Posts Tagged ‘Apple Blossom’

Welcome back to the Gardens at Casa de Froio, Ms. Amaryllis. It is very nice seeing you and your lovely twin sister again this season!

Ms. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum); You Sexy Thing, You!!

Ms. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum); You Sexy Thing, You!!

This beauty is one of three Amaryllis bulbs given to me by my ex-wife in 2011; and is just the second flower I have been able to coax from the ground. The first of the bulbs to flower was the bulb I planted in the big yellow planter on the patio and that was way back 2012! Not a bad thing really; not knowing whether or not the bulb will produce a flower is definitely part of the anticipation I have built around the Amaryllis in my garden.

Ms. A's shy little sister opens for a peak at her environment

Ms. A’s shy little sister opens for a peak at her environment

This variety of Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) v. Apple Blossom, blossoms into two large flowers (as opposed to her smaller cousins such as the Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) v. Minerva which have four flowers atop each) which sit gracefully atop a 22″ flower stalk; for my plant. The larger of the two flowers is a full 7″ wide x 7″ high x 3.5″ deep; she has no trouble making an instant focal point in my apartment and absolutely captivates me!

Twenty-two inches above her starting point; Ms. A presents herself

Ms. A meets her new neighbor; Miss Anthurium

The Amaryllis sisters visit old friends outside on the patio to soak in the sun

The Amaryllis sisters visit friends outside on the patio and soak in the warm sun

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom, enjoying the warm sunshine

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom, enjoying the warm sunshine

If you have been following along with the goings on here at the Gardens of Casa de Froio; you probably know that I have a tendency to move plants around the patio on a whim. Well; the move that here; move that there; and then this here; and that there, whim kept me busy over the last couple of days!

The northeast corner of my patio garden before the plant migration:

Pennisetum and Aloe Vera

Before the repositioning party began

I repositioned the Avocado tree to the spot that the Aloe Vera plant formerly lived; then moved the Pennisetum over to the Avocado’s old place – the ornamental grass has outgrown its former spot as the blades were definitely infringing upon the seating area and that just won’t do. Next I pushed the Aloe Vera in front of the Avocado; and then gathered the miscellaneous plants; those that were randomly planted, volunteers, or just didn’t fit anywhere else, and moved them in front of the plant stand between the Avocado and Pennisetum. The arrangement now from left to right include:

  • Amaryllis with no sign of flower
  • Ornamental Ginger
  • Empty planter for tomatoes seedlings
  • Primrose (tucked in behind the Pomegranate)
  • Bonsai Pomegranate (which has been un-bonsai’ed!)
  • Volunteer Water (Black) Birch

I am definitely pleased with the outcome. By using the mixed plants foliage as a blocker for the vast empty spaces which existed before, this side of garden now looks fuller, more cohesive, and finished.

The northeast corner of my patio garden following the plant migration:

Big Boy Avocado and the Pennesetum swap spots

Following the repositioning party!

Outside of the Garden; being able to get back on my bicycle has been GREAT! I am averaging between 75-miles to 125-miles a week; which helps me close in on my 2014 mileage goal of 4,500-miles. With the first few months of 2014 spent rehabilitating the ankle following almost 4-months out of the saddle, my mileage average per day has been drastically reduced so I am unlikely to actually get there; however, the number is still possible and it is always good to have a goal to keep me pushing forward. The ankle occasionally acts up every once in a while; but for the most part, the surrounding muscle and damaged tissue keep getting stronger with each mile I put on the road.

Il Toro~Blu; Ready to Roll

Il Toro~Blu; Ready to Roll

Did a nice 15-mile ride following an interview with a company in San Leandro, CA. The route I took home hugs the San Leandro and Oakland Bay waters and is full of great views, migratory birds, and fairly easy flat-land pedaling. However, not long into the ride, I came across something completely unexpected for where I was.


The route: San Leandro, CA to Oakland, CA

I decided to make a quick pit stop at San Leandro Bay to fuel my body with a tasty Clif S’Mores 20g Builder’s Bar and some water before continuing the battle with a head wind that seemed to only get stronger with each passing rotation of the cranks! Snack time done; I started to walk my bike back toward the road when I looked across the black top and was surprised to discover a grinning fighter jet staring directly back at me!!

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat is not something I would generally expect to see parked next to a main thoroughfare; however, in Oakland you just never really know what you’re going to find next. Behind the F-14 was this Grumman KA-6D Intruder. I would have never expected to find such military hardware basically just sitting behind a rather unkempt chain link fence in the swamps of Oakland – now I know.

Grumman KA-6D Intruder

Grumman KA-6D Intruder

About the Planes: 

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat – 160666

  • The Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep wing, fighter aircraft.  With its Phoenix, Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles and 20MM Vulcan Gatling gun, the    F-14 Tomcat was without equal during its service and remains one of the most potent military aircraft of all time.

Grumman KA-6D Intruder – 152910/NL-520

  • The A-6 was developed to meet the US Navy’s need for an aircraft that could attack ground and sea based targets in any weather, day and night. The museum is proud to display 910 in her original colors VA-95 when she served in Vietnam in 1973 under the command of Lt. Cohen.

These two and many more are on display at the Oakland Aviation Museum. If you ever get to the area and have an interest in aviation, this would be a fun and probably education day trip to take! I definitely have them on my radar now and would love to check out the WWII planes they also have when time and finances permit.

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Well friends; that is about all that is happening from this end, I hope that your adventures are many and wonderful and your gardens bountiful!

Ms. Amaryllis and her shy Sister wish you a happy weekend!

Ms. Amaryllis and her shy Sister wish you a happy weekend!

Until next time –


~ Noah


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Two of my three Amaryllis bulbs; v. (Hippeastrum) ‘Apple Blossom’, have decided that the patio’s climate has reached  the ‘just right‘ conditions they were looking for and are now making a break for the sunshine in the form of blossom stalks shooting skyward! The last time they blossomed; back in May 2012, the flowers were absolutely the biggest, most beautiful, pair of conjoined beauties that I have personally ever grown. Needless to say; with the bulbs emerging blossom stalks, I am really looking forward to watching them unfurl themselves and take their place on my patio’s center stage.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) 'Apple Blossom' rises

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) ‘Apple Blossom’ bloom stalk rises

The Amaryllis is so far my only sojourn into the wild, wild world of flowering bulbs of any type and I gotta say; if you are going to join the bulb-crowd, the Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) hybrid is a dandy to start with. The 2012 blooms; easily in excess of 20cm in diameter, taught me a rather tragic lesson about this specimen – its Achilles’s heel – a weak stalk (notice the scape is already about to fail in this shot) which collapsed under the flowers weight far too early in their flower bloom. This year I will be ready; this year I will be staking the flowers with bamboo supports early to provide the extra strength needed to ensure that the flowers last longer than the last.

Amaryllis #2 sends a bloom scape forth

Amaryllis #2 – Also sends her bloom scape forth toward the sun

I remember how dazzling the last flowers were; with their soft pink and white petals sparkling under the filtered sunlight of the patio. How their beautiful fragrance bathed the patio with Spring incarnate.

Soon; my little friends, soon!!

Rise, Amaryllis, Rise!!

Rise, Amaryllis, Rise!!

Elsewhere in the garden; the ever interesting Euphorbia v. helioscopia continue with their reproduction dance unabated. I have enjoyed watching them produce their signature spheres of tiny flowers, seeds, and fruit, subtly whiling away the days subtly transforming their packets and hopefully laying seeds for future generations to come.


Euphorbia v. helioscopia – tiny flowers hide tinier seeds

Euphoric Euphorbia

Euphoric Euphorbia – Dance little ones; dance!

More tiny Rock Daisies (Brachyscome multifida) have begun to set more and more flowers within the planter they share with the Giant Snowflake. The little daisies signature purple/periwinkle blue flowers add a very welcome contrast to the sea of white Snowflake (Sutera cordata, Bacopa) flowers flowing endlessly from their planter, across the 3-tier plant stand, and down onto the patio floor. Small in stature; the Rock Daisies flowers are no bigger than 1-cm to 2-cm in diameter; however, they definitely make a big impact nestled amongst the plethora of white snowflake flowers. I was thrilled that these little beauties decided to start setting flowers; they were a much missed old friend in my garden.

Rock Daisy;  Brachyscome multifida

Rock Daisy; Brachyscome multifida, enjoys a morning watering

A flash of purple and yellow beams from the field of deep green

A flash of purple and yellow beams from the field of deep green

Having been relocated indoors (As Mr. Squirrel definitely has strawberries on his menu); my strawberry plants (Fragaria “June-Bearing”) are doing great and have already started to set fruit! Looks like I will be enjoying fresh berries with my cereal in the coming weeks! These are the first plants that I have grown from runners that the ‘mother-plant‘ produced over the last year. The mother plant’s berry production had dwindled down to just a few mediocre berries; so it was either buy new plants or trying to raise the runners into adult plants. I had read a lot of very mixed reviews on whether one should keep or clip strawberry runners; most reviews leaned toward clipping them and buying new plants when production slowed. I guess I just have a natural tendency to go against the grain and decided that I would see what happens when runners are nurtured; would they become hearty plants and produce berries or would they be a waste of time and send me in search of new plants? I believe I now have my answer to that question!

Seven Strawberries in the Making! Mmmm!

Seven Strawberries in the Making! Mmmm!

My strawberry pot; possibly soon to runneth over?

My other strawberry planting; new flowers promise tasty berries!

The weather has been EPIC the last couple of weeks here in Oakland, CA. The weather in my Lake Merritt neighborhood has been sunny and warm; in stark contrast to the torrential rains which soaked the area to close out February. The sun has lured me out to the patio much more in recent weeks to tend to the garden’s fertilization, pruning, soil amending, and watering needs for the arrival of spring. Now; the patio is repaying my efforts as a place to just sit and enjoy the new flowers that appear each day.

A Happy Patio Garden Space

A Happy Patio Garden Space

Since the chore out on the patio are done, the sun is out, and the weather warm; I finished up with my last indoor planting, I decided to give tomatoes another try and set up two-six packs of Arkansas Travelers to sprout before I hit the road to put some miles in with a bike ride around town.

Tomato Arkansas Travelers - A Hillbilly Favorite

Tomato Arkansas Travelers – A Hillbilly Favorite

Finally today; I leave you with this parting shot from today’s bike ride; a panoramic view of Lake Merritt; with a throng of runners crossing the Lake Merritt Channel Bridge for today’s 2014 Oakland Marathon. Yep; I must say, I really like my neighborhood!

My neighborhood; it's good to be in Oakland!

Where I call home; Oakland, CA (Lake Merritt w/ Adam’s Point in the background)

Until next time…


~ Noah

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