Last Chance Lemon

As a Landscape Designer in Santa Clarita, I really enjoy designing with edibles, this didn't start when I became a Landscape Designer - it goes way back.  Some of my fondest memories are of picking blueberries and cherries in my Grandmother's garden.  Although she didn't have a lot of space, she always had a veggie garden (right next to the clothesline) about six or seven blueberry bushes, and a very big Queen Anne Cherry Tree. 

All the grandkids would take turns picking those cherries.  We had a tall ladder, a rope and a bucket.  One of us would climb the ladder, sit on one of the conveniently located branches or branch crotches, pull the bucket up with the rope and fill the bucket.  Then we would lower it down to the rest of the crew to sort (eat) and put into containers for the house.  Repeating as necessary or until we got too full.  The blueberries were easier as they were on ground level (hmmmm maybe that's why my brother always opted for the blueberries - though he won't eat them from the store as they are "inconsistent") We'd all swarm around the bushes with small containers eating more than we brought into the house for Grandma.

As you might understand it is difficult for me to get rid of a fruit tree, any kind of tree really, but sometimes you just have to do it.   Or so I thought.  I purchased an Oro Blanco Grapefruit and a Pink Lemonade Lemon tree from Papaya Tree Nursery about 14 years ago (geeze has it been that long?)  That was before I became a landscape designer and probably when I was still sort of in an east coast planting state of mind. I figured if it is citrus it is going to grow in my California home - after all we aren't far from Fillmore, right? Well the Oro Blanco (which I placed right next to my living room window for the fragrance - between the house and a block wall for protection) has been a gem of a tree.  It is lush, gorgeous, and produces THE BEST grapefruits I have ever had.  My Pink Lemonade tree on the other hand has been a challenge.

I started out with the Pink Lemonade tree by the pool, after about six years of discolored leaves, fragrant blossoms but then fruit drop I decided to ask Alex from Papaya Tree what I was doing wrong.  That is when I found out (why didn't his dad tell me years ago I'll never know) that if I planted this tree in SCV, it needed part shade (what a citrus tree that wants part shade?)  So I moved it.  I put it about 20' from the Oroblanco near another window, where it would receive some shade from surrounding trees.  I added another bubbler to that irrigation valve, fertilized and waited.  And waited, and waited, and waited.  Every year I would say,  "If this thing doesn't stop dropping all its fruit, I'm going to pull it out and put in a ... persimmon, jujube, (fill in the blank fruit) that I love."

So this past summer, we had a house fire (we're all okay) and were displaced from our home for three plus months.  Needless to say, many of my plants suffered but overall nothing looked too bad for neglect, except the citrus trees on the side of the house.  My kumquats (in pots by the pool) did just fine because I fertilized things when I could and watered fairly regularly (none of my citrus are on automatic water, I must hand water or turn the bubbler valve on - less water is better).  Anyway, the firemen and builders threw crap out of the second story window and off the roof and unfortunately the Oro Blanco and Pink Lemonade were hit.  The Pink Lemonade even took a direct hit, breaking off a branch or two.  This is the year I thought, she'll never survive all this battery and neglect.

Well, (I'm sure you saw this coming) today I went out into the garden to take some #springtease photos and what did I find?  My first ever full size lemon on my Pink Lemonade Tree!  I guess my Last Chance Lemon thrives on neglect.  I'll have to try to figure out what I can throw off the roof this summer, then maybe I'll get two lemons!

If you would like help beautifying your life, think about creating a garden with me. You can call me at 661-917-3521, or visit my website


Wordless Wednesday

If you would like help beautifying your life, think about creating a garden with me. You can call me at 661-917-3521, or visit my website


What To Do In Your Southern California Garden in February

It is that time of the month again (or a little later) when being a Landscape Designer in Santa Clarita means I send you my list of chores for the month.  Read through, select what you need to do and discard the rest.  February is the reason that I moved to Southern California, we are the lucky ones working out in our garden while others are digging themselves out of the snow.  (My family included)

Here is the link for your February To Do List, so enjoy the sun, the breezes, and yes... the chores - we're lucky to have them. 

In addition to planning your veggies (#9) don't forget that it is a great time to plan some beautiful Container Designs, and you might even pick up some pottery on sale since the new shipments will be coming in to nurseries during this next four weeks. 

If you live in another part of the country, please tune in to the show I just taped with Joanne Mathis on the BlogTalk Radio show Artist's Designers, and Things, Oh MY!  and find out what you can be doing to Prepare for Spring


Wordless Wednesday

If you would like help beautifying your life, think about creating a garden with me. You can call me at 661-917-3521, or visit my website

Happy Anniversary, Loren! xo


How Not To Prune

I know as a Landscape Designer in Santa Clarita, California I'm supposed to be showing you How to Landscape your home, but if you have been following my blog at all you know that I can't resist a good "How Not To" post.  Thursday morning I was walking my dogs and strayed off the paseos (which is my usual morning routine) and on to the streets near my home.  Within half a block I was assaulted by one terrible pruning job after another.  Most of the photos I'm going to share with you are from THE SAME BLOCK!  Oy vey, I'm wondering if there is one Landscape Janitor that is doing all these houses.  It isn't a gardener - that's for sure.  A true gardener could NEVER do this to a friend (and all my plants are my friends).

Here we go, first here is a Lavender Box - if I told you that blossoms generally grow on the tips of the plant, how many lavender blossoms do you think this baby would have?  Not many, and of course all on the top.  Now, you say - don't the French trim lavender into hedges for parterres?  Yes, you're be right about that but please, in what universe is one lonely plant a parterre?

The Rhaphiolepis Round About.  This poor Indian Hawthorn was pruned to geometrically wind around the CATV box, really?  Really?  I think if I was going to do this I would have added a front piece so the neighbor could share in the joy of a hidden utility box.  But of course, I'd never do this.  I don't own a chainsaw or hedge clippers.  If I can't do it with pruners, it doesn't get done.  (Yes, I call an arborist to do my trees).

Fortnight Lily Fiasco:  If you want a smaller plant, buy a smaller plant.  You can't just make the plant the size you want it to be, unless of course you like this look.  I for one do not.  I only use Fortnight Lily Plants in places where they can grow to their full size, minimally 3' x 3', that doesn't sound big but it really is.

Flat Foliage or How wide is your hedge?  This is completely ludicrous, two different plants that could successfully be used as screening or hedge plants - but pruned insanely.  These two plants want to be at least 5' wide, maybe this is it's buzz cut for the year, but it looks very painful to me.  Why does it need to look like this?  

And the Icing on the Cake is: The top photo - the entree' for the blog post.  I don't even know if I have words for this one.  The best thing I can say is that this Landscape Janitor stuck to the Rule of Threes.  What the heck is this supposed to be, and how can the homeowner walk out the door every morning? 

Now, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of hedges in general but I did find one planting that serves it's purpose as a hedge, has been pruned regularly, and although it may not be my style I thought I should show at least one successful attempt at pruning. I think they should have planted just one more plant, but then I guess they'd be blocking access to the hydrant.  Funny look.

If you enjoyed the How Not To theme, check out these other posts: How Not to Landscape Your Home and another older How Not To Landscape Your Home

If you would like help beautifying your life, think about creating a garden with me. You can call me at 661-917-3521, or visit my website.

  © Blogger template ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP