On a Sunny Warm January Day


Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' begins its winter-into-spring flowering season

 The weather has been dry and cool; the weather now warming, the soil now drying out enough to garden again.

There was time to enjoy a visit to a neighbor's garden: 


  Neighbor's Aloe marlothii is about to flower.  Mine is still thinking about it. 

Neighborhood mood check:  our short Sunday morning dog walk yielded a dozen booze bottles and cans discarded by drivers (yes, drivers) during the night.  Conclusion:   post-holiday blues.

In the garden...plants removed:  

Three roses:  'Firefighter' (much loved, crown gall): 

 'Old Port' (elegant flower, problematic plant):

Constant die back, sparsely foliated.  There are so many very satisfying roses...'Old Port' didn't quite make the cut.  Time to say goodbye:
I'll remember the flowers, and try not to forget the die back and sparse foliage:

'Gardens of the World Color Sport', long time under-performer, also got the shovel. 

Protecting it from rabbits didn't help. 

 I took out the five 'Jubilee Celebration's, too...

Is that...space for new plants!!??

The 'JC's were also in a sharp decline.  The irrigation here badly needs reworking--there are new rotator sprinklers for small areas now.  The free drip system parts we got from the water company did not work  well.  Rotators may do better without using any more water.   

 Plants purchased:

 'Texas Supersweet' and 'Yellow Granex' onion seedlings.  (planted)

Another package of 15 Iris x hollandica, 50% off, because they are best planted in October. 

Planted.  They are under that soil.  The ones green and up and hopefully preparing to flower at the end of March, were planted in October:

Three roses purchased:  'Firefighter', 'South Africa', 'Yves Piaget'. (waiting)

I grew 'Yves' when we first bought this house.   Wonderful flowers--the plant I happened to get wasn't particularly good.  Maybe this one will be better.  It will get 'Old Port's place, with soil swapped out for soil that has never grown roses. 

New 'Firefighter' will get old 'Firefighter's place, also with the soil swapped out.  'South Africa'...still thinking.  A few more roses possibly dying of gall disease will come out also, opening up potential places for 'South Africa'.   And it's rose pruning time.

The first of many to do is done: 

Aloes are the stars of the moment.

'David Verity' (arborescens x (arborescens x ferox))

Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' bracts are in full winter glory, a mass of yellow.  The cones, too, are yellowing with pollen, attracting a cloud of honey bees.  

 Leucadendron are dioecious, meaning plants produce either pollen or seeds, not both.  'Wilson' produces pollen: 

 2019's Christmas tree trunk, cut into pieces and scattered around the garden, is still in solid shape.  The branches clipped into mulch prevented weeds and are gradually returning to the earth.

No tree in 2020--Covid, y'know?  2021 we shopped late, and got a beauty:


While 2021's Christmas tree trunk went into the green waste, I'm gradually clipping all the greenery into  more valuable mulch:

Most blog posts show the tree before Christmas, but perhaps showing the "after" is a good reminder that shopping also means dealing with what you've bought after it fulfills its purpose.  California has updated its recycling program seeking to keep green and kitchen food waste out of landfills.  Buried, carbon-based materials decompose and create methane gas, a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.    

Kitchen waste not home-composted must be collected like garden waste.   Kitchen and garden waste must all be either composted or incinerated as biofuel by 2024.  Edible food from retail and restaurants must be donated to food banks. 

We've been home composting 90% of our kitchen waste for at least twenty years;  the exception being animal bones and grease (Beloved is not vegetarian).  Formerly into the trash, now that must go into the green waste bin.  We'll keep that type of waste in the freezer until trash day.  

New sunny day.  Time to do some soil-swapping. 


  1. You've been busy, not that I'm surprised. It was very comfortable gardening weather today and I expect tomorrow will be much the same, if not a little warmer yet. I placed small cuttings of our Christmas tree over the soil in the front garden in the hope that it'll keep the rabbits and possums at bay but I should probably follow your example and just chop them up. My husband cuts the tree into pieces for the green bin but I saved 2 good-sized sections of the trunk for a hugelkultur experiment I may try on my back slope. I spent a chunk of the afternoon collecting fallen leaves and shedding them with my Leaf Hog before dumping the debris into my compost bin - exhausting but rewarding.

    1. Nothing better than ground leaves for compost. Well, grass clippings, but the lawn is long-gone.

      Actually should be busier, but the green waste bins are full again, so I depress myself with all the bad news to be read on the internet.

  2. It sounds like a beautiful time to be in the garden, and as usual you have been busy! As I become older I have less and less patience with plants needing constant attention and then still not living up to expectations. There's never a shortage of new goodies to try!

    1. So many plants to try--that is part of the fun. Even those that have been easy sometimes are evicted, just as a refresh. We are the masters of our little domains. That's part of the fun, too.

  3. Your explanation was helpful but I still don't understand the new law. As it is now we have two bins, one green for outside organic stuff and one black for every thing else. This all goes on a conveyor belt where it is separated by hand. I haven't received any notice of change.

    I am very thankful I have a garden to work in these days that keeps me occupied and away from people. Some in my family who are fully vaccinated and boosted have caught Covid. It was mild abd they are well now, but it is scary out there.

    I wish you and your garden continued good health

    1. Each waste company is handling the new law a little differently, so there will be variations. Composting everything is being phased in so it's not all going to be composted starting now. Quite a few articles available on the topic.


      Yes the garden has been a great comfort for many during Covid, and has gotten many interested in gardening for the first time. A good thing!

      Here too a couple of the neighbors vaxxed and boosted had holiday houseguests and ended up with it, but it was mild for them.

      We're just staying home. Very lucky husband can work at home.

      Wishing you the same, Jane, good health and garden happiness!

  4. 'Pink Sugar' blooms are a stark contrast to the dreary weather outside, and make my heart sing! I planted some 50 dutch iris bulbs this fall: normally reliable and easy going, I hope they aren't drowning in our atmospheric river.

    1. 'Pink Sugar' is extremely vigorous and must be kept in bounds, but yes, can't beat those flowers on a winter's day.

      I garden on a hill, so drainage is excellent here, so not sure about bulbs and very wet soil. We got over 6" of rain in less than a month, and some parts of the garden are already bone dry again. Hopefully we get your river down here for a while and you get a dry spell. If we trade off, we could both be very happy!

  5. How fun with space for new plants!! Enjoy the revamp!

  6. Nice to see photos of your garden AND Kay's :-).

    We had a long spell of gray skies, which led to some rot on overly saturated aloes and agaves, but the sun is out now. I'm beginning to feel less pessimistic.

    1. Hers looks fabulous. Mine somewhat bedraggled, but the Aloes are starting to open!

      Hope you get some good sun, and then some rain again!


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