Winter Vegetable Garden: Take Two!

I was feeling optimistic last month when I planted the winter garden. I crafted a durable cover for the planting beds before preparing the soil. I smiled to myself as I scattered those seeds, knowing they would soon be under cover.  Maybe I could outsmart those squirrels. With just enough mesh wire to cover the top box, I would have to settle for bird netting on the lower one.  Knotted and staked and freshly watered, alas, all was well.

Upper Vegetable bed

Upper Vegetable Bed
One lone, out-of-season, pumpkin plant

Lower vegetable bed

Lower Vegetable Bed

What a dreamer!  Lindy-Lu thought all that fresh dirt was for her.  She didn’t mind one bit that I covered the planting box with mesh. She took care of “business” on top of the netting without a care in the world.  My little plot was now littered with carnivorous droppings, the world’s worst fertilizer.  I cleaned out the offending bits, then smoothed out the soil. I added a scrap of chicken wire but didn’t have enough for full coverage.  So much for optimism.

Ironically, nothing seems to be coming up in the fortified box, unless you count a Cosmo and a Pumpkin!  Don’t they know it’s almost winter?  In reality, we’re all confused.  We had record-breaking heat yesterday, the hottest November 5th since the early 1900’s!  We’ve continued to “enjoy” hot weather, even though the angle of the sun says fall.  Do you think the winter seeds are lying low till they get the news that fall has really arrived?

I picked up a pair of cell packs at the nursery today with broccoli and cauliflower. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday with a twenty-degree drop in temps. I’ll get them into the boxes tomorrow and then I’ll do my little rain dance.

vegetable cell packs

Vegetable Cell Packs


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