Friday, December 29, 2023

2023 Blog Highlights

I like to rummage through my posts at the end of each year.  I picked a few photos in each month without any real logic or strategy to my selections.  I chose some photos just because they captured an attractive view or I because I liked the way my garden looked at a particular moment in time.  I included others simply because they jolted my memory of a certain event or activity.  Coincidentally, today marks the eleventh anniversary of my blog so this is just as good a time as any for a retrospective.


There was so much precipitation and the was so sky so clear of smog, we could clearly see snow in the mountains to the east of us from our backyard

The 'Blue Flame' Agaves and other succulents in our street-side bed looked like a painting

Sunrise looking northeast

Camellia williamsii 'Taylor's Perfection' living up to its name


I wished I could paint this scene of the wetlands at the Madrona Marsh Preserve

More migrating birds than I've ever seen from my back garden

While I spotted a lot of American robins during the same period, the majority of the migrants were cedar waxwings as shown in this closeup taken using a telephoto lends


Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt' had a banner year even though it grows on my neglected back slope

A picturesque view of the clouds covering the Port of Los Angeles like a blanket, viewed from our back garden

A very chubby, possibly pregnant, squirrel performing acrobatic maneuvers to get seed out of my "squirrel-proof" bird feeders (photos taken through my home office window).

Massive expanse of Echium growing at Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria, California

Flowers cut from my garden


One of many sculptures created from plastic detritus recovered from oceans and waterways for South Coast Botanic Garden's 'Washed Ashore' exhibit

The first time Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' bloomed extensively in my garden

A combination of plants I'd have never thought would work together so well but do: Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope', and Lotus berthelotii

Dendrobium speciosa, spotted at Sherman Gardens.  It's not readily available based on my online search and pricey if you can find it.  I'm hoping there will be a local orchid show in 2024 so I can at least avoid shipping charges.


Flowers cut from my garden (and Iris germanica 'Autumn Circus' bloomed again in the fall!)

The prettiest red bottlebush (Callistemon citrinus) I've ever seen, on display at South Coast Botanic Garden

Morpho butterflies observed at South Coast Botanic Garden's Butterfly Pavilion

My cutting garden at its spring peak


My backyard borders shined in early summer

My Puya has never bloomed but this one (Puya alpestis) put on an almost unbelievable display at South Coast Botanic Garden

Epiphyllum 'Monastery Garden' bloomed in my lath (shade) house

I called this floral arrangement, created from plants growing in my garden, "tropical punch"


Epiphyllum 'King Midas' also bloomed in my lath house this summer

This succulent bed, on a moderate slope in the southwest area of my garden, finally came together this year

The Agapanthus at their summer peak

Deconstruction of Agave mitis 'Multicolor's' bloom stalk


A sweet hummingbird alighted in the Ginkgo tree and gave me a chance to catch a photo

A magnificent flush of flowers from Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' in my back border

Photos of the Pollination Garden planted by South Coast Botanic Garden during the summer.  The floriferous display shown here was meant to be temporary.  It's recently been replanted with native plants to bring in future pollinators.

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) picked from my cutting garden


When I lifted the patio's outdoor rug to check for lizards before I flattened it out, I was surprised to find another visitor, which quickly left for greener pastures

My cutting garden at its summer peak

'Luna' was the undisputed star of this year's dahlia parade


Sun rising above a thick layer of clouds covering the Los Angeles harbor

Unexpected damage to the agaves in one succulent bed when the tree trimming service laid plastic tarps directly over them while pruning the tree above.  Lesson learned!

Giant trolls created from wood pallets visit South Coast Botanic Garden


My husband and I visited The Getty Center for the first time in 7 years when my sister-in-law was in town

I spent most of my time at The Getty in the Central Garden

Hibiscus acetosella 'Haight Ashbury' surprised me.  Its flowers last only a day but the buds open up on successive days.

After giving us a scare early in the year, Pipig gave us another one as we headed into the holiday season.  Antibiotics helped but the vet hasn't yet given her a clear bill of health.

I visited Sherman Gardens with blogger friend Hoover Boo.  We were both enamored with these umbrellas.


I went Christmas shopping for a friend at Flora Grubb Gardens in Marina Del Rey - then went back and bought myself a gift too

We got our first decent rain of the season just before Christmas.  Our total since October 1st now stands at 2.22 inches.  There's an 85% chance of light rain beginning in the wee hours on Saturday.

I'm looking forward to the new year, facing new projects and, hopefully, visiting new gardens.  Best wishes for a wonderful new year for you and your family as well.

All material © 2012-2023 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


  1. A most excellent wrap up of 2023, I appreciate that you shared you approached this post without any real logic or strategy, I always wonder how much thought goes into this kind of post. Happy 11th!

    1. The answer, at least in my case, is no thought at all, Loree - the selections were merely a matter of whim. I expect if I'd made them on another day, they'd have been different.

  2. What a fantastic visual journey of the past year. I expect the difficult part is leaving some photos out...
    The photo of the wetlands at the Madrona Marsh Preserve is amazing; I love that one. I also spotted two winning photos of the back border, 15 and 21, both are exquisite winners.

    1. After I'd completed the post and scheduled it for publication, I started thinking that I should have trimmed the number of images, Chavli. As it was, I'd already trimmed them twice ;)

  3. Your garden is amazing in all seasons. Love the year-end review! Beautiful photos and thoughts. Happy New Year soon!

  4. A delightful roundup of the year. Selections didn't seem random but each was a great surprise, one to the next. Happy New Year Kris!

    1. Thanks Susie. I'm glad you enjoyed my choices. Best wishes for a better new year!

  5. A wonderful selection of photos from the year! All the best for 2024!

  6. Thanks Nikki. My best to you as well!

  7. Fun to look back on the year for a reminder of all the great things and plants that happened in the garden. Let's hope 2024 brings a good growing year, health for Pipig and yourselves. See you in 2024.

    1. Thanks for looking in on my blog on a regular basis and sharing your thoughts, Elaine. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and good tidings in the new year!

  8. Kris thanks for stopping by after I came to a screeching halt in July.
    You posted beautiful , charming, fun pictures here .. your macros are gorgeous! .. I am sorry about the health scares with Pipig, we have gone through those horrible times too when we lost our Sophie almost 3 years ago . But now we have Willow and Gracie and they are insane, affectionate, too smart for their own good cats .. LOL
    You asked about what camera I used for the moon shot. It is a Nikon Coolpix P950 .. the most expensive point and shoot camera I have ever had.
    It has a dedicated moon shot button (I think 200 meters worth compared to a DSLR lens) a "bridge" camera between DSLR and point&shoot .. loads of options too. I'm trying to get used to it yet, it is heavier than my other cameras and I think I should use a tripod to get star photos .. some one got Saturn with it from what I read .. I just want moon and garden photos ! LOL
    Happy New Year !

    1. Thanks for the input on the camera, CGJ. I'll look into it. Maybe it'll end up on my wish list before my birthday mid-year ;) Best wishes for a happy holiday and a good year in the garden in 2024!

  9. Congratulations on 11 years! The retrospective is a great idea. It's helpful for reviewing the activities and sights that meant the most to us in 2023, so that we can plan ahead a little bit for 2024 .

    1. My selection process felt quite arbitrary this year but the post serves as a snapshot in time nonetheless.

  10. The Puya colour and the gift of rain - perfect for your 11th blogaversary!

    1. I was hoping for a wet Christmas after a very dry autumn and I got it, Diana. We got another half-inch just before the New Year and we expect a little more in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. We're still running behind in my view but maybe the tide has turned.


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