Plants that Naturalize

As promised,  this post is all about plants that naturalize or multiply.  With these plants you will never have to buy again.

Cerinthe Major or Honeywort below just needed to be planted once and let the seeds spread once the plants die at the end of spring. In late fall here in Southern California, the seedlings come up all around the mother plant. I usually dig them up and re-planted them in other parts of the garden. They have lovely leaves and awesome purple/blue clusters of bell-shaped flowers.

These “Caribbean Cocktail” nasturtiums took over this whole area. Under these leaves are large seeds that can be planted elsewhere. They don’t care if you don’t cover them up or give them water regularly.  The leaves and flowers are edible but I don’t like the taste.

Aeonium “Kiwi” are these adorable green and yellow succulents.  If they get more sun exposure they change to orange and pink colors.

These kalanchoe succulents are one of my favorites! I love their colors. They tend to bloom in winter and grow on branches unlike other kalanchoes that grow flowers from fleshy leaves.

Borage re-seeds like crazy! The very first seed was planted about 3 years ago. They sprout everywhere in all seasons. This one grew from last summer. It swallowed up my dormant hibiscus underneath.

The leaves are scratchy, delicious, and dinosaur-large. I imagined large dinosaurs eating these and not be bothered by the spiky hair on its leaves. I do enjoy snipping these off the plant and munch on them while I’m outdoors.  Some other creatures must be liking them too because the leaves are always chewed off.

Borage have beautiful blue and sometimes pink flowers.  They are usually in full bloom in the spring.

Bearded irises are great spreaders too. New bulbs magically appear next to the mother plant each year.  They are so easy to grow. I have many in my garden that I am waiting to bloom for the first time this year.

My Yellow Jessamine vine flowers in late winter and our Asian culture love to display them in the homes around the Lunar New Year.  The branches grow long but if it touches the ground, then it grows roots.  I dug this one out once it rooted and cut it off from the mother plant.  I have two of these baby plants in other parts of my yard.  They brighten up the winter days for sure!

A few days ago we had a terrible 70 mph windstorm come through and knocked down my trellis. I haven’t been able to get out there to erect the trellis yet. I hope the trellis is still salvageable. The only thing holding it up are my jasmine vines.

Before picture of my trellis
After the windstorm

Below is the pink and white jasmine holding it up. I am so upset as this is my only trellis left. I had another one on the other side of my garden that got knocked down by Santa Ana winds a few years ago. I never replaced it. I do love a trellis to frame my garden so I may replace this one eventually.

That’s all for the week. I hope you have a nice weekend.

My Garden Today

I was out sometimes last week and saw my garden for the first time after the rain and freezing, cold weather. They looked so pretty. I feel I should capture the scene before it will change again in a few months. Trees and plants growing so fast each year. I am always amazed when I looked back at old pictures of my yard. The once barren yard is now filled with lush and sometime overgrown trees.

Below are my “Charles Grimaldi” brugmansia tree now about 10 feet tall. The beauty about this tree is that it flowers almost every couple of months all year long. The trumpet shaped flowers are very fragrant, especially in the evening. Next to that is my variegated leaves hibiscus tree with red flowers. The leaves are yellow now because the Santa Ana winds dried it up a few weeks ago. The green bush on the left are my pink alstroemerias. Nasturtiums with orange flowers are also spreading all over the ground. Someday soon I plan to write about plants that re-seed and you never have to worry about them dying in Southern California.

A path to the back area of my garden is hidden behind this pink brugmansia tree. Pink “Strybing Beauty” are flowering profusely in the front. I have some nice aeonium “Kiwis” succulents spreading on the ground. Those make beautiful groundcovers in dry slightly shady spots. They are happy all year long. Even in the extreme cold weather that we just had, they remained healthy.

Main garden gate to my “secret garden” is below. It is draped with white jasminum “Pepita”. They are climbing on the trellis here and in less than a month will start flowering white petals. They smell great like all jasmine. Yes, I have another huge Charles Grimaldi brugmansia tree on the left too! What can I say I love fragrance in my garden! I like them near the patio to catch the sweet-smelling plant at night. Roses are grown on the left side but they are barren at the moment.

The picture below is the other side of the garden gate. A sleeping plumeria on the right. Last year it was very leafy but no beautiful white and yellow flowers. I don’t know how to get it to flower again.

I would love to have nice, paved stone paths in my garden but that costs way too much and my husband would never be on board with spending that much on a yard. I also can’t see myself pouring much money in things that are not natural. That’s why we are left with ugly grasses. Also, grasses is better for the dogs to do their business on!

Another picture of the plants near the right gate with the plumeria. In the background is my fast growing “Indigo” Iochroma. It has purple bell-shaped flowers. It makes a really great privacy tree because it is leafy all year long.

There is a lot going on back here in this left side of my yard. I had to put these tall black weed “bumpers” to prevent my gardeners from ramming into my small plants with a mower. It worked great but it looks unattractive at the moment. Yes, and yucky grass is all there. On the left front here is my “Red Baron” peach tree getting ready to have beautiful pinkish red blooms in a few months. I have a “dwarf” avocado tree planted there in the center inside the raised bed border.

Then, in the background of the picture below is another avocado tree that was grown from seed. It has been there maybe 4-5 years. It is about 12 feet tall and we had to cut the top off to keep it from growing. I don’t expect that one to have any fruit any time soon in the next 4 years. I am relying on my dwarf avocado tree (above picture) to fruit in another year or two. I believe that one was a grafted tree that I purchased. Daffodils are growing below that avocado tree along with a pink bougainvillea. I have a tall green island mallow tree that has not bloomed for the last two years. I need to troubleshoot that one soon.

This is the view of the right side of the yard where there is a garden path meanders along the fence. In the back I have the red hibiscus tree and another brugmansia tree on the left. Orange and yellow nasturtiums were allowed to naturalize and spread here. Some tall Dutch irises on the right side and ornamental purple kale are spreading on the ground. I have to put a black wastebasket in the front to prevent my dogs and gardeners from trampling on a tiny iris that is growing there.

This area below is more in the front by the Red Baron peach tree. I have borage taking control of the left hand side. They are about to have beautiful blue flowers. I love growing borage because they are edible, bees love them, and they re-seed year after year. You only need to plant them once and they keep re-seeding for years and years. Cheap investment right?

This is the front part of the garden. Sadly, it is not in the best shape because I am still not getting the right plants to naturalize here. A lot of things died down during the winter so I need to find some other plants that can stay alive all year long and dress this area of the garden better. Here, I have a barren plumeria which I have yet to see flower after 3 years in the ground. I have white ornamental kale on the ground, pink geraniums, small bearded irises, and a couple of hibiscuses in dormant mode. I forgot the name of the yellow and orange plant spreading in the front but bees love them too so I can’t get rid of them. They make a nice colorful carpet and they grow year-round.

That’s all I have for this Sunday. I hope you enjoyed this extensive tour of my garden. I rarely show my WHOLE garden because I am usually never satisfied with them but for documenting sake, I write this to show you how far they’ve come. If you’re interested, look in my blog for “garden transformation”, I showed a picture of it from years past. It has really improved over the years, I admit. Not great but much better each year. Gardening is an enjoyable process.

Flowering Peach Blossoms

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

These flowering Peach Blossoms are the perfect winter beauties! For the past two weeks I’ve been greeted by them each day as I come and go through the front of the house. They’ve been there for three years now and this year’s blooms are much more abundant than last year’s.

I look forward to this season every year because of them. They make me smile when I see them. My boys are tired of hearing me gush “isn’t that the prettiest tree you’ve ever seen?”

They only flower until March or so. The rest of the year they grow leafy and sway gracefully in the breeze. This tree is somewhat a fast grower. It was only about 18 inches tall when planted there 3 years ago, it is now about 9 feet tall. The soil here is dry, claylike and untreated but surprisingly it is doing better than other peach blossom trees I have in better sites.


Finally these hellebores flowered for me after its second year! I put it in the ground last winter and just now getting some blooms. These are the “Wedding Crasher” hellebores from the Wedding Party collection. I also have “Dark and Handsome” blooming too.


White Anemone

That’s all the flowers I have for today. I’d like to leave you with a peaceful image of my baby, Hunter. I hope you are having a great Valentine’s Day wherever you are!