December 29, 2009

San Diego Blooms

When Susie from Poppy and Sage read that I was going to be visiting San Diego, she recommended I visit Cedros Gardens in Solana Beach which is 15 miles north of downtown. I never made it there, but did manage to take a few pictures of the flowers I saw on Coronado Island and at Seaport Village. Flowers blooming outside in December. Imagine that!

My rickety old computer doesn't let me leave comments on Susie's blog, so I read and enjoy and then feel frustrated that I can't blabber on and on with my comments. Leaving comments only seems to work for me if the blogger is using the pop-up window for comments, as opposed to embedded below post. Hint. Hint.

On Coronado Island, I saw all these poinsettias planted around all the big evergreens growing in the median on Orange Avenue. We were told that in the early years of the Island orange trees were used for landscaping along the avenue, but jackrabbits eventually ate the tree roots and the orange trees were not replaced. Trees less tasty to jackrabbits were planted, but the name Orange Avenue remained.

Something I learned about poinsettias while in San Diego is that the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, CA provides 80% of all poinsettias worldwide. I find that almost impossible to believe, but if they say it's true, that's good enough for me.

Birds of Paradise were blooming everywhere we went. Orange is not my favorite color for flowers, but I fell in love with these beautiful flowers and how they resemble a bird in flight. The glossy green foliage is also very attractive. They are native to South Africa and are sometimes referred to as Crane flowers. It's my understanding that they bloom September through May, so that explains why we saw so many of them.

At Seaport Village, there were many beds of white alyssum and red & white cyclamen growing outside the shops and restaurants. Beautiful, natural Christmas decorations. I only think of cyclamen as a house plant but it can be grown outside provided the temperature doesn't fall below 50 degrees. I've always liked how the stems hold the flowers up over the silvery marbled leaves.

There were also a lot of these bushes with blue berries that caught my eye. I don't know the name of it. Susie is a professional landscape designer, so maybe she can help me out.

These plants with the purple flowers were growing in containers. Although it looks familiar to me, I can't think of the name. Susie? Anyone else?

I also saw many trees that were very unusual and entirely new to me. I'll save those for another post.

In less than 48 hours, it will be January and my thoughts will start turning to spring. That's not necessarily a good thing because spring is still a long way off for all of us in zone 4, but that won't stop me from dreaming.
Happy New Year!

December 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - December 15

This was the view out the airplane window as we left the frozen tundra last Friday and flew off to San Diego. Fat chance of finding anything blooming down there or in my garden.

In a matter of hours, we were at the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado drinking hot cider, soaking up all the history and enjoying all the blooms.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens is the gracious and lovely host of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Be sure to visit her and see how you can join in and share what's blooming (or not blooming, as in my case) in your part of the world. It's fun, you'll enjoy it.

December 9, 2009

Guess It Will Be A White Christmas

Pulled up the blinds early this morning to find 14 inches of snow decorating everything in sight. In this part of the country winter is harsh, but a fresh snowfall never fails to take my breath away.

More winter white could be seen out this window with Frosty providing just a touch of color.

Took this picture through the window in the middle of the night. The outdoor Christmas lights were still on and it looked magical out there.

We're leaving on Friday for a few days in San Diego. The SD weather forecast for the weekend is 60 degrees and showers. Know what? That's sounds mighty good to me right now.

November 22, 2009

Less Is More

Sometimes less is more, like apple trees without the leaves. I think they look amazing. The bright red apples have the appearance of ornaments hanging in the trees. They brighten up the brown landscape and I can just imagine how pretty it would look if snow covered the orchard. All that fruit will provide food for wildlife. Blacks bears, red squirrels, deer, turkeys, fox, fishers, porcupines, bobcat and coyotes are all known to eat apples.

Star Orchard is located in Hollandtown, just blocks from P & N's house. The orchard can be seen out their windows and provides a scenic view all year long.

Wish I could muster up this much enthusiasm. Maybe I'll ask P & N for permission to jump on their couch and experience what it feels like to jump up to the ceiling.

Phillip has a blog now. If you're interested in what a second grader blogs about, you can go here to take a look. Having trouble getting this link to work. Hope I'm not driving you crazy with the edits.

November 17, 2009

A Birthday Girl Named Sue

The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.

English Proverb

Sue, my birthday gift to you
is this tiny house.
I know you love them so.

I pass by it every week
on my way to Hollandtown.
It always makes me think of you.

Now, if only I could
move this tiny house from
north to south.

Happy Birthday far away friend.
You are someone special
who deserves the very best!

November 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - 11/15/09

If you came here expecting to find blooms in these containers, I'm sorry but you're about a month late. Here's where the pots spend the winter, the northwest corner of the house where nobody can see them. Kind of sad.

The ornamental grasses look as nice in the late fall as they do in the summer. Different, but nice. I'm determined to cut them down right after Thanksgiving because in my opinion, they do not provide attractive visual interest buried in snow and are a terrible mess to clean up in the spring. If Alley Cat wasn't part of our family, I'd consider bringing in some plumes to arrange in a tall vase.

Staghorn sumac is a decidious shrub that can grow to a height of 25'. Its leaves are very colorful in the early fall. The cylinder-shaped berry clusters are red and fuzzy looking and last through the winter. The branches have a velvet appearance that resembles deer antlers, thus the name Staghorn. Only the female plants produce berries which provide food for birds, especially game birds.

Our neighbors have this tangled conglomeration of yellow apples and red berries growing together in their front yard. I can't walk by it without stopping to admire it.

The very talented Carol from May Dreams Gardens is the host of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and I thank her very much for doing so. And I thank YOU for stopping by Mamma Mia Days.

November 13, 2009

Closed For The Season

When I saw all these picnic tables standing on end at Pamperin Park last Saturday, I figured that the park employees were sending the message that if we wanted to have a picnic in November, we should bring a blanket along. It's our largest developed county park and it's less than a mile from our house. The park is hilly and wooded and has the scenic Duck Creek flowing through it. I've been taking Phillip there on a regular basis since he's been able to walk.

There's not a lot of color to be found outside this time of year so when I noticed how amazing this little girl's hair looked in the sunlight, I couldn't resist taking a picture of it. She was unknown to me so I didn't photograph her face, but she was very pretty and seemed so happy to be at the park with all the other kids.

It's that time of year here in Wisconsin when the Asian lady beetles seem to be every place including on my water bottle. They're looking for places to hibernate for the winter and we find them both on the house and in the house. They love a warm southern exposure. Did I mention that they bite?

Near the end of last summer, my niece, the Garden Princess, was digging out some of her California Poppies and gave me a bunch of roots that looked dried out and close to death. I brought them home, planted them, watered them a few times and then forgot about them. I looked at them last week and found them pushing out some green. They like a lot of sun and do well in dry, sandy soil so I suspect it's happy where it's planted. They don't usually transplant well because of the long tap root and so it's best to sow the seed directly into the garden in the spring.

At first glance, I wasn't sure if I was seeing seeds in this pod or mouse droppings. Seeds, right? I've got mice on my mind because Alley Cat has been sitting and staring at the fireplace for long periods of time. We ignore her because he don't want to think that there are mice in the fireplace.

I still see a leaf now and then that grabs my attention, like this one. I've always liked the look of a lone leaf.

Not sure why our neighbors have left their red cooler sitting outside, but I take my shot of color wherever I can find it. They borrowed our wheelbarrow back in July and never returned it. Today I saw it in their backyard and wheeled it back to our house. I wonder if they'll even notice. They're a very nice family, but I hope they don't ask to borrow anything else.

Happy Weekend To All Of You.

November 6, 2009

Back In The Saddle

I'm back to blogging, but this isn't me in the saddle. It's Phillip, horseback riding while on a family vacation to Yellowstone last summer.

It's true that all of our pretty spring, summer and autumn color is gone and we're left with mostly brown, but that's no excuse not to get outside with my camera and look for something that's still growing. If not growing, then at least something that catches my eye.

I took the camera along when I walked out to get the mail today and found both the Foamflower (Tiarella 'Pirate's Patch') and Heuchera (Coral Bells 'Caramel') wearing their fall colors and looking rather nice.

The Lamium 'Beacon's Silver' must like cool weather because it's still pushing out some violet-colored blooms.

We have several of these bushes in our yard that show off nice clumps of berries in November. I don't know the name of the bushes, but I like them.

Back in the summer, I grew a pumpkin plant that produced plenty of flowers, but not even one teeny, tiny pumpkin. I wasn't expecting one that weighed 1,232 pounds, but one pumpkin would have been nice. In the plant's defense, it suffered miserably from mildew.

I saw this colorful sign at the edge of a drab November cornfield. There was no sign of the dairy being under construction. Clever name.

Now that I've managed to publish a post, I'll be around to visit your blogs and see what you've been up to lately.

October 31, 2009

Thinking Of You

Have A Weirdly-Wonderful,
Happy Halloween.

In case you're wondering, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth but I have been sentenced to 4 weeks of hard leaf raking/blowing. I'll be back to blogging soon.

October 20, 2009

Mushrooms Galore!

Retired people have time to do things like sit in the grass and remove any fungi they see.

While sitting there, I looked around and everything looked so pretty. The fall color is past its peak, but still a sight that makes me glad to be alive. I went inside and grabbed my camera, sat back down on the grass and took a few pictures.

We do a complete clean up of everything in the fall and that includes four weeks of blowing/raking leaves. By the middle of November, I'm tired and feel ready to sell the house, move into an apartment and do my gardening at our son and dil's house. Come spring, I'm thankful we didn't move into that apartment.
Our Porch Swing

October 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - 10/15/09

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is on the 15th of every month and is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. It's a nice way to share what's blooming in your garden and a fantastic way to visit gardens all over the world. Thank you, Carol.

The only annuals that haven't fallen victim to Jack Frost are the various snapdragons that are in containers. They still look this pretty even though the temperature has been down in the 20's a few nights.

This tiny white phlox 'David' was planted about a month ago and is already rewarding me with blooms despite the cold weather.

This picture of impatiens and hypoestes was taken last Friday. They were dead on Sunday morning. I bought the containers at a yard sale last spring. Paid twenty-five cents each.

All of the sedum 'Autumn Joy' are looking picture perfect except for a few of them where the plant stems aren't strong enough to support the large flower heads.

These ornamental grasses (name unknown) are at the end of the driveway, on both sides. They are turning a pretty gold/orange and will be even more colorful in a few weeks. Note: They look prettier when it's not snowing and the sun is shining.
I hardly ever buy pumpkins, but my sister-in-law gave me this one and I like it a lot.

These are the same trees as in my header photo. What a difference a few snowflakes make.

October 12, 2009

Loving Autumn

I took a short break from posting and reading blogs, but think I'm ready to jump back into it. I'm not especially good at posting, but I dearly luv reading all your blogs and have missed doing so.

Of all the lilies that bloomed this summer, none of them made me happier than this tough cookie that bloomed after the plant had been cut down.

This crabapple tree is outside my dentist's office. When I was there last week, I commented to the people working there how pretty it looked. They couldn't think what tree I was talking about even though they walk by it every day on their way into work. They went to the window to take a look and agreed with me that the orange fruit was very attractive. Interesting how we sometimes miss the beauty right around us.

I often drive by the Oneida Apple Orchard and never tire of seeing these wooden boxes filled with apples. And I never tire of eating locally grown apples.

The fall color here in northeast Wisconsin peaks about the middle of October. The new header photo was taken out my front door. The view brightens my heart every time I look at it, but sometimes an individual leaf makes a bigger impression on me.

I know how you've been wishing and hoping for another turkey photo and I aim to please:) All my turkey photos are taken from inside the car because once I get out they scatter.