December In My San Diego Garden

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Christmas Cactus

This December has been a fabulous month for San Diego gardens due to an abundance of badly needed rain. Our rain gauge has measured over five inches of “liquid gold” this month, more than we had during all of 2013. Our rain season begins July 1 and we are several inches ahead of normal rainfall for this time of year. More rain is predicted for today and tomorrow, mostly showers, but my fingers are crossed for another series of winter storms in the next two months. We are in the midst of the worst drought in California’s history, a very serious concern for those of us living in this part of the country.

In my garden, the Christmas Cactus bloomed on schedule, as you can see above, and the spring bulbs are coming up, as are my sweet peas and golden beets.

Beets and sweet peas

Something has been munching on my kale, but the red beets are OK for the moment. It’s either feast or famine with parsley, and mine has taken over this end of the grow box.


The very best part of this December in our garden has been the early ripening of our navel oranges on our ancient tree. The heat that lasted into November speeded up the ripening cycle, and Larry is squeezing fresh juice for us every morning Usually, we wait until late January or early February for these little beauties, and our tree is so old that it only produces on alternate years. Larry just fertilized all our citrus, including two Meyer lemon trees, so we will hope to see some blossoms on our old tree mid-February.

Orange tree

It has become a tradition for our to prune our twenty-odd rose bushes every year between Christmas and New Year’s. We will get to that later today, but here is one final bloom of the last cycle from “Fame”, a hardy and prolific producer.


I love to find surprises in my garden, a clump of hidden paper whites or an amaryllis just about to open. This morning’s treat was discovering a tiny popcorn orchid in bloom.

Popcorn orchid

See you next month when the freesia will be in bud. Happy New Year!



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18 Responses to December In My San Diego Garden

  1. suzanne December 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Ok Liz now you are just making me envious. Holy cow, must say in the warm weather my garden never looks that good. Lucky you, I would post pics of mine but it’s too depressing. Happy New Year my friend wishing you and Larry a fabulous healthy and happy 2015.

    • Liz December 30, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      Don’t be envious – I am so homesick for NYC…I was thinking of you earlier today – and send best wishes for a Happy 2015 xo

  2. Jayne December 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    How lovely Liz! Orchids, cactus, amaryllis, paper whites, all plants Im used to seeing as indoor flowering plants! It’s also inconceivable to me that you have sweet peas growing now, I’m used to seeing those around July! What a lucky gardener you are. I’m so pleased you got some much needed rain, your garden looks beautiful!

    • Liz December 31, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      Happy New Year, Jayne – and, yes, it rained again after I posted.

  3. Kelsey December 31, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    oh this makes me smile so much. We are in gray/cold land now until April. I look forward to the garden next spring! Also, what is that pretty potted plant on the corner of your deck? Oh, those Meyer lemons….

    • Liz December 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      I think you mean the pink and white plant? It’s a Christmas cactus that begins blooming around Thanksgiving. Hope you found a warm place for your Meyer lemon during winter. Happy New Year, Kelsey!

  4. Lynda - TasteFood December 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    These photos are so bright and pretty – a reminder of how lucky we are here in CA. Happy New Year to you and Larry, Liz!

    • Liz December 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      We are indeed lucky, Lynda, although there has been a little snow in parts of San Diego within the past 24 hours! Happy New Year to you and to your family. xo

  5. Mary Papoulias-Platis January 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Oh my Liz,
    Your garden looks so inviting, I feel like jumping in my car to come visit! I’ve been neglecting my garden, because of my busy year, and your garden is just beautiful!
    I love your Christmas cactus! Reminds me of my mother-in- law. I also have Fame, one of my favorites, always blooming!
    What an inspiring post~ Happy New Year!

    • Liz January 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

      Thanks, Mary, you r garden always inspires me – hoping you have more time for it in 2015.

  6. Jean | January 3, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Liz, your garden is soooo beautiful! I love your boxes with the kale and parsley!

    • Liz January 3, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks, Jean, I just replanted lemon thyme today.

  7. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious January 4, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    Another reminder of the paradise we live in, here in So Cal!

    • Liz January 4, 2015 at 10:23 am #

      We are so lucky – I appreciate it, even after 40 years of living here in San Diego.

  8. Priscilla - She's Cookin' January 6, 2015 at 1:08 am #

    We are the fortunate ones! I do miss the garden we had before moving to the beach when I see your vegetables and beautiful flowers (great close ups, Liz) and Meyer lemon – two mature ones! Our potted one is actually bearing quite a bit if fruit now that it’s 3 years old.

    • Liz January 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      I hear that Meyers do very well in pots, but only if kept outside. I wonder how folks in colder parts of the country keep them going inside?

  9. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 9, 2015 at 2:51 am #

    I love a Christmas cactus. When I lived in Florida I had a gorgeous one growing in a basket. When I moved to Australia I mentioned Christmas cactus to my mother-in-law and she looked at me as if I was from another planet. “No such thing,” she said.

    Well of course, Christmas comes in the summer. I still call it a Christmas cactus in June. 🙂

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 7:53 am #

      That’ so funny – and the New Zealand Christmas trees in our neighborhood, of course, bloom in late June. Glad your husband is on the mend – we were there almost 4 years ago and appreciate every day together.

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