May 25, 2009

Rose Arbor ~ 12 Beautiful Photos ~ Inspirational Monday

Sweet expectation of roses, which soon will come to bloom made me think of garden arbors, that could be planned now and made in the autumn or spring.
I have one in my garden, but whenever I look at it, I wish I could have more. Rose arbor is beautiful and doesn't take too much space in the garden, even small gardens could find space - it can fit practically everywhere. The only limitation is chosen spot profile. Rose arbor need to get enough sun to keep your roses happy. If you choose most healthy kind of roses, that grow moderately, use to open flowers untill autumn and you feed them properly - the rose arbor will keep you happy entire summer :)










May 22, 2009

Drought Tolerant Gardening - Chinese Peony Flowers

In Japan Paeonia suffruticosa is called the "The King of Flowers" and Paeonia lactiflora is called the "Prime Minister of Flowers". On the pictures here you can see Paeonia suffruticosa = chinese tree peony, and below some tree peony caring tips.

Everything starts from a bud....

Further recommended reading Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens: 200 Drought-Tolerant Choices for all Climates
.... great expectation comes .....

.... and then ta-da-dam! ....
here it is - beautiful and big.

This chinese tree peony (variety unknown) was planted 3 years ago. This is the first bloom I can enjoy.
Site selection is important to make tree peony happy. Best would be dappled shade or 4-5 hours of direct sunlight in a day.
Watering - don't treat chinese tree peony same as other perennials. Tree peonies have woody stems, so after they get established in the garden, they become drought tolerant. This is why she also doesn't like constantly wet soil. Planting tree peony in too hot spot, that receives too much sun will result with rocket fast flower fading.
Pruning - is rather not required, because tree peony blooms on old stems.
Soil pH 7 or higher.
Mulch it well in zones 4-5.
Hardiness up to -34C / -30F (zone 4).
This post is part of Blooming Friday hosted kindly by Katarina at Roses and Stuff. Hop over and participate.

Further recommended reading Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens: 200 Drought-Tolerant Choices for all Climates 

May 18, 2009

Calendar girls - the naked Yorkshire matrons story continues....

Remember the blockbuster movie "Calendar Girls" with Hellen Mirren?
If you are female and are over 40, and you haven't see it yet - make yourself a treat, get it as DVD and see it.

It is a wonderful balm for the suffering female soul - lots of great humour and story that will make you feel better in your skin :)

Lately the Daily Mail is bringing continuation of a story
about how fame is changing life, even if it comes late and unexpected :)

Have fun watching the movie and reading the article.

Looking Good Live!: Look Like a Million...for Considerably Less

May 17, 2009

Clematis flower "Omoshiro"

Omoshiro is slowly opening flowers - that's exciting process - look at this beauty.
It is not opened fully yet.... but you need to see it.... and don't judge the color of the flower yet - it will be much lighter (if the label on the pot is matching the plant.... ehe we'll see in few days).


Buds right before opening look somewhat surprising.

This early flowering (from May) japanese clematis grows up to 3m, flowers are white, edged with pink - big in size, flowering months V-VI, VIII-IX, can be planted in any spot, pruning group 2, suitable for zones 4-9.
Watch us out :)

May 15, 2009

Flowers and spring - GBBD and BF - May'2009

As the new annual in my garden Lobelia erinus got honored place in first pictures of this May Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

They are planted few days ago - Lobelia sharing the pot with pelargonium and plectranthus.


Ajuga reptans and white Iberis sempervirens.

I wanted to show this very persistent Ajuga reptans - see, there is almost no soil.




Wax begonia also planted few days ago.


Centaurea Montana called Perennial Cornflower, Mountain Cornflower, Montane Knapweed or Mountain Bluet.


Clematis Omoshiro bought in the fall prepares surprise for me - as you can see looks interesting. there will be 4 flowers coming soon.


Euphorbia polychroma - dependable.


Flox subulata (Moss Phlox, Moss Pink, Mountain Phlox) ends blooming.


Forget-me-not in pink and blue.


Fragaria hybride Dee Rose - evergreen and blooming sometimes even in December.


Geranium phaeum Spring Time.


Hyacithoides hispanica (Spanish bluebell or Wood hyacinth) in pink and blue.


... then come latest tulips of the garden ....




... Magnolia lilliflora Nigra ...


Paeonia suffruticosa - first flower ever is about to be open.....


As you can see, in May even Rucola decided to bloom. I sew it in Novemebr and it overwintered well without any protection.


... very dark private parts of light in color fragrant Surfinia.....

... and surfinia herself ...

And pansies moved today from too shady place to sunny warm spot - I think they will like it.
This post is part of the tradition started by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Every 15th of the month, garden bloggers all around the globe are posting pictures of the blooms in their gardens. So if you visit May Dreams Gardens, you can check what is going on current month in the gardens all over the globe. Anyone can participate. Just make a post and drop the link under GBBD post at Carol's blog.
This post is also part of Roses and stuff blog by Katarina, who started Blooming Friday tradition. What a coincidence we have both today :)

May 14, 2009

Best Drummer and Garden Designer of Santa Barbara talks about his blogging secrets...

There is constant discussions whether it is worth to write a blog, how to do it, is there a sense to keep a blog alive, why others abandon blogging etc.
I decided to take part in the discussion by posting not only my own opinions, but also by inviting other passionate bloggers to talk about their own reasons for blogging and also sharing their experience how blogging is impacting their life.

Ewa: Please introduce yourself to our readers.

BG: Billy Goodnick here. I’m a 57 year old landscape architect, educator, writer, TV-host and rock and roll drummer living in one of the most perfect places on earth – Santa Barbara, California (that’s in the United States – that country sandwiched between Canada, known for plaid lumberjack shirts, and Mexico, where Mexican food comes from). I’ve been involved in plant-related stuff for over 35 years, working in retail nurseries, mowing lawns, working my way up through construction, then design. I finally got sick of going to the chiropractor and got a degree in landscape architecture about 25 years ago.

My full-time gig is City Landscape Architect for Santa Barbara, where I manage all the projects for the parks and recreation department. Not glamorous, but I enjoy doing good things for the public and visitors, and enhancing an already beautiful environment. We have a history of some grand and amazing public gardens and private estates and can grow plants from around the world (but our Rhododendrons and hostas suck).

I’m passionate about creating landscapes that are gentle on the planet – right now it’s called “sustainability”, which means so many things to different people. For me it means creating gardens that function like natural systems; gardens that don’t need to be put on life-support to survive. Southern California is a semi-desert, so I rant and scream about wasteful practices and try to move the design conversation in a saner direction.

I’m also thrilled to have been chosen as a new contributor at Fine Gardening Magazine’s web site, where I write a column called “Sustainable Landscapes: Cool Green Gardens by Billy Goodnick.” Come find me and leave your comments. I’d love to meet you.
If I’m not teaching or writing or designing, I’m laying down a funky, skanky groove on my drumset, playing for King Bee. If I had only one thing I could do in life, it would be drumming.

Ewa: What blogs do you own, which one is your favorite, and why did you start it? How long are you blogging?

BG: My original blog, which is still up and running, is Garden Wise Guy, which is also the name of my TV show I co-host with landscape architect, author and crazy guy Owen Dell. I started my blog late one night when I was cruising around Google. I don’t think I even knew what a blog really was, but that’s never stopped me from getting lost on my computer. So I clicked a few buttons, picked a template and thought, “What the hell am I going to write about? Well, I’m a teacher, so maybe I’ll offer design ideas. I’m also very opinionated, so this will be an opportunity to rant and rage about the ugly and bone-heaed things people do in the name of gardening.” I was off and running.

My blog attracted the attention of a Santa Barbara-based news and info website called It’s a great place for locals to get up-to-date news, find out what’s happening and enter a few nutty contests. They offered me a bi-weekly column in exchange for a banner ad. Now I’ve got lots of consulting work flowing in. Thanks Ed!

But the big news is that starting on April 29, I launched my Cool Green Gardens blog at Fine Gardening Magazine’s web site. This respected and informative publication might not know what they’ve gotten themselves into, but Kate Frank, the web editor who invited me in, says that Taunton Press (publishers of FG and a host of other great magazines) wants to “loosen things up.” My pleasure. I’ll be writing with a West Coast perspective on issues related to sustainable landscaping and whatever leaps the synapses of my brain and comes flowing out of my fingers.

Ewa: What is the number 1 thing you learned about blogging that has impacted your bottom line, that thing that makes the difference between succeeding and failing in blogging?

BG: Well, I guess that leaping to a national audience at FG from my humble beginnings could be called success. As for the bottom line, I’m taking the long view. I’m retiring after 21 years working for the City of Santa Barbara and have my eye on getting some national attention, whether it’s as a speaker, TV host, writer or spokes-model for the next new TV gotta-have kitchen appliance. Blogging seems to be moving me in that direction, so maybe there will be a “bottom line” that has a dollar sign and a zero or two following it.

Blogging has brought a lot of wonderful people into my life including other bloggers, designers, writers and just plain folks. That counts for something.

What I’ve learned about blogging is to post frequently (not that I have lived up to that ideal) and to be myself. By nature, I have strong opinions but always express them with large doses of lively, though twisted humor. I also avoid claiming to be THE authority on any subject. There’s always someone out there who knows more than me.

Ewa: Can you say, that blogging changed your life? In what way? Do you see difference before and after blogging?

BG: Changed my life? As the surfers along our beaches say, “Duh, dude!” If someone had asked me two years ago if I was a writer, I’d refer them to my salvaged grocery shopping lists and a few successful grant applications I’ve written in my professional life. Now I’m a member of the Garden Writers Association, hanging out with writers, also freelancing for a few magazines and stepping into an active retirement that will be partly funded with my writing gigs.
I’ve also gained a knowledge of myself that I would never have uncovered. I blog the way I talk, but by having to dig down into my mind and form coherent opinions about what I see, feel and how I design, it’s given me a greater self-knowledge.

Ewa: If you have to bring instant visitors to your blog in the next 30 minutes, what steps will you follow?

BG: Simple. I’ve dreamed about this. I’d stage a hostage situation and offer to free them only if at least 100 people promise to log onto my blog and leave worshipful comments. I sure hope they give me a laptop and internet access in jail or all this would be a waste of time and probably hurt my credit rating.

Ewa: What are your top 3 traffic sources for your blog?

BG: I get a lot of hits from people who read my bi-weekly column at Edhat. Did I mention that I’m at Twitter as @gardenwiseguy? From the day I entered that world, my hits increased by 25% and haven’t dropped since. If you blog and you’re not on Twitter, you’re really missing out. That’s also how Kate at Fine Gardening found me. We were exchanging messages about gardening, she followed a link to my other writing and offered me that fabulous gig. The other consistent source is GardenRant, perhaps the best blog around. Those four ladies dish it out with energy and style, covering a great range of timely topics and having a lot of fun along the way.

Ewa: What else would you like to share, something that our readers can immediately apply to their blogs and see results fast?

BG: Be real, update frequently, be generous in linking to like-minded bloggers (I avoid the ones who write about house plants or what their cat vomitted up on the couch) and visit and comment at as many worthwhile sites as you have time to visit. Put yourself out there, take a chance, stay up late.
Wanna find out more about what I’m up to? Here’s a one-stop click at my Google profile.

Ewa: Thank you Billy.