Sunday, June 14, 2015

Decomposed Granite isn't too Complicated

Mr. S suggested we put decomposed granite on the walk ways between the vegetable beds. Not sure how it would look, I found pictures of gardens with decomposed granite. I was sold when I saw this picture from the movie "It's Complicated" 

I checked out the prices and measured how much I would need to fill in the walk ways. At $5.99 a bag, the project would cost over $500! So I went to Craigslist, one of my favorite resources to find what I need for my projects. Sometimes you have to be patient, looking often until you find what you are looking for. My patience paid off, I found someone selling decomposed granite for $40, almost the amount I needed! All we had to do was come pick it up.

Once we spread it into place, we needed an additional 10 bags to fill in the rest. So the entire project cost only $100! The decomposed granite look great. The best thing about it was it's low maintenance and doesn't have to be watered which is great for our Southern California drought problem. Mr. S had a great idea!

Decomposed granite all in place in the vegetable garden

The center of the garden is the prefect home for my beloved Zach.

A Gift from the Birds

One of my favorite flowers is the Morning Glory. Even though it's an annual, it always comes back every year, reseeding itself. One year in our old vegetable garden, morning glories started growing all on their own. They were incredibly hardy, no matter how many I pulled out, more grew. The only thing I can think of how the morning glories had gotten there is that they were a gift from the birds. Birds pick up seeds and drop them as they fly around, so it's reasonable to think that they brought them to my vegetable garden. 

When we packed during our move, I made sure to collect the seeds that were scattered around the old vegetable garden. So when it came time to decide what to plant to grow on the arbor at the entrance of the vegetable garden, of course I didn't think twice and the Morning Glories seeds were planted!

The Morning Glories growing in the old vegetable garden (with baby Zeek)
Morning Glories getting started on the arbor
Morning Glories in the morning!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

As I mentioned before, the garden is another room in your home. We spent Mother's Day in the garden. The weather was perfect and the garden was the main event. I had the pleasure of giving tours to everyone, pointing out all the plants I have been growing.

My spring lettuce garden is over grown and some have gone to seed, but I have enjoyed watching the birds swoop in to feast. Mr. S is going to take the overgrown stalks to the ranch to feed the wild rabbits. Time to start again.

 In the vegetable garden with my mom who also has a green thumb.
Photo credit, taken by my sister, Christel King

Thursday, June 11, 2015


When moving house there's so much to pack, but don't forget to move your garden! Your garden is also a room in your home you shouldn't forget to take with you. Planting a new garden is very expensive, so why not take it with you! It takes a bit of work and planning, but you will be happy you did it!

Years ago when we bought our first home, our Indonesian housekeeper told us that bringing soil from our old house to the new would bring us good luck. She took a handful of soil from the old yard and sprinkled it onto our new yard. Since then, every time we move, I move plants and bring along the soil.

During the pending move, I dug up bulbs first; calla lilies, gladiolas, irises, and lilies preparing them for the big move. The bulbs would survive wrapped up and stored in the garage until they were ready for planting. Digging in the yard also helped to relieve the stress while we went through the pains of escrow.

Once we closed escrow, the work of packing became more intense including the garden. Every evening I would dig up a major pant and immediately transplant them at the new house. Hydrangeas, rose bushes, a butterfly bush, peonies, and succulents all had to be moved.

How to transplant:

Prepare the new home for the plant in advance so you can replant it right away. Make sure to use garden soil appropriate for the type of plant. For rose bushes I prune the branches way down to make it manageable to move. Take your time while digging up the plant. Be careful to not break or cut any major roots while looking for the tap root, it will be the largest root that usually shoots straight down from the bottom of the root ball. Have a large container ready to transport the plant.

Dig a hole three times the width and depth of the plant. Mix the old soil with the new garden soil equally and fill the bottom of the hole a few inches. Place the plant in the hole and fill in with the soil mix and try to make sure you don’t leave any air pockets as you bury the roots. I make a moat around the plant and fill it with water. Once the water drains and soil settles, I refill it with water. This usually gets rid of the remaining air pockets you may have missed. Add more soil if needed. I water every day for the next few days. I don’t always fertilize unless I think the soil needs it.

The plant maybe be in shock for a while, so watch the plant closely for the next few weeks making sure you water it well. Out of all the plants I transplanted, I only lost one, not bad for moving an entire garden.

The side garden is slowly filling. Gardening takes lots of patience!
 I was most worried about transplanting the 
hydrangeas, but they seem to be settling in just fine.

The climbing rose bush looks perfect in front of the chimney.
  Calla Lilies have never been better! 
I think they like their new home
 The Amaryllis are growing slowly
The front flower bed is fill out nicely  
  Zeek lounging in front of the Calla Lilies

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DIY Ivy Topiaries

During a visit to the Getty Museum in Malibu, I fell in love with the Ivy Topiaries that were placed throughout the gardens. I took lots of pictures to remind myself to make my own for the garden. I looked online for sphere foundations to make the topiaries, but they were too costly for small spheres so I decided to give it a go and do it myself.

 Step 1: 
I used wire hangers from the dry cleaner, but you 
can use any heavy wire that is easy to bend into shape
Step 2: 
I formed the wire into circles
Step 3: 
The plastic pots were a bit too tall for the ceramic pot I wanted to 
place it so I had Mr. S trim them down and then he poked holes for the wire.
Step 4:
Fill the pot with potting soil and put the wire hangers through the 
holes on the pot. Mr. S crimped the wire to stay in place with pliers.
Step 5: 
Hold wire in place with zip ties at the top and trim excess.
Step 6:
I placed the plastic pot in the ceramic pot. Now
all ready for the Ivy! (I had empty ceramic planters from last year.)
Step 7:
Weave Ivy through the wire. In no time the Ivy will fill in!
The Ivy has filled in beautifully with the Pansies and Poppies
Another ivy topiary I started about 6 months
ago with a small ivy plant I purchased for $2

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Why does fashion become too serious?

This week was very difficult with customer deadlines. A style I had been working on needed to be cut on an automatic cutter because of the internal cut outs. I had been working on the pattern conversion without success for weeks. The pattern was created on Style Cad converted to PAD System which controls the data for the Kuris Cutter, but no matter what parameters we tried, the pattern would not convert properly. With the deadline to meet, the stress was terrible, I had actually lost sleep! That's when I ask myself, why does fashion become too serious?

With the help from tech support and the guys at the cutting service, it was finaly successful The guys allowed me to video a test cut.

Pink Alexander Magnolia Tree

With shopping list at hand, Mr. S and I went to H & H. I had difficulty keeping on track with the nursery filled with Pink Alexander Magnolia trees. Mr. S and I stopped to admire them and I ignored my impulse to buy one. On the far side looking for the plants on my list there was more magnolia trees to tempt me! I tried to ignore them as I looked at plants, one of the workers drove up with a cart right beside me and began loading the entire row of magnolia trees. A part of me wanted to grab one of the trees, but I'm happy to say I remained strong. We left without caving in.

I had always wanted a pink magnolia tree since the first time I had seen one years ago at The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. The next morning Mr. S asked if I was still thinking about the magnolia tree. I told him, yes. He encouraged me to go back and buy one. I didn't think twice and was on my way back to H & H hoping they still had trees! 

My Pink Alexander Magnolia tree!
 Afew days later, I took the afternoon off to meet the 
workers from H&H to deliver and plant the tree.
 I can't wait till the tree grows to full height! So beautiful!