Category Archives: plants

A trunk full of plants

my trunk is filled with plants for the front yard from Evergreen Nursuery

After much planning I now have all our plants for the front yard! Actually this excludes the raised beds in front of the house where I want to put roses but for the main section we have it. I went Evergreen Nursery, a wholesale nursery that also sells to the public, and I bought the smaller sized plants (that were nearly a 1/4 of the price). At the nursery customers drive around and load their cars with plants and then pay at the exit. It is a bit time consuming to find exactly what you need but worth the price. Personally I really enjoy perusing the aisles looking at plants so the experience was fun.

This time I brought my sunset western gardening book as a handy reference as well and I was glad I was able to have that to make smart decisions.

Here is what I got.
7 pink Muhley Grass
9 red yucca
4 red bottle brus
h “little john”
4 small succulents
5 yellow flowers.

Aloes in bloom

It is hard not to notice aloes in bloom everywhere I’m Southern California this time of year. It seems that most of the year these structural plants are quite unassuming but when they bloom they can easily triple in size and boast bright, showy blooms that almost look other worldly. It is a winter treat (I use the term winter loosely as for the past month we haven’t gotten rain and the temperature has been averaging 75 degrees).



Amaryllis in the Botanical building at Balboa Park

This week I went with my parents to the botanical building in Balboa park. It is always fun to see the lush display of plants that change throughout the year. In once entrance they had Amaryllis. What is the plural of that amaryllises amarylli? Anyway they were gorgeous but it was a bit embarrassing because my son broke off one of the stems with the flowers. I am guessing that might be one of the reasons why mine look like this.

The amaryllis flowers that are growing at my house are a little sadder looking

In many parts of the country this is considered a flower associated with Christmas. It is however forced to bloom at that time and largely blooms in the spring like most bulbs. Really though it is a spring flower. This plant is native to South Africa. Southern California has a similar climate and we can grow many of the same things (think Birds of Paradise (Heliconia), Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), and Arctotis (African daisy). These bulbs have been established for some time and have no irrigation. Regardless, they actually look fairly decent. I may plant some more of these in other parts of the yard due to this fact alone.

Let’s learn about some awesome plants – Mock Orange

Mock Orange flowers
The Mock Orange plant’s flowers grow in little white clusters. They attract lots of bees and they smell delightful.

It is funny to me to talk about plants currently in our yard because we might have something like 5 living plants, a few trees and a whole lot of dirt. One of our trees in the backyard we were thinking about taking out because it is growing into another tree. I had no clue what tree it was as I’d never seen any like it in our area. This month though it started blooming and the flowers helped me identify it as a shrub pruned into a tree. My mother-in-law also really likes plants and told me that it is a Mock Orange (Murraya Paniculata).

The Mock Orange plant (and the tree shaped shrub) seems drought tolerant once established. We have lived here for months without watering and it has scarcely drooped. In fact it seems to have quite a bit of new growth. Left unchecked it would get quite out of hand (but might be nice for a privacy planting). It has flowers that smell lovely!

Mock Orange Tree
This Tree in our backyard is actually a Mock Orange shrub pruned into a tree. At this point it is at least 20 feet tall.

Staghorn Fern


We had a lovely morning at a beloved little girls birthday party. We were over at Aunt Janis and Uncle Bruce’s house for it. They have molded their yard into the perfect place to host parties and entertain. Aunt Janis hosted both my bridal and baby shower there. I did not get photos of their yard but it is lovely. Our spaces are different but in many ways we are using the idea if it for inspiration for our own yard.

I was talking to Uncle Bruce about his yard and specifically his staghorn ferns. He showed me one that is about four feet by five feet. Apparently he had inherited it from his grandmother (what a cool thing to inherit). I’m going to butcher his story but originally it was in the botanical garden building in Balboa Park. He gave me a pup from it that he has mounted. I am thrilled that I get one of these interesting plants!

Bruce told me that Staghorn Ferns like potassium and to cut up banana peels regularly and sprinkle them on top to feed them.