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signs of fall

Fall doesn’t announce itself ceremoniously draped in dramatic curtains of crimson and gold. We’re a little, ahem, minimalist and understated here in Southern California as far as seasonal transitions. But there are many autumnal similarities we share. Like everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, we do get that spectacular angled light, and the days become inexorably […]

counting euphorbias

Tis the season to celebrate euphorbias, since many of us will be living with or gifting/regifting one of its tribe over the next couple weeks, the poinsettia. Call me scrooge, but I’d much rather think about the ones planted in my garden than the holiday favorite with the flaming red bracts. Since first digging the […]

a succulent table (filed under fun but useless things)

If I wake up to a day that has a few extra hours rattling around like loose change in the pockets of Marty’s jeans that I always borrow, clinking against paper clips and last night’s Peroni bottle cap, it’s pretty much guaranteed I’ll make something, not all of which ends up on the blog. Case […]

Bloom Day April 2014

A day late for the Bloom Day report, with the above photo of the back garden taken this overcast morning and most of the closeups taken the past couple days. It’s all shockingly rumpled and disheveled already, but I still love waking up to it every morning. I’ll use this photo as […]

Bloom Day April 2013

Spring is moving fast here in Southern California. I’ve already checked out some of the gardens on our host’s site for Bloom Day, Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and saw lots of traditional spring shrubs and bulbs and perennials like hellebores in amazing colors just coming into bloom. Slowly but surely spring is spreading across […]

Bloom Day March 2013

If it weren’t for the few stems of Scilla peruviana in bloom I’d feel completely out of step this March Bloom Day, when so many participating gardens are sending forth crocus and iris and so many other traditional spring bulbs and blooms. We may have flowers every month of the year, as Carol’s Bloom Day […]

admiring the lines (Euphorbia lambii)

First it was the lush, wavy growth and strong limber lines Euphorbia lambii acquired this winter that I stopped to admire just as the sun was coming up. Euphorbia lambii is another one from the land of all things tender and exquisite, the Canary Islands, zoned for 9-11.

The so-called tree euphorbia, I used […]

under overcast skies at last

We’ve been watching an old Swedish detective show, Wallander, which is subtitled in English. I’m crazy for that soft, muted Swedish light, which I can only imagine is similar to what we’ve been getting the past few days, creating a pale backdrop for the tetrapanax’s lengthening candelabra of flower buds. Pearly, opalescent — all good […]

Euphorbia Love

Euphorbia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Perennial, shrub and tree.

You give a frost-free garden dappled shade and ruby tints high overhead. Euphorbia cotinifolia, about 15 feet, max. I’ve been entertained by the sound of your ballistically exploding seeds as the temperature reached into the 90’s.

As fresh in […]