Looking out from the beaches of Santa Barbara County you are able to see a few of the Channel Islands in the distance. The Santa Barbara Channel has been called the Galapogos of North America because the plants and animals found here are known only to these isolated islands.
The islands, accessible only by boat or airplane, are protected by many locally based non-profits which safeguard and defend them. Many explorers, scientists and historians have visited these islands over the past few centuries. Each island has a long and interesting history – you can read and see more here
Enjoy these photos taken by Lucy on a trip to Santa Cruz Island!
-”If nothing ever changed, they’d be no butterflies”- author unknown
Want to walk intimately amongst 1,000 live, fluttering, feasting butterflies? Then come to The Santa Barbara Museum Of Natural History where this interactive butterfly exhibit takes place every 2 years. A large, netted pavillion (a permanent structure) houses the flowers, plants, water features, butterfly houses and plates of fresh fruits the butterflies need to thrive and survive. The 10′s of 1,000′s of adoring fans who walk shoulder to wing in with these beautiful creatures – well we’re just frosting on the cake!
I’m referring you back to the post,“It’s All For The Butterflies!“, where I showed you the exhibit being planted. I was very happy to volunteer my planting skills to afford the butterflies a delightful habitat.
Have you ever seen a butterfly house? Check out the photo below.
There’s no place like home
Two White Peacocks having a great time at the Rudbekia
White Peacock and Queen sharing Echinacea
God save the Queen
Swallowtail enjoying Agapanthus
Painted Lady with nothing to hide
Pond’s favorite Water Lily
Best friends in the garden
And if you can’t stop looking at the butterfly pictures you can see some more here
Here’s a bit of interesting trivia about this alluring woody vine/shrub. It was named for the French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation when the exploration team docked in South America in 1768. Since then, these splendid (but thorny!) flowering plants have become ornamental favorites (with more than 300 varieties now available) in frost-free climates around the globe. I have even seen the for sale at a nursery in Fairfield, Connecticut – definitely a conservatory plant there! They are not only used as vines but also as ground covers, in containers, on pergolas, on fences and walls and as hedges (which puzzles me because they will loose their color if pruned too severely).
Like the Poinsettia, the bracts (a leaf-like part of the plant) and not the flower (which is an inconspicuous white or yellow little bloom at the center of the more showy bract) are actually what give them their gorgeous hue. You can choose between red, purple, yellow, orange, pink or white blossoms. Most varieties have single bracts, but a few have doubles. There are also several varieties with variegated foliage. One of our favorites, the “Torch Glow” is like no other – the bracts are all at the end of the stems, and when they bloom, they glow like tiki torches.
The Bougainvilleas that adorn the Joy-Us Headquarters are in full flower at the moment. Here are some of my tips (things I’ve learned along the way as a nursery person and as a professional gardener) for caring for them:
When you bring one home from the nursery, don’t take it out of its grow pot before planting. Bougainvilleas do not like having their roots disturbed (but who does?). Instead, make large cuts in the sides and bottom of the plastic pot so the roots can escape and grow out.
Plant in a sunny, sunny spot (you do want that explosion of color after all!).
They like loamy, sandy, dry soil so plant in a spot that has good drainage.
Do not over-water them: not only might this cause them to rot, but it will promote green growth over blossoming.
Remember, they are not clinging vines, so they need support and attachment. One of ours is growing across the broad doorway of one of our buildings thanks to a well placed metal trellis. You can use hooks, ties – you name it. Just keep helping them along or they’ll surprise you and run wild!
The blossoms may be delicate (the bracts, not the flower, are actually the source of the color) but the thorns are fierce, so exercise care (wear gloves) when you are pruning. I look like I’ve just stepped out of the lion’s cage after an Edward Scissorhands session with ours – best not done in a bikini!
Many manuals will tell you to fertilize them but I don’t and ours grow like beanstalks and burst with many, many blossoms.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this plant but that’s what keeps me interested. When the bracts are spent, they drop off en masse and tend to blow into our offices (hey, at least they aren’t cobwebs) and so we’re constantly sweeping up magenta piles of paper-thin leaves. They can also overtake an area unless you stay on top of the pruning.
Hummingbirds and butterflies love them. And so do we!
Check out our previous post on Bougainvillea glabra here.
Click here for more Bougainvilleas pictures I took while wondering around Santa Barbara.
As Ground Cover
As A Hedge
Along A Wall
Over A Pergola
Along A Chain Link Fence
A video about how I prune the Joy-Us Bougainvilleas
Video shot and edited by Lucy.
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As I said on the “about” page of Garden Gluttony … a trip to a nursery still makes me giddy! So when my friend suggested we visit one of her favorite nurseries, a place called Shakespeare’s Garden, it was all systems go. This beautiful garden center in Brookfield, CT whose tag line is “see nature differently,” is as stated: “A unique home + garden shop with items selected to bring you beauty + inspiration.”
On staff at Shakespeare’s Garden you’ll find horticulturists, floral designers, container gardeners, growers and landscape designers. They provide installation as well as maintenance to keep that investment in your garden on track. The property encompasses 10 acres and includes a garden shop housed in a barn, greenhouses, display gardens and plants for sale. They grow 90% of the herbaceous ornamentals that they carry, which is quite unique for a garden center, especially in a area where it’s cold 6 months out of the year. They even carry a reasonable selection of my favorites … succulents. To-die-for garden ornaments and enhancers, which are tucked all over the property, are available for sale. You just have to keep your eyes and senses wide open!
What June Gloom? The Friday evening of Solstice weekend (June 23-25) was overcast but no matter—Lady Dahlia went to Alameda Park and listened to great local bands, including one fronted by local acting legend, Jeff Bridges. It was a stellar start to a great weekend. The next day, she parked herself, with camera, on a bright corner spot for the 37th Annual Summer Solstice Parade, which brought the sunshine back—as if on cue – and added a techno-color burst of living la vida loca to downtown Santa Barbara.
This year’s theme was The Jungle and it brought out the wildness in everyone from the Mayor to tiny kids (or were those monkeys?) playing on jungle gym floats. Float after amazing float made its way down our main street, accompanied by dancers, drummers, music, beads, more music—and more beads.
Anyone who adorns their bike with glitter and feathers can join the fun. It’s a mobile feast for the senses—a cross between Mardi Gras and Carnivale—and a great start to summer.
Perhaps the theme was throw-back to the early days of Solstice, which meant peace, love, and lots of legendary naughtiness, but LD will save that for another blog post.
In the meantime , here’s a visual recap of the festivities … enjoy!