Category Archives: My greenish thumb

The rainbow in my garden

I’m not an in-your-face kind of person,  but when it comes to my garden, all bets are off.  I just want to grab people by the lapels and go, “Look at my roses! Look at that fuschia!  Look at those delphiniums!”  And since I can’t do that in real life, I’ll do that here.

Let’s start with the red sweet peas:


And we’ve got my orange Just Joey roses.  Even though the rose pests have been legion this year, it’s doing really well.

I am madly in love with this yellow flower, which I bought last summer.  For the life of me, I can’t remember the name; I think it’s a kind of rudbeckia.

I’ve got delphiniums on steroids this year.  I’ve had to stake them, which I didn’t have to do last year.  Oh, they are heart-stoppingly gorgeous!

I also have this Mexican bush sage, which is growing robustly in a large pot.  It was grown from a tiny little slip my grandmother gave me, maybe eight or so years ago.  Grandma is no longer alive to see it, but I suspect she’s smiling on it from that garden in the sky.

And I’ll close with this Bewitched rose, just to add a little pink to the picture.

What is YOUR favorite color to have in the garden?

Gather ye lilacs while ye may

This is my second year growing lilacs, and they are starting to bloom!  I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

All I want to do is sit under them and breathe deeply.   I go out and visit them multiple times a day.  Sometimes I wonder if this is normal.

And then I think: Normal is overrated.  The bloom season is short, very short.  I’m going to savor it.


Not such a blah month after all

January always feels like a month I’m going to hate.  You know; the holiday fun is over, the decorations are put away, the neighborhood is no longer alive with white and colored lights that make even a trip back from the store feel festive.

But somehow, I don’t hate January.  More and more, I like it.

I like the blank-page-ness of the new year.  Even if I don’t stick to my resolutions, they refocus me and remind me of my priorities.

I like the fact that even in California, it’s still cool enough to enjoy a fire in the fireplace (when it’s not a Spare the Air day, of course) and to wear my fuzzy socks on weekend mornings.  Cozy = good.

I love how January seems to have more space than December has, space to let new plans be born and take root.  In December, every weekend is always full of holiday things; January isn’t.  That’s a good thing.

And I love how I go out in my garden, the garden I’ve neglected since at least Thanksgiving, and find things.  I find green shoots poking through the soil, places where I planted tulips and daffodils months before.  I even find flowers — like these pink hyacinths that are, astonishingly, already blooming.

What else will grow in our lives this year?

I don’t know. But it’s always exciting to find out.

How does your garden grow? (quite well, thank you)


Here’s a recent snap of the Mary garden I planted last month.   It’s really taken off:









As is the way with gardens, some things have really flourished beyond my expectations, and others have … not.  The bleeding heart plant sadly lived up to its name and died pretty quickly (sob).  I replaced it with a delphinium, which seems to be thriving.









All in all, it’s nice to round out the month of May with such lushness and color.  And I think I have Mary’s approval.



Flowers of the fairest

For the past eight years, my Mary statue has been on our old, cracked patio. I would make up for the icky concrete by putting flowerpots at her feet; it looked nice when they were in bloom.

But our backyard recently underwent a major and much-needed overhaul. Goodbye, old ratty concrete and ugly podicarpus and oversized palm tree that always had me worried it would collapse on our neighbor’s house in a storm; hello, new lawns and curved flowerbeds and the chance to create an entirely new garden layout from scratch.  And there was one feature that was a very, very high priority for me.

“I’m going to give the Mary statue a special corner in the new yard,” I told my husband.

“Nobody puts Mary in a corner,” he said.

But I did, and earlier this week I planted all kinds of flowers around her.   I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.




There’s actually a long, long history of Mary gardens in European countries. Often you find in them flowers which were named after Mary herself (including marigolds, or “Mary’s Gold”).  I included several of those, bright and sunny.

I also found a bleeding heart at a nursery and had to put it in, too (that’s another flower traditionally associated with Mary, for obvious iconographic reasons).











Mostly, though, I went for colors I like and flowers that  I thought would do well in our corner.  It’ll need a little time to fill in; I’m counting on time and Miracle-Gro to help with that.

But it’s a lovely new little space, the focal point of our new yard. And I think Mary is pretty happy in her own little corner.