Sat Sep 15 2001 16:39: I'm going to plant a chitalpa in my front yard -- it blooms 10 months of the year. Gardening friend Jill Langley warns that a chitalpa grows open and leggy, ("ragged" she called it) but that's okay by me because I'm putting iris, daffodils, and lilies under it and they need sun. I went to the nursery today to scope out Japanese maples for the Japanese garden outside my bedroom window and they didn't look so great--not nearly as nice as they were this spring. At the nursery they have them in a lath house with misters, even, and if I put one where I want it in my yard it will be on the hot seat in the western sun. I think I'm going with a brachychiton populenis. Okay, so it won't be an authentic Japanese garden, but this ain't Japan, after all. Does anyone here in California grow peonies? They are rated for my zone, but I don't recall ever seeing them in anyone's yard anywhere in the state, except for the one that Aunt Jeuney transplanted from her sheltered patio in Sunnyvale to my sheltered patio at Comanche Point and Rocky dug it up after its first bloom. So, I'm looking at 7 redwood trees, the chitalpa, the brachychiton, and four fruit trees, in the 15 gallon size at around $50 a pop. Accck, aaaack!