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

 

 

 

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.

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.

Winter Blooming Aloes

Aloe-ciliaris-hyb
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.
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