February Blossoms


Late afternoon iPhone photo

This is one of my favorite February bloomers in my neighborhood. This photo is from a few weeks ago. I’ve been getting into Instagram lately. It’s a completely addictive iPhone photo app that allows you to experiment with lots of different filters and lighting options.


Here’s the same iPhone pic punched up a bit with the #lux filter in Instagram. Once you select the look and feel of your iPhone pic, you can tag  share, send, and/or post.  It’s been so interesting to see cherry, plum,  magnolia, and tulip tree blooms from other Instagrammers all over the world. My iPhone has become my camera of choice now that I’ve seen how much fun it is to fix up iphone pics with Instagram. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

Southern Africa at UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

We went up to the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley the other day to activate our family membership. (Half off! Thanks, Groupon!) It is such a beautiful and relaxing place up high in the Berkeley hills. Very quiet and peaceful. I spent most of my time contemplating the enormous aloes in the Southern Africa section. Here are a few of my favorites.

Winter Bloom

I was surprised to see the bloom spike coming out of this aloe a few weeks ago. I’ve had this aloe in the same blue pot for a couple of years. (See here for an earlier pic.) It had been in full sun and was starting to stress out. Personally, I don’t like the stressed look on my aloes and succulents, so I moved it into a shadier spot. She rewarded me with this awesome bloom! (And brighter green stripes.) I took this pic with my iphone and filtered it through Instagram. What fun!

Cactus Fountain

Cactus Fountain = Oxymoron

This lovely fountain sells for just $179 (that’s one hundred seventy nine dollars) at Target. I couldn’t help but think about how many gorgeous real cacti could be had for that amount of money.

A Fairy’s Wand of My Own

Neighborhood fountain of flowers


I passed by this fountain of flowers on my way to the BART station one morning and had to snap a couple of pics. I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to add it to my imaginary front yard garden one day.
Flower identified at Annie’s!


 A few days later, I went to Annie’s Annuals & Perennials to check out their Art in the Garden event. As my girl sat down to remove the lava rock from her princess sandals, I spotted the very same fountain of flowers. Of course I would find it at Annie’s! I asked them what it is and found out that it’s a Dierama (aka Fairy’s Wand aka Angel’s Fishing Rod). They only had a couple small plants left for sale, and only in white, so I picked up my very own Dierama Guinevere.  

Dierama Guinevere


And as per my habit, I will put it in a pot in the back yard for a while until it grows up a bit. By then I’m sure our front bedding areas will be ready for planting. I’m serious.

Goodbye Snails

Snail-free Agave Attenuata

Ohh, you shoudla heard the expletives fly this morning when I discovered this colony of snails in my beloved agaves.  I wanted to pull an Amy Stewart and throw them into the street…but there were too many neighbors and passersby out and about, so I gathered up about 15-20 snails and threw them into the garbage. Goodbye!



Snail Hideout


Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th!

A patriotic passel of pots pose proudly on my patio.

Bearded Iris

Note to self: Plant Iris bulbs this year.

I passed by this gorgeous group of irises on my way to work recently. (Actually the pic is from springtime.) It was such an impressive display all along the neighbor’s front yard fence. Makes me want to try my hand at planting iris bulbs this year!

Blue Jay Friend

Here’s Oscar, our 13 year old Senegal parrot enjoying the afternoon breeze in his temporary cage in the back yard while I hosed down and cleaned his regular indoor cage. All of a sudden, this curious Blue Jay hopped on to the covered BBQ next to Oscar. Hello!


I think the Blue Jay was seriously impressed with the variety of seeds and fresh organic baby carrots in Oscar’s food dish. He may have been interested in the assortment of toys as well, but I’m pretty sure it was the seeds he was eying.

Oscar looking at me like, Who IS this guy?

 So, what’s the deal with Blue Jays? They’re bullies, right? Or is that just the reputation they enjoy in the neighborhood? I’ve never really paid much attention to them. But I did go inside to get him a peanut of his own. When I came back he was gone, so I put the nut on the barbecue. A few minutes later the peanut was gone.


Back Yard Aloe Bed


New Aloe Succulent bed in the back yard

I cleared this flower bed of oxalis this weekend and finally put some aloes into the ground, which is not easy for me due to my pot habit (containers, pots, pottery, and the like).

Beginning to look like summer

Of course, I had to keep this collection of old succulents in their pots…for now.



Can’t wait for them to settle in and start growing a bit. 

Potted Aloe