Tag Archives: #1linerweds

Hope And Spring

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”-Pablo Neruda

I have noticed that some of my rose bushes in the front yard are under aphid attack. I was busy pruning when I noticed a lady bug on one of the leaves. It was a bright red one with black polka dots. I stood there admiring it for several minutes and I said hello and thank you. I was thinking if a neighbor heard me talking to the lady bug they would think I was a bit crazy. I took the ladybug as a sign of hope.

749px-LadyBug-1

Lady bug on a leaf by Alvesgaspar


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.

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Mars

“You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on… So it’s a fixer-upper of a planet.”
― Elon Musk

That would be the scary part, living in a dome with no air to breath outside. NASA has been funding studies on how humans would tolerate living on Mars by recreating a similar environment on Earth. Do you think we could really live on Mars?

It is argued that life on Earth may be destroyed by an asteroid impact and we need to find other planets to live on to ensure that man will survive. It would be a good idea to work on ways to prevent asteroids from hitting Earth. Maybe that should be the priority. There is the argument that this is about science and some say there is a wealth of resources on other planets, moons, and asteroids. The science part interests me most.

On a lighter note, will we have Mars Bars on Mars? This is making me hungry. Not sure about Deep Fried Mars Bars, though. I like frozen candy bars better.

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One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image taken by Mars MRO Orbiter, NASA, of ‘Yardangs‘ or sand dune formations created by wind.

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Mystery Tree

“To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.”                  -Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

PIA21270 Martian Dust Devil via JPL

Martian Dust Devil Action Gale Crater, Sol 1597

Isn’t that a great Gif from NASA? There is wind on Mars. It is wonderful that we have the technology to capture images from another planet.

Speaking of technology, my new App has been working pretty well up until now. I take a photo of the plant/bush/tree that I want to identify and the App sends me several images of different plants/bushes/trees to see if there is a match. If I do not see a match, I can ask The Horticulturist. I then submit 3 photos of the mystery plant and The Horticulturist will get back to me within 24 hours with an answer. This was all going swimmingly until the App couldn’t identify one of my bush/trees.

Mystery Tree

Mystery Tree

I need to trim some of the branches off the bottom of this tree.  I do remember being told in the past it is a Manzanita. I have been researching, and it matches better with a Toyon or Christmas Berry or California Holly. This would make it a native of California, drought tolerant, and good for bees and birds. It gets red berries in winter. The birds and squirrels like to eat the berries. It is quite comical to see the squirrels hanging upside down off the branches munching on the berries.  After researching a lot some more, I think I have found it, Eureka!  It is not a Manzanita, it is not a Toyon or Christmas Berry, it is a Firethorn or Pyracantha.  The App probably had a hard time identifying it because it has not flowered yet, although it has some little buds, and no berries yet. I was so focused on the leaves and buds that I did not notice it does have some thorns on the branches. Some of thorns are hidden behind the leaves and they are very sharp. It was hard to capture a clear image of the thorns but I included a few below. I noticed that it is getting a couple of pretty white flowers up on a higher branch, and there is this cotton-y stuff scattered around some of the branches. It is not a native of California but it is hardy and drought tolerant.

I found out about the cotton-y stuff on a few branches, and it is good it is few and far between because it is a sign of the woolly apple aphid. The aphids usually do not become a major problem thanks to natural predators like some wasps, lady bugs, syrphid flies or hover flies, earwigs, and lace wings. I saw some flying wasp-y looking insects around the tree this morning and hope they are after the aphids. And I have noticed lots of earwigs in our yard. I have to keep watch for aphid mummies, which is what happens when the wasps attack the aphids. Between those spiky thorns and the aphid mummies this is getting a little scary.  But I am liking earwigs more.


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. It is a nice way to meet up with other bloggers. Click on the link to check out her site.

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Heavenly Bamboo And Not Heavenly Pepper Trees

“They know, they just know where to grow, how to dupe you, and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants, they just know, and therefore, I’ve concluded weeds must have brains.”
~ Dianne Benson, Dirt, 1994.

There are many trees, bushes, and plants in our backyard whose true identity is a mystery to me. They were already here when we bought this house or have sprung up as volunteers. Up until now I have not paid them much attention. I have used the internet to successfully identify some of my succulents, cacti, and clover-like ground cover, ( aka Wood Sorrel). I mentioned my search to my daughter and she told me I could get an App for my phone, take photos of the plant/tree, and get it identified. I was a bit frustrated in my first attempts using the App. But yesterday I asked the opinion of The Horticulturist, a feature of the App, and got the answer. I was really off on the wrong track in my identification of some of the bushes. I thought they were Chokecherry. I got off on a tangent with the Chokecherry. It has a long history in North America and strong ties to Native Americans who harvested the cherries.  Turns out they are not Chokecherry and they are two separate species. One is Heavenly Bamboo and the other Brazilian Pepper. We have a large Brazilian Pepper at the front of our house as do other neighbors. I have always liked the Pepper Tree in front. I knew it was a Pepper Tree but the one in the backyard looks more like a thicket or bush. It probably volunteered in our backyard with the help of birds who eat the peppers and then spread the seeds to other locations. The Heavenly Bamboo was probably spread by the birds as well because there are two smaller bushes of it in other locations in our yard. Now we have to figure out what to do with the Pepper trees because it can be invasive and I don’t want a backyard full of them.  At least the Heavenly Bamboo is not invasive.   🙂


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.

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In My Garden-Volunteers

” I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.”- Martha Smith

Volunteer-“In gardening and agronomic terminology, a volunteer is a plant that grows on its own, rather than being deliberately planted by a farmer or gardener. Volunteers often grow from seeds that float in on the wind, are dropped by birds, or are inadvertently mixed into compost.” (Wikipedia)

I have a couple of plants in my garden that are popping up without any help or encouragement from me. We did plant one of them but it is popping up in other spots. I have identified it as Sedum rubrotinctum aka Jelly Bean or Pork and Beans plants. Here are some photos of mine:

I think there were more that I pulled up when they were babies because I thought they were some kind of weed.  Another plant (tree) that grows like a weed are Palm trees. If you have a Palm tree anywhere nearby you will find little Palm tree seedlings popping up like weeds all over your yard. And you have to be vigilant in pulling them out or pretty soon you will have a tree where you may not want one. We ended up with a huge Palm tree against our wall, from a volunteer like that, and another one in our front yard.

This is what they look like if you catch them early:

Palm Tree Seedlings

As I was surveying the plants in my backyard,  I came across this hiding under some other bushes against one wall:

We will have to dig it up or end up with a much bigger tree in the near future.

In a recent post I mentioned there was clover growing in my garden, which also is a volunteer. I was thinking a neighbor may have some clover in their garden and the seeds spread to mine. Well, while researching the type of “clover” it might be, I discovered it is not clover but something called “Yellow wood sorrel” or Oxalis stricta. It grows wild so it is a volunteer. In small amounts it can be edible and medicinal. It is sour tasting and  a thirst quencher if you chew a bit of it.  The leaves close up in bright sun. I noticed some of the “clover” leaves were doing that too.  I like the look of it but I don’t necessarily want it to take over the backyard, but it is pretty and has a pretty name ‘wood sorrel.’ I am going to have to look for a different ground cover to fill in the bare spots. I took some photos of the sorrel this morning. You can see some of the leaves partially closed. The yellow flowers are closed this morning. We had rain yesterday and the sun is not so bright right now, a little cloudy today.

Some good news is that we planted our Lime tree.

And the Sage plants are doing well and really blooming:


Featured Image of Sedum r. by Frank Vincentz via Wikipedia.  One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.

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In My Garden-Magical Things

“The universe is full of  magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”                – Eden Phillpotts

I noticed something on the top of one of our cactus plants and on closer inspection I saw these bright pink protuberances:

I think I mentioned before that we did not save the tags for most of our plants and this makes it hard to identify them later.  However I have been doing a bit of research and believe I have identified a couple more of the cacti/succulents. The image above is of Cleistocactus hyalacanthus.

One of the other succulents in the front yard has a large light green flowering stalk growing out of it right now. I identified this plant as Kalanchoe luciae aka Paddle Kalanchoe, Paddle plant, Desert Cabbage, Flapjacks, and Red Pancakes ( named for the shape and color of the leaves):

I have been reading up on the Kalanchoe and I can grow many more plants from the mother plant. Here, in the image below, are some of the baby plants that can be harvested and repotted. Can you see them tucked into the bottom of the leaves?

While researching some images of kolanchoe I found ( an image by Nova on Wikipedia) of one of my backyard succulents is called Kolanchoe tormentosa:

Kalanchoe tormentosa

We have been converting our front and backyards to drought tolerant landscapes. The front yard has a low flow drip sprinkler system. Happy to have something that is low maintenance with our rock ground cover, pavers and drought tolerant plants.


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image Cleistocactus in flower by Leonora Enking on Flickr. I hope my cleistocactus flowers will open up like that. 🙂

 

 

In My Garden Small

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett-The Secret Garden

I have been wanting to get back into my small backyard garden and now that the weather is getting nicer I have been going out.  I have been weeding periodically and I am noticing that the succulents I planted are growing and some are blooming. I was excited to see this one with a big stalk shooting up:

And I did not remember the name of the plant. Then I noticed it had a tag:

Gasteria arborescens

Here are a few more of my succulents:

And here’s some of my wooly thyme ground cover. I will probably plant more because it has not covered as much of the space as I hoped it would:

The sage plants are doing well:

Cranberry Sage

I have a dwarf lime tree that I need to plant:

It’s nice to see that these plants are doing well even though I am new at this.  I plan to scale the retaining wall this weekend, ( don’t worry it is not too tall), dig a hole in the terrace, and plant the lime tree. I hope it likes it there.

Today is International Women’s Day # HerVoiceIsMyVoice:


This post is my contribution to One Liner Wednesday hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image is of  my backyard garden path.  🙂

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