'm a party planner. All my life, I've enjoyed entertaining, but never more than when it's a party at my house. My daughters' birthday parties, Christmases, Thanksgivings, Showers, Graduations, even Star Parties, where we gaze at the sky and enjoy the company of friends. It's hard not to be able to have parties like this anymore. But I am hopeful that there will be a time when parties like this will be possible again. Special occasions these days have to be small, socially distanced, and are very different from our lively events of the recent past. That's ok, though. I have always told my daughters that 2 people is a party. And I still believe that. Whether its enjoying many people, or only

The Japanese Garden in the Valley

It was a lovely stroll through the Japanese Garden today. I hope that you enjoy the view as well. I was quite surprised at how beautiful, and well cared for it was. The Suiho-en Garden is ranked #10 out of 300 public Japanese Gardens, and I think it deserves that accolade. Recently when we visited the Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa, it was clear that Covid had precluded gardeners, volunteer or otherwise, from tending the many beautiful plantings and garden beds in Burbank's backyard. But this was not the case at the Japanese Garden, there were multiple gardeners working, and there was evidence of new plantings, weeding in progress, and careful cleaning of pathways, and rockways. A very

The Purples!

Today was a beautiful day in the neighborhood! As I was taking video of all my purples, I had two neighbors stop and tell me how much they enjoyed my garden. What a delight! However, the day did not start in the most delightful way. I went to the eye doctor for a check up in the early morning, and after lots of tests, and eye drops, the doctor finally came in to tell me the results of all of the testing. He looked at the computer screen to review the results, and started sounding panicked. "You're numbers are up by 20 points! This is not good! An increase of 3 points a year is considered acceptable, but at 20 points, we are concerned! We will definitely have to treat you!" I started feeling

Our Pumpkin Patch Tradition!

Reminiscing about Halloweens past brings its own special joy. When I was little, as an only child, my mom went all out for my costumes. And she was a seamstress of sorts, so I had the most extraordinary costumes... A majorette with gold lapels, a clown with a striped suit and pom pom buttons, and always princess costumes with sequins and glitter. I distinctly remember shopping for the Simplicity or Butterick sewing patterns at the Fabric Store with my mom. Every year a different spectacular costume, even though we probably only trick or treated around our small block. My husband, on the other hand, had three siblings, 2 brothers and one sister. He was the same thing every Halloween: a Hobo

Full Bloom

Despite the fact that most gardeners across the country are "powering down" their gardens and actively planning for winter, here in my garden, there are still lots of things in full bloom. It's such a delight to drive up to my house and see the profusion of color this late in the season. I must remember that a late summer planting is completely worth it. I'll definitely be planting zinnias, and my Mexican sunflower again. And I am going to do a better job of taking care of my dahlia. I've had those tubers in the ground for probably 10 years, and I've never taken them out or moved them. I did stake them more carefully this season than I have before, but I did it too late. The long, wide leaf

Berkeley Nurseries and a Favorite Market!

Today was a Red Letter Day! Spending time with my daughter and granddaughter will always be a Red Letter Day, but today was really special. I think that Baby Abby's excursions have been limited to doctor visits so far. And I think that her mom and dad have been similarly handicapped - not too many field trips since Abby has been born. So today we decided to try to see if Abby would like to drive around a little, while we entertained ourselves with a few Berkeley sites where my daughter used to be a regular customer, but since Covid, and the California fires, has felt limited to walks around the apartment! We decided to drive to a few nurseries, because I thought you would enjoy them - and be

The Berkeley Marina & the Sharynghetti Community Garden

I enjoyed our morning excursion in Berkeley today mostly because it made me love gardening all the more. Our visit to the Sharynghetti community garden was delightful for two reasons. First, it was a true community garden. In other words, it appears that a collective group of like minded people take care of it together. There were no separate plots as there are in the community garden near my Los Angeles home, where gardeners pay a monthly rental fee to use the land. This was just a little secret enclave, open to the public (but tucked away in front of the marina) that had various raised beds, vegetables, succulents, some chairs for relaxing in the shade, and a barbeque for outdoor enjoyment

Our Berkeley Home Garden!

Today I spent the day in Berkeley looking at my granddaughter. Seriously! I simply looked at her all day. It's was a perfect day. She's an angel, and she has such great parents! Yesterday I talked about the different aesthetic around ornamental gardens here in Berkeley. And I confirmed my analysis today as we strolled down the street where we live. We're in an area called Kensington, where houses are quite pricey. And yet, despite the affluence of the neighborhood, and the unique beauty of these large California homes, the front gardens are completely wild. Some succulents. Some dryscaping perennials. Lots of fallen leaves, with clearly no intention of removal. And not a lawn in sight. I sup

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds!

Today was just a crazy day. I've made three videos. And none of them appear in today's submission. Maybe I'll use them for another day. But why I did not use them is instructive. Here it is. 1) Video one was a 360 degree view of the gorgeous dahlia in my front yard. But I wanted to supplement that video with a dahlia in someone else's yard -- so there would be some variety for you to see. But I never saw another dahlia. And here's the reason for that. Robert and I drove to Berkeley today. We drove through the Central Valley, (lots of crops but no dahlias) and arrived in Berkeley around 5:00. I hoped to see a dahlia in Berkeley before the sun went down. But the more we drove through the stree

A Halloween Tour!

Sometimes things just don't go as planned. We had planned to go to the Huntington in Pasadena this Sunday for the opening weekend of the new expansion to the Chinese Garden. I had studied up by watching a webinar from the Huntington, and was excited to put all my new knowledge to work. And then, we just couldn't go. We had some family business to attend to - and well, you know how that goes. So -- I will have to report to you about all the exciting things to see when we are able to visit. But I did accomplish something else very important this weekend...Halloween! We're always the most decorated house on the block. Even after all our girls now have homes of their own, we enjoy decorating for

New Fall Growth 2020!

There's lots of fun things happening in my fall garden, which makes me a lucky girl. I'm lucky that I live in a zone where plants thrive most of the year. I'm lucky that I now have the time to spend doing my favorite thing: gardening. And I'm lucky because my husband so generously supports my garden endeavors, and on some days even agrees to be my assistant gardener! But...there's always a but. Here it is. Despite my best efforts, because this is an amateur operation, and my videos are really just me unvarnished, the quality of my videography continues to be problematic. (Read: Bad.) Usually, I can edit out the most egregious spots, so what you see is fairly clean, even if it's not perfectly

Deadheading!

I talk a lot about my marigolds. And I talk a lot about deadheading them. But maybe I've assumed too much for beginning gardeners, because when I was in the front yard today - I had two neighbors ask me about my marigolds, and how to deadhead. So I made a video to show you exactly what I do. It's dead easy (ha ha!) and just takes patience and little bit of elbow grease. (Although the DWP has become my best friend!) However, I'm having a little bit of a dilemma about when to switch out the marigolds this season. They're still so bright and quite robust, but they are melting fast, and I want to get chrysanthemums in while there is still a good selection in the nurseries. I'm thinking about a m

Fall Bulb Planting: Iris and Allium

My spirits aren't great today. I've been out in the garden planting, and that helped a little. But the news is unrelenting, and it's just very hard to take. Because my husband writes a resistance newsletter each night, we are news consumers 24/7. This is so that the readers of his newsletter don't have to be. Many people have told my husband that his newsletter is the only news that they can stomach, and so Robert feels an obligation to produce a quality newsletter each night that reflects the reality of the news, but also provides a perspective of calm and hopefulness. That's a big job. It helps us too, but it's a big job. On the other hand, as my husband always says, he writes the newslett

Getting Rid of Cabbage Worms. My Least Favorite Thing!

When you pass by someone's lovely front yard garden, you don't really know what went into getting it to look that way. When you eat a gorgeous ripe peach, you can't know the hard work it took to produce it. I'm pretty certain that this is the way its going to be with my fall veg garden. If I am able to be successful and produce a few broccoli and cauliflower, no one will know except me how many cabbage worms I squished. But you know, if it was easy, it wouldn't be half as satisfying. If you keep your eye on the goal, and are willing to do the hard work, chances for success increase significantly. But with gardens, you can never be 100% sure. So I will persist, as I always do. A reader sent m

Marigolds, Squirrels, and Halloween!

One might think that autumn is a slow time in the garden, but actually, it is a very busy time! So much happens in the garden in the fall, and it's time for spring planning as well, so lots of trips to the nursery! Switching from summer to fall is always bittersweet, though. Annuals that have performed well, and done their duty in the garden, now have to say good bye. They will be replaced by other lovely things, but I won't forget the beauty of this season. Those marigolds were stunners. Such showgirls, brassy, and unashamed to strut their their stuff. I have loved every minute of their sassypants selves. And they saved our spirits during the first days of Covid. Soon, however, I will be o

Shade for the Veg Garden & Planting Magic Beans!

I don't know. When the news is as bad, and as frightening as is it tonight, it feels inappropriate to be talking about something like my garden adventures. So let me begin by saying that I am very invested in the political stability of our nation, the health of fellow human beings, and the outcome of the difficult news tonight about the President and First Lady testing positive for the Coronavirus. However, having said that, there is something calming about knowing that my garden will be there tomorrow morning exactly as it was today. And I will be able to focus on the little growing things, and maybe plant some more seeds, or cut a few flowers for a kitchen bouquet. These are things that he

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