Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Very Merry Guru Christmas

From Garden to Garden,

and Heart to Heart,

from one Guru to another.

The Warmth and Joy of Christmas,

brings us Closer to each other.

To all Garden Gurus, both far and wide, across our home - Earth.

May we all have much pleasure
this Christmas as we celebrate the

birth of the
greatest Garden Guru of us all - ever!. Have a

wonderful festive family time!

Merry Christmas Gurus!


Gurus Keith and Milli

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frosty foliage and flowers

I took these photos two and a half weeks ago! Then my laptop died and I kind of forgot about them, oops!

The morning after I took my Frozen Desert photos there was still a lot of humidity in the air, combine that with freezing temperatures and we had a beautiful frost! In this photo in particular the frost looks more like sugar crystals than ice crystals. Some of my Japanese maple leaves fell down and landed on my mums, I thought it was quite pretty.





Here's a frosty echinecea seed head with just a few petals left.









Here's the same red rose that you saw in the previous post topped with snow.




These are my neighbors' red maple leaves that blew into our yard! I guess I can't complain too much cuz I took some nice photos of them, and later I used them to mulch some of my flower beds.





I've noticed that water on the back side of red maple leaves bead up, look out how the beads froze in this photo! Cool, yes?





Lastly, here's some Japanese maple leaves that had fallen on my sweet alyssum. I thought about using this image in my blog's title line/box, right under where it says "Amy's Ukalichick's Que Syrah, Syrah!" but above my greetin but not in the box that says, "Welcome to my site". Can anyone tell me how to do it? I haven't figured it out yet. EDIT: Never mind, I figured it out.


Frosty Japanese maple and alyssum with greeting


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First snow!

Our first snow was actually yesterday morning, so although I took these photos yesterday I was too busy cleaning up from our weekend celebrations to post them. LOL! Better late than never, right?

I got up just before dawn so I could take some photos before getting the boys off to school. This is our swimming pool and deck--does it look inviting? Don't you wanna jump right in? LOL.

For a short while it actually snowed pretty well, which was fun for the boys who have never seen snow falling before. Earlier in the fall we had some flurries that melted instantly, but not like this.



I let Casey out on the balcony and he seemed to actually enjoy the snow! Can you Alan in the photo down on the ground? Casey probably would have stayed out on the balcony all morning if I hadn't picked him up and brought him in. And his little feet were so cold!





Should I prune my roses?  Back in the San Francisco Bay Area we don't prune roses until the end of January, but I don't know about my new colder climate.






Soon after the boys left for school the sky cleared up and I knew I had only a short time left to photograph the snow before it all melted.





Is this a bird bath or a bird ice skating rink? I feel like I should get a miniature Zamboni.









I continue to be amazed by how beautiful and healthy my sage looks in spite of the constant frost, freezes, and now snow!





My mums are looking tired, but they are pretty topped with snow.



The snow was all gone by 10am but it was fun while it lasted.






I hope you enjoyed my photos!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gardening on an Island

One has to adjust their approach to gardening when you live on this Island. First it is because of the non-existent topsoil, just a heavy yellow clay that bakes and cracks in the summer and becomes a sticky yellow porridge in the winter. Then there are the wallabies who, though they prefer grass, like to try their taste buds on maybe something more exotic, so there is a need for fencing. Our reliance on rain-water means that water often is used twice over, once for the washing of whatever, second for the gardens.
And then there are the Wekas, a native bird about the size of a small hen that The Department of Conservation have released here to breed and later have some of their progeny released back to the Mainland. Those birds can make their way under fences to scratch a garden into oblivion in the early dawn before the dog is awake to chase them away. There are rats and opossums too.
Various gardeners overcome these challenges to grow more than shrubs or trees in different ways. Some build big chicken-netting cages, like a bird aviary and plant inside. Some make timber walled gardens. Some put up chicken netting around their more precious plants, but most of us plant into big tubs that are high enough to keep their claws out. Tubs also mean that we have imported good soil/compost for them and watering is monitored with minimum wastage.
I have given up hoping to harvest strawberries from either the garden or in tubs, because the Wekas smell them out. Instead they sit safe in their plastic bags, high on the terrace handrail.  The potted lavender is to attract the bees their way.

Island Gardeners


“This time I insist

I really do, please resist

introducing any tree or plant

that needs anything more

than a hole and stake”


But gardeners are surprisingly deaf

to listening to their common sense

- each week hidden kilos of rich potting-mix

weigh down your back-packs

- and the tree stuffed, oh so casually

into the bottom of a Woolworth’s bag

is not a Pohutakawa or Callistimon,

it’s another tender green experiment

and under your breath you’re repeating

over and over, this is the very last time,

it won’t happen again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Some nice Hibiscus

I have heard about a place in Brazil,where they have cultivated,more then 2500 different kind of Hibiscus.
In my Nursery,i just had this few ones,you can see at this Pictures

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Strange and unusual Flowers

Outside,the first snow is falling. - I have nothing to do,so i surfed around a little bit,to get a touch of warmth.
On my Way,i passed a link,where i saw the following amazing Pictures. I couldnt avoid,to share them with you.
If you want to know more about,you can copy the following Link:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Organic Treatment for a Feng Shui cure

One of the few things that I don't like about my new house is the dining nook.  It's placement in the kitchen fits in well with our entertaining style, everyone gathers around and watches Chad cook, but the nook itself is too small and feels like a pass through to the back yard. Its chandelier is uninspired and the window treatments are fine but a bit "sweet." On the feng shui floor plan it's located in the "Creativity" area, which makes these problems nearly disastrous for a photographer/ceramicist/artist.  I'm looking for the perfect chandelier but I haven't found it yet, and I can't put up new curtains until Casey matures a bit and won't climb them. In the mean time I thought it would be clever to make a rosemary topiary to enhance this area.

Putting a cooking herb in a dining nook seems like a natural enhancement. I love fresh rosemary but it doesn't always overwinter well in this climate so bringing it indoors is a good idea and making it into a topiary is creative.  It's still a young topiary so it's a bit sparse on top, but it will have a ball on top to match the ball on the bottom. Round shapes, the color white, and the number three are all good elements for this area. So, I'm training the topiary into round balls (I'll probably eventually add a third ball to the top of it), I put it in a round white pot and placed it on a three tiered round white marble table. I topped the soil with decorative pebbles, three relatively large pebbles surrounded by smaller ones.

Everything was great until the autumn sun lowered in the sky until it stopped coming through the window all together.  At that point, the topiary developed powdery mildew.  The general treatment for powdery mildew is to give the plant good air flow and sunlight, so I took it outside on mild days. But now the weather is colder so I had to come up with a more aggressive treatment. 

I looked at some of my older books on houseplants and they said the treatment for powdery mildew is to cut out and burn the affected areas of the plant and then spray harsh chemicals. Whoa! That sounds like overkill to me! First of all, I'm trying to create a topiary so I'm not very willing to cut out large sections of the plant. Second of all, powdery mildew isn't THAT serious of a problem.

So, I checked out some organic gardening websites and they said that the bad news is there is no cure for powdery mildew, but the good news is that it's easily kept under control and it's not a very serious problem. OK, that's more I like it. They suggested mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into a quart of water and spraying it onto the plant. If I had known the treatment was going to work so quickly I would have taken a "before" shot! "Before" it was covered with a white powder, the very next day it looks perfectly healthy! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Garden Tour - Keith

Garden Tour - Keith

Bonny Hills, NSW. Australia.

This has been a long  time coming this Garden Tour. So many things have been happening that I have had very little time or motivation for writing blogs - even to comment has been a chore at times, such has been the distractions of things personal at the moment. Anyway here are seven photographs as a tour of my garden area together with and attached album of further photos for you to browse through and see what else there is to find here.

I live in NSW on the coast about 370km or 300 mile north of Sydney. Here the daytime temperature ranges between 12c and 45c from winter to summer but those extremes  are never fro prolonged periods. Although not full;y sub tropical, the plants from the tropical north flourish here and this garden is crammed with a good selection. There are numerous palms, tree ferns, staghorns, birdsnest ferns, bamboo, birds of Paradise, bromiliads, etc, etc.... These photos and ATTACHED ALBUM will give you a good idea of the variety.

These are Photographs of the garden area in general - mainly snapshots to give a general idea of the feel and outlay of the garden. I did this blog this way rather than studies on individual features and plants which I will create in another blog which I hope to complete and present fairly soon. This Garden attracts many colourful birds and creatures of all sorts and is a cool oasis well shaded from the heat and intense Australian sun. Winter does tend to be a lot cooler because of the amount of shade so on colder days I seek out the sunny spots and follow them around  during the day as the sun moves across the sky. So please enjoy these photos and I will let them do the talking for me. Please not here that my Housemate Vera does most of the tending to this garden whereas  I had  more input in creating the newer landscape design and layout  and initial hard labour in establishing them since Vera purchased the house about 10 years ago. The gardens were quite well established already  with the previous owner having collected many of the palms and tropical plants from a tour he and his wife did of the northern regions of the continent. My main interest is in the vegetable garden where I am much more at home. See my earlier Blogs for these.

Garden Tour - Keith. - Bonny Hills, NSW. Australia

the main tree in center is a frangipani and golden palm to the right of that - the other palm I am not sure what it is

this is in addition to my garden tour Blog - just some photos of corners of the gardem

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Foliage Fotos (Phall Pholiage Photos)

Sugar maple and red tree

The Treasure Valley is nearing its fall foliage peak and I'm very pleased that my entire neighborhood is coloring up wonderfully! Back in Napa we had respectable fall color, but now that I'm living in an area with "real" seasons I'm being treated to dazzling colors. All of these photos were taken around my garden, but I must say that some of these views are "borrowed" from my neighbor's yards (meaning this is the view I have from my yard of their trees).

Japanese maple backlit horizontal

Last fall we bought this house but we weren't able to move in until last spring. Until we moved in, my in-laws took care of the house for us and they said that our Japanese maples didn't color up last year, the leaves just turned brown and fell off. I don't know what happened last year but this year they're giving us quite a show! I'm very pleased.



Golden hosta leaves

I never knew that hosta leaves colored up for fall! Wow!

Below is a slide show that I made of my phall pholiage photos (fall foliage fotos). Oh, and there's some phlowers (flowers) too!




Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Garden in Kentucky

Bobby promised he would make me a pond when I moved to USA to be with him,and he did.This is part of my pond garden,we had a well so watering my garden was no problem,my roses just loved it,our chookies,ducks and geese roamed the yard so we had no bugs in our garden

We have almost 4acres up the back yard,a lovely gentle climb uphill,I often walk the whole length,lol good exercise for me,up the top we get a beautiful view all over the valley,over the Autumn it is especially pretty,we often get deer walking around up back,which I am always thrilled seeing them up there, we leave them a Mineral salt block up there,deer love that

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Guru's Gardens World Wide

Barrow full of colour.

Photo's from across the globe taken in Garden Guru's and Their Friends Gardens.

"Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps,
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps." Amos Bronson Alcott:

Garden Tour Starts Here.

Boise Garden Tour 2008

This is repost from own blog on June 24th of this year. I'm reposting this to help join Milimusing's Open Garden Scheme (that's a hyperlink so you can join the fun) in which we can share photos from our gardens around the world!


On Sunday Chad's mom and I went on the Garden Tour to benefit the Idaho Botanical Gardens. I thought going on the tour would be the perfect way to see what grows well in my area, especially because I'm trying to get used to a new climate zone having recently moved from California's Napa Valley to Idaho's Treasure Valley.

Here's a slide show of some of the photos I took on the tour, and then I talk a bit about each garden! These gardens are in private homes, and for organization's sake I've named them by their street.


Talon Creek: The first garden we visited was in a very small back yard. There were two small lawns but the centerpiece was this densely planted creek-like water feature. The water was fairly shallow, yet there were fish! I had always been told that in cold climates you should dig your pond to be 3-4 feet to prevent the fish from freezing during the winter. Luckily, the designer was there so I could speak with her. She said that if you can keep the water flowing then it won't freeze and you won't have to dig your pond "half way to China." She said the only real concern for fish is predators, but I haven't seen any raccoons in my neighborhood, we do have cranes but my pond is sheltered by trees so they shouldn't see the pond while flying over. I had intended to use photovoltaic cells to run my pond pump so I don't think I could keep the water flowing all the time. Still, something to think about. Everyone else asked the designer about the unusual black lacey plant with white frothy flowers (see my slide show). It's a black sambucus, an elderberry relative, that grows well in zones 4-7. If you're interested in growing it click here for info.
Arbor Island Way: This garden, and particularly this view, is somewhat famous here as I've lived here a short time and I've already seen this garden in the newspaper and a magazine. This lake is a community lake in this subdivision (you can see other houses in the back ground) and these gardeners have "borrowed the view" quite nicely. The lady of the house is an interior designer who uses her design skills in the landscape, and the gentleman of the house is a retired construction contractor who builds every thing in the garden. They've toured Europe a lot and particularly enjoy English gardens, the influence of which you can clearly see in my slide show photos. Their garden also features a patio room completely decorated with paintings. Ya know, I've been thinking about doing some outdoor painting for our outdoor living room and dining area.
Woodlander Drive
: This garden wasn't so much a bustling garden as it was a very intelligently designed water feature. This home is near the freeway and backs right up to the Boise River Greenbelt trail, just beyond which is a common area for this subdivision. It's a lovely setting but potentially very noisy, but this water feature splashes loudly thus drowning out any outside noise. Chad's parents' house can have a bit of highway noise if the wind blows just right so I recommended to Chad's mom that they get a loudly splashy water feature, they already have a creek but it's very soft. This garden also had a very lovely cat (see slide show), and IMO cats are very important features in the garden!
Half Moon Lane: Dogs are also important features in the garden and this home owner (white shirt and khaki shorts) seemed to enjoy showing off his Jack Russell terrier more than his estate and garden. While playing fetch, this Jack Russell not only swam for the ball but he also dove underwater when the owner held the ball under. The guy then threw ball way out into the ginormous lake (see slide show for lake photo) and the Jack Russell happily swam out for it and brought it back. If you look at the rock feature behind the pool you'll see that the waterfall is part of the pool system. At the top of the rocks the water actually splits and part of it flows into the adjoining hot tub. Both the hot tub and pool are "infinity edge" (see how there's no definable edge on the garden/lake side of the pool). It was a lovely and exceptionally impressive estate but it was more like fantastic landscaping than a true garden, IMO. But even though it was obviously professionally landscaped it was also obvious in the details that the homeowners had a lot of input into the design, even the bricks in the driveway circle had carved into them religious and inspirational sayings!
Moonbeam Way 1: We went to two houses on Moonbeam Way, this was the first house. This pond is next to the driveway, and the water empties out of it via this little creek and falls into the subdivisions community lake (see slide show for lake photos). Again, this was more like impressive landscaping than a true garden but it was very cool. On the lake side they have a small peninsula on which they had built a stone gazebo (see slide show). The gazebo had been finished only a month ago! And the guy who built it was in attendance and quite proud of his creation, and rightly so! He's in the slide show photo handing out free bottle of water and inviting guests to sit down and relax. He apologized that they didn't yet have the speakers installed, but he pointed out all of the lights which were designed not only to show off the gazebo's architecture at night but also to provide lighting for reading and/or conversation. One of my favorite parts of the garden was up by the house they had a stand for a heavy bag and speed bag.  I said, "Now that's my kind of garden!"
Moonbeam Way 2: This house was across the street from the previous house and also had a water feature next to the driveway that ran down a creek to the lake. BTW, all these houses also had their own white sand beaches and piers for their boats, all of the patios had outdoor kitchens at least one of which included a dishwasher! This house had a lovely garden on the patio by the infinity edge pool that looked like it was probably actually maintained by the homeowners. The coolest feature was this sheeted waterfall that empties into the kiddie pool. behind this sheet the air temperature was much cooler than the outside air temperature, and there were chairs and a little fridge. I'm guessing that this is where the adults spend their life guard duty time on very hot days.
Rooster Drive: "Now that's a garden!" That's what I said when I saw this garden bursting at its seams with wonderful flowers. This flower bed surrounded the veggie bed, and that's always an intelligent thing to do, you need flowers to attract beneficial insects to protect your veggies from crop damaging insects. This garden had a pond with the most spectacularly beautiful koi I have ever seen (see slide show)! The garden really reminded me of the rural farm gardens I came to love in Napa, so much so that I said to my mother-in-law, "You what this garden needs? Peacocks!" Unfortunately, homeowners weren't there for me to make the suggestion and instruct them on how to keep peacocks in cold climates--believe me, I researched it before living here and if we lived more out in the country I would definitely keep peacocks!
Rush Drive: This last garden belongs to the lady who painted the flowers on the garden tour ticket. In this vignette I really liked the way the conifers and roses look all backlit, and I think it takes a pretty sophisticated eye to create something like that. The raised bed veggie garden was across the "Back 40" (no, it wasn't really 40 acres but it was still a huge stretch of lawn). Like the previous garden, they surrounded their veggies with flowers that attract insects, but unlike the previous garden their back fence was covered with grapevines.  Unfortunately, I missed the window for planting grape vines this year and I really REALLY miss grapes vines. They had a lovely wisteria covered patio that reminded me patios in my childhood, and a shade garden by the front porch. You can't see it well in my photo of the the shade garden but just on the other side of the Japanese maples was a little creek water feature, it's difficult to see but it has that all important trickling sound to mask any neighborhood noises (although it seemed like a quiet neighborhood).
That's it for now! I hope you enjoyed my photos and descriptions. As I've been typing this blog post a light cloud cover came over so I think I'll take this opportunity to prune my roses and/or get started enlarging my pond! I cannot tell you how badly I want to have fish!