Sunday, July 14, 2013

I Left My Heart......

Well, you know the rest of the song.... in San Fran-cis-co...... What a trip.  For those who don't know, the Garden Bloggers get together every year for a Spring Fling.  Last year was the first time I was able to go.  It was close by in Asheville, making it very convenient.  This year it was in San Francisco.  My first time in California and boy did I feel like I was in a NEW place!
My trip started quite early, up at 2:30 AM and off to the airport by 3 AM.  Traveling from SC I went through Charlotte, NC, changing planes and meeting up with fellow blogger and traveling companion, Daricia.  We got into SF mid-morning CA time.  Lucky for us we were able to check into our rooms early.  After dropping off our gear, we took to exploring the city and finding a spot for lunch.
View from my hotel window
 I felt a little like a country bumpkin, in awe with all the sights.  I was on the 25th floor and the views were incredible.
View to the right from my window- Bay Bridge in sight!
 The architecture in the city was wonderful -- look at this great detail work, remember it is at the top end of the building.

Lunch was at a Tea House in Yerba Buena Gardens.  What a glorious spot to sit outside and enjoy the day.
 The planting material was bold.  Here by the water feature was a large grouping of Cyperus papyrus.  
Walking around after lunch we found some green spaces, little nooks where one could sit, relax, and enjoy nature.  Daricia and I were drawn to the purple blooms.  So many of the plants we were seeing were new and unfamiliar to us.
A courtyard nestled between some tall skyscrapers.
 See what  I mean?  Isn't this an unusual bloom?  Gorgeous, love the color, but I don't know what it is.  Soon the jet lag was bringing out the silliness.  THIS is a California plant.

This a rare California Bird.  

We walked all the way down to the water to the Bay Bridge.  What a beautiful sight.

This is certainly a city on a hill.  We must have walked about 3 miles, along the waterfront, then heading back up to the hotel.  The Customs House and Port Authority buildings were stately.   There was a market along the street by the piers, bustling with activity.

There were so many interesting things to take in, plants, buildings, carvings, people, and landmark sights.
urns/ pillars flanking a doorway, just amazing

 We met Julie at her hotel and wandered around Chinatown.   There were a couple shops with bronze sculptures...this one caught my eye.  Wouldn't this go well with my mermaid?

Julie was in a different hotel the first night and it was right at the edge of Chinatown, half a block from the Dragon Gate.  We took advantage of the location and explored Chinatown.
Dragon Gate, entrance to Chinatown
Lanterns and colorful decorations really added to the scenery.

I really like the top of this church.   I am not sure which church it is, somewhere in Chinatown vicinity.

Sightseeing around San Francisco needs to be a trip unto itself.
 Did I see Fisherman's Wharf? No.
Ghirardelli chocolate factory? No.
Ride a Cable Car? No.
Go to Alcatraz? No.
Go across the Golden Gate Bridge? YES!
The bridge was encased in fog, making it difficult to see it.  Seems as though every sighting of the Golden Gate Bridge there was fog.  Surprise.

Everyone on the bus was trying to capture the perfect picture of the bridge. 

My camera battery was low and blinking red as I tried my hand at getting the perfect photo --- one chance to get the shot!

While traveling across one of the bridges we could see Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Bay.  Traveling by bus, I was turned around as to where we were.   Like the California birds, California plants, we were IN California....let's leave it at that.  

Another day, another view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The fog was really something to see, hanging on the bridge.

Riding to another garden, even the cement walls were fun to see.  

I felt like I was in total tourist mode, in awe of all around me.  This was just an introduction to being in San Francisco for the Garden Blogger's Spring Fling.  Stay tuned for the gardens we toured.  We arrived on Thursday and returned Sunday night on the red-eye.  It was an action packed garden filled weekend.

©Copyright 2013 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Where Did The Time Go?

Three short years ago we decided to have one final Fourth of July in Virginia.  Our habit was to go up to the Yorktown Battlefield, listen to the Air Force band and then watch the fireworks.  Three years ago!  Hard to imagine.
While trying to organize photos for this post I went back through prior posts and lots of photos.  To see the 2010 and 2011 click on 2011, and for last year's post click here.

We have had a lot of rain this spring and early summer.  Most plants are happy though many haven't bloomed like they did last year.  Here is the front garden.  My Cercis canadensis 'Ruby Falls' is quite happy.   Last fall I moved about half of the Creeping Phlox to the backyard garden.   It looks ok in the spring and then just a space filler for the rest of the year.    Am a big fan of burgundy leafed plants, so in addition to the 'Ruby Falls' I have two Loropetalum 'Purple Pixie' - one in the ground and one in the container.  Both are courtesy of Southern Living Plants and last year's Spring Fling.  (thanks Debbie Teashon for sharing the one with me).  Another burgundy leaf plant is Loropetalum 'Daruma', under the bay window.


The plants in the foreground are Delosperma-- a couple different varieties.  I am not impressed with their lack of flowers this year.  There were some early on in the spring...but not many lately.  May try something else next year.

The different between 2012 and 2013 from the front door shows how full the grasses have become.  The Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' has grown a good bit, using the roofline of the shed as a guide makes it easy.

The backyard last year seems to be blooming a bit more, we have had so much rain this year that blooms are few and far between.   This photo below is looking left.
This is looking more to the right/center of the backyard.   There are a lot of Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflowers blooming.
This year I used a panoramic shot, lots of Monarda blooming but only one lone Coneflower, though there are a lot of seedlings from last year.  Be sure to click on the photos to make them larger so you can see the details better.
 Looking back up to the house you can see the Elephant Ears in a happy spot, big and lush.
The above and below are the same view, grasses and shrubs are a bit larger (so are the weeds).


The photo below is the side yard, I had added a variegated Hydrangea to the mix.  This bed has Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' and Abelia (I think it is Abelia x 'Edward Goucher' but not sure) are also in this bed.
I wasn't happy with this bed, so this past winter I moved the Abelias to a new spot along the woods and brought the tiny Camellias out of the shady garden.  Think this is a better spot for them, they sure have grown since moving them.   The Acorus got pruned back this spring as it was looking ratty.  I did it to these first, trying to see how they fared to the pruning.  Next year late winter I will do the ones by the front door since these responded so well.
See how much they filled in?  The older foliage isn't looking nice so a good haircut will help for next year.
Looking up along the driveway the grasses and Crape Myrtles are continuing to be happy.

You can see in the photo below that the Artemisia 'Powis Castle' isn't doing well.  I should cut it back again.  This rain has made it soggy looking.  The Miscanthus 'Little Zebra' hasn't put up flower stalks yet this year....really strange growing season.

Last year looking from the other direction, the Lantana camara 'Miss Huff' is in full bloom.

You can see how large the Lantana are this year, but very few flowers.  The Fringe tree, Chionanthus retusus bloomed this year, last it didn't, and has grown an amazing amount.
The Edgeworthia chrysantha along the side of the deck is enormous!  If you don't have one in your garden --- you should!  (There are two here)

 This is the newest addition to the family garden.  Hemerocallis 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' for our son in law Alex.  The Peony next to it is Rachel, a red peony.
 This is a side view on the lower side of the house, with the family garden at the corner. Hydrangeas were moved to this location from the shady garden and seem happier.  Also in this mix are Viburnum tinus 'Spring Bouquet' and Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai' and multiple varieties of daylilies.

When I said lower side of the house you might have wondered why......we do have a slope.
 Also on the lower side along the property line are a variety of shrubs.  I can't wait for these plants to mature, there are a couple blue cypress and a few yellow foliage shrubs and one Loropetalum 'Ever Red'.   When and if anyone ever builds next to us we will have a nice screening with this mixed border.

A new planting area is the left side of the driveway heading up to the street.  See the two dark spots in the pinestraw?  I emptied my compost bin to those two places.  This winter I will get a couple bareroot Oakleaf Hydrangeas.   They will have plenty of room to grow to their full potential.  
 I will close with a close up of my little friend.  If you look at this year's photo view looking out the front door, there is something on the sidewalk.  This is one of our many Anoles.

Thanks for coming along for a yearly update.  Have you marked yearly progress in your garden?  I marvel at the changes when you place pictures side by side.
Having just returned from the Garden Blogger's Spring Fling I have lots and lots of photos --be ready!

©Copyright 2013 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.