A Garden Dressed in White

“The first of all single colors is white … We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

When I studied color theory, it surprised me to learn that white pigment is the absence of color whereas in light, white is the combination of all color. Scientifically speaking, white isn’t a color at all, but as ‘non-colors’ go it’s loaded with symbolism and meaning.

I also learned today that white or pale flowers are more strongly scented than their darker counterparts. Who knew!

Come join me for a walk through my mid-autumn garden. The ‘color’ of the day, isn’t a color at all.

flowering basil

Flowering basil

The rest of the vegetable garden went to sleep in October, but this pretty plant continues to thrive.


Bacopa: This survived the summer heat and very little water

I gave this potted Bacopa very little water this summer. Now that it’s cooler and we’ve had a bit of rain, the plant revived.


Camellia along the back fence

This gorgeous, Camellia is one of my favorite splashes of white this time of year.


A fading Cosmo, one of the lasts flowers in the curb garden

This Cosmo looks tired, but it is November. She’s been pumping out blooms for some time.


Hydrangea, grateful for some rain

Again, one of the last blooms on this plant.

sweet alyssum and begonia

Sweet Alyssum and Begonias on the patio

There are a few begonias in the back of this pot, but the summer belonged to my Sweet Alyssum. As it goes to sleep, a pretty white shower drifts below.


The last of the Anemone. They’ve been flowering since August

Saying Goodbye to King Tut

My sister’s beloved kitty died yesterday. He’s been a wonderful companion to her and will be sorely missed. He had the whitest coat, emerald-green eyes and the cutest little ears. He also had a sweet personality to match. Farewell KT.

KT Eating Kitty Greens

KT Eating Kitty Greens

Additional Reading:

Sensational Color: All about the color white.

Wikipedia: White

Color Matters: Basic Color Theory

Blooming Thursday: Last Call


The party is over. We’ve had a good run. The last of the anemones are finally winding down, with just a few new blooms here and there.

blooming Anemone

A few remaining blooms

We’ve enjoyed eight weeks of snow-white blossoms meandering along the back fence.  The anemones appeared at our dinner table, at my book club and in several gardeningnirvana posts.They helped soften the departure of the summer cosmos.They’ve continued to bloom into early fall, waiting for autumn color to set in before making a quiet retreat.  In a few more weeks the plants will blend in with the other greenery, and if it gets cold enough, they’ll go dormant.  See you next summer!

Katydid on Anemone

What do you mean, the party is over?

anemone spent blooms

Spent and dying blooms

water color edges

Watercolor Edges

Birdhouse Gourd

larger birdhouse gourd

Birdhouse Gorgeous 10/5/12

I’ve decided to rename the gourd below, “birdhouse gorgeous.” I’m stunned at the rapid acceleration in the past ten days. Count me grateful, too, that it’s growing off to the side of the trellis or I would have hit my head on it by now.

birdhouse gourd

Birdhouse Gorgeous 9/6/12

Halloween Countdown

Warm and toasty pumpkins
Handmade scarf by Mary Ann Askins

Blooming Thursday: Party in the Anemones

Prolific Anemones bloomed about six weeks ago, monopolizing the back garden fence. I’ve been gathering them into bouquets every few days, then bringing them indoors. Little did I know that atop those crisp white blooms and their buttercup yellow centers there was a party going on.


Anemones line the fence

It wasn’t your typical, garden-variety party.  In fact, I wasn’t even invited.  Apparently you needed four to six legs to attend, and the invites are on the QT.  I don’t think my neighbors even knew!

The party host wasn’t available for comment, so instead I snapped a few pics of the guests.  Our host has an eclectic group of friends, including elegant grasshoppers, busy-body ants and even the low-brow house fly.  I didn’t recognize all of the party goers. A few of their identities remain a mystery.

mystery spotted bug

Mystery Guest

I don’t want to name names, but things may have gotten a bit out of hand.  I saw a small spider chatting with a grasshopper, and in the next shot…the spider was gone!  Do you think I should say something to the host?  One of the spotted guests spent most of his time at the food table, while the ant kept darting in and out of the petals.  I think he had too much pollen to drink.

Grasshopper and Spider on Anemone

A grasshopper and a spider chatting it up

mystery spotted bug

Ant running laps. Too much pollen?

The house fly enjoyed making the rounds, but the others seemed to be avoiding her.  It might have been her over-powering perfume.

Anemone house fly

Flowers and Flies

I’m no party crasher, so I finished taking my pictures and left.  Back on the patio steps once again, you would never know there was a party going on.

anenome side view
anemone going to seed

A Taste of Fall: Flower Season Winding Down

The air feels like early fall today.  It really cooled down in the past 24 hours.  The crisp breeze foreshadows the season to come.

We’ve enjoyed a week of warm weather, lasting well into the evening, enjoying several meals on the patio. Today it’s 15 degrees cooler than predicted.  As our days are shorten the pumpkin leaves are turning a tell-tale brown.  Even my beloved cosmos are showing signs of decay.  In California, warm weather continues well into October, but the growing season is definitely winding down.

It dawned on me today that the bounty of flowers we’ve enjoyed all summer will soon be a sweet memory. I decided to take pictures of each lusty bloom. Mother Nature is about to pull a blanket over the garden.  Summer annuals will finish their cycle as they set seed and wither.  Perennials go dormant.  The Chinese Pistache treats us to an autumn show, with golden, red and amber leaves drifting to the ground below.  The maple out back does a strip tease as well, but often in slow motion.  Depending on the wind and the rain, our maple may hang on to the changing leaves for some time.

So to my lovely garden belles, arranged below in rainbow order, won’t you please take a bow?

Firecracker Annual

Blooming Since July, Part of the 4th of July Trio

Carpet Roses

Carpet Roses at the bottom of the ramp

Garnet Penstemon

Garnet Penstemon rustling under the Magnolia

Dusty Pink Hydrangea

Dusty Pink Hydrangea, spectacular under the living room

Pink Vinca

Pink Vinca lives in a pot on the back steps


Sunflower: The first of the Season

Yellow Daylily

Yellow Daylily fans out under the Magnolia tree

Yellow Four o'clock Flower

Yellow Four o’clock Flower re-seeded from last summer adds cheer to a shady side yard

Yellow Snapdragons

Yellow Snapdragons, a hardy little annual

Pumpkin Flower (Male)

Male pumpkin flower, hopeful, even at this late date

purple bellflower

Purple Bellflowers surround our patio

Dwarf Plumbago

Dwarf Plumbago sits below the tall grass in a corner of the front yard

Status Annual

This bluish status was part of my red, white and blue display for July 4th.

English Lavender

English Lavender lines the bottom of the front deck and attracts lots of beneficial bees.

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum completes the trio of red, white and blue 4th of July plants.

White Magnolia

White Magnolia cradles a bee


Anemone run along the back rock wall. They’ve taken over that corner of the garden.

Wild Onion

Wild Onion
A garden surprise this summer

White Begonia

Begonia always remind me of my mother

Are you curious what these blooms look like before they flower? Find out on Flower Buds: The Shape of Things to Come.
If you linked back for answers to the quiz: Who’s who or what’s what? the answers are:
a. 4 Hydrangea
b. 1 Allium Stellatum
c. 2 anemone
d. 3 Four o’clock
e. 5 Snapdragon

Blooming Thursday: It Must Be August


In the far corner of the garden, the Japanese Anemone are about to put on a show.  The plant is unremarkable most of the year, with a low, leafy green spreading across the rock wall.  After a winter die-back, they reemerge in the spring, gathering energy for the days ahead.

Anemone Buds

Anemone Buds

Anemone japonica white

Anemone Japonica ‘White’

July arrives and on cue, the Anemone burst forth sending out tall stems covered in lush green leaves. July is dress rehearsal.

japanese anemone flower

Anemone Bloom

Take a seat ladies and gentlemen, the show is about to begin.  The chorus lines the rock wall, tiny buds at the ready. When the curtain opens, dozens of white blooms take center stage.

Be sure to tell all your friends.  The show continues its run through late August.