9.01.2014

the state of the garden





Hey you.  How's it going?





I took these photos about 10 minutes ago.  What's pretty amazing is that here it is September 1st and the garden looks this good.  That's pretty unusual for this garden.  Normally, everything has pretty much peaked and would be looking really bad.  I give credit to my friend, Mr. El Casco Gardener for this. Terry has given me some ideas on tweaking what I do around here and it really has paid off.





He suggested that I use a weak application of food for the flowers every week instead of just monthly. It has kept the blooms coming and coming.





All my geraniums were looking really bad.  Everywhere I go around Southern California, geraniums grow prolifically, except mine.  Turns out they had some sort of worm eating the blooms.  I bought a spray for that at Home Depot and within a week the leaves are dark and green and the blooms are big and gorgeous.






















Even the rose garden is still going.  Lots of blooms still to come.





Someone wanted a full picture of this 150 year old pepper tree.  Here it is. :)




My friend K of Faux Fuchsia fame wrote today about what gardening has taught her.  I think the greatest thing I get from gardening is that I can lose myself while out there working.  Everything that I'm worried about drifts away and I'm able to focus on exactly what is in front of me, there is a season for everything. Before I know it life is manageable and good again.  I'm so grateful to be able to garden here.  What has your garden taught you?



99 comments:

  1. Your garden looks wonderful and you're right, it doesn't have that parched, overgrown look that most hot places get after a long and lovely summer. Mr El Caso Gardener is obviously a genius. xxxx

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    1. haha vix i will tell terry that you think he is a genius. he'll get a kick out of that.

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  2. I think these are the most beautiful pictures of your garden and home that you have posted yet!
    am also wondering if the same thing is happening to my geraniums, they start to bloom than nothing. will have to check it out.
    Darby

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    1. thank you darby. they are def the best pictures i've taken in sept of this this place. yes, do check out a spray you'll be surprised!

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  3. Love this! Funny - I am drafting a gardening post right now and will answer your question there... But I will say this- your garden makes me peaceful!

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  4. Beautiful. And that pepper tree....magnificent. I was in Santa Monica when i realized I was walking down a street filled with nothing but pepper berry trees. I didn't want to leave.

    I am a bad fertilizer, maybe lazy is the word. i too can lose myself for hours in the garden and when i come up for air the world is right again.

    It's too hot and humid to garden this weekend so I'm overreading, but dreaming of weeding.

    xo J

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    1. thanks jane. those pepper trees have the most fragrant aroma! i was a bad fertilizer too. no more tho!

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  5. When will the house blush pink? Cannot wait!

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    1. that is a good question dianne. just as soon as we have got the money. soooooon!

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  6. I used to have a garden in London and I never really took care of it. Now that I don't have one, I miss it dreadfully. Never take things for granted, that's what it tells me from afar ! xx

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    1. ah, that is such a great piece of advice and one i try to remember each day. thanks!

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  7. Your garden looks amazing, Janet. I'm not much of a gardener, and my husband takes care of our gardens most of the part. As a result, my lavender garden is now turning into a vegetable garden! My grandmother is a master gardener and I grew up watching her tending her gardens. Perhaps next year, I'll give myself more time to be among the flowers.

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    1. thanks yuko. oh i bet your grandmother knows so much! i bet she can grow the most beautiful veggies.

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    2. She is 90 now but still enjoys being outside gardening and takes pride in her flowers. She comes up with the most creative way possible to grow vegetables (she is a farmer's daughter) with the little space she has. Although I don't garden much myself now, I've learned a lot from my grandma - not just gardening but also about life. Oh how much I miss her...

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    3. oh she sounds like such a wonderful lady yuko. i've learned so much from the "older" gardeners in my area. the things they grow and make flourish amaze me!

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  8. You're right everything looks so lush and green which always is unusual for end of summer! I thought you were in a drought? and if so have you watered? Love your pepper tree and it looks to be hundreds of years old.

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    1. thanks g. yes the pepper tree is estimated to be 150 yrs old. we are on water restriction here so that means every other day. i water twice a week but very deeply.

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  9. Hello Janet,

    You must be very pleased with how your garden looks. We have seen various glimpses of your garden over the years but this time it really looks at its best. Your efforts with all the moving of plants, redesigning and selecting what works particularly well have all paid off. And, Mr El Casco Gardener is clearly a miracle worker!

    With the more benign weather of September, we trust that you will be able to enjoy many happy hours in your delightful garden before putting it to bed for another year!

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    1. thank you j and l. i'm really looking forward to the mellow weather that should be heading our way soon. time for a little rest!

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  10. Janet it is really looking so beautiful and I love that pepper tree, so unusual!
    One of my goals for the autumn is to spend time in my garden, I haven't made time for it for years but I think it would be good for my well-being. We are also planning a little redo of the landscaping, I'll have access to my garden from the kitchen again which I have really missed, the previous owner took out the original door which I am now putting back.
    Thanks for the inspirational photos! xox

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    1. dani, autumn is the best time to work in the garden. i just love that mild weather and the fact that things have slowed down or quit growning all together. it's a chance to finally get caught up with nature! a door to go directly to the garden would be so wonderful, glad you are putting it back.

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  11. My garden has taught me to enjoy 'being' and it seems I can do this well only when I'm out weeding or pruning or even just sitting back and admiring the work I've just accomplished. It also has taught me to be flexible . . . it's really a collaboration between me and God. I don't get to really be in control and I"m learning to love that.

    Your garden is gorgeous! It looks so lush for this time of year. I am happy that it's doing so well for you!

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    1. oh that's a beautiful lesson too. and i truly is a collaboration of the divine and oneself isn't it. beautiful!

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  12. I love the swatches of test paint. :)

    Your garden is lovely. Here in Texas I have dust and empty pots. It's so dry. :)

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    1. thank you heather. sometimes empty pots can be a thing of beauty too. hope cooler weather is on its way. x

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  13. How do you keep the garden looking lush? For some reason I thought you were in Southern California and they are in the midst of a serious drought. Lovely blog by the way.

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    1. i do live in so. calif. we are on water restriction which means you can only water every other day but i keep it to a deep water twice a week which works better i think.

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    2. I'm jealous, I'm in Nor Cal and we can only water twice a week. Everyone has a brown lawn.

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    3. I'm in San Diego and gave up my lawn, roses and all water loving plants a couple of years ago replacing them with succulents and native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Southern California. My garden now flourishes with little or no water at all.

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  14. Hello Janet, it's good to see you again. The Gardener's Cottage, and grounds look lovely! Cool pepper tree!! What I've learned from gardening is that I'm extremely allergic to poison ivy, and I'm not a fan of chiggers and ticks. Therefore, I appreciate and admire all the hard work of others. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. thank you mona. haha, yes i agree fighting the bugs and allergies is prob the hardest thing. thank YOU for sharing.

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  15. Everything look so lovely! Not much is alive for a show and tell in Phoenix, but this fall it will be wonderful! I love being in the garden because it's my alone time with God. I always think, time began in a garden :)

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    1. thank you diana elizabeth. (pretty name)

      that's a lovely thought and so true. i just have an easier time gathering my thoughts while out there. but you put it so well.

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  16. Your garden looks STUNNING!!! I am going to start fertilising weekly too! Thanks for the tip- is laziness that I don't! I am also going to get some spray for mites/bugs on my plants- thanks for the Inspiration. Love getting lost thought wise while I garden too! xx

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    1. thanks k. it is a little more work to do it weekly but with the results i've seen i'm eager to do it now. and the spray is a miracle worker too! love your garden too. x

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  17. Glad to see you're back. Hope all is well. A mild summer here means gardens are still going strong. Love your roses. I've never been able to grow them successfully so I'm happy to admire yours.

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  18. Oh I love your pepper tree. We used to have one, and even the remaining stump is beautiful in its own way.

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    1. thanks lisa. that pepper tree has gnomes living it i'm sure! :)

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  19. It's all so pretty! And I like your house red! Here in Canada my garden is pretty much done for the year, time to button things up before the snow flies!

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    1. thank you. i don't have to worry about snow but that would be nice too. putting the garden to rest. :)

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  20. To answer your question . . . Patience, mindfulness, and wonder.

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  21. I have learned patience. It takes time. Our yard is maturing nicely. The trees, shrubs and landscaping has filled in nicely. And, each season we still labor at it. Your garden is beautiful. I know you must enjoy it immensely. For what's worth, I really like your house red.

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    1. thank you kathy and boy does it require patience. when i think of what it looked like when we got here...wow.
      but the bones or foundation plantings were there, they just needed some tlc.

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  22. Maybe that what I need to do.....gardening. My head is ready to burst and I need to turn off.

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    1. oh i highly recommend for heads ready to burst!

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  23. Your garden looks really great. I just had to catch up on lots of your posts (for some reason they didn't show up in my feed) and I just wanted to let you know I really enjoy your blog. It has a very calming effect somehow (and makes me hungry, so much delicious vegan food!). Thanks :)

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    1. Oh, and I can't wait to see your house painted! I think it will be excellent!

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    2. thank you amy! i do hope it looks good pink too!

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  24. Your heart must jump for joy as you walk down the path to your home.
    Deep in my heart it's what I have always wanted, a little cottage in a beautiful garden. Somewhere near water and it would be Paradise on earth for me.
    I have a garden but seem to have lost interest this last year or so, not sure why. When I read a blog like yours or F.F's, I feel the need to get back in it. It's true, time in the garden brings with it a sense of "no time'.
    thank you. Linda C.

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    1. thank you linda. it does skip a little beat each time i walk up or pull in. i really do love this little place with all my heart. i do wish there was an ocean a little closer...that would be perfection! yes, it is true about time in the garden...

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  25. I desire to be a gardener but I am not, at least for now. I have some observations here: Your cottage looks so pristine it's almost a shame to paint it; the paint still looks so 'new.' I don't recall seeing the view on approach like that, with the drive paralleling the front garden. What a joy it must be to come onto your property and see everything so neat, tidy, colorful; all of your hard work. It's just a heartwarming kind of view and scene; a place to call home, with love. All of your garden rooms are really quite stunning. And I so heart your little porch; I would just about give anything for a small, covered, even partially-enclosed porch. It's gotten really buggy here north of you all of a sudden; of course, expected, with the increase in heat and humidity. I need to be behind screens where the bugs can't get me. I haven't enjoyed August AT ALL. This does not feel like the SoCal I know. Your lawn looks remarkably green; it seems most everyone in our town is either letting their lawns die, or else water in the drought and heat is having no effect. We did tear out our whole front yard last week. Just left a pie-slice of grass. Makes me sad, but it's necessary. Grass is a water hog and, being forced to choose due to increased water rates, I choose grass for the rear yard and not the front. Am instead going to have more planters with low-water plants, more concrete spacers for walkways (although brick is nicer), some areas of decomposed granite/crushed granite (whatever you call it) and a new crape myrtle. It's expensive to do all of this but I guess it will eventually pay off. I just don't want things to get where we never see a nice expanse of elegant green lawn unless it's at a golf course. Congrats on your lovely home, Janet. You've done such a fine job. Thank you for sharing it; was very inspirational to peek in. I think it's a real soul-filling tribute to the gardener from whom you 'inherited' the garden.

    When you weak-feed the plants now, what is the food?

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    1. thank you as always vicki for your thoughtful comment. the house is indeed in need of a paint job. the front looks pretty fresh but i assure you there is peeling paint everywhere. since i've been here i've enlarged the beds every year. this fall/winter i hope to cut another 12" all around reducing my lawn again. we are on water restriction here and are supposed to water every other day but i find that a deep watering 2x a week works best. terry advised me to use miracle grow and i have to say i'm quite impressed.

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  26. Janet
    Your garden is looking fabulous - also love the views of the house. Congratulations to you and to your friend Mr El Casco Gardener for all his wonderful advice! Thank you for sharing. Pammie xx

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    1. thanks so much pammie. hope all is well with you and your family. x

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  27. Things are still flourishing here, too! It's been an unusual summer. Your yard & flowers are so lovely - and the pepper tree is amazing! I'm quite sure I've never seen one before (I'm assuming the trunk is not unusual for pepper trees.....).

    Physically I've not been able to tend to our flower beds this year. I've learned that perennials are great for this! Once established, they didn't need much from me. (At least not for one season.)

    Can I ask what the chemical composition of your plant food is? That is ONE thing I've never started.

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    1. thank you rebecca. it has been a great summer for the garden! i only buy a couple of six packs of annuals now. everything is a perennial and it is so much nicer.

      i'm using a weak solution of common Miracle Gro. i get the kind that has to be mixed with water.

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  28. Your garden looks lovely, Janet. And I must say how much I love your house in red. It pops with all that pretty green foliage and plantings around it, like a beautiful red rose. I saw the pink swatch on the side of the house in the photo of the pepper tree (which is amazing), and I don't think it will look as dramatic as the red. I don't see red houses often -- it's unique and charming. I know you didn't ask, but that's my two cents.
    Claudia

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    1. thank you claudia and i appreciate you and everyone else who love the color red. i'm really loving the idea of bringing it back to a previous color which is pink. :) please don't hold it against me! x

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  29. Thanks for the beautiful pic of that tree, Janet. I believe it's the oldest pepper I've ever seen. That tree has soul and it's what I've heard some folks here in Cambridge call the trees that have been here since before the Revolution: a witness tree.

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    1. wow shelley, that is interesting. it is estimated to be 150 yrs old and a witness tree is a perfect name for it. imagine what it has seen!

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  30. Hmmmm.....what I've learned from my garden.

    First and foremost, I've learned that I do not have a green thumb. And I've learned that it's okay to move things and change things when it doesn't have the look you want.

    I remember growing up, my parents had the same bushes and flowers for the 40 years they lived in their house. I change things when I realize they're not working.

    My flowers have been beautiful this year but I've had some misses. My pots are starting to look awful. It's nearing the end of the season here in New York. And it makes me sad. I'd like more summer.

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    1. thank you wanda. maybe you do indeed have a green thumb b/c it sounds as if you do. you move things around and like the freshness of that. you are out there doing it! i think most everything in pots this time of year start to suffer. my friend melinda was just saying yesterday that she wish summer could last a little longer. x

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  31. Your gardens look beautiful. We moved into a new home this year so I did not get the opportunity to do as much gardening as I would like. I also learned how deer love to eat fresh flowers! I went to the garden shop and found a few pretty plants that won't wind up being food for the deer. I added a few ceramic planters and it looks great. Even a little effort can go a long way.

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    1. thank you chris. i think new home landscaping is the hardest! here there were great foundational plants that were so well established all they needed was a little love to bring them back to life. i have heard that deer can be a real nuisance to gardens but they must be so beautiful to see up close in your yard!

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  32. The garden is an oasis of loveliness...so well kept and the edges of the grass are curving and clipped. The Pepper tree makes a wonderful statement and the trunk is so gnarly and shapely. Your hard work is evident with this beautiful space.
    I'd love to sit on your porch and sip a cup of tea and experience the garden's ambiance first hand.

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    1. thank you leslie. i know that you too love to garden so i take your compliment to heart.!

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  33. My garden has taught me that I have no patience! If the garden looks bad because of weather or my ineptitude, I want to give up. But I always go back and try again the next year. I should simply hire someone to landscape and then stick to tending my window boxes.

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    1. ha kristien! it does take so much patience and that's good for me because basically that is a def character defect of mine. i love that you keep at it though. maybe hiring someone to do the heavy stuff would be a good idea - tending window boxes sounds lovely. x

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  34. I dont comment in your blog but I read it very often.I love the red color on your house and I think it is beautiful as is.I love come to your blog to see all the beauty of simple things that you share with us especially in your garden.My garden taught me to look the beautiful nature around us and take time to appreciate the things that nature has provided to our life like birds sing,rain,the sunshine,the foliage change ,flowers blooming and many others beauty there for us to enjoy.

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    1. that's for your comment. i love what your garden has taught you. you are so right - we have so much right at our fingertips!

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  35. Your garden looks really pretty. I love your pepper tree. By chance, would you be able to share the name of the spray that you bought for your geraniums? I find I'm having the same problem with my potted geraniums by my front door. They were huge and thriving and now they look fairly crummy and have zero blooms. I've examined the buds and there are little holes in the bottom where I presume something is eating them before they're able to bloom.

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    1. yep, that is exactly what was going on with mine. i used the whole can and threw it away so i don't know the exact name but if you go to a home garden center and ask for anything that has Bacillus Thuringensis in it. liquid spray sevin would work too. good luck.

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  36. I was missing you . . . life must be quiet and calm there too. I thought of you the other day when I drove by my favorite house here. It's pink with black shutters and hiding behind beautiful arbors of roses and ivy... I'm so looking forward to when you show us the gardener's cottage all dressed in pink. Maybe we could do a house swap, like in The Holiday.... :)

    This is the second summer that I haven't been at or had a home to garden. I've missed it terribly. It used to be where I went when I needed some alone time, happy or sad alone times. Getting dirty and sweaty helps put a lot of things in perspective. Your gardens, my dear, are beautiful. Everything about your home feels so good to me. xo

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    1. thank you sarah. you must miss your garden so much. but i can just imagine your new/old place with gorgeous gardens. what a beauty of a house you are restoring!

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  37. Hi Janet, your yard and garden is gorgeous. My garden has taught me that I must take care of it. Its been so hot here that its hard for me to get motivated to work outside. Looking forward to Fall. I did get a volunteer morning glory. Its not where I wanted it , but its so prett. :-)

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    1. thank you cherre. i have a volunteer morning glory too! mine isn't in the ideal place either...wonder if they can be moved?! i try to get my garden chores done before 9am b/c of the heat so i know what you mean.

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    2. Ha! I wondered the same thing about my morning glory. Please let me know if you find out. :-)

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    3. At risk of over-commenting Janet, can I just say what a wonderful bunch of comments/replies to your post; all have made me smile. Love the part about a witness tree; never heard that expression but so apropos. And volunteers! Among the nicest of surprises. My last house, which was my great-aunt's...I miss it so...is over 90 years old now and when we lived there, and after clearing the yard, and after a good rain, we were delighted to be greeted with volunteers in spring, the most amazing being a towering hollyhock which would sway in the breeze. Buried treasures.

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    4. thanks vicki i agree. the comments and readers are by far the best part of this blog. we had a hollyhock here too but it didn't make it thru last summer. i loved that plant and i see them growing like mad around here but i've not had any luck with them.

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  38. So excited to see the house in pink. I think it'll make the whole property so much dreamier. Your gardens are gorgeous. What lovely and perfect edging.
    My garden has taught me so much. I started gardening when I was about six years old. I had a lily and rose garden all around the air conditioning units at my house. It taught me the relativity of time. Of course when you're six, waiting a year for something to grow seems an eternity. You quickly learn days turn into months much faster than you think. I learned to appreciate each season. I learned often a garden is a more reliable and gracious companion than other kids. I learned time is more of a luxury than money (took a while for that one to get through my massive head). And lastly, the lesson I've learned most recently is that even for a relatively skilled gardener like myself there are no shortcuts! If you don't put in the work it will look like shit. Not even I can persuade it otherwise!

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    1. love your lessons SA. i'm impressed that you started at 6. the only thing i remember around that age garden-wise was the day i clipped all my mom's roses off to make perfume. yeah, i remember that day vividly. ;)

      and you are right, there really are no shortcuts. shortcuts have always turned to longcuts for me.

      you are so funny. x

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  39. Gardening has taught me that wonderful things can come from very small beginnings (aided by time and care!) Everything is looking lovely in your garden, Janet. Autumn has arrived here in Blighty, still, soft, misty days with no breeze. It's rather melancholy, in a nice way!

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    1. oh what a wonderful lesson! your weather is very conducive to gardening. it's hot and dry here at the moment and everyone is exhausted just from the heat!

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  40. Ohhhh that tree! I have been known to hug a tree in my time and that one looks so huggable. I know. Don't laugh. ;)
    Your yard looks dreamy. My yards high point has passed but the cooler weather brings a rebirth. I need to focus on planting more late bloomers.I live on a family compound(think: Kennedy. Not Waco.ha) and we are all gardeners. My dad has greenhouses and is now a retired grower and retailer of perennials, annuals, vegetables, and nursury stock.I worked there. My brother has been a landscaper and landscape construction for
    35 years. And my husband is a landscape architect.
    My yard has so many salvaged plant material that it really has no rhyme or reason but I love it. I guess that really reflects my personsonality ..no rhyme or reason!
    ~diane

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    1. wow, so lucky. i bet your landscapes are beyond gorgeous!!!! how wonderful that it is a family affair.

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  41. Love your blog, and love The Gardner's Cottage artist's sketch. Can you by any chance provide the artist who created it.

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    1. oh yes bobbi, that is the amazing patricia van essche of pve design. her blog is on my sidebar!

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  42. So many comments! Here I go - my garden has taught me that I loathe gardening and will happily move to a flat with a terrace in my old age.

    Tabitha

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    1. yes, i think i will too. it's fun and relaxing for me now but i do envision a lovely terrace where the work is not exhausting. :)

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  43. BTW.. Working at the greenhouses taught me that costomers stopped by just to talk 'gardening'. And birds. And pets. And recipes. And weather. And we all speak the same language when it came to our gardens.

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    1. i agree diane, gardeners in general are really a lovely bunch of people!

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  44. Your garden is beautiful. How are you maintaining it with the drought?
    My garden is very stressed.

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    1. thank you.

      we are on water restriction here which is that we can water every other day but i deep water 2 x a week.

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  45. Your garden and house are so pretty.
    I live in NorCal and we can only water twice a week. I wonder why the same isn't true for SoCal. You're lucky you can water more! I'm like the other person, my lawn and garden don't look so good.

    Thank you for the inspiration! I always enjoy your blog.

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  46. Gardening is love. Planting a seed, caring for it, watching it grow and blossom, produce and then fade. It's much like life.
    pve

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  47. I feel relaxed just looking at your house and garden. I feel I can even meditate in your garden. Your house color is perfect; it's calm and soothing, yet full of life. Nicely done, Janet.

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