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Archive for June, 2012

Solstice Lilies

Chinese Trumpet Lily, Lilium regale

Happy Solstice. Our Regal Lily opened this morning to celebrate. Most of our other lilies are open, too, with only Black Beauty still waiting to pop. Kind of nice to have some big showy flowers as summer begins.

Friso Orienpet Liliy

Corralitos Hybrid Leopard Lily

Lemon Lily, Lilium parryi

Filoli

This week, soon after my visit to Blake Garden, I went to Filoli down on the peninsula. Most people interested in gardens around here seem to know it, and I’d heard a lot about it and seen a number of blogposts. Chuck B at MyBack40(feet) has done a lot of posts over the years, this being the one I remember best, TownMouse posted about a visit, and a number of other bloggers have posted about it too. But I’d never seen it in person.

Coming right after a visit to Blake, I found there was sort of an interesting contrast. Like Blake, Filoli was set up with a formal design at about the same time period, 1917 to Blake’s 1922. But unlike Blake, which has changed significantly over the years and has sort of a wild and free collection of plants, Filoli still has the formal, carefully controlled aesthetic. And while Blake feels sort of like the forgotten garden up in the hills, Filoli is still in its heyday. There were tour buses in the parking lot and more visitors than I ever see in any of the botanical gardens. It felt immaculate and beloved.

I was a little late to see some of the big floral shows like the spring bulbs, the wisterias, or the camperdown elm. This time of year, the roses and the mediterranean border are probably the highlights, plus of course the formal design. Does anyone know, is it the biggest formal garden in the Bay Area? I can’t think of a bigger one.

This is probably the most successful knot garden I’ve seen. There’s the standard view, where you can see that someone made an elaborate shape with the plants, but it’s also nice when you stand a little closer and just see the repetition of purple foliage.

The purple hedge is a southern Beech, Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropurpurea’ and I think the big tree in the background is the same. Makes me feel sad for the poor little hedged ones.

Lots of plants hedged into architecture. But also lots of great specimen trees like the oak tree towering over the garden house.

Shame on me that I had never been here before. It’s quite the garden, and I definitely want to go back some time earlier in the year when the classic spring bloomers are at their peak. This first visit just begins to scratch the surface.

Yerba Mansa

This week saw the first flower from a native I’ve been growing for three years, Yerba Mansa, Anemopsis californica. I feel like I rarely see it planted, no doubt because it’s a runner and it likes water, but it’s a nice little plant. We have ours in a container with the drain plugged. Sometimes it gets a lot of water, sometimes it gets a lot of neglect, which is probably why it took three years to bloom. Despite drying out at times, it has increased in size pretty steadily in the time that we’ve had it, growing from a single 4″ pot to fill a ten gallon sized container.

I was so happy to see it bloom that I took a picture of the bud too. Kind of a nice little flower bud, and I definitely like the flower, which develops red spots as it ages. Mature plantings seem to be full of flowers, so I’m expecting ours to be more prolific in the future. We’ll see. The plant was/is collected by Native Americans and is popular with herbalists — it’s often compared to Goldenseal — and I’ve seen tinctures of it for sale. We now have enough to start harvesting, but we give ours water from our turtle tank which makes me a little hesitant to ingest it. Below are some photos I took at Tilden when the plant first caught my interest. (more…)

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