Friday, November 30, 2012


No! I don't think I will, thank you very much!

He looks as though he is stalking one of our turkeys. My neighbor sent me this photo which he captured with his outdoor camera. I had no idea we had such a predator in our midst. But of course we have all the prey so why not;  foxes, turkeys, deer, coyotes, ringtailed cats, possums, raccoons, rock squirrels, regular squirrels, armadillos, rabbits and hispid cotton rats. Talking of which.

Here's the evidence that the hispid cotton rat has been busy collecting seeds for the winter. This is his favorite food and he clearly spends hours removing the flowers and that very difficult fluffy white stuff which surrounds the seed. (When I plant the seeds in the spring I just plant the whole thing).

Then I had to go to some extreme measure to protect the caterpillars of the giant swallowtail which are on my dill. That is because this morning the roadrunner popped in for breakfast. Just a few feet away from me he eyed me up then picked a juicy caterpillar from the plant. "No more", I say, as I chased him off. He is getting far too bold. Come on in Mr Bobcat.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I took this shot of the garden just a couple of days ago. It was one of those perfect Texas fall days. The garden was alive with butterflies and bees and the flowers were at their brightest due to the cooler evenings followed by balmy days. Then, overnight a frost and suddenly winter was in the air. Flowers began to fade. Tomorrow I will begin the big tidy up and seed collection and bring inside the remaining tender plants, even though we are promised summer-like temperatures this week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


And the lemon flower is sweet,
And the fruit of the lemon is delicious to eat.

Another great crop of improved Meyer lemons, despite a difficult summer. They are considerably smaller this year and still a few weeks away from being fully ripe. When the faint tinge of green on the skins finally disappears I will know that they are ready to pick. This one pot has 33 lemons. If you have never grown this fruit then put it on your list for next year. The dwarf trees are so easy to grow. In my garden the trees spend the summer outside and then come indoors for the winter. In the early spring flowers begin to open perfuming the house with that Southern California fragrance.

On some of the other trees the branches are weighed down by the weight of fruits. I am not one to thin. I'll be making lemon curd, lemon marmalade, lemon bars, lemon pudding, crepes a la English style, and Meyer lemon olive oil. I'll also be giving plenty away.

My little calamondin is grown only for decoration. The fruit is far too bitter. Its little fruits will brighten the house on cold winter days.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


All summer we had our afternoon tea in the shade, but not any more.

Today, we drove home from our family Thanksgiving in Dallas. It was such a gorgeous fall day. I couldn't wait to get outside in the garden. Despite the sun the air is chilly by 3:30pm, and when tea time arrived we needed a place to sit in the sun. The link between our garage and house is the spot, as it faces the west. That is where I have my little sea shell table and two chairs.

 The grasses, Melinis nerviglumis, are back-lit at this time of the day and really look wonderful. They no longer need their pink plumes to steal the show. Sitting here affords me the chance to look over the entry garden and decide which of the grasses will be removed before the next season.

Then the sun sinks behind the high wall and the magic show is over for another day.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I spend hours outside removing plants and weeds that grow in the pathways. If I only had to do it once a year that would be OK but I seem to do it continuously. We play hopscotch out there, jumping from one stone to another in order to avoid plants.

For some reason the plants seem to prefer the gravel between the pavers: probably because they enjoy a cool root run beneath the stones.

I make resolutions to keep the pathways cleared but somehow I just can't do it. Of course it isn't surprising. Just look at this blanket flower. Now could you pull that out? It has been a staunch bloomer throughout the summer and will likely still be blooming come the spring.

This is the area behind the vegetable beds. It is impossible to walk there without stepping on plants. Gomphrena, marigold mint, salvias and grasses compete with the blanket flowers.

And this is what is to come: California poppies. I have a feeling they are going to get pretty trampled when the tank gets leveled in the spring.

My favorites are the alyssums and narrow leaf zinnias. I never know what color will show up. The dark purple is my favorite.

Mealy blue sage completely covers the pathway in front of the lemon trees.

All these plants seed themselves so I can be sure they will all be there again next year unless I can stick to my resolution.


Congratulations to Steph@ramblingwren, the winner of my giveaway book The Roots of my Obsession. Please email me your address to

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Today is the last day to sign up for a chance to win a copy of the book The Roots of my Obsession. It is a great little book and will make you think hard about your obsession with gardening. You may even want to share yours.

I took the book away with me on a recent trip where there was no opportunity to visit gardens or see very much plant life. That didn't stop me thinking about my gardening life. All I had to satisfy my gardening obsession was this little book, a glass of sangria, a calm sea and a perfect sunset and dreaming about next year's garden.
I will draw a random number for the winner tomorrow so if you haven't left a comment go there now and do it. The Roots of my Obsession.