Saturday, April 13, 2013

Garden Hopping Over The Hills And Through The Canyons In Poway, California (Part Two)

One of the nice things about garden tours
 is the opportunity to see communities I haven't seen before. Poway, north and inland from San Diego, was the location for the San Diego Horticultural Society's annual garden tour last weekend and it was the first time I had reason to visit--even though I've lived in San Diego for decades. I spent the day visiting six gorgeous gardens on the tour (see my favorite one here), but I learned Poway is beautiful from one side of town to the other.

Poway feels a little bit city and a little bit country. Most of the gardens on this tour have beautiful views of hills, mountains and canyons. This one, in a front yard with a stunning hedge of red bougainvillea and a rock rose plant,

can be seen from this bench, surrounded by a sea of purple statice and white alyssum.

The backyard continues to border the hilltop lookout
with an inviting flagstone path lined with California poppies, statice,
agave and a beautiful native shrub, 

 Ceanothus,"Yankee Point."

There are lots of reasons to stop and linger in this garden,
 but I still had more gardens to tour.

In this native garden, a tall glass of icy lemonade under the olive tree would be welcomed. This is a garden bent on activity as well as beauty. It features a trampoline, swimming pool and an indoor room with pool table, ping pong and exercise machines.

Oh, and a bocce ball court and hiking trail.

Amongst all the Cleveland sage, it is a garden with an untamed and adventurous feel. It was chosen in 2011 as Garden of the Year by the San Diego Home and Garden magazine.

It is where I met and fell in love with this large shrub in bloom, Fremontodendron 
'California Glory,' also known as Flannel Bush. Spring flowers bloom in yellow but turn orange as they fade; together with green leaves set against the blue sky, this California native commanded attention.

Beyond this gate (moving on to the next garden)

is a breathtaking wildflower garden that I did not see coming as I walked through a neatly trimmed and grass covered side yard.

 But then I found myself standing in an unstructured field of flowers blooming everywhere I looked. Red and yellow nasturtiums clamor freely over a bench and chair. As much as I do love manicured and formal gardens of clipped boxwood and topiary, I enjoy this feeling of being surrounded by a riot of bright colors and plants, sprawling vines, hearing the birds chirp and bees buzz. Now this is a great place to spend a morning with a cup of coffee, strolling in your pjs and slippers, just to see what's blooming in the garden!

There are hundreds of California poppies

and a flowering tree that compelled everybody who saw it to snap a photo and ask, "What is that tree?"  Answer: Tabebuia impetiginosa, or Pink Trumpet tree because that describes the shape and color of the bloom. 

Next up I hiked up a long, steep hill for yet one more garden. I was becoming hungry and thirsty and I was hoping this would be worth the climb. It was, because on the way, I saw this yucca, several of them, in bloom with orchid-like flowers. (I didn't even know that yuccas bloom! Hmm, at least I think it is a yucca--if you know please tell me!)

The views and plants were gorgeous on the way up,

 especially the pincushion proteas blooming close to the property.

The interesting thing about this home is that it sits on a mountain and the owner incorporated the boulders that were present into the design,

both in the front 

and back of the home.

Finally, the rose garden (above) and the plant conservatory (below) was my favorite in the last garden of the day for me, where I also purchased three sterile hybrid alstromerias and one Cape Sweet Pea vine from the plant vendor on site.

So for the rose lovers, I present:

the Playboy Floribunda 

and Rugosa Alba, which were both in bloom and looking perfect!

And this is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine.  All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Succulent Hilltop Creates Quite The Scene In San Diego County

A succulent garden
stole the show at the Poway garden tour, my first of the tour season in San Diego county on April 6, 2013. This was a great garden to start both the day and the season, and at the end of the day it was still my favorite of the six private gardens on tour, sponsored by the San Diego Horticultural Society.

The garden is only two years old, designed by Linda Bresler, and was named garden of the year 2012 in the local San Diego Home and Garden magazine.
 I was aware of the honor beforehand but didn't see any photographs.

So my expectations were high for this hilltop home

with a great view of mountains

and canyons alike.

It kinda blew me away.  I wasn't alone.
Visitors were clearly fascinated and kept the designer (center, with white slacks)
and the homeowner busy with questions and conversation.

When I first saw all the red, yellow

 and orange low to the ground
it made me think me of embers glowing in a fire place.

Other visitors thought it looked like coral reef in the ocean.
I get that, too.

In any scenario, it was unusual and beautiful. The range of colors here proves there is more than one way to plant a colorful garden, and substantially keep the water bill down at the same time. Succulents are resilient and sustainable in dry, arid locations because they store up lots of water. 

From dark Aeonium 'Zwartkop' (bottom corners) to bright Euphorbias and everything in between, this might be the most colorful, and definitely most succulent garden, I have ever seen.

Elfin thyme surrounds the pavers and the garden is filled with numerous varieties of succulents 

including Senecio, Euphorbia, Echeveria and Aeonium.

 I have become more of a succulent fan the longer I have gardened
and I do have several in my own garden now. 

 They are quite useful in ways we might not normally consider. Cut succulents can be wired and used in floral arrangements and they last for months, as I learned from the designer at the Succulent Perch who hosted a table of her displays at the garden. Then they can be replanted again. 

Indeed, even the homeowner's water fountains were dripping with them!

Poway Garden Tour to be continued...

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Orchid Enthusiasts Show Their Best In San Diego


Cymbidium, Ena Henry Five Star
 are exotic, 

vibrant, colorful and, well, such a captivating species of plants.

Captivated. That is exactly how I felt at the orchid show in San Diego, March 24, walking through a room full of brilliant blooms--a combination of nature and the best gardening efforts of amateurs and professionals alike--all vying for my attention at the same time.

Like fireworks, the Phalaenopsis (above) shoots up tall stems with large, round disc-like bursts of color at the top. These are the orchids I most often see in florist shops and supermarkets.

Dendrobium 'Golden Arch'
But there are so many others in the world of orchids, such as this Dendrobium that cascades down with multiple clusters of small, wispy blossoms, also exploding with color.

Dendrobium kingianum
And I never tire of simple white flowers against dark green leaves.

Dendrobium Nobile hybrid
My own experience with orchids is limited.  At home, I have five Phalaenopsis orchids and, while I am happy I can at least maintain healthy base leaves on this plant, only one has re-bloomed in the past year or two that I have been nurturing them. I want those gorgeous flowers to bloom again, so I jumped at the opportunity last month to up my game and attended a workshop hosted by a member of the San Diego Horticultural Society.

  It was held in the garden (shown above) of Jim Wright in San Diego. He is known in the community for his love of tropical plants, including orchids, palms (noting he has 50 varieties),


and tillandsias like this

and this beauty in a head planter.

For over 40 years, Wright has built a tropical paradise in his typical city lot and when he exceeded capacity for plants there, he purchased the house next door to expand his gardening hobby. It is conservatory-like in its ambiance and, indeed, as someone remarked on the tour, even a little Jurassic Park.

Jim Wright
and his greenhouse
He spoke about repotting, the need to sterilize tools, and the mix he uses to pot orchids.  We toured two greenhouses on his property that house hundreds of orchids, tillandsias and bromeliads.  It was in the greenhouse where we came across a phalaenopsis, when Mr. Wright acknowledged that it is not his favorite orchid to grow.

Instead, he recommends growing Dendrobium delicatum (above), his orchid of choice.  But I could see why. Although I knew nothing about this variety until that moment, even to my untrained eye, this plant sure did seem perfect. It grows wide and somewhat low to the ground,

and is covered with clusters of small, elegant white blooms. Mr. Wright has a long history of entering plants in orchid shows and mentioned his plan to enter this one in the upcoming March 24th show.

So while I was at the show, when I approached a Dendrobium delicatum on a table that was covered with a  few awards, I was happy to confirm my suspicion that it was the same plant I had admired in Jim Wright's garden.

And I knew that it would be a plant I wanted in my own back yard. Luckily, I found three small delicatum pups in the sale room and they now have a spot on my patio.  As for my Phalaenopsis plants at home, I have vowed to improve the fertilization regimen to see if I can motivate them to bloom again.

Now, if I can just get my hands on a head planter with tillandsia hair...

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2013 by Jeannine. All rights reserved.