ardening is one of my very favorite pastimes. I like the feeling of nurturing something. I like that plants have a code that you learn to read with experience. Yellow leaves usually mean too much water, and droopy ones- not enough. If the plant is flowering/bearing fruit, you are probably doing it right. I like that it's a skill that you can always get better at, and I like the community of people who also garden.
Last weekend M and I went on a tour of the Mildred E. Mathias UCLA Botanical Garden.
It's lovely, approx. 7 acres of trees, palms, bromeliads, hibiscus, cacti and succulents- native to California, Asia, Africa, Australia and elsewhere. There's even a circulating stream with a multitude of turtles. The best thing? It's super close to us! The tour helped me pick up some interesting tidbits about gardening in this new climate. For example: native California plants go dormant in the summer, not in the winter like most other places I'm aware of.
This knowledge has emboldened me to try several plants that might not normally be fall/winter plants and see what happens.
In that vein: we've made two trips to the Amstrong Garden Center so far, and let me tell you, I am in LOVE with this place.
It's large (a rarity for any commercial establishment where we live), staffed by friendly and knowledgeable people, carries a variety of really healthy looking plants (including HUGE 6-packs), and many of their seedlings and seed companies are organic.
I've unsurprisingly gone a little overboard:
and brought home more than I intended to: a fern, a tomato seedling, some thyme, a six pack of alyssum, and a six pack of dahlias, an unidentified plant from the near-death-rack, an Armeria, and a very-Californian-Hens and Chicks. I've also refilled the six-pack containers, and made pots out of a milk carton and some water bottles in order to start my own seedlings of parsley, morning glories, nasturtiums, and sweet peas. We'll see what happens now!
I've also muddled the growing conditions because all of these plants are growing in the sunroom- a partially indoors/partially outdoors space which gets patches of bright sunlight depending on the windows. I feel so nice to have some things growing now, and very interested to see which experiments work and which don't.