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

Container Gardening

Succulent stairs

Back patio succulents


I did a little rearranging of my succulents in the back yard this weekend. Some of these potted lovelies moved with us from our San Francisco apartments years ago. Container gardening started as a necessity due to our small SF spaces.  

My flowers


I’ve had the big hen and chicks platter for nearly ten years. She has pups all over the garden. Some are in the green pot to the left of Mama plant; the other surrounding succulents are just cousins and friends. The succulent on the far left loves her current spot. I made a mistake last spring when I moved her from a winter shady spot to full sun from one day to the next. A couple of days later I noticed her poor leaves had a terrible sunburn! She was boiling!  So I moved her back to this semi-shady spot where she only gets late afternoon sun. She is much happier. She started out being just one little rosette in a small planter years ago. I’ve moved her to progressively larger pots and she always fills it up nicely.  

"Before" shot. Winter weeds begone!

 Amazing what a difference a little weeking will make. 


Mini-planters on the potting table

I found these baby rosettes living under my potting table last year. Clever succulents! They were self-propagating on the mossy concrete patio. I scooped them up and put them in these little pots. Some of them have moved on to bigger pots. 


Indoor Gardening

I saw this crazy gorgeous bromeliad recently at the Berkeley Horicultural Nursery and “had to have it” as they say. I paired it with a bright red pot. Daring, no?

My kitchen bromeliad

As if the bold striped leaves and tall stalk with bright red bloom aren’t enough, this bromeliad surprised me a couple of weeks later when yellow bits started poking out of the red part.

Blooming bromeliads, Batman!

Also adorning my kitchen are a couple of beloved Tillandsias, which live happily in egg cups on a shelf by the window carefully guarded by the cockatoo.

Kitchen Tillandsias

I so enjoy Tillandsias! I’ve had several over the years and am always happy when they bloom. The flowers are so delicate and special. Of course, even without blooms, they are fabulous. I have a couple of air plants in my office at work. In addition to being beautiful, they also serve as decorative little conversation starters. Co-workers tend to ask things like, “WHAT is that?”…Or more recently, I got a simple, “Why do you have air plants in here?” I had to say, Explain. She goes, “Well, they’re just so weird!” Yep. Sometimes that’s enough to get me through the work day.

Office Tillandsia

Oh, one more bromeliad I love is what I always called Princess’ Tears. I just learned from Loree at danger garden that this bromeliad is a Billbergia nutans. (I tend to have plants for years without knowing the proper names.) I did a little research (aka Google) and learned that some other names for her are Queen’s Tears, Friendship Plant, and Angel Tears. I keep mine on the back patio.

Billbergia nutans in February 2010

The blooms started opening up in March.

This Friendship Plant's hanging blooms are starting to pop

Blooming Queen's Tears March 2010

I only got one stalk of blooms this year. I think I’ll try my hand at dividing this plant to see if I can get more blooms next time!

What a great driveway!

Susan’s Succulents


Here is a front yard garden that I love. I first went to Susan’s Succulents last year after hearing about her succulent sale on craigslist.

This is one of my purchases from last year.

And here she is one year later. The plan is to put this beauty in the ground as part of the upcoming front yard succulent make-over, but for now my comfort level is still container gardening!!