Thursday, January 13, 2011

Celebrating! A Brilliantly Green Blogiversary

Aristolochia californica .. a very early blooming native vine in Alice's Garden 
Photo Copyright © Alice Joyce

The image of California pipevine befits the notion of the brilliantly green 2-year Blogiversary, celebrated with the readers of Bay Area Tendrils!
Surely one of the most interesting 'flowers' a gardener could ask for, and a host plant for swallowtail butterflies - the vine's leaves being the only food source the caterpillars consume.
Despite the region's heavy winter rains, it's plants such as this vigorous vining species that enliven my days as a gardener in the Bay Area. It's not unusual to see the plant flowering on and off throughout the seasons. This pipevine has spread widely in the garden, climbing up latticework, and scrambling under an arbor into through a border along a fence on the western boundary of the property.

The postage-stamp size garden I left behind in Chicago may be familiar to those of you who have followed the blog from its early days. A scanned 35mm slide shows a corner of a tiny gem of a space brightened by the hue of Chinese-red enamel on arbors I constructed, the wooden shutters and door to my studio. In Chicago, it always seemed we went directly from winter into summer, when a spell of intensely hot days would descend and roses would open... only to immediately wilt in the heat. But annuals grew lushly, thriving for months on end as the evenings contained the heat of the day.
Photos Copyright © Alice Joyce

The garden I created in our new home is a retreat from the daily grind: Another outdoor room, in fact, to expand the space of a tiny house. With plants that bloom year-round, the garden is filled with buzzing bees (despite the decline in bee populations), hummingbirds, and butterflies that feed on the pipevine; keeping us company while we have lunch under the umbrella.

In this 'before' shot, you'll see the new fence built to protect the space from our small town's over-the-top deer population. I'd been working for a couple months when I took the photograph, spending much of the time down on my knees, digging up broken glass and concrete rubble in order place the pavers that define the shapes of beds and borders. I eventually built up mounds for planting, having implemented the depleted and compacted hardpan with plenty of compost. I layered newspapers over the future pathways, as the El Nino rains of 1998 & '99 poured down over me.

UCSC's incredible FLORA: Banksia ericifolia (Photo Copyright © Alice Joyce)
Moving to the West Coast has been an eye-opening journey for a self-professed fanatical plant lover. It all began with my first 'major' journey about an hour and a half south to the Arboretum at the University of California at Santa Cruz! Here, collections of plants encompass members of the Proteaceae family from South Africa; the stunningly enormous cone-like flowering clusters of Banksia species from Australia; and yes, California native plants in the Elevenia Slosson Research Gardens: All provide an exciting horticultural experience.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Native Plants .. Slipper Orchid (Photo © Alice Joyce)
I want to thank you all for dropping by to share in my adventures.

New York City's Battery Gardens: The Bosque designed by Piet Oudolf (Photos © Alice Joyce)

Chicago's 'Crown Fountain' by Jaume Plensa .. Millennium Park (Photos © Alice Joyce)
I remain extremely proud of the city where I was born, raised, and lived for decades. It's the equal culturally and horticulturally of any city I've ever visited! I need to travel to the midwest to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Chicago at least once a year.

Barcelona's Historic Parc de la Ciutadella (Photo © Alice Joyce)
It's 2011.... amazing how time is flying by. I plan to continue writing about my travels here
and on my web site: Alice's Garden Travel Buzz connect with virtual green thumbs in the year ahead,
and especially those of you I'll have a chance to meet in real time!
Ciao ... à bientôt ... Hasta pronto ... Até breve ... Until next time!


  1. Dear Alice, a very happy 2nd Blogiversary. Keep up the great work. So where is the party at?

  2. Sunny,
    Appear at my door and I'll break out the bubbly. I do believe I forgot to add an Irish greeting. Can you provide one;-)

  3. You really posted some pretty images and I really liked your Chicago garden. Beautiful. Happy, happy, Blogiversary.

  4. GWGT
    Thanks for your kind comment. The Chicago garden represents 20 years of TLC!

    Stone Art / Sunny,
    Thank you for the Gaelic greeting!!

  5. oh darling happy 2nd blogaversity!!!! long may this place of joy and relaxation continue to thrive xx
    I was at that fountain in Barcelons during wedding fashion week - all these gorgeous people dressed as brides and grooms on those stairs xxx

  6. 2 years already? I've only been doing this for a year, and my how time flies. Thanks for compiling all of those great images for us! :)

  7. Hey Rainforest guy!
    What a job, eh? Somebody has to do it:=0

  8. Carrie,
    I would give anything to have seen that.... Lucky you, sweet thing!!

  9. Happy Blogiversary! I love your Chicago garden!!!

  10. Happy blogiversary, Alice. Oh, the places you've been!

  11. Happy Blogaversay! It's nice to get a peak at your own gardens. I have enjoyed following your travels and look forward to more.

  12. happy blogaversary, lovely photos, both your gardens are beautiful, Frances

  13. I love your posts Alice, happy blogoversary! I'm envious of your California pipevine. I'd love to plant one here. Maybe this year!

  14. One
    Chicago garden was a little bit of paradise;)

    Hi Helen
    thanks for stopping by. Always fun connecting with you in so many cyber-spaces:^]

    I spend much of my time in my garden, although I do love touring! Thanks for the good wishes.

    I can't get over how happy the pipevine is in my garden. A lot of natives don't thrive here because of the decreasing sunlight. And this plant is sooo happy!!

  15. Happy blogiversary. Look forward to many more

  16. Dear Alice, Wishing you a very happy 2nd Blogiversary! I love your blog and this posting is very special. Your before and after pics are amazing. Wishing you many more years of blogging! P x

  17. Alice:
    Happy Blogiversary dearheart! The soles of my shoes should be worn off, what with the traversing I have enjoyed thanks to your wonderful weblogging adventures. I wish you many more years of travel and adventure. Glad to hear you are settling in and creating a garden at your new residence. I should love a post of its progress.

  18. ALice - I love how you always remember to take us with you on your journeys. THANK YOU!!!

  19. What beautiful places and gardens! Thanks for sharing! :o) I planted a pipevine on one of the columns in front of my house and am excited to see how well it grows this summer! It's a macrophylla so within a few years I might be all vine, no house! Oops..!

  20. happy blogiversary!! I so enjoy your posts of all the beautiful gardens that I will never get to see in my life! You have such a great ability to describe the beauty in what you share and I can tell you have such an appreciation of it all as well.

    That little blooms in the first photo are really crazy!

  21. Happy Blogoversary Alice, and thank you for the inspiring posts and wonderful photos you've given us, both here and Alice Travel Buzz. BTW, i know the pipevine in term only but havent seen them, i've known it as food of the swallowtail butterflies, which i frequently see in the wild but havent seen the food.

  22. Hi Pam,
    Glad you like the before and after reminders -- what we gardeners are known to engage in when given a new home!

    Barry, dear Teza
    If necessary, I shall buy you a new pair of shoes;-)
    Have not moved, though. Decided to remain for a while at least to enjoy the garden here!

    Hi Bren,
    Journeys are a lot more fun with my blogging buddies along!

  23. TS
    I always love seeing your doggy avatar, like I've bonded with a charming pooch. Good luck with your pipevine species. Look forward to seeing photos!!

  24. Andrea,
    Swallowtails are one of the absolute high points of gardening in my area. Their beauty is unparalleled. Thank you so much for the kind words!

  25. Wendy,
    Those 'Dutchman Pipes' are indeed the strangest and therefore the most appreciated 'flowers' that grow in my garden. I appreciate your good wishes, my friend!

  26. What an amazing collection... Glad the last two years have gone so well... Looking forward to many more!

  27. Beauty for beauty's sake - yes! Dear Alice, you make beauty where you go - kudos for the longlived perennial garden in the Windy City with its 100+-degree temp swings each year! But you don't stop there: thanks especially for this blog where you share the beauty that sometimes only you can find.

  28. Happy Blogiversary Alice! Although I'm just now learning about your blog, it was nice to walk down memory lane with your beautiful photos! Keep sharing them. The images of Spain are amazing! By-the-way, I used to live in Petaluma, CA a few years back, but I now live in Utah-two very different climates wouldn't you say?