Visiting Public Gardens – Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Went to visit Magnolia Gardens today. Ah, the camellias…they are starting to bloom. I love the Fall and Winter just because of the romance of camellia gardens (well, that’s not the only reason, but, it is certainly one of the reasons). And, I love the late Winter/early Spring when the garden floor is dotted with their fallen petals and blooms. Magnolia has certainly one of the most impressive and breathtaking camellia gardens in America. Merci, Monsieur Grimke… {photos to follow soon}

Keeping Birds II

Keeping two geese in an average suburban and urban yard is a cinch…I kept two Peking Ducks in my garden in the middle of West Hollywood for many years. They are happiest with one other feathered kind so they know who to follow around and they spend all the day waddling from plant to plant eating bugs. They are delightful to watch. If you have a water feature in your garden, then bonus for them! Otherwise just keep fresh water around and feed them some bread and duck food from the local feed and seed (just like having a dog.) Their poop is rich in nutrients (unlike a dog) that are beneficial to your soil. Just mind, and put the little guys away in their coop at night. You may have to herd them in, but, once they get to know their home, they will know where to go. You should stow them away at evening, because, birds of prey, even in Hollywood, can stalk them at night. Nothing fancy is necessary, see above.

To Hell With Leaf Blowers Redux!

The Earth’s leaves are an exceedingly vital part of our ecosystem. A carpet of fallen leaves, and it’s decompostion, creates the essential nitrogen Earth needs to survive and function properly. And, nitrogen can spend its life in 3 ways: release as a greenhouse gas into the Earth’s atmosphere; dissolve into the water systems as the form nitrate or be fed to plants. By leaving the leaf right where it falls, you can aid in the process of feeding the soil underneath it. Allowing your leaves to decompose on your landscape is good for the landscape. And, if you must rake them, feeding them into your compost heap is a fantastic way to provide the brown layer that is necessary for your pile’s good health. (Brown layers are leaves and yard trimmings – Green layers generally come from your kitchen….even coffee grounds are Green) So, let’s all hold hands and get rid of the leaf blowers. Gasoline doesn’t belong in Nature. Come on! You want the exercise, anyway. And, speaking of Brown, these photographs are by the Nature/Garden Photographer Kenneth Brown. He lives in Vermont and these pretty selects are from his book called The Soul Of Vermont.

My Friend, the Aloe

This is another one from my potting shed. I installed a succulent garden this summer for a client and had soooo much Aloe on hand that I made this hanging basket with the leftovers in my potting shed. Then I fell in love with it. If you are like me, and, cook often that you burn yourself reaching in the oven or french pressing entirely too quickly, you should have Aloe hanging in your kitchen window. What a salve it is. And, it just loves to be there, too.

Tillandsia

These guys are super neat since they feed off of the air. Where I come from, we have Tillandsia everywhere! Tillandsia usneoides is the brand in the Deep South. We call it Spanish Moss and some call it Beard Lichen, however, it is neither moss nor lichen (but, it was used as clothing by the Timucua Indians, and might be considered a textile). It is a Tillandsia. This photograph is taken from Martha Stewart Living and it is great to see more succulents and self sustaining plants in high-profile design.