Archive for March, 2010
We went to the SF Flower and Garden Show Friday evening. Overall I thought they were really good this year. Some photos are below. The indoor lighting is weird, and scaffolding or restroom signs seem to find their way into a lot of the shots, but that’s part of the garden show ambience.
I thought the New Orleans courtyard garden was the best garden. Really interesting plants and great attention to detail. Dimly lit to give it a voodoo mood, though, so not the easiest to photograph.
You will be assimilated.
The garden show website has a list of all the garden creators with descriptions of the concepts for the agardens and links to the creators’ websites. Garden Porn and Floradora and An Alameda Garden and Blue Planet Garden Blog (and probably many other blogs) have photos from the show. The New Orleans courtyard seems to be the consensus favorite.
Now that we are just past the official start of spring, I thought I’d post the state of our deciduous plants. Nothing especially revelatory here, but it might be interesting/helpful to me in the future to have an approximate calendar date for leaf-out on some of these plants.
Clematis ligusticifolia is leafed out;
Calycanthus occidentalis is just now leafing out;
Dicentra formosa and Dicentra “Bachanal” leafed out at the start of the month;
the Redtwig Dogwood is leafed out;
the Ninebark leafed out in early February and already has flower buds;
the native lilies came up several weeks ago, the other bulbs have been up for a long time;
the native asters are leafed out;
the Ribes “White Icicle” in the shade is leafed out and still holding some blooms;
the non-cultivar Ribes sanguineum is mid-bloom with leaves just starting to appear;
the two Amelanchier alnifolia in containers are budding;
Philadelphus microphyllus is budding;
the Snowberry leafed out two weeks ago;
Mimulus cardinalis is leafed out;
the Stream Orchid is just poking up
the fig tree is leafing out;
the walnut just started to leaf out;
the Chinese pistaches are budding;
the Japanese maples in containers are leafed out;
the Astilbes just sent up some foliage;
the Chaste tree is just budding;
the young Eastern Redbuds have a few flowers;
the Indigofera just started to leaf out
Dicentra formosa was the plant that I was happiest to see this year. It’s in a container that was devastated by skunks last year and I thought it was gone, but it popped out from under the Tellima several weeks ago and now has a few blooms up.
To my complete astonishment, the highlight of my day yesterday was the Lowes parking lot in Concord. It has the biggest, bloomingest, most successful wildflower meadow I’ve ever seen. I have some cynical thoughts about it — it was probably done to appease environmentalists or the planning commission, it was probably amended with all the damaged bags of Miracle Grow, Monsanto probably supplied the seed mix — but it was impressive nevertheless. Not something I expected to see at a big box store.
Tidy Tips predominated in the bio-swale, Chinese Houses on the berms.
I had never been to Lowes before and it turned out to be even more like Home Depot than I expected, but my hat’s off to whoever is responsible for that meadow. It’s pretty incredible.
A lot of our plants seemed to make an effort to open their flowers for Bloom Day, including our first Cal poppy of the year which opened yesterday afternoon. Look at all that sunshine it’s been storing up.
We have two kinds of Tazetta Naricssus blooming. I think Golden Dawn is the slightly paler one, Falconet the slightly more orange one, but I’m not actually sure. It turns out that when you buy very similar-sounding varieties, you end up with very similar-looking flowers. Between them, they have our yard smelling of Narcissus.
The Blue Eyed Grass seemed to do the California poppy thing, where the first flower from the plant is unusually large and the subsequent flowers are smaller. I have about a dozen throughout the garden. I think they are all blooming at this point.
A few of the species tulip, Tulipa saxatilis, have been trying to open for about a week, and then yesterday’s sunshine popped several open. My first time growing a species tulip; supposedly this one will naturalize here. I’m happy with them even if they don’t come back.
The New Zealand Tree Fuchsia, Fuchsia excorticata, is probably the strangest plant in bloom right now, with flowers that change color over a long period of time. I’d seen them in New Zealand and was curious to see one in bloom, so I bought one a few years ago. Now that I’ve been growing one, I’m still not sure what I think of it.
The Heuchera maxima is another plant that opened it’s first flowers yesterday; the hybrid heucheras have been blooming since last week. The ninebarks are budding and about to open, which seems really early for them. The hardenbergia in the background has been blooming for a while, maybe the plant most fully in bloom right now.
I’ve been trying to maintain a list of everything in bloom on bloom day, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet; I’ll probably add it to this post later tonight or tomorrow night (11/21 — it’s now below the fold). The list will be quite a bit longer than last month, as one would expect in the Bay Area in March. My thanks, as always, to Carol at MayDreamsGardens for creating and hosting Bloom Day. Click over to her site for links to about a hundred other garden blogs showing off their flowers. (more…)
Somehow I’ve managed to post nearly a year and a half without mentioning that our yard has a tepee during the dry season. I photographed it several times last year, but I think I needed some time between it and the post about our outdoor shower. I don’t want to sound too feral.
I may not have posted about it here, but the tepee hasn’t escaped the eyes of our government. This week we received census forms addressed to two different residences, one to our house and the other addressed to our tepee. It’s pretty funny to receive official government mail addressed to a tepee, but it’s also rather Big Brotherish, as the tepee hasn’t been up since October. Though maybe that’s just the speed our government works at; a census worker walked the neighborhood last summer, and now we see the fruits of that labor. Maybe we should reply as occupants of the tepee.
We learned about the unique charms of a tepee while traveling in New Zealand (tepees are surprisingly popular in the northern, sun-belt part of the South Island) where we stayed for several weeks in a tepee overlooking the Marlborough Sounds. It was an ecotourism place called Vanishing Point, and we helped build a larger tepee that was seventeen feet tall and wide enough for beds for eight people. The place was only accessible by boat, and there were other logistical challenges as well, but it was a beautiful place with a panoramic view of the Sounds. Vanishing Point doesn’t have a website anymore, so I think it’s defunct.
Our tepee is much more modest and homemade. Anita sewed two canvas tarps together according to the pattern we saw in New Zealand, and we cut some of our bamboo for the poles. We put carpets and a futon and a little stone table with a candle lantern, and we call it the summer house. When we have house guests we run electricity out to it. One or two people were skeptical beforehand, but everyone leaves singing its praises. There’s something very very nice about a tepee, like it’s the cathedral version of a tent.
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