More than Driftwood

 When I see a piece of driftwood, I think of the sea…but there is more to it than that. Driftwood is a survivor of the storms. It gets tossed, carved, polished and punished by harsh forces before it gets to shore. Even then it survives sun, wind, and more storms. I’ve often overlooked the journey of a piece of driftwood…only admiring the smooth, beautiful twists and turns…colors and shapes of the end result.

Some of them still look rough and worn…even battered, but others fair better and the beauty is brought about by their trials. The qualities of the wood from which they derive play a part in their journey, as well. Softer wood will show the ravages of a storm in a different way than hard wood and the intrinsic values of each wood…color, growth patterns, and density will be a part of the end result.  In any case, every piece of driftwood has a story.

I love to see driftwood used in the landscape, or used as a container for planting. It can be a wonderful patio or home décor accent, adding a touch of nature to your environment. I’ve seen it used as a base for tables or displayed on walls, even hung by rope or chain from beams…both inside and out. We can only guess the story of each piece as we place it, or plant it or hang it, but to be sure it will bring a story to your home, and no doubt be a conversation piece.

We are not that different from the driftwood, are we? We have trials, and storms to weather…we have certain characteristics handed down through generations…we have strengths, and weaknesses that can tear us down…or give us a hurdle to jump. We have stories too. Sometimes I see dozens of beautifully different faces, laughing, talking, playing or working…however, once in a while I catch a glimpse of someone I’d love to draw, or write about. Their face has character…lines and wrinkles that hold a smile…eyes that shine despite the creases around them, weathered hands that are gentle, or a raspy voice that carries soft encouraging words.

The next time I plant a piece of driftwood, or choose one to display…I will wonder where it has been, what is has experienced, and admire the intrinsic qualities of the wood…and I hope I can give more grace to the difficult people I encounter…or encouragement when I have a chance. There just might be a hurdle in their path, after all…we are all on our way to becoming “beautiful”.

Come by and take a look at our wonderful display of driftwood from Larry Bourget’s “Sea Foam Driftwood” here at Waterwise Botanicals. There might be a piece you identify with…a soulmate from the sea…an intriguing accent for your home or garden waiting for you!

Perennials that dance in the wind have a “wild” quality that is so appealing. They express grace and softness in the landscape becoming the “music of the garden” as they sway. I love to see a variety of color playing host to one another, creating a whimsical, inviting appearance. Let’s take a look at a few favorites that attract Butterflies and some that attract Hummingbirds, as well… adding an extra dose of joy!

            Salvia Amistad is in the mint family with deep green foliage on long graceful stems. Its blossoms of purple line the top of the stems in the summer and fall. I like to keep mine at about 3’ tall by simply snapping the stems down to maintain the overall grace and width of this gorgeous perennial. Its water needs fall into the medium range, and likes cool sun to light shade.                               * Attracts Butterflies and Hummingbirds

            Gaura lindheimeri has long stems lined with little flowers that resemble Butterflies and blooms spring through fall, taking a break in the winter. It comes in both white and pink & will need pruning to the ground a couple of times a year to refresh the foliage and flowers. It grows to about 3 ½ feet tall and wide. My personal preference is the white…it seems wispier and a bit taller than the pink. Gaura is deer and rabbit resistant and attracts Hummingbirds and Butterflies.

            Lavendula heterophylla, or Sweet Lavender produces soft, wispy, blue-purple flowers that rise up above the foliage almost year-round. It exudes a sweet lavender scent that adds a nice touch of aroma therapy to your garden, and doesn’t like a lot of water. To keep them thriving by giving them a diet of low water and sunshine. They grow to a nice size of about 3’ x 3’ tall & wide, love cool climates, attract Butterflies, but do struggle in the hot summer.

           Tagetes lemmonii is a soft shrub forming a loose rounded form with fern-like green leaves and golden yellow daisy-like flowers. Its herbal foliage gives it a scent of Marigold…something one loves or strongly dislikes, but its overall bloom appeal is like sunshine in your garden, attracting Butterflies, as well! It needs little water, and loves the sun, blooming mostly in the fall/winter and sometimes into spring depending on the weather. It will need a good pruning after blooming to insure new growth and flowers.

            Centranthus ruber is another eye-catcher with its pink, reddish or white flowers on 2-3 foot slender stems. It spreads by re-seeding aggressively, but can be controlled by weeding out new growth & pruning. I often just chop and pull randomly to keep a nice, wild impression. Centranthus makes an absolute beautiful haze of color spring through fall. It is deer and rabbit resistant, attracts Butterflies and is easy to grow!

           Heuchera sanguinea blooms winter through spring on slender stems about 18” tall lined with bell shaped coral flowers deriving from a cluster of low green rounded leaves at the base. These “Coral Bells” add graces and color as they dance in the breeze. They like filtered sun or partial shade to full sun along the coast, like regular garden watering, and attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds!

Lobelia laxiflora has slender stems with small tubular orange/red flowers at the tips spring through fall, and grows to about 2 ½ feet tall, but spreading to about 4+feet wide. It’s very graceful habit is beautiful in a “Wild Perennial” garden as well as water-wise. It loves the sun to partial shade and takes a little pruning to keep its flowers freshened. It attracts Hummingbirds and Butterflies!

Salvia clevlandii is a bit more of a shrub, but one with some great aroma therapy going on! Between it’s whorls of sweet smelling lavender flowers and the herb scented foliage it carries an amazing scent and wonderful impact when planted in your garden. Its long stems still sway in the breeze and it blooms from spring to mid-summer. It loves good drainage, is water-wise, a California sun-loving native, and attracts Butterflies!

*As an added note, I’d like to suggest scattering California Poppy seeds in with your graceful perennials. They add a wonderful “wild” grace like a spring bloom in the desert, as well as attracting Butterflies with a punch of orange color.

“The Power of a First Impression”

When friends and family come to visit, does your landscape or garden offer a welcoming smile…an embracing hug on your behalf…or a “keep out” sign? 

I know that might sound a little odd, but the first thing people notice is thefirst-impression-pics-for-article-jpg-5 warmth or appeal of your home garden. It conveys an invitation, or a cold shoulder depending on the appearance, often called “curb appeal” by realtors.

The first impression of your landscape can truly set the mood first-impression-pics-for-articleof your home, whether it’s free-form and flowery, jewel-toned succulents, easy breezy perennials and grasses or cool, comfortable foliage. During our lives we often meet people that are engaging and positive. They leave us with a pleasant feeling. Our gardens can be that kind of ambassador to the outside world.

first-impression-pics-for-article-jpg-3Have you ever taken a walk and were suddenly stopped in your tracks by a beautifully simple landscape that seemed to speak to you. Maybe it was the colors…or the textures…or the soothing grace or symmetry that first-impression-pics-for-article-jpg-2impressed you. Perhaps it was a couple of chairs or some bird feeders…a stone path instead of concrete…a swing on the porch and lattice arbor.

 

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If your landscape has lost its appeal…gotten dull, and unimpressive, you can give it new life…a smile to welcome you home, or to others who pass by. Take a fresh look at what your garden says to the world around you. Sometimes even our aging gardens need a little “face lift”…after all, our environment affects our mood, and it can lift or deflate.

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Landscaping is one of the least costly ways of softening and enhancing your home.  It can also add to its value not just in terms of resale, but the “Home Sweet Home” feeling you can’t put a price on!

 

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”

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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.

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.
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