Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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The garden is…

doing well at the moment. It has changed its color from dull dormant green to perkier lively green and some blossoms are starting to show. Most dominating at this point are the manzanitas.  This may all change this weekend, however, when it is forecast that snow may be down to sea level here. Will we be in trouble? We shall see..For the moment, here are some new blooms using a new iPhone app I got called Photo Studio.

The California Dutchman’s Pipe vine (Aristolochia californica) is more profuse this year with its blossoms, but I still have the same lament as last year. No pipevine swallowtail butterflies. Where, oh where, can they be?

Gordon Gooseberry (Ribes meniesii var. hystrix) with its lovely little pink flowers.

Chalk Dudleya (Dudeya pulverulenta) showing its winter-wear with one of its blossoms beginning to peak out.

Mr. Cliff hasn’t made an appearance here for a while. He insisted on being included, since he too has been enjoying the garden. He regrets that he will have to remain inside all weekend, but snow is just not his thing any way you look at it…

Cliff (cat) the beast…

This is an excellent iPhoneography blog. So much to learn…


Autumn garden promise…


Garden sculpture of color and shape

Unfolding layers surviving the draught

Fleshy monster/juicy tissue

Now for winter


Taken with an iPhone, post processed with PhotoWizard, DXP, and PicGrunger

This year will be different—more success at overwintering my succulents!

I just found out that Lisa at The White Cotton Tee is hosting a Creative Exchange.  My image above came out of my finding a mini tutorial yesterday at DJ Petit’s blog about using Photoshop to create a particular technique. My immediate response was “Can I do that completely on my iPhone?” This image is the result…

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iphone Photo Friday…an ode to Ruth

It was excellent to have such a long weekend last week. We went to two different botanical gardens in three days, a pretty good ratio. After native plants on Saturday, Monday’s trip was to the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. This is a major cacti and succulent garden that has been given to the public and is open for walking. Our focus has not been this type of plant, but recently I have been fascinated with succulents in pots because of their variety of textures and colors (my goal for this year is to learn how to over-winter them better as I seem to lose a lot, and I want to start propagating them.) Since succulents do not take much water, they are a good match with our native plant garden. It was a nice venture for a casual holiday. I only had the iphone and I despaired of actually being able to identify these plants (except in the California natives section), so my images became more of an Impressionistic record of our visit to see if I could capture the spirit of the place. I am hoping that the viewer might even at times think “moonscape”. I only used the Camerabag app and the filters within it. Some images have multiple saves and processing through those filters.

Thank you, Ruth Bancroft, for a lovely visit…

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Well, hello baby…

One of my favorite California wildflowers is starting its bloom…

Baby Fivespot (Nemophila maculata)

and the first California poppy of the year:

California Poppy (Eschschoizia californica)

I wish I could supply a picture of my resident hummer, however, my camera is never fast enough. My movement of bringing it to my eye chases him off, or his hyperactive brain prompts him to think,”gotta move to frustrate her.” Please imagine the little critter, 12″ from my nose, looking me straight in the eye with that kind of sneer known to teenagers. He always has a quizzical look in his eye as if to ask, ” why are you sitting near my plants?” So here is his hummingbird sage:

Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea)

And the lovely little sunflakes:

Sunflakes (Camissonia bistorta)

One of my first Cecile Brunner roses, a plant that has been here many years before our native plant garden. It has been in three different places, and been eaten to the ground by deer. It now likes where it is and each year it feels as if it is the “rose bush that took over the world.” When it is in full swing I will include another picture.

Cecile Brunner

Last, but not least, a bloom from a succulent. I do not know the name of it, because I planted it before I kept good records of that sort of thing. But nice flower, anyway.

Succulent flower


Pairs that go together like bread and jam…

Green and gold glazes.

Purple and orange glazes.

Purple and orange fences.

Native and non-native succulents. Dudleya cymosa liveforever and Echeveria.

Black and chartreuse plants. Black mondo grass and golden piggy-back plant, Tolmiea menziesil. (Mondo grass snuck in the front yard where deer do not eat it. Some exceptions are made where we deal with our four legged friends.)

Benches and tables in the garden. (A little Photoshop this morning.)

and the voices of Annie Lennox and David Gray. Crank it up and go out and weed!



For most of my life I could not have been described as a gardener. I had enough things to take care of without adding those growing on the outside of the house. However, once the kids had moved out on their own and we transitioned in the natural course of events from two very large dogs to one smallish one, the dirt and concrete patch in the back that the kids and dogs had ruled became toast. Actually, it really had been baked earth. We rebuilt the garage, opening up more space and accessing the creek, took care of drainage with large drains around the house and then began the developing of the actual garden. By this point in his life, Terry had long been a member of the group “Fans of I never want to mow grass again in my life” and was dedicated to using native plants of California because of water and drought considerations. It was fine with us not to use pesticides (because after all you have to remember to apply them as well as being affected by them) and I was allowed to keep three old roses and a couple of hydrangeas for old times sake. To memorialize my cottage garden attempts, I guess. Must admit the concept of a garden taking care of itself for the most part had great appeal. However, Terry knowing my impulsivity level as he does, did lay down a rule: natives go into the ground, other plants go into pots. Simple, straight forward, even I can comprehend and remember.

For example:

Coral bells, Heuchera canyon bells, and similar plants like fringe cups (Tellima grandiflora) go into the ground

Heuchera 'Canyon Bells'

but other Heucheras that I might become passionate about because of their texture, amazing color, great combinations, etc. —go into pots:

Key Lime and Chocolate HeucheraKey Lime Pie and Chocolate Veil or maybe Cathedral Windows Heuchera (I think…) I know I saved those plant tags, I know I did…

In this shot I was really excited about the pot at the back. It has a magnificent runny, drippy glaze in wonderful tones of gold and green appreciated by this former potter and the “Dolce” Creme Brulee and “Dolce” Peach Melba just wanted it to be their home.

Here is a coral bells that got into a pot, who knew, rules are meant to be broken.

A Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya pulverulenta) could be in the ground

iphone photo

iphone photo, Camera Bag app

This one has some wear from the winter’s rain (and maybe that slight snow we had, but is sprouting and is supposed to thrive on neglect! The spots are nice in a picture, anyway.

Any other succulents go into, you guessed it, pots.

In the course of all this, we found that there are a group of native succulents that are called Lewisia cotyledon which are good in pots and in the ground. Named after Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame, it is fun to think of him making drawings in his sketch book (as we all should be doing…) or maybe the iphone is the new sketchbook?? If you want to by-pass anything that isn’t instant I guess that works…


Which is also terrific as a cut flower, in the perfect Heath vase, tucked in a special place.

an affinity for each other

I was excited to find yesterday, (which is why I started this particular blog) mention of a new book in the SF Chronicle. When we started the garden, a book called Designing with Succulents by Debra Lee Baldwin was great inspiration for me. And now she has a new one called Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants. As I always say, “It is all in the visual, baby.” Amazon, work your magic, it has already been shipped!!

You will be hearing much more about the garden because May 2 it will be on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour for the third time. It has changed so much from when it was first planted. It always brings surprises and new gifts. I never anticipated how much delight each spring would bring over the concept of how many native wildflowers had reseeded themselves voluntarily . I thought California poppies only came in orange. I take a lot of pictures as things start to bloom, so here is one of the first:

Gordon Gooseberry, Ribes menziesii var. hystrix