faboo mama

inside the mind of an opinionated mama…

2 years later

Every time I go through my garden photos I am amazed at how much it’s changed in the past 2 years.  I see plants that gave me joy and have died. Plants that I forgot I even bought! I can see what I’ve changed around and there’s a lot of that.  I also see the mistakes I made, some plantings of regret, now that things have grown fuller.

Here’s December 2006 on our final walkthrough:

Here is March 2009:

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I’ve been so wrapped up in my problems that haven’t taken the time to, well, smell the roses. My garden is indicating spring is here and I missed it. For me, few things are more exciting and wonderful than watching the buds on plants swell to just the point before they open. The other day I noticed that there are actual leaves on my grape plants. Today I saw not only 3″ buds on the wisteria ready to bloom, but 3 of them have already opened! 

Welcome to my garden…





Grape Bud

Grape Bud


Japanese Wisteria bud

Japanese Wisteria bud


Rosemary in bloom

Rosemary in bloom






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A faboo mama garden

Crazy for Crassula

P4180891Image by fabooj via Flickr

Yesterday, driving in Pasadena we drove past the California Cactus Center (see my blog post on LA Metblog for a review of the store) and dropped in to check it out.  If you’ve ever shopped for succulents or cactus, you know expensive they are.  We saw some really beautiful and small plants that were flirting with the edges of $90!  Happily, they did have 3″ pots that are comparable to watch you find at any nursery, with the added advantage of actual healthy and happy plants.  I already have enough cactus for my small needs and I went agave and echevarria crazy last year.  Now, my goal is more crassula.

But first, this photo is of the baseball plants (Klipnoors) we got, we saw a few of them that were pretty nice and big and $$$, these tiny guys were affordable.  We also got living rock, but the focus are the new crassula, I’ll just post the pics and let you drool:

I can’t wait to put them in their spots and watch them spill over the ground.

Speaking of my garden…

Just to give you an idea of some changes:

February 20, 2007

June 5, 2007

August 8, 2007

November 8, 2007 (from a different angle)

February 16, 2008

Playing in dirt

That’s what I’ve been doing the past 3 days. As you may know, I have some of the hardest clay soil that has ever existed. The few worms that have managed to live down there look like they take steroids. The ants, and there are 5, 879, 340,000,000,000,000,000 of them, think my front yard is their personal city with all the cracks in that clay soil. Do you know what it does to a person, when you finally heave up that 80lbs 5in piece of “soil”, bend down to move it only to find it’s crawling with a million ants? I still feel itchy. I’ve been adding compost and gymsum and tilling the crap out of that all before I can plant.
This is what I have so far. That tall plant in the back, I did last week. If you’ve been to my house, you’ll recognize this plant at the one in that big box by the steps. I can’t believe it’s finally in the ground! I bought that back in March of last year along with most of the succulents in these photos.  It’s a Cordyline australis. I also have a red one in the back yard and just found out that two of my Spiny Spikers (my technical term) are also cordylines.

At the base of this along the walkway, I planted some canna bulbs, a guara and some seeds of something. Real gardeners make plot plans and put in markers of what they have. Real lazy gardeners–like yours truly–toss some seeds, hope they germinate AND survive, then play guessing games based on empty packets that haven’t been tossed. It’s fun. Really.

In the foreground is what I’ve mostly been working on since Monday. That stick thing off to the left is Pedilanthus coalcomanensis. It’s a really cool plant and just “re-discovered” in the deserts of Mexico. Don’t ask me how it wound up in a nursery in Glendale, but it did and I bought it. I had been moving this thing around the property for the past year, unable to find the perfect place for it. now I have. It’s has these red flower bracts that look like candle flames.

Behind that is a Senecio cylindricus. I have two of these things; this one and one in the backyard that has positively mutated. It gets pretty big and I hear that it flowers, though mine never has. In the front that thing with the tall flower spike is known as a paddle plant (kalanchoe). It already has an offset so I can’t wait to see what it looks like in midsummer. That flower spike is almost 2′ long and the flowers have a light, pretty smell. I think I’m going to cut the flower spike off soon.

In the front there you see a trailing rosemary I just got ($2.49!). I’m so in love with trailing rosemary, but I thought it was hilarious that the tag on the pot said, “No unauthorized propagation”. How the hell are they going to know (besides reading my blog) if I propagate it? Anyway…that plant gets about 3′ wide so it should be interesting in a few months.

Now all those plants don’t have been water needs. So, that means I had to toss in some water wasters for some strange reason. I planted some canna bulbs. I planted what just may be iris bulbs (I lost the label), so whatever those things were, it should be a nice surprise. I got some chamomile and lavender seeds on the edges along the walk. In side, I planted an asparagus root and some lime basil seeds. Just outside the edger I planted some forget-me-not seeds.

This is the planter that’s generally known as the litter box. Fucking cats. The dogs just poop on the grass outside the planter. And no. I don’t have any pets. I can’t wait for the day that I an demolish that planter, paint the house an redo the windows. Pray for me.

This situation has posed a problem as I detest your typical foundation plantings as they look boring and unnatural. This planter box is on the east side of my house, so for most of the year, it gets more shade than normal.

There’s the two rose bushes that have been there since the 60s if the lady down the street is to be believed (story goes that someone who used to live on the street gave everyone 5 rose bushes for Christmas back in ‘64, which is why just about everyone on our street has the same 5 kinds of roses.) If those things got more sun, they’d probably be 8′ - 12′ tall like the ones across the street.  Most of the plants you see either were in my backyard and I moved them or divided them, or they’ve been sitting in pots for the last year.

From left to right, I planted an azalea formosa with an asparagus fern in front. This is one my new plants. On the other side of the rose bush is a gardenia vetchii, with lamb’s ears in front of that. There’s a turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) with another kind of gardenia on that. I put a papyrus near the steps just to see what it will do. I’ll probably divide one of my fiber optic grasses to plant up there too.  I also bought some pony packs of foxglove (digitalis) and some poppies (papaver)  and I got a few of them planted. Today, I’m going to toss random seeds in there to see what sprouts. Maybe I’ll bring some of the creeping thyme that is slowing taking over the back yard, to the front too.

I’m just interested in seeing how this will all play out. I hear the turk’s cap can get pretty big with a lot of sun, but I just want it to cover just enough of my window sill so I won’t have to think about it for a while. Basically I’m hoping the shadiness of the part of the property stalls the growth. The gardenias need the shade and they get about 4′ tall, and wide. Oh, crap. I think I planted some dahlias in there. Oh well, we’ll see what shows up. (Isn’t it exciting?)

This planter should be interesting in a few months. You see the flowering maple (abutilon), it’s so pretty now that the ants and aphids have been murderized (”I killed them! I killed them all! Even the younglings!”) and the new growth has really taken off. That stick behind it is my naked Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’). Stop staring at it perv! I just transplanted her from the back yard, hoping that she’ll get just enough sun here, but not too much that her leaves burn. I’m still not sure how much pruning I want to do on this tree. It’s such a common tree that giving it some architectural structure just may make it interesting, but then that means I’ll have to pay attention to it.

Got another asparagus fern in there, the datura metel is there (the stick in the foreground) and sending out new growth already. Behind it, I planted an orange thorn, which besides making it more exciting to navigate the stairs nearby, also gives up edible orange berries in the summer/fall. I hear birds like it, so I just may have to get a scarecrow. Don’t worry, in keeping with the Spanish Mission style of my house, it’ll most like be a Dia de los Muertos sorta thing.

Now, I’ve wasted my entire morning blogging about my garden, when I could have been out there devising more ways to stop the idiot mailman from traipsing across my lawn. I’m thinking of a sand pit, where he falls into the clay soil and I’ll have the ants go at him. Okay, I won’t really do it. I’ll most likely just put up fencing.


I can’t think. I’m obsessing over tomorrow.  I’ve read so many papers and magazines from around the world and everyone is looking at the Democratic race on Tsunami Tuesday.  So, I’ll babble about gardening

Nothing much is happening in my vegetable garden.  My artichoke plant is ginormous and has been knocked about by the recent winds.  I’ve had to cut so many stalks off of it.  I’m going to be planting my asparagus soon, so that’s exciting, but I’m going to put it in the front yard for variety.  At any rate, I’m growing lettuce.  I have two kinds that I’ve planted from nursery transplants and I’ve planted some mesclun mix seeds, er, someplace.  I also planted seeds for brussels sprouts and cauliflower.


In the back, I’ve also planted some red and white onions.  I’ve planted them so that I can both onions and scallions.  Should be interesting.  In the front yard, I’ve planted some ornamental garlic and I can’t wait to see them grow.  I’ve got the society garlic still and I love it so much. I just love the fact that I can get a garlic flavor in eggs, soups and potato dishes without actually using garlic.  I also have herbs growing all over the place; rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil are all being used as filler, ground cover and food.

Regarding the front yard, I really need to get the dahlias I bought in the ground soon.  I also have some other bulb I’m blanking on that needs to get in the ground.  I moved my fortnight lily to the front yard and divided it. It’s doing extremely well up there.  Thinking about bring my “Crazy daisy” chrysanthemum to the front too.  It really needs the sun.

One of my goals for the next week is to finish the front yard and plant the trees that I have waiting to go into the ground.  I’m going to move my red Japanese maple to the front yard, but I had planned to put it in the planter.  Now, I’m worried about the roots breaking through my basement wall.

I also still have my avocado tree (bought in April!) and new lime tree that I need to get into the ground.  The lime tree can wait, but the avocado tree really should be planted now.  It’s a dwarf tree, so it should only reach about 15′, but I’m concerned that may be a bit much for my small yard.  I’m thinking of keeping it a big smaller about 8′ -12′ and I’ll definitely have to prune it so it doesn’t get too wide for my tastes.

I have a yucca that I bought back in ‘98 and it was initally an indoor plant but didn’t like our dark apt.  I took it outside where it did better, but not that much better.  When we moved here, I put it in the ground and it’s taken off.  The tree had been the same size for almost 8 years.  The trunks diameter was almost 2″.  Now, the trunk is about 5″ and there’s all kinds of pups growing off the size of it.  I kind of wanted to move it to the front yard and put it against the house, but I don’t know if I can move it now without doing some serious damage.

Speaking of succulents, that’s the other thing I need to do. I’m going to make the planters against the house into a succulent garden.  I need to prep the soil and break off some pups from my other plants and get them in there while it’s still a bit cool.

Wow…that’s a lot of stuff to do and it’s only a small fraction of what needs to be done!

Jade plant blooms

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Jade plant blooms, originally uploaded by fabooj.

The story of this plant:
We moved into our Hollywood apt. back in ‘99. It wasn’t until ‘02 that I realized this plant was behind our building. About a two years later, I learned that it didn’t belong to my next door neighbor. So I adopted it. I had no idea how to care for it, but I know that he laundry bucket it was in, wasn’t cutting it, so I repotted it. I had no experience with succulents at that time.

It wasn’t until last year that I learned what the plant was called AND that it bloomed. Seeing as how I had never seen a flower near it, I thought it would never bloom. Imagine my surprise when I saw the buds appear a few weeks ago. Now, I’m completely thrilled to see them opening. What a beautiful plant!

Update on my backyard

Well, it’s been almost a year and I’m pretty impressed by what’s grown back there. Here’s some pics taken yesterday. Here’s my old post on my garden:

My backyard
Looking to the southwest of my backyard

My backyard
Looking east

My backyard
Looking northeast-ish.

As always you can check my flickr page to see how it all started out back in Feb.

My garden

I saw that I had posted a pic of my garden on May 11. I was terribly impressed with myself and had to brag (why else would anyone have a blog, right?). Anyway, I just realized that many of you may not be aware that my garden has grown. Here are some pics taken a couple of days ago from the same angles:

vegetable garden


beach in the backyard

Not bad for 3 months of growth, eh? Of course, today I pulled out the tomato plants. Half the tomatoes had spider nest in them. Yuck! I’m also going to install a micro-pergola for my stinking cantaloupe plant that’s grown about 10 feet in two directions and 6 in a another.