Thursday, December 06, 2007

My December Garden

When The Professor and I moved Willow's Cottage out of Los Angeles and to Camarillo last summer, we found our garden adorned with nine (9!) camellia bushes, two in front and seven along the side of the house. Camellias are not my favorite bush flowers mainly because of the mess that the blooms make when they fade and fall off the bushes. My only experience with camellias is from my grandmother's Portland garden. She had camellias all across the front of her large hillside porch. I mentioned to one of my new neighbors that I intended to pull some of them out after they bloomed in the spring. She gazed at me a moment and quietly stated, "Those camellias bloom at different times throughout the year." I have discovered her statement to be true. This bush with its variegated pink and white blossoms is in its last stages of bloom.

This bush is just starting to bloom

as is this one.

I may change my mind about the camellias. They really are quite pretty and I find I like the idea of different bushes blooming all year long.

Yesterday I went out and walked around and watered the back garden, which basically starts beyond the walkway behind the house and extends up one terraced section and the hillside for about twenty or thirty feet. I decided to take snapshots of what is blooming back there, mostly so I will know what I have and can make informed decisions about what to pull out and what to keep once planting season starts.

Honeysuckle (I think)

Brilliant purple ground cover. The plant is brittle and its gray color does nothing to endear itself to me.

Two more ground cover bushes, lavender and white. Ground covers are important components to a hillside garden. They keep the neighbor's house where it belongs, on the street above me.

Bright red berries on a bush that looks like it was slashed with a machete. It stands alone in the middle of the ground cover and on its left maybe five feet away is an oleander bush almost completely engulfed in cape honeysuckle vines that have sneaked over uninvited from the next door neighbor's garden. I have my work cut out for me up there in the spring.

I brought a pot with me from Los Angeles filled with the ubiquitous lobelia and impatients. It's living quite happily on the terraced section next to the pots of rosemary, catnip and mint.

I am still considering putting the white iceberg roses just above the terrace in the back, sort of like a second tier. I'd like to plant them with other white flowers like cosmos and allysium. One concern we have is water conservation, so I will have to balance using plants I am familiar with from Oregon where water usually isn't a great concern and branching out with new plants that are used in water wise and native gardens.


Mary said...


All of these are beautiful. I'm glad you're thinking of keeping the camillas. The blooms are so pretty and it's nice to have plants blooming throughout the year.

It's hard to imagine these lovely blooms in your garden when our ground is layered in snow. Thanks so much for sharing.


katie said...

oh please spare the camellias - they are so beautiful - I can't get them to grow in my garden and I would love some!

Bethany said...

Those are definately honeysuckle!! We have lots of bushes along our property line and they smell so good when they bloom! But they are invasive plants. Your flowers are sooo beautiful and I love the red/orange berries on that! I am looking outside at light snow color except for the holly bushes and evergreens!
(I finished my papercutting for church and took a photo for when I am finally able to post! Craig is picking up a harddrive today and then we just have to get programs loaded...I'm really close to having pictures again!)

Robin said...

I cannot even imagine watering flowers this time of year! And they are gorgeous - I hope you keep them!
I got the pattern for the Mommy Snug - I'm not sure - it looks quite difficult for a beginner like me. But something in me tells me I'm going to try it!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Your December garden is very colorful. Yes, that is honeysuckle, and that red-berried plant is piracantha (not sure how to spell it). I'm no garden expert, but I do know those two plants. That last shot is what I call violets...they come up under my avocado tree on their own and even the lawn guys mowing there does not discourage them. I like them.

Anonymous said...

I have those lavender and light lavender daisy like flowers, too - they tend to make rather large mounds. (Osteospermums, I think)

Mama Mia said...

Good Luck Today, Mumsy!!! :o)

You'll do wonderfully!!!!

Beatriz said...

What beautiful garden pictures!

Barbara said...

How wonderful to have such beautiful colour in December. Thanks for the peep into your garden. I will be looking foreward to watching how it develops.
I gave up on Camellias because here as soon as there is cold wind or frost in Spring they all go brown. People who are really keen cover them up in fleece to protect them but I'm not keen enough to bother with that.
Thanks for your comments.