This is Peruvian Sage (Salvia discolor), also known as "Andian Sage." Fairly rare even in its native Peru, the plant grow long white stems with leaves that are green on one side and white on the other. The end of the stem is a series of deep purple flowers the color of blackberries with a scent that's a blend of sage and currants. It propagates easily, but is a little tender when it comes to cold, so they do need [keep reading...]
Added another 4 ounces of fresh peppers and 1 tsp of pickling salt. Peppers are really starting to ferment and become mushy now. Jar is almost full too. Soon it will be time to add the oak and let it reset over the winter.
This is a tiger jaw (Faucaria tigrina) in flower. My wife brought home in a one-inch pot along with half a dozen other succulents a couple of years ago. The plant is low, mounding, and it's "jaws" make it look a little fierce on the rocky landscape. Better yet, it needs zero care (I don't even water it). For me, the coolest thing about it is for a few weeks in fall it produces a series of flowers, each of [keep reading...]
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), aka "Christmas Berry" or California Holly, is a native tree and favorite hangout for all sorts of birds and wildlife. Once established, it pretty much tolerates anything -- blazing sun, drought, fire, shade, lousy soil, mule deer, etc. They're usually 8-10 ft tall, but this tree is over 30 years old and easily 20 ft tall (happy tree). Most of the year, it has deep green, densely packed leaves that make it a good screening plant and [keep reading...]
Walked out of the house this morning to be greeted by what I thought was was a hummingbird, but instead turned out to be a Tarantula Hawk, which is actually a very large wasp. And by very large, I mean over three inches (7-1/2 cm) long and heavy enough to make the leaf it's standing on sag almost to the ground. Despite their size, they're actually quite docile and eat nectar rather than other insects. They're called Tarantula hawks because [keep reading...]
Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) is another native that I really like. It's a low growing sage that spreads by rhizomes and can colonize a whole area. When a colony is in bloom, there are so many hummingbirds it can sound like a swarm of bees. Beyond the flower and the low growth habit, one of the other things I really like about it is it's ability to thrive under live oaks, pine and eucalyptus -- all trees known for being [keep reading...]
Misty November morning. Fog settles over the pond and creates a shadowy, silent scene.
Keyhole Gardens are water efficient, easy to maintain and super productive in a small space. Here's how I built one without breaking the piggy bank. So I was sitting around late last winter reading the week’s Costco circular when I ran across an article about the success of something called a “keyhole garden” in remote villages of Africa. (What Costco had to do with this, I don’t know.) Anyhow, intrigued, I dropped the brochure and hopped over to the [keep reading...]
While most of the rest of the garden is hunkering down for winter, a couple of the roses are kicking out one more set of blooms. This one is "Peppermint Twist." I think you can tell how it got its name.
Added 8 more ounces of hot peppers and 1/2 TSP of salt. No additional water. Will probably have just one more addition because the weather cold nights are knocking off the pepper plants.