Garden Photo of the Day

Lynette’s California Garden

From fruits, to shrubs, to orchids

closeup of Cymbidium orchid

About a year ago, Melissa Leano Grosso shared images of her garden in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona (Gardening in the Desert). Today she’s sharing images of her sister’s garden in Hercules, California.

My sister, Lynette Leano Ravanera, lives in Hercules, California, with her family. Hercules is a city in the San Francisco Bay Area and is situated along the coast of San Pablo Bay. It is about 22 miles from San Francisco, 10 miles north of Berkeley, and 20 miles from the Napa Valley wine country.

Just like me, my sister has had a lifelong passion for gardening. We have been blessed to grow in the love of our parents who have inspired and shared with us the joys of gardening. Our mom taught us how to grow and propagate beautiful flowering plants, and our dad encouraged us to raise a vegetable garden.

A wall of shrubs behind a stone patio and walkwayMy sister’s garden in Hercules is a mixture of lush plants including all types of flowering plants (both annuals and perennials), a vegetable and herb garden surrounded by fruit trees that are kept small and espaliered, and vines as well as climbing roses. Her knowledge and practice of fine gardening is so rewarding. There is always something to enjoy and look forward to anytime of the year. All pictures in this post were taken from her garden at different times of the year.

A collage of orchids in pink, yellow, and redShe has a variety of orchids, which are grown in the greenhouse or in the ground, depending on the orchid type. These Cattleya orchids are so regal with their display of large showy and fragrant blooms, and when they start flowering, they are transferred indoors or to the patio for enjoyment. There is always an orchid blooming every time I visit my sister.


collage of orchid flowers in pink, white, and pale greenIn addition to the Cattleya, her orchid collection includes Paphiopedilum (lady slipper), Phalaenopsis (butterfly orchid), Cymbidium (boat orchid), Dendrobium (sanggumay), Oncydium (dancing ladies), miniature varieties, and more.


closeup of Cymbidium orchid

Detail of a Cymbidium orchid

Collage of flowering cactus and amaryllisGorgeous amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids, tender bulbs) bloom with exuberance and beauty during winter or spring depending on when the bulbs are planted. They are grown indoors or in the greenhouse. The beautiful Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera spp.) bloom profusely each year, while the exotic red orchid cactus (Epiphyllum hybrid) is always a delight to see. While both Schlumbergera and Epiphyllum belong to the cactus family, they have different needs as compared to most cacti. In nature, these cacti grow in tropical forests nestled in tree crotches and decaying vegetation. In cultivation, they prefer bright indirect light, moist soil, and humidity. They don’t like the cold. Temperatures below 35°F (1°C) will kill them. The famous dragon fruit is related to the Epiphyllum.


Two flowering geraniums and two flowering azaleasThere’s a variety of geraniums (Pelargonium species and hybrids, Zones 9–11 or as annuals) and azaleas (Rhododedron hybrids, Zones 7–10) bordering the garden and providing color to it. Lynette grows different types of scented geraniums: lemon, apple, mint, strawberry, and chocolate. They look beautiful and smell sweet when added to flower arrangements, which I don’t hesitate to put together when I visit.


Collage of bright pink flowersThe desert rose, Adenium obesum, is maintained in the greenhouse during the colder months and brought out to the patio when it starts blooming in early summer. The deep pink Plumeria, or frangipani, are fast growing, and the blooms are very fragrant. Both plants belong to the dogbane family (Apocynacea), like the more common oleander (Nerium oleander, Zones 8–10).


Hedychium gardnerianum

Hedychium gardnerianum (Zones 8–11) is a dramatic tropical plant with heavily scented flowers and bold foliage. The flowers have yellow petals and a prominent long red-orange stamen. It makes a uniquely beautiful specimen plant. This was a tiny plant gifted to my sister by her children after vacationing in Hawaii.


Collage of various fresh fruits and vegetablesThe vegetable and herb garden provide fresh produce, and the fruit trees—which include apples, persimmons, pears, lemons, and guavas—are very prolific. The lemons are so juicy that I pack up some of them when I visit to bring back with me to Arizona.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/17/2021

    Those orchids are so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  2. gardendevas 03/17/2021

    WOW!!! Such gorgeous flowers, and so lush. What a joyous garden, and a pleasure to hear about your family’s gardening legacy. I must confess to zone envy... ;)

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 03/17/2021

    Melissa & Lynette thank you for sharing the lovely and varied gardening photos! I was especially intrigued by the red orchid cactus (Epiphyllum) and looked up more information about them.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 03/17/2021

    I love how lush and private the photo of the garden gate is, and the only part of the fence you can see is the gate!
    I have not seen that many gorgeous flowers and orchids blooms since I was at Pittsburgh's Phipp's Conservatory walking though the "orchid room"...and to think the orchids in these photos are the accomplishment of one gardener!
    I remember Frangipani perfume I had back in the 1970s..I just google a description of it: "Frangipani flowers may smell like roses, gardenias, pineapple, plum, citrus, ripe banana, grapes, coconut, ginger, candy, or spices."
    If only we could smell this flower garden too!

  5. btucker9675 03/17/2021

    Thank you for sharing this kaleidoscope of beautiful colors and shapes!! So wonderful.

  6. Catasetumkid 03/17/2021

    So nice to see some photos of orchids. Looks like Lynette has also been bitten by the orchid bug! It's a costly disease, but also a worthy pursuit. Good luck, Lynette!

  7. WVlandscaping 03/25/2021

    I love your flower collection especially the orchids and desert rose are one of my favorite.

    WV Landscaping

  8. PeakLawn 08/12/2021

    I am so jealous of your beautiful garden! I have never seen a better looking yard in my life. You must be really proud of all the hard work you put into it. It looks amazing - and no weeds! How do you keep such a great lawn?

  9. RichmondBlake 11/05/2021

    Thank you for the post. I love to see more people planting bulbs in their gardens. They are so beautiful and they bring a lot of life to your yard/garden during winter and spring! tree cutting services near me

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