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!

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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 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

 

 

 

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!

The Soothing Sounds of Water

The Soothing Sounds of Water

I find gardening to be good therapy. Working with your hands creatively beautifying your landscape or garden area is good for the soul. Walking through botanical gardens or sitting with a friend in the fresh air of an outdoor setting with birds, and butterflies quiets our tensions and relieves stress. The sound of water multiplies the effect of that calmness.
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What’s Trending in Succulents – Part 2 – “Succulent Walls”

There is something about a “Succulent Wall” that creates an impact! They are much like creating a framed living painting…or mural for the outdoors and can be quite breathtaking. This new media is gaining wide interest with workshops and kits in abundance, in fact, Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach just had a workshop recently.
Continue reading “What’s Trending in Succulents – Part 2 – “Succulent Walls””

What’s Trending in Succulents – Part 3 – “Moss and Glue Succulent Creations”

This dimension of “succulent art” defies the usual aspect of growing succulents in soil and proves how extraordinarily resilient they can be.

Personally, I first encountered this technique when we had Laura Eubanks here at Waterwise Botanicals last fall. She was leading a workshop of succulent topped pumpkins. We had such fun as everyone glued the moss to the pumpkin top and then glued succulent cuttings to the moss adding other decorative “bits of bark”, etc. to make it their own.
Continue reading “What’s Trending in Succulents – Part 3 – “Moss and Glue Succulent Creations””