Archive for the ‘plants’ Category
‘Most true meadow ecologies are where you want to live… light-filled openings near trees and water. If it is too wet, it is a swamp; too many trees, it is dark and dank… For me, the draw of the meadow has to do with how meadows capture light and movement. No other group of plants can do what grasses and grass ecologies do.’ John Greenlee
Land8 has a great interview with grass guru John Greenlee, who I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog. He collaborated on my favorite display gardens from the last two SF garden shows, but, more significantly, he’s the author of The American Meadow Garden, one of the handful of books that I consider essential for designing gardens in California. I recommend the interview, as well as the book, for anyone interested in meadows, grasses, or general plant design. Check it out.
Happy Bloom Day. Our garden is in a little bit of a transition phase. There are a number of things blooming, but none of the showier plants. A lot them need deadheading, frankly, but I’ve been working on other types of projects in the garden. So this is a bloom day post, but also a ‘state of the garden’ post.
One project happening is the upgrade of the roof over our front porch. It was made sheets of corrugated metal. The seams between the sheets would leak and the sheets weren’t quite as wide as the porch, so rain would run off and splash everything, making it pretty much a failure as a roof. Also, it blocked light from our living room. Anita convinced our landlord to replaced the corrugated metal with some kind of clear material that would cover the entire porch. There are also plans to collect the stormwater in a basin and use it in the garden somehow. I’m not entirely sure what they are planning, but our living room is much brighter and more pleasant without the porch. Instead of that project, I’ve been involved with a number of smaller tasks throughout the garden.
The fronds on the Tasmanian Tree Fern got sunburned without the roof, but it’s already putting out new fronds. The Oxalis oregana started looking ragged too, and it was time to repot them, so I divided them and moved the containers to another part of the garden. The Bleeding Heart seems happy with the extra sunshine.
The Vine Maple is happy, too, though it recently drew the attention of leafcutter bees. I think some of the cut leaves look cool.
The Mimulus cardinalis is blooming in the bathtub planting, but somewhat raggedly. We moved the bathtub when we built the garden shed. The last spot was shadier and the tub was set deeper in the ground. I didn’t feel like digging another big whole, so instead I’m covering the edges of the tub with scrap pieces of flagstone. I’ll probably tidy it up at some point, but for now I’m fine with just leaning it against the tub and letting the plants cover most of it. I recently added a pipe to carry the stormwater from the new garden shed down into the tub planting. Though if we have more winters like this past one, that won’t amount to much stormwater.
Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ used to be have a stronger presence in the tub, but the Mimulus has taken over in the new location. There is still some stream orchid beneath the Mimulus, but I need to pull that out and plant it somewhere else, which is a shame because they coexisted nicely for several years. The Mimulus is reseeding in all of the pots around the tub, not hard to control, but I don’t have a use for such a water-loving plant.
Clarkia amoena is the last of the native annuals from the seed mix I scattered last fall. We had masses of Clarkia unguiculata. I had never grown it before and realized as soon as it bloomed that I don’t really like it. I like C. amoena a little better, but they’re both too pink for me; Clarkia bottae is my favorite of the Clarkias.
In the planting bed in front of the garden shed/office, the Clarkia was mixed in with Agastache and Calendula, which looked a lot better. I took a couple of photos of that last month, but never did a bloom day post. Now the Clarkia needs to be pulled before it reseeds and the Calendula is ready to be cut back.
Last fall I posted a photo of this little container I made out of stone scrap, which has very little space for roots. I considered trying to bonsai something in it, but instead I ended up putting a Dudleya farinosa in it. It’s doing well, though the container is getting a little smudgy. We have a lot of Dudleyas these days, enough that I’ve lost track of what some of them are.
Last weekend I made a landing step for the office/garden shed and putting in path fines and stepping stones leading to it. The triangles of stone are from a project almost five years ago. They’ve wandered around the garden, but have probably found their permanent home, though I see that one of the Arizona flagstone pieces needs to be moved an inch or two now that I’ve swept everything off. I also made a low, wide planter beside the step, planted with Agave utahensis, Sedum spathulifolium, and Monardella macrantha. I might show it more clearly when the Sedum has recovered from transplanting; it looks a little ragged from being handled. And I have one more area where I edged the path fines with yet more scrap stone. The stones are laid out but not set in the path fines yet. When they are set, I will have used up almost every stray bit of stone knocking around the garden.
I don’t know if that sounds like a lot of work, but it feels like I’ve crossed a lot of things off my to-do list. Next bloom day post I’ll focus more on flowers. For a bigger bloom day flower fix, check out May Dreams Gardens where Carol has a lot of nice photos of her flowers and there are over a hundred links to bloom day posts by other bloggers. My thanks to Carol for hosting.
I just got back from my first Yosemite/Tuolumne trip of the year, including a hike to Lukens Lake to see the wildflowers. This is late June, rather than the late July of my visit last year, so most of the wildflowers were not in bloom yet. But it was still great. Instead of the multitude of species I found last year, this year I found multitudes of a single species, Shooting Stars, the most I’ve ever seen. They followed the flow of water through the meadow in a graceful drift that gathered into a pool of flowers near the lake, really beautiful.
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.
You are currently browsing the archives for the plants category.