Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Anna

hummingbird, anna's, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography
female Anna's Hummingbird in the garden
hummingbird, anna's, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography

hummingbird, anna's, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography
Our lovely Anna's hummingbirds have returned to the garden for the cooler months.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In a Vase: Windswept

monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography
Strong winds and overcast skies were the rule today, and this week's vase was disarranged by the wind as I took it outside to photograph it.  However, fortunately it was the sort that can stand a little mussing since it consisted mostly of just two types of flowers loosely combined.  Bright pink bougainvillea bracts...
monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography
...and white lantana...
monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography
...are both in plentiful supply.  There are also a couple of stems of artemisia tucked in at the base.

I used one of my handthrown stoneware pots, which was large enough to hold all the stems I picked.
monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography, stoneware, pottery, ceramics
Being from a woody plant, the bougainvillea sprays were soaked for about five minutes in boiled water, a technique that seems to be working for them.  Otherwise, I find the stems are quite prone to wilting, leaving the bright, crepey bracts all drooped and crumpled.  This batch is holding up well so far.
monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography, ceramics, stoneware, pottery
The tiny true flowers of the bougainvillea are white, a fact that inspired the combination with the white-blooming lantana.
monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography
Thank you to Cathy for the encouragement to cut garden flowers for the house each week.  Do check the other vases inspired by the IaVoM theme at Rambling in the Garden!
monday vase, small sunny garden, desert garden, bougainvillea, lantana, amy myers, photography
Weather Diary: Cloudy; High: 91 F (33 C)/Low: 77F (25 C); Humidity: 20%-55%


Friday, September 23, 2016

Garden Foliage in September

garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, muhlenbergia, regal mist
Perhaps because we receive so little rain here (averaging about 8 in/20 cm per year), it is magical when it does come, inducing the gardener to go out and stand in it, watching the plants as they drink it in.  Also fascinating is to watch how the foliage holds raindrops, creating transient patterns of light and reflection otherwise absent in the garden.

Each plant is different.

Layers of drops rest in among the layers of close-set leaves on Callistemon viminalis "Little John"...
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, callistemon, little john
...while the agaves hold theirs as if on a wide platter...
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, agave
Agave parryi (I think!)
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, agave, marmorata
Agave marmorata
...or caught along the edge.
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, agave, angustifolia, marginata
Agave angustifolia marginata
On cacti the drops may be beaded among the spines.
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, cactus, trichocereus, spachinanus
Trichocereus spachianus
The fern-like foliage of Caesalpinia pulcherrima carries raindrops in glittering sprays.
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, caesalpinia pulcherrima, red bird of paradisegarden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, caesalpinia, pulcherrima, red bird of paradise, pride of barbados
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, caesalpinia, pulcherrima, red bird of paradise, pride of barbados
And the grass Muhlenbergia capillaris "Regal Mist" carries perfect rows along its round blades.
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, muhlenbergia, capillaris, regal mist, muhly grass
Each rainfall is different as well; this was a very gentle, light rain that left plenty of large drops hovering around the garden.  But it is fascinating to consider the patterns formed between the plants and the rain.

Thanks to Christina at My Hesperides Garden for hosting the Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day, which inspired this post.
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, agave, artemisia, powis castle
Agave angustifolia marginata with Artemisia "Powis Castle"
If you have time, please check my last post as well, in which I look at some new plans for the blog and ask about what would be most at issue for my readers as I change over.
garden bloggers foliage day, gbfd, raindrops, photography, amy myers, desert garden, small sunny garden, ruellia brittoniana
Ruellia brittoniana
Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 83 F (28 C)/Low: 64 F (18 C); Humidity: 14%-89%

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Blog Decisions: Please Read!

The occasional note appears: "I finally got my comment through after four tries...."

Not for the first time…

With a recent reminder that some of my readers can only comment on my blog with difficuty, if at all, I am once more considering what I should do to remedy the situation.

I have tried altering my settings; I have tried to peer within the workings of things.  What I find is an apparent failure point betweeen Blogger and WordPress.  Blogspot and Google users never seem to have trouble getting through.  And I know from sad experience that it works both ways.  There are a number of WordPress blogs that I have given up following because there seems little to no chance of my ever being able to get my comments past the WordPress spam dragon.  This has improved slightly since I registered with Gravatar, but even that has not completely eliminated the problem.  (Many thanks to those of you who have gone to the trouble of ensuring that I can comment on your blogs!)

Which is one reason I am not switching to WordPress.  It seems a “damned if you do, damned if you don't” situation where one half of my readers can comment and the other half cannot, whichever of the two main blogging platforms I would choose.  And it really is roughly half and half, so far as I can tell.

So I have been looking at a third alternative, namely, building a blog from the blog-friendly website-maker platform Jimdo.  (This is the program I have used for my artist website www.worksofmyers.com.)  I love working with their templates and features, so there is no difficulty there.  In fact, many's the time I've wished I could access their design features for my blog!  Still, it is not a dedicated blogging platform, and I am wondering how far this will be an issue to readers/followers.

Most of the widgets I currently use on my blog can be duplicated, some with a bit of elbow-grease, perhaps, but I believe I can see my way clear to a satisfactorily working blog.  To be honest, I'm quite excited about the possibilities for design and extension; for instance, building my little plant encyclopdedia will become much easier.  But there are a few issues I would like some feedback on before I decide to make such a switch.

Please, please, please… do let me know your thoughts on this!

Mainly the issues involve the follow mechanisms, the labels widget, and the reply mode.  The new blog could be followed by either RSS or email.  I suppose it could also be followed directly via Blogger (the way I follow most of your blogs) or WordPress, but I'm not certain.  Tags are available, but they may not be as ample as in the current mode.  And threaded responses can only be had via a third-party widget, which carries its own drawbacks.

So, I am asking…

1. How (or whether) you actually “follow” my blog?
2.  How do you keep up with posts, e.g. notifications, other blogs, or just "think I'll check", etc.?
3. Do you search for my blog online?  If so, how (keywords etc.), and how hard is it to find initially?
4. Do you ever search within the blog using labels/tags?
5.  Are there any other widgets on this blog that you would consider indispensable?
6. Do you use reply notification when leaving comments?  Will the lack of that option, and of threaded replies generally, make a lot of trouble for you as a reader/commenter?

And anything else that strikes you as an issue!  Like I say, I would love to have as much feedback as possible on this since it's a big decision so far as the blog goes.

Obviously, some of you can't leave comments, or I wouldn't be posting this!  Please feel free to leave your notes at amy dot mmxii at gmail dot com, or on my Facebook post.

And a big thank you to everyone for reading and participating!





Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday View

The garden is enjoying September now.  We had a brief flirtation with rain this afternoon and the humidity is up so the plants are pleased.  For instance, see the silver-leafed Eremophila hygrophana at the far right of the photo.  For much of the summer it has lounged on the ground; now it is perking up and looking much more vigorous as well as flowering more freely.

Just beside the lavender, the miniature rose is blooming again.
Looking on down the border, however, most of the color is still coming from Catharanthus roseus.  (One can also see the metal wall of the tack shed, which I hope to conceal eventually by a few cypresses planted at the lower corner.  They are still much too small to hide anything, but each is showing new growth now.)
The combination of Catharanthus with Pennisetum setaceum rubrum still delights me.
I need more autumn blooming plants in this border.  Sadly, the Salvia reptans which I had moved up here succumbed to my out of sight, out of mind watering this summer.  But there is still much to enjoy as plants pick up for the season.

So there is this week's Tuesday View for the meme with Cathy at Words and Herbs.
While here, I want to mention that I am apparently still having trouble with friends being unable to leave comments on this blog.  I have been thinking over my options at length and will be posting on the whole question - hopefully Wednesday or Thursday.  I will need all the helpful feedback I can get (not to worry, I will provide an alternate way to comment!), so please keep an eye out for the post and kindly let me know your thoughts on it!
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 88 F (31 C)/Low: 78 F (26 C); Humidity: 43%-71%