Blooming Thursday: A Quick Walk Through the Garden

I’m finally feeling like myself again after a week and a half of vertigo. It was nice to walk through the garden on this unseasonably warm day.

I met a brave squirrel while crouched taking photos.

nonchalant squirrel

Nonchalant squirrel

He spotted Mouse-the-cat and wandered off, but he really wasn’t in any hurry.

mouse the cat

It’s all about me, right?

After refilling the hummingbird feeder, I enjoyed this little darling in flight.

hummingbirds irradescent back

Ana’s Hummingbird lands on the feeder

hummingbird at feeder jan 2015

Hummingbirds need to eat every thirty minutes

The garden show stopper this time of year is the Hardenbergia Violaceae. Who doesn’t like a gorgeous vine that flowers in winter?

hardenbergia long view 1-29-2015 9-43-54 AM

Hardenbergia growing along the fence

hardenbergia close up

Flower closeup

No need to raise your hand.

I found this lovely description along with a bit of history from San Marcos Growers in Santa Barbara, California:

Hardenbergia Violaceae ‘Happy Wanderer’ (Purple Vine Lilac) requires little water once established. The species is widespread through much of Australia and can be found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania where it grows from along the coast to up in the mountains. It was first described (as Glycine Violaceae) by the Dutch botanist George Voorhelm Schneevoogt in Icones Plantarum Rariorum in 1793 from cultivated plants that were thought to be from seeds collected in the Sydney area in the first few years of that settlement. Glycine is the genus of the related soy bean (Glycine max) and this plant was later combined with Hardenbergia, a name Bentham used in 1837 when describing Hardenbergia ovata. The name for the genus honors Franziska Countess von Hardenberg, sister of the Baron Karl von Hugel, a 19th century Austrian patron of botany who collected plants while on an expedition to Australia in 1833. The specific epithet is in reference to the typical color of the flower. Other common names include Purple Coral Pea, Happy Wanderer, Native Lilac. Because the long, carrot-like root was reportedly used as a substitute for sarsaparilla by Australian aboriginal bushmen, it also has the common names Australian Sarsaparilla and False Sarsaparilla. The Australian aboriginal name for it is Waraburra.

Don’t you love learning new things?

I hope you enjoy your weekend, rain or shine, snow or thaw. I’ll see you next week.

hardenbergia buds 1-29-2015 9-54-39 AM

Hardenbergia leaf and bud

Frosty Fingers Tickle the Fronds

Amazing things happen when you look through the lens of a camera. It’s an interesting metaphor for life.

We can view a glass as half empty or half full or we can focus on the small etches in the glass, marvel at the glass’ ability to hold water and consider its resilience.  That glass stands up to multiple washings and use, and perhaps a tumble or two.

Seven days of hard frost laid waste the less-hardy plants in our garden.  This kind of cold snap is unheard of in San Jose, a semi-arid climate known for moderate temps.  It was disheartening seeing all that damage, but a reminder too, that loss is part of life.  So too, is resilience.

I donned my warm coat, slung the camera over my shoulder and took pictures of nature’s etching.  While the ferns took a hit, the plants survived.  Frosty fingers tickled the fronds, but the roots stayed warm and strong.

fern frost damage

Frost damaged ferns

All three geraniums seemed to collapse from the frost, but beneath the wilt, I see life.  I’ve gardened long enough to know that nature serves up some amazing things.  I’ll wait for spring before a true assessment is in order.

geranium flower frost damage

Geranium droop

frost damage geranium

Geranium leaves

Meanwhile, since frost is as much a part of nature as wind, rain, snow and sun, I’m choosing to embrace the beauty in all of it.

frozen fern

Frozen beauty

Organized at Heart

I’m posting a series of articles featuring organizing around the holidays this month on my blog Organized at Heart.  If the subject interests you, please go take a peak. Today’s blog offers tips for Organizing Christmas Morning.