Archive for the ‘Foliage’ Category

Oak Tree in Winter

January 31, 2017

This is my largest oak tree.  I planted it as a sapling when I moved in.  It is now 40 feet tall.


Clearing Brambles and Overgrowth

January 23, 2017

It’s time to start clearing overgrowth, deadwood, weeds, etc.  These photos were taken during the dead of winter.

img_2037A major area that requires pruning is a climbing rose given to me as a cutting by my neighbor Marilene years ago.  The small, pink climbing rose is pretty, but it quickly turned into thorny brambles that I wasn’t expecting.  It grows like a weed and roots everywhere it touches soil.  I need to cut it back and train it to grow where I want it.

In addition, Passion Flower vines have traveled underground and sprouted up throughout the garden.  I want to save some of these, but many have died in the last freeze and they must be removed.  At any case, they need to be cut back.


img_2038Update 1/24/2017

The photo to the left was taken from behind the chiminea.  I usually let this corner of the garden grow a little wild.  Garden lore says that if you let a small space in the garden grow wild, “the fairies” will live there and make your garden grow lavishly!

If that’s true, the fairies should be delighted.  This area is so overgrown at this point that the lines of the labyrinth can’t be seen.  There is much to clear.

However, there is some St. Augustine grass that has grown into the beds.  I need to leave that so that I can move it in the spring.  Also, leaves must be left in the beds to insulate the ground from the cold.  There is also another major climbing rose planted in this area.  Everything else can be removed.

Update 1/27/2017

I pulled down the deadwood from a multi-trunk ornamental tree in the corner. img_2050

Update 2/12/2017

I removed much of the excess at the end of January.  I took photos today.  We’ve had a few warm days here, and the roses have begun to show leaves.  I need to finish that project before the leaves become thick.

This is the same arbor as the first photo above.  I basically cleared all the dead stems.  Now I have to tame them.


The next two photos are (1) taken from behind the chiminea, showing the same area as the second photo in this post, and (2) the area directly to the right of it, which has also been cleared.  What remains are “volunteer” trees, which will have to be dug out by the roots.

img_2072 img_2073










Oak Tree Overgrowing Labyrinth Path

January 15, 2017


It’s hard to tell because of the autumn leaves, but the labyrinth path is between the bricks and the white wickets. The foliage bed is to the right of the white wickets. This photo shows that the tree is encroaching on the path from the left, and the bush is overgrowing the path from the right. The path of a labyrinth should be free and clear for the one walking it.  The overgrowth illustrates the reason I am re-designing the labyrinth at this time. This happens with a living labyrinth.

tree-is-overgrownThis tree was about one inch diameter when it was planted.  The labyrinth had to be built around it.  I have re-built its brick edging at least twice, but it’s time to enlarge it again.

The last time I enlarged it, the brick edging was evenly spaced around the tree.  The oak trunk has grown mostly to one side so that it is flush against the bricks and dislodging them, plus pushing up from under the brick.

Accommodating this tree is a key factor in creation of the new design.


The tree has grown, primarily on this side, pushing against the brick.


I have brushed the leaves aside to show the tree base and roots growing out from under the bricks.






I’m Back!!

March 30, 2015

It’s been a few years since I posted.  There is a very long story attached to that fact but here’s the Twitter version:

Hard freeze.  Hard freeze.  Drought w/ water restrictions strictly enforced.  Hard freeze.  Almost nothing left of my beautiful garden.

I’ve summoned my courage.  This weekend, I started restoring the Labyrinth Garden to its former glory.  This is going to take a while, and you are welcome to join me in the journey.

Labyrinth Garden.

This is looking along the back fence. The Labyrinth path lies through that white trellis. There is no room to pass the wild rose that has overgrown on one side, while the passion fruit vine on the other has withered.

Deck across to start

View across Labyrinth from outside of the outer ring toward the beginning of the Labyrinth on the far side. The Labyrinth has lost its visual shape.

From Gated Trellis

View of the Labyrinth from outside the outer circle looking toward the far side of the labyrinth. The gated trellis is a part of the outer edge of the Labyrinth.

Second ring

These are the outermost 2 rings of the Labyrinth. The path is overgrown so that it is difficult to tell what is path and what is garden bed.


I wanted to share a few updates since the last time I’ve actively blogged in case you are curious:


My best four-footed friend Alex, who appears in so many past photos, died in 2012 at age 19.  His heart finally just gave out in old age.  He did not suffer.  My neighbor told me that after I had spoiled Alex so much for so many years, he might find Heaven a bit disappointing.  Hopefully not.  He is sorely missed and still much loved.

Elsie, my beagle, is now 9 and 1/2.  Since Alex passed, she and I have become very close.  She was always stand-offish before but has since tried valiantly to fulfill Alex’s “lap dog responsibilities”.  She’s very very sweet and healthy.

My friendly squirrels that I loved so much died in suspicious circumstances that I have never fully unraveled.   That family has lived peacefully on my property for 15 years.  All of them were struck by cars in the road on separate days, but within 2 weeks of each other. I am unaware of any reason they should have become suicidal, and so suspect foul play.  A friend suggested that perhaps someone in the neighborhood put out poison for mice or other pests and the squirrels ate some, thereby slowing their reflex rate and speed as they crossed the street.

The birds that were so plentiful when I spent a lot of time in the garden have all but stopped visiting.  Maybe they will return now that I’m out and about and there is activity there.

My wonderful hummingbird visits most of the year (except winter), and the butterflies continue to come as well.  I was a bit surprised at this since the volume of flowers has drastically decreased.  Maybe it is a sign that they have faith in me.


We went through some extreme weather for several years which coincided with work-related busy-ness on my part, and I didn’t manage to save most of the plants.  The trees are fine.  Some of the roses survived.  Several invasive plants took over like passion flower, pineapple sage, clover, and a wild rose.  It’s not a national disaster, but it’s so disorderly and unkempt.


I’ve tentatively decided that I’m not going to continue to use Lasagna Gardening as the method of choice.  I have had difficulty starting seed, and taller plants don’t seem to have a strong enough base.   Also, I hesitate to put perennials in since the organic materials will cover them in winter and I worry about bark damage.

I am also considering gravel rock for the path.  I’ve always used wood mulch, but constantly replacing it year after year is expensive.

And with that, we’re off!!

Vines Grew Lush While I Was Away

April 19, 2010

Chinese Wisteria on a white metal trellis and beyond

My Chinese Wisteria has looked so pitiful over winter that I had almost given up hope that it would survive.  I was away in Sedona less than a week, and came back to this!  Not only is it bushy, growing copious limbs, but it has grown higher than the trellis! 

Also while Iwas away, my climbing roses took off, crossing the labyrinth paths.  I’m going to have to get taller trellises for these vines.

Climbing rose vines not only grow up, but across the labyrinth path.