The Garden: Up Close and Personal

Writing about being up close and personal with the garden seems appropriate today.

You see, aside from yesterday being a drizzly day the rest of the past couple of weeks have been perfect sunny gardening weather for me. I even gardened yesterday in the drizzle because I just love gardening when its like that. I like the cooler weather of early spring or late autumn for gardening. If it gets too hot, I'm inside staying out of the direct sun (I'm a redhead with the skin to go with it). So since the weather has been perfect for gardening and we're in for a not-so-nice weather system coming through, I've been spending the last 3 days out in the garden getting up close and personal with the soil, volunteers, newly sprouting bulbs, bareroot roses, transplants... weeds.

An aside (or "rant") about weeds: There is a big downside to living in our San Francisco Bay Area micro-climate (Sunset can't decide if it's Zone 14 or Zone 17). We don't ever get a break from weeds--EVER! There's no cold snap to kill everything off so I can start afresh with a clean slate. If the heat of summer isn't encouraging one kind of weed then the rain of winter is encouraging another. Mulch doesn't stop them. Landscaping fabric doesn't stop them. Hoeing just reseeds more than it eliminates. Round-Up and good ole' pulling is the only thing that works. Deep breath...

The annual "haircut" is performed this time of year and that gets me really up close and personal with the garden. I've been "bitten" numerous times by the roses and bougainvillea with the lovely scratches on my arms to prove it. I've pulled fennel seeds and twigs from my hair every evening when I finally acquiese and come in because it's too dark to see anymore. I've filled up our green-waste cans to the brim and had to begin filling the back of the pickup truck with fennel stalks and bougainvillea branches (Hubby will have to make a separate green-waste run--he's such a sweetie). And you know what? I just love all this work! It's absolutely wonderful! I'm tired and I ache in a good way.

I'm pleased as punch that I've acquired five new rosebushes, and they are all in the ground! They are bareroot roses so they're not photogenic right now, but I'm hoping they will be in a few months. The new acquisitions are: Disneyland, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ronald Reagan, Montezuma, and Sheer Magic. These five newbies bring the total count in the front garden to 18 rosebushes. And I think I've finally maxed out and can't add anymore. There just isn't anymore room. Yes, my name is Cindy, and I'm a rose-aholic. Everyone together now... "Hi Cindy".

Anyway, after the rosebushes were in, I filled in spaces with some lovely little violas in one bed and some apricot foxglove seedlings in another bed. I also sowed lots of different seeds that I hope will germinate. I have very bad luck with seeds. I'm crossing my fingers that some will do well so I can have a lovely bed of flowers around the new rosebushes this spring and summer.

About the photos that accompany this post...

I could probably live my entire existence as a photographer with just a macro lens and be quite prolific and happy creatively. Even when I'm not looking through the viewfinder of my camera, I'm looking at things up close and studying details. There are such amazing forms and shapes around me everyday that I am intrigued by. I'm so fortunate to be able to capture them in photographs so I can study them even more once the moment has passed. The photos in this post are all macro "up close and personal" views of the Rosehaven Cottage gardens right now.

First photo: The pond's edge in the back garden is filled with various containers of full sun, heat loving plants. Water crest grows in the water.

Second photo: Bright orange gazanias bloom year round on one edge of the pond in the back garden.

Third photo: The warm-weather lilacs are covered with buds ready to leaf out.

Fourth photo: A delicate snap pea blossom on a vine. Peas grow best here in winter and early spring.

Left: A little dogwood tree I adopted after it was homeless and in too small of a pot. It has revived enough now that I think it may go in the ground this year.

Below: The prehistoric looking leaf of an artichoke. Artichokes love our micro-climate so much that they grow wild on the hills around here.

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  1. we are generally so lucky with weather here :)

    Funny, I was just studying the Sunset Garden Book today, scratching my head about zones..

  2. You are lucky with the weather, even those of us with a more severe winter have weeds that germinate in late fall and are monsters by spring, already blooming now and scattering their seeds. Getting down with your nose to the soil is the best way to become one with the garden. Loved your post.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  3. Your garden is beautiful! And those buds looks so promising.

  4. OOOOOOOO I am SO envious that you are gardening!! I am dreaming and getting ready for the day I can sink my hands into the dirt!! :)


  5. Cindy you are so lucky, gardening already, where we still have to push the snow here, lol. Great photography, thanks for sharing, Anna :)

  6. I couldn't agree more about your rant about the Bay Area's no-rest-from-weeds problem! I've pretty much banished all chemicals from my garden so now I'm depending on things like boiling water or vinegar-based sprays to get at weeds. Mostly, I depend on my getting out there to pull them eventually. And as for that lovely bit of false spring we've been enjoying--I guess we're going to pay for it now and for the next few days!

  7. I'm not only jealous of your weather, but that you can grow bougainvillea. I have to bring mine in during the winter. I just love it! And I share your affinity for macro photography. You really take wonderful photos, Cindy!

  8. WoW...some really captured shots!

  9. You're making me green with envy! I'm not fond of weeding and I'm always grateful when fall arrives and I know that I'll get a break with winter on it's way. But, now I'm desperate for spring and getting my hands back in the soil. We're never satisfied are we? By the way, I used to conceal my chocolate chips in a tiny container on my table. But, as I've gotten older I've got nothing to hide. I simply grab a handful and put them on a napkin for the world to see.

  10. I am sure I got my love of gardening from my two grandmothers. Neither my mother nor my father were much into gardening.

    I have a micro sized garden, but that is fine with me because I too like to get up close and personal wtih my plants.

  11. Love this garden-y post with close-ups.


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