The Bountiful Garden

bountiful-garden-picsAutumn is the time of year when I tend to peruse book stores and magazine racks. The alluring titles and pictures of Harvest time is a magnet. Photos of baking bread, berry pies, recipes with squash and apples, and gardens full of Pumpkins and Sunflowers make my pulse rate rise with enthusiasm.

        It makes me want to have one of those glorious gardens that are an eclectic mix of veggies and flowers, entwined with roses and colorful vines. Where theredownload are blue and white china bowls filled with herbs, or old whisky barrels painted in vivid colors with the herbs of the season ready to enhance the tasty recipes I’ve clipped throughout the years.

I picture table grapes in rows along the fence and tee-pees full of beans or peas in a corner with fragrant lavender or roses in waves, accenting the bounty from my garden.

Along with my favorite Liquid Amber trees for fall color, and cypress or fir for Christmas scent, a few fruit trees for different seasons would be scattered here and there with wildflower-like perennials at their feet. There would be strawberries in season & rosemary for a fresh herb, as well as aroma therapy in vases around the house.

       834b96cef750549713a80be25478dcc6 I’d plant chard, zucchini and artichokes with my flowering shrubs, and at this time of year, I’d be getting ready to cut my pumpkins for the porch and hearth. I love the thought of living the country life and sharing its glorious bounty with neighbors and friends…of making pies with my berry crop or apple trees, but alas I have to admit that instead, I make trips to the farmers markets and floral stands by the side of the road. My stack of recipes keeps mounting and I haven’t even found the magic of growing the rudimentary tomato.

       images I can still adore the feeling that overwhelms me with warmth and joy as I see visions of fall and plan my garden of amazing harvests…and look forward to my time curled up on the sofa with my magazines of inspiration. Who knows…maybe one day my vision of the perfect garden will exist. Maybe one day, inch by inch, I will bring that magic to fruition. I will grow beans and sweet peas, and watch my Sunflowers reach for the sky, and then you will come over for my famous apple crumb pie or peach cobbler!

        As I wrote this article, I envisioned the landscape I was creating on paper, so I enlisted the internet to see any images I could find where veggies, fruit, sunflowers or pumpkins were used to get some real visuals. I came across a website by Rosalind Creasy of Los Altos, California with some great examples of doing just what I had envisioned. She has also written several books, but the one that covers our topic here is “Edible Landscaping”.   I have used some of the photos from her pages available online.  She also has a blog, but I couldn’t find any recent posts. It was however quite interesting & colorful in a harvest of creativity. If you get a chance, or this article provokes more interest, I’d recommend visiting her website.

Happy Harvest Time,

          Jackie Jesch




Summertime Projects…An Infusion of Joy for your Garden

We all like to spend time outdoors with family and friends in the summer, which leads to giving some attention to our outdoor living space. I have found that I love to spend some early evening time outdoors snipping, planting and dreaming up ideas for my garden area.

As I made my mental notes of fun ideas, I thought I’d share them with you. If outdoor decorating & creating brings you joy, as it does me, I hope I can pass along some positive energy and smiles to you.

    • I love “Market Lights”!  They are fun and inviting. Look for places you might want to try them.images1XP7PQQM




    • Plant a succulent, or perennial chair to place in your garden, porch or patio area. I go to vintage, antique barns, or second hand stores to find one that have some charm & remove the seat. You can give it a coat of chalk or spray 028 (2)paint first, if it needs some first aid. Staple or tack soft screen in the seat area leaving enough droop in the seat for soil. Fill your soil enough to give it a gentle mound to plant on. Then just plant with succulents or small assorted perennials!
    • Try adding some sand and smooth stones to create a dry stream bed. This is good for difficult areas to grow plants (too shady, hot or uneven) and gives a new dimension to your outdoor space. Be sure to give it soft sides and look at pictures of mountain streams first, to avoid a ring-around-the rosy look with your larger rocks.   This will avoid the “after-thought” look.
    • Add soft nature music to your outdoor entertainment area. Bird song, rivers, rain, breeze…will make you feel relaxed and transport you to the mountains or sea right in your own backyard.
    • Move some softness outside with overstuffed pillows and throws for evenings with friends on the patio.14 Mullen



  • Luminaries in the garden or patio tables make me “light –up” with joy! They are unexpected and your guests will feel transported to a delightful get-away…so will you. 
  • Shade sails are great for summer fun in your outdoor spaces where it gets too hot to sit, swim or entertain. They are readily available on the internet & Sunbrella makes them in several colors!imagesR7TT8R25


  • Find a place for a double-seated swing or glider… I love the ones that look vintage and can be hung from a beam. Just picture a nice summer evening gliding back and forth… feeling the evening air, reading, talking …or just dreaming as you sip that iced lemonade or coffee.images[8]

I enjoyed sharing my “wish list” with you…now have some fun making one of your own. I hope I gave you new vision as you look at your familiar space with new excitement. If you have some shady areas that need a punch of color, come and visit WB’s Shade House full of exotic Bromeliads, potted & hanging Succulents, decorative Driftwood and more.

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Have a Joy-filled summer in your Garden,

Jackie Jesch

What’s Trending in Succulents – Part 7 “Succulent Tapestry Landscaping”


When it comes to Succulent Tapestries, Laura Eubanks of Design for Serenity is one of the best. When making a Tapestry, very much like needlepoint, your designs forms a tight knit formation without blank spaces. In a succulent design that would translate to no dirt showing.

Succulents are placed in relation to size with the largest first and then filledacca1b4d672129ef5092309a02684ff6[1] in and surrounded with smaller plantings or cuttings keeping in mind blends of colors and shapes. It’s almost like doing needle work or a painting, but with no fear. Succulents are forgiving, can be moved easily snipped and trimmed and stuck back into the soil. With a no fear, playful state of mind, creating these tapestries can be fun, fast and addictive with dramatic results


Another element that can be used to fill in spaces between planting is rock, stones or pebbles. The best Succulent Tapestries I’ve seen uses these elements 51f301205114ee0f1c6d38c53322c2fb[1]wisely to enhance, rather than detract from the design. It interweaves hard texture opposed to the softness of the plants, but feels as if each brings out the best of the other. It’s a delicate balance and should not take the eye away from the beauty of the intricate weave of your succulent pattern.

Planting with Passion

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My personal passion is flowers. I love a cottage garden filled with colorful flowers…roses, and perennials with a wildflower habit. Add some fluffy, flowery borders and even some bulbs like Delphiniums, Hollyhocks, or Foxgloves to the mix and I’d call it heavenly. I throw in some California poppy seeds for a sunset orange that makes my heart skip a beat as they join my eclectic garden of beautiful flowers.

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A flowery landscape can easily get a bit too wild. It will need places for the eye to rest. One option is to add stones, rocks or pebbles creating some areas of separation. Another option is to add a bench or a couple of chairs on some decomposed granite or pea gravel. The third option is to add some plants that are primarily leafy or cool-toned foliage to the mix. It will balance and accentuate the bounty of flowers. It’s best to use these in clumps or waves rather than random “polka-dot” patterns for the best results.

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A flower or cottage garden looks lovely with some added accents, like a bird bath, or arbor. You may want to add a wandering path of flagstone. Your own creativity will lead you as you choose how to accentuate your garden. Let your passion and creativity guide you. Gardening should come from the heart as you discover what plants do well in your garden and new ones to try. It’s nice to plant some that perform all year and some that will bloom in different seasons to add a changing dimension to your landscape.

I like to think of gardening as painting a picture with plants. Composition is important. Close your eyes and envision your landscape as you “paint” your garden. Try not to become too serious about perfection…think of it as play, keep a light heart and plant joyfully. Changing your garden is half the fun. Try out ideas, being open to change as it develops and you won’t lose the passion.

Cactus Flowers Abound in glorious Beauty and Color

Opuntia basilaris Durango l-s 

        I’ve often said that cacti are “Armed and Dangerous”, but when they bloom, they produce some of the most exquisite blossoms I’ve ever seen. At this time of the year, they are “On Stage” and I get a front row seat as they explode in beautiful colors, and some in tremendous sizes!

       Our Opuntias and Tricholobivia hybrids are breathtaking, and only a photo can do them justice…or coming to see them for yourself. They are always surprising us…one day the white will be spectacular…two days later, the brilliant red…or pink; Before long, another joins the chorus of color.

       What is astounding to me is how these pads and columns of sharp spikes that keep us at a safe distance, can deliver such an alluring flower. Obviously, like us, they hold unseen treasures deep within.   Only at the right moment can they be observed and appreciated to their fullest. There is a time for all seasons…and very shortly will be the season to experience the “treasure” of the Cactus Flowers…You are Invited to the Show.

       Tom Jesch, of Waterwise Botanicals has devoted the last few decades to developing a line of winter-hardy cactus, some of his own hybrids, some out of horticulture, and some collected from secret places in the high mountain forests. Now for the first time, he is releasing and presenting them to the public!

       Come and see thousands of incredible landscape Cactus in full bloom, staged for your enjoyment and delight at Waterwise Botanicals! Bloom time starts in March, and extends through early May.

       On April 8th, 2016, world renowned succulent guru and author, Debra Lee Baldwin will co-host a flowering cactus event with Tom at Waterwise Botanicals. Join us for a day that you will never forget…among the cactus flowers!

Winter Blooming Aloes

Aloe ciliaris hybrid

Winter is the season when leaves have fallen from the trees… when we clean the rain gutters, and prune back our roses & shrubs. Gardens and landscapes seem a bit lifeless as they wait upon spring. I still love the winter garden. As I prune and rake, I find delight in the plants that are still full of color, either in their foliage, or in persistent blossoms they continue to share.
The Aloe blossoms are like torches of hope and beauty. While we are lighting our fireplaces, wearing our scarves and sweaters and pulling on our boots and beanies,

Aloe ferox
Aloe ferox

Aloes are budding and blooming, each with their unique shape and size, but most with a brilliant orange blossom…a color of energy, fire and warmth.  Aloes can have a variety of foliage color, as well as, varying sizes and shapes making them extremely desirable in the landscape. Their structure and growth habits range from ground

Aloe striata hybrid
Aloe striata hybrid


hugging rosettes, to tall and stately trees, and when they bloom; their blossoms are lush with color.  As an added attraction, Hummingbirds love them.
The foliage of the Aloe can range from deep greens to variations of gray or opalescent tones, and from soft grey/green to red or plum-like colors. Some of these colors are unique to certain Aloes, while others are

Aloe rudikoppe
Aloe rudikoppe

affect color change with temperature change or stress from drought.
After years of observing Aloes, I can say they provide a powerful impact to the landscape through both structure, and color.  The uniqueness of their vast and wondrous varieties almost seems endless. The Aloes shown are just a few of your choices. Explore & discover more options on our website with descriptions and photos. This winter, light up your landscape with “Amazing Aloes”.  Come for a visit here at Waterwise Botanicals soon.  We are here for inspiration in the garden.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera

Elements of a Meditation/Prayer Garden

In the busy world we live in, it’s nice to have a spot in your garden to “quiet” the buzz of your day… to breathe, relax, read, pray or meditate.

When we were up in the Bay Area of California, we began to walk a nature trail along a stream bordering the little town of Mill Valley. As we rounded a spot in the path we saw two ladies doing yoga on a deck under beautiful tall pines. It was so inspiring to see friends coming together in these quite surroundings to stretch away the stresses of life.
Continue reading “Elements of a Meditation/Prayer Garden”