My Garden was on Today’s Tour

The Lakeside Historic Society Christmas Home Tour was today, Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm and our home was part of it. You would have seen my garden plus a peek at the house via my sun porch.

View from the Cooper sun porch

View from the sun porch

​Bert and Marie Wilkas designed the house and hired a builder to draw up the plans and start construction in 1957. It was completed in 1958. The original address was Route 1, Box 317. ​It is a one story wood home in the style known as san diego modern in the 50s – extensive use of natural materials, wood, and large glass windows (actually french doors) on the view side.

Marie Wilkas had her real estate office in this house – Eucalyptus Hills Realty. Many of the Eucalyptus Hills properties were sold from that office. We still have her sign.

The rest of this post is a the detailed description of my garden and I am still adding photos. Continue reading

Fresh lemonade with blue agave syrup

Lemon TreeSo we have way too many lemons and when life deals you lemons … time to make lemonade. In the photo on the left I circled where many lemons have fallen off the tree due to our hot weather spell. I have given away 3 bags of lemons in the last week and still have too many.

So I googled recipes for making lemonade and I was appalled by the fact that they all called for as much sugar as lemon juice. The basic recipe is 1 cup lemon juice (from 4-6 lemons), 1 cup sugar (best to make into syrup via hot water), and 4-6 cups cold water (depending how watered down you like it).

So I decided to try using that blue agave syrup that has been sitting in the cabinet. It was in packets and it took 14 little packets to get enough sweetness! And of course the flavor is a touch different than sugar but I think I like it.

After making the lemonade, you put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Let’s see if I still like it later!

Succulents: low water use, easy care, my new passion?

Spring flowers abound around my home but more than ever I am delighting in the succulents I planted and propagated last fall. I had one large aeonium in the back that was overgrown with crab grass. So I took it completely out and planted about 30 of its florets as a border around my front circle wildflower garden. They were not this big last fall!


There is something about those giant green florets that I adore. So I decided to learn more about succulents and treated myself to two of our local legend Debra Lee Baldwin‘s books, the kindle versions, for my birthday. First her original book, Designing with Succulents and then her latest book, Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties. I am delighted with how readable they are in my Ipad kindle app. I can expand the great color photos to look at details and then click on the done button when finished. The pictures are really lovely and the garden designs are amazingly colorful.

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Ate my first Peruvian Apple Cactus Fruit

Peruvian Apple Cactus

My Peruvian Apple Cactus with fruit

One of the really fun parts of living in Southern California is the strange tropical fruits you can grow. I recently planted a banana tree and a mango tree. We will see how they do.

Having bought a house with over an acre that had belonged to an avid organic gardener for some 40 years I am occasionally surprised by a new plant or fruit popping up.

There is a cactus garden well off to one side that I had paid very little attention to until the other day when I noticed these big round pinkish red fruits on a tall cactus. Somewhat like a dragon fruit but no pointy things. So I took some pictures and sent them off to a friend in the local chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers.

Oddly enough at the meeting I missed (yes I am a member and love it) someone else had asked the same question.

The answer is that this is a Peruvian Apple Cactus, Cereus repandus. So I immediately googled it and found the wikepedia article and a utube video both of which assured me it was edible.

So I had to try this gorgeous fruit and it was quite delicious.



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It’s Pomegranate Season!

Having enjoyed eating pomegranate seeds in my salad at a friend’s birthday dinner, I thought I would try eating the ones growing in my backyard.

pomegraniteSmll My first try colored my cutting board red and much of the floor as well. So I got on my computer and googled “seed a pomegranate without mess” to learn a better approach. Click the read more to see the two techniques I found. I confess that I have converted to the water technique which is amazingly easy.

The seeds are a crunchy, sweet, filling, and very healthful snack. A good source of vitamins K and C as well as potassium and all sorts of anti-oxidants. See this section of the wikipedia article for more in all that:


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