Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Pleasant Surprise

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Several years ago I purchased a Solandra maxima from a fellow at the Saturday Farmers’ Market.


April 4, 2013 Bloom

It became a 12 foot long plant on a trellis. Numerous cuttings were taken to make more plants that are growing in a numerous locations in my gardens and gardens of friends.

Last year after the annual bloom, the plant lost all of its leaves. I meant to remove it, but just couldn’t find the time.

This evening I was photographing the Brugmansia growing in front of the Solandra maxima.


To my surprise I found that the Solandra maxima is leafing out.
Solandra maxima

Don’t know why it was without leaves for nearly a year, but I am glad I didn’t remove the plant. Maybe it will even bloom this year.

After the Rain

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Iron Bunny with New Aloe

Iron Bunny with New Aloe

New Cactus

New Cactus

Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive?

Memorial Code

Bunny Memorial Patina 5 February 2018

Memorial Code

Bunny Memorial Patina Today

New Plants for Succulent Gardens

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

I have been looking at the little iron bunny in one of my succulent gardens. It seems to disappear into the soil. Had thought that laying a bed of flat grey rocks for it to sit on. Today when I was visiting the neighborhood nursery, I saw this plant.


I have a rule when purchasing plants. They must be planted the day they are purchased.

Today was unusual because it was and still is raining. Rainfall on the CA Central Coast is a bit of an odd occurrence.


I slipped on my seldom used raincoat, pulled the plants out of the pot…


Eight aloe and a cactus.

…and popped them in the garden.


Placed one directly in front of the little iron bunny with two more plants in an imperfect triangle.


Three aloe in a previously open space in the garden.


Two small aloe juxtaposed with some plantlets in the making, all near the memorial bunny.


The volunteer cactus could use a dusting.
Tomorrow when it is no longer raining, I will remove the soil from its spines.

Washington State University Alumni Magazine

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

I received my MFA from Washington State University in Pullman, WA. While there, I was using cuttings from trees and plants in my mixed media work. I became a bit familiar with some of the folks in the Horticulture Department when I was looking for potential sources for art materials. Not only did I find great materials, I also found starts of numerous plants that I grew in my studio.

While I was traveling over the weekend I read the Washington State Magazine Summer 2017 issue. The magazine is full of interesting information about folks at WSU and alumni. Since I have been caring for Monarchs in my gardens, I specifically wanted to read the article about Monarchs.

After reading a number of interesting articles, I read an article on the Newsmedia page about Linda Chalker-Scott’s book, How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do (Science for Gardeners).

How Plants Work Book

I read the excerpt available on the amazon site and decided to purchase the kindle version of her text. Even though I love books, especially beautiful Timber Press books, I didn’t want to wait 2 days for delivery.

Linda Chalker-Scott also posts on the Garden Professors blog. After reading a couple of posts, decided to subscribe.

Sweet Essence of the Magnolia and Brugmansia

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

The small Magnolia in the back garden is in bloom. Last evening I noticed the fragrance of the Magnolia was combining nicely with the delicious fragrance of the Brugmansia.

Magnolia Bloom

Magnolia Bloom with Bee

Magnolia Bud with Pod

The tall tilting tree is actually a Brugmansia.

Brugmansia Tilt

The Wisteria covering the deck was quite heavy last year, casting shade. So the Brug is growing toward the light. When the flower cycle ends, I will cut it back.

I grew the Brug from seed several years ago. I have taken cuttings and harvested seed pods to make more plants.

Brug Pod

A recently harvested Brugmansia seed pod.

I remove Brugmansia and Datura pods to prevent anyone from snagging them to use inappropriately.

The Brug was grown from seed purchased from The site has seed for a variety of plants and a great place to find seed for unusual plants.

Datura Pod

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Datura Pod

Last Datura Pod of Volunteer Plant #2 in Succulent Garden

Bees Buzzing and Brugs

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

When I was painting shelves in the backyard, I heard a constant buzzing. I looked up at the Brugmansia in bloom above me. Bees were everywhere.

1 Bee

1 Bee

2 Bees

2 Bees

3 Bees

3 Bees

3 Bees

What were they doing???

Happy New Year from Shell Beach!

Monday, January 1st, 2018


Gorgeous day at the beach!


Field Seen on Drive to Beach


A Little Bit Closer
What can they be?
Trees? Grapevines?

It was high tide, very few stones on beach that were not under water. Not a holey stone to be found. Does that mean it will be an unlucky year? If I were superstitious, maybe.


About the frames on the images–I am trying out some of the frame options available on the Snapseed app. Seem awfully fussy, drawing attention to themselves. “Hey look at me, Look at me!”


Another example of Look at Me. Bob popped over to check on me.
She often carries stuff around in her beak–a chip, shredded paper, a whole Kleenex, hay…

A New Little Project–Monarch Caterpillars

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

I was away for a few weeks. When I returned, the first garden task was to cut the milkweed plants to the ground. I cut the first one. And just as I was about to cut the second plant I saw a small monarch caterpillar. Shouldn’t really be here in December. The temperature was to drop to the high 30s, so I cut some milkweed leaves and placed them and the caterpillar in a small jar.

Cat in Jar


Every day I clean the jar. Then replace the dried milkweed leaves with fresh cut leaves.

The caterpillar is still small, but I suspect it is twice the size it was when I found it.

I hope that it completes the caterpillar part of the cycle before I run out of milkweed leaves.

2017 December 29 Update
When cutting leaves for the little cat, I found another one. I brought it in. Now there are two.


2018 January 02 Update
Ran out of Milkweed leaves to feed to the Monarch caterpillars. Google search found several Monarch sites suggesting the use of slices of squash, pumpkin, and cucumbers as an alternative food source.


Sliced Squash

Jar Set Up

Squash in New Jar Set Up

Cats in Jar

Caterpillars in Jar with Squash

Cat on Squash

An Hour in New Home
Caterpillar Tasting Squash

2018 January 04 Update


2018 January 05 Update

Squash Eaten

Caterpillar Eaten Squash

Fresh Squash

Fresh Squash and Clean Room

Texas Butterfly Ranch

Butterfly Fun Facts

Monarch Grove Pismo Beach, California/a>

Third Monarch Chrysalis

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Been checking the second Monarch chrysalis daily since finding it October 16, 2017.

New Chrysalis

Monarch Chrysalis Attached to an Angel Wing Begonia Leaf

Today when I was removing unwanted cabbage moth caterpillars from one of my variegated Brugmansia, I found another Monarch chrysalis. It may be newly formed since it still has its skin attached.

Third Chrysalis

Monarch Chrysalis Attached to Variegated Brugmansia Leaf
Morning October 19, 2017

I have yet to see the full transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis. There is a fun video of the transformation on the Monarch Butterfly Garden site. It is amazing to watch!

Yes, the Brug has spider mites. Everything loves Brugs. When I am certain the Monarchs have continued on their journey, I can treat the Brugs.