Tag Archives: gardening

Friday I’m in Love: The Mad Plants of Madeira

I recently spent some time with my parents on Madeira. It is seriously a plant-lover’s paradise! There will be more posts at a later date, but today I want to focus on some of the crazy-looking plants I saw…


This wonderful creature Mickey-Mouse bushis called the Mickey-Mouse bush. The yellow flowers fall off to reveal these cute red sepals, and eventually produce black fruits which give the plant its common name. Isn’t it lovely?

And this kapok treeis the kapok tree. Earlier in the year it has striking red five-lobed flowers which are apparently very attractive to bats, but its main importance is the fruit: a light fibre which is used as an alternative to down as stuffing for soft toys and upholstery. I’m told that the fibres kapok fibresloosen and float off, to the great annoyance to residents…but to me they are just cool!




Filed under Flowers, Gardens, Madeira, Nature, Plants, Travel

Friday I’m in Love: Pink Roses

I love almost every colour of rose, but I think pink roses are my favourite. And even though it goes against my California-native/drought-tolerant principals here in California, I couldn’t resist a few David Austin roses in my new planting schemes. This

Gertrude Jekyll rose with deer sageis one of my all-time favorites, Gertrude Jekyll, planted last year and finally hitting her stride. Doesn’t she look great against the grey of the deer sage?

And this

Charles Rennie MackIntosh budsis a new friend, Charles Rennie Mackitosh, planted in February and about to reward me for my faith. You can take the girl out of England… ūüôā


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Filed under California, England, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, House Updates, Plants, Seasonal Pleasures

Friday I’m in Love: Grevillea

Grevillea is an Australian shrub, evergreen and relatively drought tolerant. I have it growing in pots in my very sunny entrance courtyard. Isn’t it amazing? And hummingbirds love it…an all-round win!

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Filed under California, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, Nature, Plants

Friday I’m in Love: Clivias

This plant was new to me before coming to California but the camellia collection at Descanso Gardens is underplanted with a mass of them and they are spectacular. They are very expensive and I thought them out of my reach, but my gardener has a source…and voila!¬†

Clivias in the "woodland garden"Instant sunshine, even in the shady corners…

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Filed under California, Descanso Garden, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, Plants, Seasonal Pleasures

Happiness Project: Descanso in November

November saw the opening of Descanso Gardens‘ Oak Woodland.

Descanso Gardens Oak Woodland | bellesidees

Designed around the existing lake, the project aims to showcase the native landscape of the area, a mix of oaks and other trees, California meadow and chaparral plants.

Descanso Oak Garden montage | bellesideesThough still very young (most of the planting was done in March), the garden promises¬†to be a wonderful resource for gardeners looking for inspiration for xeriscaping and native planting – a must in these drought-ridden times in California…Descanso Oak Meadow garden montage | bellesidees

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Filed under California, Descanso Garden, Gardens, Nature, Plants

Friday I’m in Love: Pool-friendly plants

I’m planning a planter to go alongside our new hot-tub (on which more next week). From a practical point of view the plants need to be hardy, drought tolerant and evergreen. Ideally they¬†should be tall or¬†visually interesting, to disguise¬†the boring wooden sides of the spa.

I’m leaning towards succulents. Nothing spiny or sharp, but there are some beauties out there that would make a striking display. Here are some inspirations from Pinterest…what do you think?





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Filed under Flowers, Gardens, General, House Updates, Plants