DryStoneGarden

Plants and Stone for California Gardens

Flower

The Darkest Timeline

‘I’ve been thinking about that night over and over. One thing has become clear: This is the darkest, most terrible timeline.’ Abed

‘If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame’ Leonard Cohen

‘There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in’ Leonard Cohen

Yuck

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For the past year, the Clinton campaign has reminded me of Grey Davis (victorious and then recalled). It turns out she is more like John Kerry (loser). Donald Trump reminds me of George W. Bush (the worst terrorist attack in our country’s history, two failed wars, Katrina, the worst financial meltdown since the great depression), but it’s possible he will be more like Schwarzenegger (struggled to pass legislation, rode around in Humvees). Supporters and detractors of them can ignore or interpret that as they choose. Personally, I never liked any of them.

I was getting ready to start posting again and I have a couple of posts half written, but it’s going to take a little while before I am ready to move forward. Leaving my garden after ten years, moving to a cabin in the foothills felt like the end of an era; Tuesday night exacerbated that feeling. My head hasn’t quite embraced the new one.

Instead of stonework and plants and gardens, after Tuesday I feel like posting photos of cowshit. This was a cowshit election with a cowshit result. The place I’m living has two cows, Pedro and Pearl, so I have a good supply to photograph. It starts out dark and gross, but it fades to gray, and in the end it helps the grass grow green. Maybe our politics will be the same.

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Farewell My Garden, Fare thee Well

“It ain’t the leavin’ that’s a-grievin’ me
But my true love who’s bound to stay behind” Bob Dylan

We’ve moved. Our garden is no longer ours. One of the underlying facts of the garden has always been that we were renters, and now our landlord has given us the boot so his daughter can live there. Which is okay. As this year’s Nobel laureate says, don’t think twice it’s alright.

We moved out a couple of months ago. The new place where we’re living is quite different from the old one, and I’ll have some blog posts about it at some point. I also might do a retrospective on the ten years at our former garden, but I’m not quite ready yet. Moving, after ten years in one place, has been a lot of work and I’m still catching up on everything. In the meantime, these are a few photos from the garden as I was doing my final walk-thru. It looks a little sad and barren frankly — a potting area with no pots in it, a veggie garden with no veggies, perennial beds with the perennials lifted out — but maybe the new tenant will fill it with plants and it will bloom again. I had a lot of fun with it, with luck I’ll have as much fun with my next one.

Erigeron glaucus

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After the Meadowfoam has finished, the other wildflower display in our front garden comes from Seaside Daisy, Erigeron glaucus. I wasn’t originally a fan of it, and in fact I only have it in my garden because I bought a dozen for a project but got cold feet and brought them home instead. I didn’t know what to do with them so I planted them, and since then, I’ve come to appreciate them, a good habitat plant with a long bloom season. I’ve gone on to use it in a few different plantings, with pretty good results.

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I’ve used a few of the different cultivars as well as the regular species, but I’m still figuring them out. I thought I knew which ones I was growing here, but I remember them having pink flowers and these don’t look pink. Occasionally on overcast days they take on a pinkish cast, but most of the time they are whitish with a blue tinge. Maybe I got rid of the pink ones and that’s why I like them now?

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There’s two different ones, one that hugs the ground with smaller flowers, another that sprawls a bit, with larger flowers held on longer stems.

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The sprawling, larger flowers are maybe a little pink or lavender, but not as pink as I remember.

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In any case, the color works with the Campanula, as well as the white Philadelphus microphyllus, blue Brodiaea, and the faded pink Allium unifolium. More harmonious than I was expecting. It’s one of my least deliberate plantings, but I’m enjoying it.

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Bouverie Preserve

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I also went out to the Bouverie Perserve in Sonoma. It’s a 535 acre preserve that’s only open to the public for guided walks a few times a year. It’s a great property. I’m glad I got a chance to see it.

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I had heard about the Bouverie Preserve on a list of places to see California wildflowers, but I may have been there late for the peak bloom. I saw dozens of Calochortus amabilis, one of my favorites, and a nice patch of Chinese Houses, another favorite, so I wasn’t disappointed. I also saw Blue Dicks, a few Clarkia purpurea had opened, and a lot of Owl’s Clover was scattered throughout the grasses.

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Instead of wildflowers, it was a great place to see oaks. Beautiful oaks.

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One of the trails ran along a creek that still had water flowing at the end of April. The tapestry of ferns alongside the trail was even better than the oaks and wildflowers.

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Shell Ridge Natives

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During the wildflower season, I spent a few hours pulling weeds at a restoration project at Shell Ridge Open Space in Walnut Creek. It’s a compelling, though still somewhat nascent, project, a steep slope facing the entrance of the open space. Most of the restoration work has happened in the last few years. The plants are young and there’s quite a variety of species, including a number of beautiful bunch grasses — Poa, Nasella, and Koeleria, maybe a few others — but the biggest visual impact came from the annuals that were blooming — California Poppies, Chinese Houses, and to lesser extent a Phacelia that I hadn’t seen before, P. distans which was popular with the bees but not really photogenic or garden worthy.

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I loved the big patches of Collinsia heterophylla. I tried to grow them in my garden this year, but they didn’t do well, I think because of slugs and snails.

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Other areas have been more recently cleared and planted. That’s a great looking oak; it will be beautiful with wildflowers filled in around it.

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There’s a former quarry across from the restoration area. From a distance the quarry shows like a scar, but it’s a nice landscape up close.

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Some of the boulders display the shells that presumably inspired the name Shell Ridge.

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I hadn’t been to Shell Ridge in years, so it was great to be lured out by the restoration project. It’s a pretty classic California landscape, lovely grassy hills, and I’ll be sure to go back see how the restoration project continues to progress.