Archive for the ‘plants’ Category

rosemary in january

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Let’s just take a moment to marvel at the fact that the rosemary plants I put on the front hill last June are not only still alive, they seem to be doing really well! But wait, it’s mid-January and this is New England… right?

Rosmarinus officianalis ‘Prostratus’ (Creeping Rosemary) |         Zone 7 and up:

rosemarinis officianalis ‘prostratus’ (creeping rosemary in january




















Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Alcalde’  (Cold Hardy Rosemary) | Zone 6 and up:

rosmarinis officianalis ‘alcalde’




















Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp’ (Cold Hardy Rosemary)  | Zone 6 and up:

rosmarinis officianalis ‘arp’




















I realize I’m tempting fate here. Temps are about to dip down to 4 degrees in the next couple of nights, so we’ll see what happens. But so far so good! Come to think of it, this is the second winter outdoors for my three prostrate rosemary plants. Wow. I just realized that.

Luckily the hillside mostly protects them from the wicked north winds and the slope ensures that moisture drains away, which definitely helps. With any luck at all, they will continue to survive. No guarantees. We’ll followup in a month and see how they’re doing then.

For those who care, here’s a reminder of what’s on my front hill.

the front hill, 9 wks later

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

It’s been a little more than two months since the front slope got planted. Here’s what it looked like at the end of June (click to biggify)…

front hill, immediately after planting












And here’s what it looks like at the beginning of September…

the front hill in september, 9 weeks after planting












Not bad, I suppose. I haven’t lost any plants yet, so that’s a plus. Off to a decent start — must constantly remind myself to be patient — but still needs a year or two to grow in completely and begin to resemble a meadow. Next year it will look fabulous. The third year, golden.

Want a closer inspection? Rollover the images for deets…

Nassella tenuissima blowing in the breeze

the grasses are finally filling in... Panicum virgantum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ with Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’ and Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame', Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ blooms behind



















Agastache ‘Ava’ and Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ with a bright Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ behind



















Verbascum ‘Album’ blooming but still small after just a few months in the ground

Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame' beginning to bloom behind Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’



















The alien-looking Eryngium yuccafoliums (Rattlesnake Master) really stand out; Comptonia peregrina (Sweetfern) behind



















Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ in the foreground with pale green Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ and dark Sedum telephium ‘Sunset Cloud’ behind; Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’ adds some green with Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ rising up behind it



















a closer look at origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ and Sedum telephium ‘Sunset Cloud’



















Helictotrichon sempervirens ‘Saphirsprudel’ and Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’



















Buddleia alternifolia ‘Argentea’ is now 4' tall and a little wider than that






















Remember this shot from back in June?

Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ and Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) back in june


That Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) has come a long way. She’s now taller than I am!

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise ) in all its crazy glory, late August


The crazy looking blooms, whose scent on a warm evening remind me of Indian food, are generally swarming with bumbles. But I shot this right after a big rain and the bees were nowhere to be seen…

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) bloom, closeup... very Dr. Seuss


For those who care to obsess, you can find my entire front hill plant menu here.



plant me happy: native wisteria

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Do you love the smell of basil as much as I do? Then you might like this:

my wisteria amethyst falls




















Nope, not a basil.

This is Wisteria ‘Amethyst Falls,’ a native form that doesn’t smell anywhere as sweet as its overly aggressive Asian relatives. That doesn’t stop the bees, though. Oh no. They’ve been psyched about this vine since the first blooms appeared in its very first year. I planted it at the end of our veggie garden… that was 2 years ago.

Did I mention it blooms almost nonstop? Crazy, right?

wisteria amethyst falls bloom




















That was something I never expected. Instead of blooming just once in the spring like most wisterias, Amethyst Falls blooms for me off and on throughout the summer and even into the fall. Who knew?

Yes, it climbs, but I don’t have room for that so I just let it tumble over the wall. For a plant I had my doubts about in the beginning, I must say I am thrilled with it now.

Mediterranean planting inspiration

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

You don’t think I’d go to southern California without snapping a few pictures of plant combinations I find inspiring, do you? Nah. Didn’t think so.

(rollover pics for occasional plant ID, click to biggify)

Los Feliz neighborhood, L.A.: Nassella tenuissima, agave, festuca glauca, salvia and, hmm, something else











Los Feliz neighborhood, L.A.: Nassella tenuissima again, festuca glauca and succulents











Los Feliz neighborhood, L.A.: succulents in a mailbox!


Lodge Torrey Pines, La Jolla: rosemary and 6-7' tall Echium can­di­cans “Pride of Madeira” covered in hummingbirds



















Los Feliz neighborhood, L.A.: agave, rosemary, phormium. i wonder what that silvery stuff is?











sunny hillside at Lodge Torrey Pines, La Jolla: rosemary and lavendar











Lodge Torrey Pines, La Jolla: better shot of the tufted grass securing the hill below the lavender



















Hillcrest neighbood, San Diego: yucca, agave and lots of succulents and cactus I can’t identify



























house we rented in Palm Springs: festuca glauca and lavender, purple lantana underneath the palo verde tree


















Legoland: ricinus (castor bean plant) grows into tall, hard-trunked trees here!











Legoland: blooming succulents, yucca, euphorbia, cyprus papyrus alternifolius (in the pond) and an awesome blue swath of festuca glauca



















Legoland: gorgeous waving sea of Nassella tenuissima












Also stopped at a few botanic gardens, so I’ll share more planties with you soon!

hillside planting underway

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Sorry things got quiet again at modremod. We escaped to the west coast to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Just before we left, the plants I ordered back in January started arriving for the front hillside.

Then Shiva arrived yesterday with a carload of plants for the walkway section of the hill…

hillside planting: laying out the plants













Nassella tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass). 85 of them in all…

hillside planting: only 50 more to go











So guess what I did yesterday?

hillside planting: mexican feather grass in













More planting happening soon — the arrivals are beginning to stack up. Thanks for helping get it started, Shiva! goteamfight.

nothing much to report

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Not much going on the last two days. Remodeling paused but hopefully picking up again on Monday. Did I mention we’re just days away from the one year anniversary of getting our building permit?

In the meantime, I went outside and tested that macro lens I got David for his iPhone. Wow…

seeds on my miscanthus sinensis ‘morning light’




















Super closeup of the seeds on my Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ — in the wind, no less. Nifty. Looks like I’ll be stealing that lens from David frequently.

5 vines i must have

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The plant stalking for spring continues. This time up: vines. The more crazy and exotic it looks, the more I long for it.


Mina lobata “Exotic Love Vine”   an old fave. must revisit.

mina lobata “exotic love vine or spanish flag” |















Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’   so unusual. love.

clematis viticella ‘alba luxurians’ |














Vitis coignetiae (Crimson Glory Vine)   brilliant 10-12″ leaves!

vitis coignetiae (crimson glory vine) |




















Apios americana (Groundnut)  native. looks like a wonky wisteria.

apios americana (groundnut) |













Passiflora caerulea (Passionflower)   somehow mine got dug up.

passiflora caerulea (passionflower) |















Where will I put them all? Um… hmmmm. (Btw, I added a few others to Pinterest.)

plants + math = wow

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Have you seen these videos yet? Mind-boggling!




Pretty cool, right? I’ll post the third when it makes its premiere.


plants i’m digging for spring

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Thought I’d do this post for those of you who haven’t found me on Pinterest yet. Have been flipping through spring catalogs as they arrive and dog-earing things that catch my eye. This is what I’m drawn to so far…



Stachys lavandulifolia Pink Cotton Lambs Ear

stachys lavandulifolia Pink Cotton Lambs Ear |












Rosmarinis officinalis ‘Alcalde Cold Hardy’   COLD HARDY!

Rosmarinis officinalis ‘Alcalde Cold Hardy’ |












Lavendula stoechas ‘Purple Ribbon’  (Spanish Lavender)

Lavandula stoechas 'Purple Ribbon' |












or maybe this one?

Lavendula stoechas ‘Madrid Blue’ (also Spanish)

Lavandula stoechas 'Madrid Blue'  |












Monardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’   Freaky!

Monardella macrantha 'Marian Sampson' |












Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blond Ambition’ (Blue Grama Grass)

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blond Ambition’ (Blue Grama Grass) |












Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’  Love the one I got last year so much I must have more.

Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing' |











Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’

Euphorbia 'Blue Haze' |












Hesperaloe parviflora Perpa ‘Brakelights’   A red yucca!!

Hesperaloe parviflora Perpa ‘Brakelights’ |












Pterocephalus depressus (Carpeting Pincushion Flower)

Pterocephalus depressus (Carpeting Pincushion Flower) |













Monarda ‘Lambada’   whoa. that’s a bee balm?!

Monarda ‘Lambada’ |













Euphorbia polychroma ‘Bonfire’  the machines killed most of mine.

Euphorbia polychroma ‘Bonfire’ |














Tricyrtis ‘Blue Wonder’ Toad Lily  love. need a few more of these.

Tricyrtis ‘Blue Wonder’ (Japanese Toad Lily) |















Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ (Veronica)

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ (Veronica) |














As catalogs roll in, you can expect more updates. I’ll cover vines in another post. Don’t want to wear out my welcome, ya know.


FYI: have been thrilled with many a plant purchased online from the companies above and I’ll buy that way again, fo shizzle.

conspiracy theory

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I’ve noticed something this year. Every time an interior design magazine arrives in the mail, there it is again…

Sunset magazine, pg 53 | October 2011

Sunset magazine, pg 53 | October 2011


That tree in the corner. It’s a Fiddle Leaf Fig. And it’s everywhere. Usually near the window…

House Beautiful | June 2011

House Beautiful | June 2011


Sometimes there’s not just one but two

Elle Decor | June 2011

Elle Decor | June 2011


Occasionally, they are monstrous…

Elle Decor, pg 217 | September 2011

Elle Decor, pg 217 | September 2011


So my question is, is there some conspiracy going on here? Maybe a botanical PR/lobbyist type at work behind the scenes trying to get this tree more press?

Elle Decor, pg 184 | November 2011

Elle Decor, pg 184 | November 2011


Is this the “It” plant of 2011? Or is every shelter mag’s set stylist just a little heavy handed with this plant?