Posted in Gardens

A hint of California in my garden


I received my ceanothus (Californian Lilac) as a present when I first moved into my house some eight years ago in 2011 (goodness, it doesn’t feel so long ago!)

It was at a time when, although I loved gardens and plants, I was very ignorant about such matters. (Although I still am, I was even more so at that time).

When it stopped flowering after the first year, I thought it had died!

Eight years ago, it was much, much smaller. I remember walking past a front garden which boasted a much older ceanothus. It looked much bigger, colourful and more flamboyant than my little one with its few weedy buds.

Roll on eight years and my ceanothus is looking grand and beautiful.


And it has survived the chickens, even Mabel (who always seems to be appraising the plants in the garden)…


And the bees love it too…


Note: This post is a flashback to a couple of weeks ago, when the ceanothus was still looking its best.

Facts of the Day

1. The ceanothus thyrsiflorus is an evergreen shrub that can grow to 6m/20ft high. It has ‘glossy mid-green leaves and, in spring, bears pale to dark blue flowers in large panicles’. There are other types of ceanothus though, including deciduous varieties.Β 

2. It is valuable for wildlife, providing pollen for bees. Its leaves are also eaten by caterpillars of various butterflies and moths.

3. The roots ‘favour fertile, well-drained soil’ and it is suggested it should be grown ‘in full sun in a sheltered location, protected from cold winter winds’.

Information courtesy of The Illustrated Practical Guide To Wildlife Gardening by Christine and Michael Lavelle



Interested in environmental issues, wildlife, spirituality, gardening, self-sufficiency and mini-adventures. There are two blogs, one is and the other, more recent one, is - ☺️

28 thoughts on “A hint of California in my garden

    1. Thank you, Californian lilacs are very beautiful. I’m still on a learning curve when it comes to plants but so far this one has been very hardy and doesn’t need much maintenance which helps. πŸ™‚

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    1. I agree, when I first started gardening, I hoped for results straight away. And when I first got the lilac, it was quite small and didn’t have many flowers but as the years go by, it is really blossoming. Gardening is an ongoing learning process for me. Patience is needed but the results are definitely worth it.


  1. It’s beautiful! I love lilacs. They smell so good! I have one growing outside my bedroom window that my grandma gave me many years ago. When there’s a light breeze the scent comes in my window. The hummingbirds love it, too. 😁

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    1. It’s lovely that you have one that your grandma gave you as a present. They’re such beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers. The bees in my garden think they’re wonderful too. πŸ™‚

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  2. The weather has been wacky here and my longstanding (50+ years) lilacs planted by my father when we moved here from Canada in 1966 did not flower for the first time ever –
    I was shocked and, on the other hand, the Miss Kim miniature lilac bush flowered for the first time ever and I got it in the 90s – I have no words for the weather anymore – it is messing up plants and bushes, but in your case, you did wonderful! That’s a gorgeous lilac Clare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda. The flowers are now gone unfortunately, but I’ve learnt they will come back next year. I used to think I had done something wrong and the plant had died! I hope the weather where you are gets more settled. In Britain we are having another heatwave, there was thunder and lightning earlier today. The heat (in the 30s) is actually causing a problem with the overhead lines of the railways and it’s causing train delays. But I’ve heard mainland Europe is hotter and Paris even reached 40 centigrade, unusual for Europe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great that the flowers will return next year – once it has bloomed once, I think that you will be all set for good. We have a cool week thankfully Clare – it has been nice since Tuesday and is going to get warm and stormy again Sunday afternoon or evening. It has been a wonderful break while it has lasted. I’ve been hearing about your heatwave over there and for some countries it is the second heatwave this Summer and I am hearing about the record-setting temps. We don’t usually have that much heat and humidity until August. I also hear that maybe this will be the new norm for Summers worldwide – that does not make me happy.

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    1. I used to be scared of the possibility of bees stinging me too but I have heard they sting very rarely. They are such beautiful and useful little creatures that I am rather fond of them now. I respect wasps but am much more wary of them though! 🐝


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