Shasta Daisy

90612It just might be one of the most popular daisies nowadays, but Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum X superbum, is not a naturally occurring species. It was developed by Luther Burbank in 1890, as a complicated hybrid of four different species, one of which is of a different genus. Yet, it is somehow genetically stable enough to produce viable seed, although seed of cultivars is not true-to-type.

Shasta daisy is an herbaceous perennial that forms a substantial network of sturdy rhizomes that mostly stay close to the ground, with blooming stems that can get almost three feet tall. Primary bloom begins in late spring or early summer, and continues until autumn, either in minor subsequent phases or as sporadic bloom. Flowers are big classic white daisies with bright yellow centers.

Although it can survive neglect and lapses of watering, Shasta daisy prefers to be watered at least occasionally, and is much more appealing if flower stalks are pruned away as they finish. It likes full sun, but will tolerate a bit of shade through part of the day. Mature plants are easy to divide for propagation. If the odd aroma is not too objectionable, Shasta daisies are delightful cut flowers.


Timmy in the Garden


Tim Buck II, pronounced like ‘Timbuktu’ in Mali, but known simply as ‘Timmy’, came to live with us while he was just a baby fawn. Mr. Tim Buck Senior left Mrs. Buck to raise little Timmy alone as a single mother. Mrs. Buck then vanished, leaving little Timmy enfeebled on the side of Highway 9 south of town. No one knows what happened to Mrs. Buck. She might have been hit and killed by a car. She might have been eaten by a Mountain Lion. Somehow, she was not there to raise little Timmy.

Traffic was stopped on Highway 9 as little Timmy staggered about, either anemic, or starving from the absence of Mrs. Buck. He could barely walk, and certainly could not bound up or down the steep hillsides to leave the Highway. Most of us who stopped knew that he would not survive, and just accepted it as part of nature. However, we could not just leave him there with a few concerned children also stopped in the traffic with us. I loaded him into the back seat of the pick up and took him with me so that the children would think that he would be taken care of. I expected him to be deceased by the time I got home.

Instead, like a scene straight out of ‘Tommy Boy’, Timmy survived. He got up and was looking at me in the rear view mirror. Now what? Barbecue? I took him home to ask the neighbors.

That was too much help. They gave Timmy goat milk and groomed him of ticks, and a within a few hours, Timmy was bounding about the yard and playing with Bill the terrier, and Melly and Chewy the two cats. By nightfall, the entire herd wanted to sleep in my bed!

Timmy grew very fast and consumed quite a bit of goat milk. He craved more than milk though, and started eating my roses. (This was later in spring.) When I yelled at him to stop, he just looked at me quizzically, and continued eating. The roses did not last long. Timmy then ate the leaves off the fruit trees. Then he ate some ornamental grasses. There was not much that Timmy would not eat. When I tried chasing him off to eat in the forest, he just came right back to play with his friends and eat more of the garden. When I kept the door closed, he just came in the cat door and found his way to my bed. When I took him across the creek and down the road a bit, he just followed me back.

The funny thing is that everyone liked Timmy! He was so nice and polite, even as he destroyed the garden. That was a very bad year for gardening!

By the following spring, Timmy was spending almost all of his time out in the forest. He had depleted everything in the garden, so needed to go farther out to find vegetation within reach. He had grown very fast into a tall and lanky young buck. I slowly resumed gardening in early summer, with only minimal nibbling.

I sometimes wonder how Timmy is doing. I am pleased that he is no longer in my garden. I can enjoy growing roses again. The only thing I enjoy finding in the rose garden more than a nice healthy rose is a bitten off stub where there was about to be a rose.

Brent is an Idiot!


He might be the best landscape designer in West Hollywood, but he is an idiot nonetheless. Besides that, he takes worthless pictures. That is why I do not have any good pictures of his Mid City Los Angeles Jungalow garden to post. I will share a few of what I have, but they really do not show it off like it should be. ( )


Of course, the prettiest thing in the Jungalow garden is Grace, my niece. This is an old picture. She is learning to drive now! Oh my! She gets here cuteness from her mother; and she looks more like both of her grandmothers than her parents.


She is adorable and knows how to use it.


This ‘Charles Grimaldi’ Angel’s trumpet is the same one that provided the flowers for an illustration in Sunset – Western Garden Book, although I do not remember in which year.


This Bismarkia palm was supposed to be sent to my garden, but like so many plants that are to be sent to my garden, Brent killed it first. Brent is an idiot!


Brent recycled this Mexican fan palm and installed it at the curb in front of the Jungalow as a memorial tree when his brother Brian passed away a few years ago. It is quite tall now, and from the Santa Monica Freeway, it can be seen standing above the other foliage crowding the Jungalow.


This is one of seven (!) queen palms at the Jungalow.


This very fragrant pink jasmine climbs to the top of the hedge to the south of the Jungalow and blooms every winter. It gets cut down afterward, and starts the climb over again. Unfortunately, there is a serious problem with an objectionable aroma of a herd of feral cats next door. (That might be a topic for later.)


Beanie is a good dog who deserves to live with someone who is not such an idiot. The lawn is artificial turf that was installed as a demo for clients. The strangler fig wall in the background is the old garage that was converted to Brent’s office, with the upper deck on the roof. That is where I sleep when I need to go to Southern California. Brent does not like me sleeping on the upper deck, but he is an idiot. I like it up there because the dogs are not so bothersome. The blue wall on the south side of the deck obscures the noise from the Santa Monica Freeway, as well as the view of the backyard and home next door. The foliage above the deck is the neighbor’s avocado tree that I wrote about earlier.


This is a dwarf pampas grass in the parkstrip. The facade of the home is in the background.


This is the facade of the home, barely visible behind all the foliage. I could never understand why Brent wants to obscure such a cute bungalow. He is an idiot. However, he is also the landscape designer. The door is actually a gate that was added to the arch over the porch. The front door is behind it. To the left, there is a small porch that is open above, with a low wall in front. Brent added some ornamental iron to enclose the space. It is quite nice how it all worked out, even though Brent is an idiot.


This is the street out front, shaded by all the tipu trees that Brent planted. Brent has been planting street trees on other street in the neighborhood for twenty years. We started doing it on January 18, 1998! This is an old picture. The trees are bigger now, although some of the neighbors have cut some down. Apparently, Brent is not the only idiot.

Now, I will try to find some pictures of my garden for comparison.

First blog post

Yes; ‘First blog post’. This is the title it came with, and it is quite accurate. I see no need to change it. From here on out, I will be more discriminatory about what I write about. I hope to use this blog for my weekly gardening columns. If this works out, I will add a link to the gardening columns, so that readers can come here to find copies of the same articles that they find in their local newspapers, as well as missing articles. I write my articles weekly, but the various newspapers that have access to them do not use all of them. This may also be a blog where readers can send gardening questions, instead of telephoning or emailing me. I am new to this, so it will take me a while to figure it all out. I should post my first article here in a few days.