Sunday, January 15, 2017

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDENS

In all the times we have visited the Desert Botanical Gardens I don't think I have ever seen the cactus looking more stunning. Maybe fall rains have refreshed the plants. Maybe the cool cloudy day just brought out their best. It was perfect for a little iPhone photography.


 You can call me a frustrated cactomaniac. Frustrated because of where I live; the limited number of cactus I can grow and most of those in pots. That is doubly true this year as my garden plants were recentlysubjected to night-time temperatures in the teens for several nights.





There was a sign in the garden suggesting the the Agave Victoria-Reginae is endangered by collection for the ornamental trade. They have an amazing number here and rather like the one I have these look like the type that produce offsets. Maybe it is the tightly furled ones that are endangered although I don't think they make a distinction in the name. You can see the pups around the base of the one in the bottom right hand corner.


Even cactus need shade at the hottest time of the year. Here provided by this permanent shade structure in cactus and succulent galleries. In other parts of the garden trees such as the Chilean mesquite and members of the legume family provide a source of nitrogen as well as shade.


This South African tree aloe, Aloe Hercules takes pride of place under the arching shade structure.


We noticed that there is new signage throughout the park in both English and Spanish.




Looking at the tuna on this cholla I can imagine the spectacular flowering earlier in the year.


It is a little too early for many blooms but a sprinkling of aloes were in bloom though out the gardens.






I am always left drooling over these golden barrel cactus.


I remember visiting shortly after the terraces were built. Low level raised beds edged in cut stone    bring more formal structure to this part of the garden.


Touches of color here and there. I wonder if they chose these colors because they are the colors of flowering cactus and aloes.




When we visited last December the colored glass had not been added to the Founders Wall in the Sam and Betty Kitchell Family Heritage Garden. The wall pays tribute to the people and plants who have helped shape the gardens including people and plants.


And even though the cactus add structure to the garden there is always room for sone hardscape. The garden provides many places to sit and contemplate the beauty. There are also some beautiful water features.



A collection of watering cans among the pots dress up this ledge.


You might easily miss this tucked in behind a wall.


A memory wall.


I left even more of a cactomaniac.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A GARDEN SHOP RIGHT UP MY STREET

I rather wish it was right up my street but Terrain is over 1800 miles away in Westport, Connecticut. Surely we have an old Cadillac dealership building going begging, which is where Terrain found 17,000sq ft of space to open their fabulous garden store.


I espied it when we were driving by the other day and knew I had to go there. So, today, after a walk along the beach on Long Island Sound, David and I stopped in. Nice that they had a chair for him to sit down while I browsed. Unfortunately it was only going to be browsing for me.


Do you ever feel a little embarrassed about taking photographs in a store? I was prepared to tell them that I write a garden blog and would be giving them a little free publicity. I doubt they need it. But, no-one asked, although there were a few looks from other browsers.
 In the summer the outside must be brimming with plants. For now there are just a few dwarf evergreens and ericaceous  plants.



But inside the store is a feast for the eyes on a winter's day or any day for that matter. Part nursery, part flower shop and with a wealth of organic style accessories to dress up your house and garden  this is a perfect place to pick up a gift for a friend or even a treat for yourself.


Fresh foliage and dried twigs and seed heads for dressing up seasonal wreaths.



It is a vast space and impossible to take in everything in one visit.


The terrarium section is giving me ideas. I have never dabbled in terrarium life but I certainly have some of these wide-mouthed bowls that I could use.



In this store you will find them ready made as well as everything you need to make them yourself.


Maybe a few tillandsias. I would just have to step outside my own door to find the common Texas ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata.




This one really caught my eye.


I love the way the store is divided into different theme areas. This one is all about drinks.


These old fashioned bee skeps date back to 1200s but are no longer legal to use today because of poor accessibility.


The kitchen wares area.



There is a section on bathrooms. Everything is so beautifully presented.



This light might not be practical inside the house but would be a fabulous addition to a sheltered patio.


Lots of wooden toadstools and brush trees grace this wall.


I have seen these brush Christmas trees before. Danger Garden!


And these little hypertuffa mushrooms have given me an idea.


And when you have finished browsing there is always the cafe for a quiet lunch with a friend.


This is definitely a destination garden store and I was thrilled to come across it when visiting our son and his family. I have no doubts that I will be back.
At the same time I am thinking that Austin might be grown up enough now to have a store like this one.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

FINAL POST OF THE YEAR 2016

There is just time to get one quick post in before we roll into 2017. I wonder what kind of gardening year it will be? Hot, cold, wet, dry? I little or a lot of each I imagine and sometimes when unexpected. Rather like the freeze we had while I was away 2 weeks ago. A low in the 20s brought quite a lot of destruction to the garden. Then, mother nature threw in a few 80º days just for good measure. Fortunately most of the potted plants were safe in the greenhouse, potting shed, garage or house.


The garden is looking pretty sad but in the house the plant of the moment is this Sansevieria parva, Kenyan hyacinth. So named because the fragrance is similar to that of the hyacinth. Thanks Julie Marcus for the passalong. Just as you said the fragrance is quite amazing, especially in the evening.


The calamondin orange trees are still bearing fruit. I have already made two batches of marmalade and will make more early in January. Hopefully enough to last the whole year.


The calamondins are one of the hardiest citrus but I don't plan to risk their lives. They are in pots and spend the winter in the house, which they tolerate well.

Already there are there signs that 2017 is on the way.

Gulf coast penstemon

HAPPY NEW GARDENING YEAR, everyone.