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Archive for November, 2010

Two Years Young

Yesterday was the second birthday of DryStoneGarden. Posting has been somewhat slower this year, but still pretty steady, and the post total is now over 200. We’ll see if it hits 300 by the third birthday. Thanks to all who read and comment.

Bloom Day — November Reds

Iochroma coccinea

Iochroma coccinea

The blooms are a little thin for bloom day this November, but I haven’t done bloom day in a couple of months and I like to keep track of what’s blooming in the garden this late in the year. A few of the ever-bloomers like Alyssum and Blessed Calendula are going, plus several red flowers which don’t match each other all that well. The Iochrmoa coccinea has climbed up through the Spicebush and has put out several clusters of flowers. The spicebush itself has a few flowers and some buds, and the Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ has foliage and flowers leaning against the spicebush too. The Iochroma doesn’t match the more pinky red of the spicebush and the fuchsia, but it is keeping its flowers carefully sequestered.

Spicebush

Spicebush

Gartenmeister Bonstedt Fuchsia

Gartenmeister Bonstedt Fuchsia

One of our California fuchsias is blooming too, in another part of the garden. We have two different seed-grown varieties of California fuchsia, and this one with grayer foliage is the better one. It has been in full bloom for more than a month; the other one, with similar soil, exposure, and watering regime put out only a few flowers and mostly just tends to look like a tumbleweed.

Caliornia fuchsia

Caliornia fuchsia

And we’ve let some of the Rocoto Peppers mature to a red color. They’re too hot for us when they get this red, but I like the look of them for this time of year; they remind me of Christmas lights.

Rocoto Pepper

Rocoto Pepper

Several other plants are in token bloom. The Indigofera still has flowers but is winding down its bloom season, some poppies are flowering, the young Arctostaphylos ‘John Dourley,’ the geraniums in the veggie garden, a couple of Sisyrinchiums, and there are a few Meadowfoam flowers doing a very light fall bloom. That’s about it, just enough to keep the hummingbird happy. My thanks, as always, to Carol at MayDreamsGardens for hosting Bloom Day. Click through for links to over a hundred bloggers showing off their blooms.

Tilden Aspens

Last December I admired the aspens at Tilden, here and here, after they’d dropped their leaves. I told myself I should stop and check out their fall color this year, and I did actually follow through, stopping in several times to walk the garden while the aspens were coloring. They were nice, not quite like I saw in the mountains on my way back from Bishop but I give them extra points for doing it near the coast. In general, this doesn’t seem to have been one of our best years for color. I think the early storms knocked off a lot of the leaves as soon as they changed.

September

September

The aspens were definitely nice, though, and are of course great after they drop their leaves. I’m a fan of local natives, but it’s also great to see mountain species down here in the Bay Area. I’m lucky that my commute takes me past Tilden so regularly.

November

This Week

The aspens have been bare for a while now. Willows and spicebush are two of the main species coloring and dropping leaves there. In my own garden, the spicebush still has most of its leaves and even a couple of flowers and buds. I’m only five miles away, but in a less frosty microclimate.

Wildcat Creek

Wildcat Creek

There’s one vine maple turned red. All the other fall color is yellow.

Vine Maple, Acer cirnatum

Vine Maple, Acer cirnatum

And along with fall color, November means that manzanita season is approaching. A few had token blooms, but this one was starting up its full bloom.

Start of Manzanita Season

Parry Manzanita Starting Up

Townmouse recently mentioned the 2010 Fall Color Project that Dave at the Home Garden is hosting. He’s collecting and posting links to blogs around the country that are showing off their fall color. Click through to the kickoff post or to his front page to start with the most recent collection.

Palms

Trachycarpus fortunei on the left, Brahea edulis on the right

Our client at the cracked pot garden recently went through her garden ID’ing all of the plants, a task which was harder than you might think because it was originally planted by a horticulturalist with a love for variety. There are six kinds of lavender, for instance, and both Julia Phelps and Dark Star Ceanothus, two of the most similar forms of Ceanothus. The plant list for the garden is about as long as the list for my entire planting career, or at least it feels that way. Anyways, in the process, we were trying to ID the palms in the garden, a new horticultural task for me. I’ve never planted a palm and don’t know them well, though I’m starting to appreciate them; they might be my favorite element in this particular garden. They look great with the mix of foliage, and in particular with a couple of California natives, the mounding forms of Fremontodendron and Ceanothus.

Brahea edulis

Brahea edulis

I really like the combination of the Brahea edulis with the low, mounding form of Fremontodendron, F. californicum decumbens. Both plants have a prehistoric look to them.

Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis cerifera

Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis cerifera

Another nice native with non-native combo, the Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm against the the dark green foliage of ceanothus behind it.

Trachycarpus wagnerianus?

According to the original plant list, one of the Trachcyarpus specimens is T. wagnerianus, the (relatively) dwarf species of windmill palm. I think this is the one. It’s smaller in size than the others and it’s sited where I would expect to find the dwarf planted, but I don’t know enough about palms to be sure.

I also don’t know what this one in a container is, something dwarf and slow. It looks good against the Chondropetalum behind it. Quite a few other plants were figured. Among others, we ID’ed the aster-family shrub I showed in April. It’s a Shrub Aster, Felicia fruticosa, a good plant to know. It’s quite the show-stopper when it blooms.

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