Archive for the ‘plants’ Category
A quick bloom day post. A lot of the plants blooming are the same ones that we’ve had the last few years. I took almost this same photo of Allium unifolium two years ago, the difference is that our new neighbor took off the gray vinyl siding next door, revealing the red wooden siding underneath. The Clarkia is starting up around the alliums. I scattered a wildflower mix, but the clarkia is the only one that seems to have taken. It’s not my favorite of the clarkias, but that’s okay. The Bearded Iris have barely bloomed this year, I’m not sure why. Meadowfoam went to full bloom and finished since the last bloom day.
The Wisteria shower also came and went since the last bloom day. This was the best year yet for the wisteria, with some of the bloom stalks five feet long and a thick carpet of fallen flowers now that its done. The Spicebush starts blooming around the time the wisteria stops. Lately we have to prune it a couple of times a year to keep it off us in the shower.
Along with the Spicebush, a few other plants are starting up. The first Bread Poppy opened today, the first Leopard Lily yesterday. The Leopard Lily in the vegetable garden, with lots of compost and regular water, is 6 feet tall and will have over fifty blooms open in a couple of days. It’s one of my favorite flowers all year.
Check out MayDreamsGardens for lots more bloom day posts. My thanks to Carol for hosting.
I didn’t take photos for bloom day, but for the last three Aprils I’ve posted a list of what’s blooming in the garden. It’s a lot of the same things this year and more of interest to me than anyone else, but I wanted to keep going with it. The list is below. (more…)
I haven’t posted about our garden yet this year. It’s still a little early for the showiest bloomers and I have a few projects to complete, but it’s in a nice phase. It doesn’t have a lot of plants at full bloom, but most of the deciduous plants are leafing out, and everything is happy and enjoying the spring, with a lot happening and a lot to appreciate. Before the recent, welcome rainstorm I made a pass from the street to the front door, taking some photos along the way.
Our outer yard has a large mound made of construction rubble covered with soil. Our landlord calls it Nasturtium Hill, though we’ve replaced the nasturtiums with native plants and a fig tree. This spring the Matillija Poppy is making a case for changing the name to Matillija Poppy Hill. We don’t ever water the mound, except for a monthly soaking of the fig tree on the lower shoulder of the mound, but the Matillija Poppy has exploded out with growth, engulfing a number of nice native plants and popping out runners a good five feet from the main mass of the plant. The construction rubble has kept the bamboo in our yard from spreading, so I’m impressed and concerned at the Matillija Poppy’s ability to spread. I think I’m going to rescue the other plants out from its clutches and be even more circumspect about this plant in the future. There are worse things than a large mound full of Matillija Poppy.
The annual wildflowers, mostly Clarkia, have started to fill in, and the bulbs are starting to bloom.
We have native lilies in several parts of the garden. The one inside the vegetable garden is now enormous. Carex dipsacea in a container and a mirror are behind it. Pretty happy with the effect the mirror has.
The rest of the veggie garden is looking a little wild with the Miner’s Lettuce, Mache, Arugula, and Love in a Mist that reseeded around the Snap Pea tepee trellis.
We have three different vines on our front porch. The Pandorea blooms first, the Wisteria is just starting to unfurl, and the native Clematis should be last, though it’s still young and hasn’t ever bloomed yet.
I really like the little pot of species Tulips, T. bakeri, on the steps. I’ve been growing a different species tulip, T. saxitilis, for a few years, and we have a nice patch of them that has already finished for the year. This year I’m trying out a few others, though, I don’t remember which ones and won’t know until the flowers open. So far, T. bakeri is very similar to saxitilis. I like how the blooms have the look of a classic Tulip in the morning before they open up.
I meant to post for bloom day yesterday but I ended up gardening instead. There aren’t really a lot of interesting blooms happening right now. The California Fuchsia is still going strong, and the Iochroma is in full bloom, plus the Alyssum and Violas are pretty much ever-blooming. Also, there are token blooms from a few other plants: an Agastache, both of our Geraniums, one of the Galvezias, the Feverfew, the Gartenmeister Fuchsia, the Strawberries, and the culinary Rosemary. Nothing I haven’t shown many times before.
I redid a couple of the planting beds, taking out perennials, adding bulbs, scattering seeds, and spreading mulch. It turns out in recent years, instead of buying plants I don’t need, I’ve been buying and collecting seeds I don’t need, so I tried to use as many of them as I could. In the planting bed that is mostly blueberries and native strawberry, I pulled most of the strawberries and replaced them with compost and wildflower seeds, mostly Clarkia varieties, Linanthus, Baby Bue Eyes and Chinese Houses. I also had a packet of Collomia, which I’ve never grown before; I’m curious to see how they do. I left a few of the strawberry plants. If all goes well we should have a good wildflower show next year, and then the strawberry will start to make a comeback by the year after that.
I also took out most of the plants in the main bed beside our new office shed. This bed got a lot of the same wildflowers as the blueberry bed, plus ‘Moonglow’ California Poppy and Tidy Tips, and I added Ipheion and Brodiaea to the Brodiaea and Triteleia bulbs that are already there. Our dog likes to sunbathe in this bed during the summer months, but I’m hoping she’ll wait until after the wildflowers have finished blooming.
Our Maples have good color this year. The Japanese ‘Sunrise’ is a beautiful yellow, the native Vine Maple is scarlet, and the seed-grown Japanese Maples are more purple than I remember. Other deciduous plants like the Chinese Pistache, the Spicebush and the Redtwig Dogwood aren’t showing much color.
One deciduous thing out of the ordinary: our Ninebark has already put out fresh foliage. It usually leafs out again in early February, so I’m curious to see if it will drop these new leaves or hang onto them. It doesn’t seem so strange to see it leaf out with the start of the rains, but it hasn’t done that in previous years. Probably the clearest sign the garden is happy the rains are here.
I’ve mostly been hiking with a sketchbook lately, but I did take my camera on one hike, to Lukens Lake in Yosemite. It was a drizzly overcast day and I really just picked Lukens Lake because it’s only a mile from the road and I’d never hiked to it before, but it turned out to be a great destination (surprise, surprise, a great spot in Yosemite NP, right?), with some of the best wildflowers patches I’ve ever seen. I counted two dozen different species blooming in about a one hundred yard radius.
The mix is similar what I saw at Agnew Meadows a couple of years ago. Both spots are upper montane forest at similar elevations (8,100 feet for Agnew Meadows, 8,200 feet for Lukens Lake) and they might be less than a hundred miles apart as the crow flies, though Lukens Lake is on the west slope of the Sierras, Agnew Meadows on the east. Agnew Meadows has the bigger Lily, L. kelleyanum, compared to Small Tiger Lily, L. parvum, at Lukens, but otherwise many of the plants were the same.
Small Tiger Lily is, like the name says, one of the smaller lilies out there, but there’s still something about these flowers that always stops me in my tracks. They’re not much bigger or showier than Western Columbine, but they make the whole space feel like a garden.
Though Columbines are also pretty great.
Corn Lily was the dominant plant visually. I’m really starting to appreciate them, for the flowers but also the way the other wildflowers are set off against their leaves.
Lots of purple from Lupine but also Monk’s Hood (above) and Larkspur mixed in with the Indian Paintbrush (below).
And quite a few other flowers, including tons of this Aster, which I’ve never identified despite the fact that it’s so widespread. Kind of like LBB and LGB (Little Gray Bird, Little Brown Bird) and DYC (Damned Yellow Composite) which I learned from Town Mouse, I just think of these as SKA — Some Kind of Aster. I also saw a pink flower that I don’t know; it might have been an Owl’s Clover. Other flowers included Meadow Rue, Monkey Flower, Viola, Angelica, Senecio, Mariposa Lily just outside of the meadows, and more. A great place to see wildflowers in July.
Happy July Bloom Day. We’re about a month past the prime season in our garden, but there are still a number of things in bloom, more than I guessed when I started out into the garden to take photos, I think because a lot of the plants are ones that I don’t appreciate as much as I should. Most have been in the garden for a number of years, persevering and blooming without much help from me, so I don’t take as much notice when they open up their flowers.
The showiest, happiest bloomer is our canna in the gray-water planter. I found this plant years ago covered with cobwebs in a pot underneath my mother’s porch. I think she put it there when it went deciduous and then forgot to bring it back out again in the spring. Beside it, the Spicebush, also fed with gray-water, is now fifteen feet tall and twelve wide and sometimes referred to as the Spicebeast. At times the fragrance from all the flowers fills the porch with their old wine barrel scent. We’ll have to prune it back pretty hard this winter, which will be a shame. I’m not sure it’s really underappreciated, but I do give it second billing to the wisteria with regards to our outdoor shower, even though the Spicebush blooms for a much longer season with fragrant flowers, stylish seed heads, and big green leaves that give a wonderful tropical feeling to the shower.
The Cal Poppies are doing a second bloom about now, especially this one in the veggie garden. It was overcast when I took this photo, but the sun is out now, the flowers have perked up, and I should probably re-photograph it. I love Cal Poppies, but I sometimes forget to appreciate how great and reliable the plain orange ones are.
I mentioned in the last post that Anita is now running the veggie garden, keeping some things, changing others, and in a couple of cases bringing back plants that I let decline for one reason or another. Violas are one of those things. They were one of the first things we planted here and several large patches did well for a while before declining when the skunks began digging aggressively in the garden. Now that we have a dog in the yard, the skunks are leaving the garden alone, and the violas should thrive again. More below the fold. (more…)
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