Tag Archives | dancing red ranch


Winter here, missing Sydney summer

The hard freezes have done some damage here at Dancing Red Ranch. The oleander hedge has turned crispy brown, and I’m unsure which of my new fall plantings in the Well House Garden will return with the spring. But that’s the adventure of gardening! We’ve gotten an excellent head start on annual maintenance. This year, […]

Continue Reading
shade bed | DancingRedRanch.com

At Dancing Red, a lush shade bed

There is one tiny spot of shade at Dancing Red Ranch, and it’s taken me a lot of years to get it right. With the help of landscape designer and radio host Sheryl McLaughlin (if you don’t listen to her weekly show, you should!), I planted up a shade-, drought-, and deer-tolerant bed last year. […]

Continue Reading

Spring flowers

It was a perfect spring weekend at Dancing Red Ranch. Soft sunshine with a soft breeze, buzzing bees and hummingbirds as loud as jet engines. A mama bird continuing her duties in the birdhouse outside the bedroom french doors. And Ross continuing to replant the languishing lavender field as a rosemary field. The rosemary hedge […]

Continue Reading
I love the delicate shapeliness of myrtle.

Meet the new rock garden

Our most recent project has been in the making for quite a while. (Everything around here takes several years to complete . . . ) Here it is, the rock garden. A mound of rock rubble from around the ranch, filled in with soil, topped with gravel, and accented with large stones. Finally, in late […]

Continue Reading
french lavender | DancingRedRanch.com

Longing for lavender

We received a wonderfully warm welcome here in Sydney. Up to the high 60s and lovely, caressing winter sun. We’ve begun the semi-annual work of weeding and grooming and planting and pruning, and even added an espalier of lemon trees against the now-grandly renovated shed wall. But I’m worried about the lavenders back at Dancing […]

Continue Reading
lavender | DancingRedRanch.com

Death & destruction in the lavender field

It started out with such joy and adventure! After seeing a lavender hillside at McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma, California, we decided we wanted a sublime bit of heaven for ourselves. But our lavender field hasn’t been a pretty sight for several years now. Stricken by what we suspected was lavender blight, we stopped pruning for […]

Continue Reading
opium poppies | DancingRedRanch.com

Return of the poppies

I feel like a war bride breathlessly rushing across to the well-house garden. “You’re back! You’re back!” There, in the tall terracotta pot most recently planted with thryallis (galphimia glauca), surrounded by an admiring throng of bicolor iris (dietes bicolor), is a thicket of opium poppies (papaver somniferum). I had so loved the opium poppies […]

Continue Reading
mystery plant 2 | DancingRedRanch.com

Can you identify this plant?

I’ve had zero success planting the large pots that frame the well-house garden door. In their last incarnation, they held blue plumbago, but last winter’s freezes killed them dead. I didn’t bother to replant the pots before leaving for the summer; when we returned, a lovely newcomer had made her home in one of the […]

Continue Reading
salvia greggii "hot pink" 2 | DancingRedRanch.com

Where have all the hummingbirds gone?

When we arrived at the ranch on Friday, we were bereft that the hummingbirds appeared to have abandoned the feeder outside our bedroom window. And the level of yummy sugar-water was pretty much the same as when we left it last Sunday. Then we realized: why drink the synthetic stuff when you have the real […]

Continue Reading
anacachio orchid tree | DancingRedRanch.com

Late Spring at Dancing Red

OK, mybad, I’m late posting these images, but here’s how Dancing Red looked a week or two ago. A lifetime in garden time. We spent most of our spring efforts on un-sexy stuff like fixing the fence; chipping the accumulated tree branches and laying the mulch; and completing the upper rock garden structure, which we’ll […]

Continue Reading