Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


May Bloom Day, a Day Late

Ach, I’m a day late for bloom day. I haven’t been paying much attention to our garden or posting much about it lately. I’ve found myself focusing my attention more on other gardens, the ones I work in and a number of ones that I’ve visited this spring. One reason is that Anita and I have been thinking about moving. I think I’ve mentioned before that our house is only 480 square feet (many living rooms are larger than that), and it gets very small in the winter. Anita has an office but I do the design part of our design/build from home. Summer we’re able to spread out into the garden so space isn’t such an issue, but we genuinely need more space and we don’t want another cramped winter. Instead of moving, though, we’ve made a tentative deal with our landlord to build a small garden shed/studio space. I’m not sure if that would lose us our small house movement credit. Anyways, there’s an old existing shed in the garden already, and the plan is to upgrade it to a proper little structure, which I’m sure I’ll have some posts about in the future. For a while there, while we were thinking of moving, Anita and I were physically and psychologically getting ready to leave the garden, but now that we’re staying I can feel myself re-engaging. May is a great month for gardens, a lot of our plants are blooming.

Coreopsis, Triteleia, and Penstemon

Allium unifolium

The Allium unifolium has increased steadily each year. It has reseeded politely in a couple of places, with several of the volunteers blooming this year. I thinks it’s an under-appreciated, under-planted native.

Sacred Flower of the Incas

The Sacred Flower is in a container and would move with us, but tit’ll be happy to stay. Our foggy coastal sun makes it happy.

Canna and Western Spicebush

We had a mishap with our gray water planting a few weeks ago, accidentally switching the hot and cold water hoses on our washing machine, dumping hot water into the planter box. The Canna didn’t care, if anything the hot water made it happier, but the Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstadt’ burned to a crisp. We think it will recover, but it lost all of its foliage and at least some of the wood. A gray water risk I wasn’t aware of. The Spicebush is located a little further from where the gray water comes out of the pipe, so it doesn’t seem to have noticed. It has definitely taken over the space.

I thought I might take a few more bloom photos this afternoon, but it has started raining quite hard. The list of other plants in bloom is below. Thanks to Carol at MayDreamsGardens for hosting Bloom Day. Over 150 blogs have posted links to their bloom day posts; I recommend clicking over to check it all out. The list of everything blooming in our yard is below.

Full Bloom:

Allium unifolium
Calycanthus occidentalis
Mimulus aurantiacus
Sidalcea malviflora (all 3 plants in bloom)
Salvia mellifera
Penstemon heterophyllus
Dicentra ‘Bachanal’
California Poppy (both coastal and regular)
Snow in Summer
Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’
Hebe ‘Patty’s Purple’ (two weeks past prime)
Campanula spp.
Sacred Flower of the Incas
Iochroma coccinea
Heuchera spp.
Coreopsis sp.
Rocoto Pepper
Dutch Irises
White Irises
Variegated Iris
Galvezia speciosa
Blessed Calendula
Canna sp.

Starting Up:

Salvia ‘Hot Lips’
Matillija Poppy (first flower opened yesterday)
Mimulus puniceus (starting up)
Aquilegia chrysantha
Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’
Sedum spathulifolium


Fragaria vesca (good harvest today)
Fragaria chiloensis
Salvia mellifera ‘Green Carpet’
Dicentra formosa
Oxalis oregana
Sisyrinchium bellum
Wisteria sinensis
Wisteria floribunda
Geranium ‘Bill Wallis’
Ceanothus ‘Concha’ (very light)

6 Responses to “May Bloom Day, a Day Late”

  1. May 16th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Gayle Madwin says:

    It’s amazing to hear that the canna didn’t mind being scalded. I thought all plants objected to hot water! Your photos are beautiful, especially the first one. It would be terrible to have to move away from that garden. But 480 square feet is about the size of my old studio apartment, and I don’t think I could live in a space that small anymore even if I were still all by myself.

  2. May 17th, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Scott Weber says:

    480 sq ft! Wow…I have to stop complaining about my 700 sq ft house now! I hope the shed/studio thing works out…would be a shame to leave the garden behind 🙁

  3. May 17th, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    ryan says:

    @Gayle We’re surprised the canna wasn’t hurt, too. Lucky. It’s growing all through the fuchsia that died back.

    @Scott I think no matter how much space we have, we always want a little more. Maybe I’ll be planning a second shed/studio around this time next year.

  4. May 18th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Byddi Lee says:

    It would be hard to leave such a gorgeous garden. Who’d a thunk that grey watering would involve such risks. Hope the fuschia recovers.

  5. May 24th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Arleen Webster says:

    Your garden looks like a veritable paradise! I can’t believe how lush and floriferous your Allium unifolium looks. I planted about a dozen bulbs two years ago, but they have neither bloomed nor proliferated like yours have. I’m wondering if I need to amend the soil with a bit more organic matter as I have them growing in straight DG, which is super lean. What type of soil is yours growing in and do you keep them watered year round?

  6. May 25th, 2011 at 10:28 am

    ryan says:

    This bed was amended lightly when I made the berm five years ago. The alliums were planted three years ago, and there has been compost and worm tea added for the blueberries which are near the alliums. The blueberries get water throughout the year, though not the alliums directly.
    I think you’re right that your alliums would like the soil amended more. A. unifolium likes/tolerates water more than the other native alliums and it grows in better soil than the rest of them. I think it really likes our cool coastal sun, too. It’s been really happy in our garden.

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