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Lessons from Old Gardens

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We've been travelling some this summer so I have not been blogging as often, but will now have many photos and much information to share. These photos are from our trip to Pacific Grove, California, which is next door to Monterey. It began as a Victorian retreat for various Christian groups, mainly Protestant, I think. Many of the original tiny vacation homes have been preserved, and many of the plants are the old ones I wrote about in my book Wildly Successful Plants: Northern California. These are the California heirloom plants that survive in old gardens. The photo at left, from a Pacific Grove garden, uses scented geraniums, Impatiens sodeni or poor man's rhododendron, an aeonium (bottom left) and an Agave attenuata (bottom right).

The photo below shows a nice blue-purple cineraria along with a purple-leaved aeonium and a Mexican daisy that are spilling prettily over a retaining wall. I do love those cinerarias! (We were in the Midwest recently, where there are many purple coneflowers, but I don't think they are nearly as pretty as our purple daisies, cineraria.)

I am speaking on the subject of "Lessons from Old Gardens" at the Alameda County Master Gardeners Fall Gardening Seminar, at Merritt College, in Oakland, on Saturday, October 24th. I plan to talk about the plants in my book Wildly Successful plants, as ones that have shown their willingness to grow well in regional gardens, and which point the way to other, more recently available plants that will also thrive. (The seminar consists of a day of classes. It is not very expensive to attend and always interesting. They will be putting out a schedule soon and I will post a link to it when they do.) 

In the Midwest, I saw all the classic perennials, the ones recommended by books on perennials written for the rest of the country. Nice to remember them. I gave them a nod and a smile, but it's good to be back in California, where different plants thrive and winter is as colorful as summer.  

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