And Now it’s 2019!

May 31, 2019

Hello, it’s been a long time! … and looking at some of the pictures from 2017, I am amazed at how much the garden has filled in and changed. For one thing, we had a HUGE amount of rain this winter. I don’t think I’ve seen this much since I’ve lived in Southern California (since 1972!). It exceeds even the rain from the 2016/17 La Niña – to my eye (I don’t know the official stats). In fact, we are still, in May, having some rain – very unusual. The plants have responded with enormous growth.

Let’s start with some scenes from the garden:

March 2019:

Hummingbird enjoying my Aloe Striatus blossoms!

Many changes here. I removed my Apricot Mallow, which was becoming too large and sprawling for the location. I also removed the huge Douglas Iris, which was never in the right location – too sunny; its leaves were always burned at the edges. I replaced them with a Purple Three-Awn (Aristida purpurea) and Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), and a (currently) small Skylark Sage (Salvia mellifera ‘Skylark”). In this picture is also a Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum), to the right of the Deer grass. Unfortunately, it suddenly died in April.

Behind the birdbath you can see the Lilac Verbena (Verbena lilicina) I planted to replace the Fragrant Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans) that was decimated by the ants, and to its right the Cleveland Sage that replaced the one that was similarly decimated back in 2016. They have both grown in beautifully!

The three sages here have grown enormously with the rain! Though they look like one, they are in fact Allen Chickering Sage, Compact Sage, and Winifred Gilman Sage. Not blooming yet in March.

Some new plants here: (1) Baja Yucca (Hesperoyucca peninsularis), (2) the yellow-flowered Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata), (3) the big bushy plant, Baja Bush Snapdragon (Galvesia juncea ‘Baja Bush Snapdragon’) that has filled out from a spindly thing last fall, (4) the yellow-flowered Stemless Four-Nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis), (5) Coral Aloe (Aloe striatus), and (6) Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis), which has a tendency to grown HUGE, and I am constantly cutting it back to prevent it from overgrowing everything else in its area!

A view from the driveway, showing two new plants: (1) Nevin’s Woolly Sunflower (Constancea nevinii), a striking plant that looks like it’s close to blooming as of this writing, and (2) Firecracker Snapdragon (Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker’), a smaller variety of the huge Island Snapdragon in my back yard. To their right is the Sunset Manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Sunset’) that has finally started to grow to a decent size, after years of being relatively tiny.

My White Sage (Salvia apiana) has grown HUGE (as is its wont!).

A view of the path on the east side.

The Hummingbird sages on the side of the house have grown profusely, thanks to the rain.

In the back, the Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya brittonii) has gone absolutely wild because of the rain – never seen it like this before!

April 2019:

On April 13, I participated in the annual Garden Tour put on by the Orange County branch of the California Native Plant Society. Here are some pics from early that morning, before the people started showing up. I had a special display, along with some handouts, highlighting the problem of Argentine Ants, and how I dealt with it. (The small white rectangles are identification labels.)

May 2019:

Here are the front-yard sages in bloom, showing how much they have grown since March – they now all but cover the path!
This is the best time of year, in my opinion, for native plants. Many of them are in bloom now, and the (relatively) late-blooming wildflowers like Farewell To Spring (Clarkia amoena) have now made their appearances. Here are some scenes:

(Seaside Daisies first blossoms!)

A couple of back yard scenes:

(Basket rushes)

Last but not least, here are some shots showing the extraordinary progression of the Giant Velvet Rose (Aeonium canariense) inflorescence – the second time this has happened. The first time, a couple of years ago, the main stem blossomed and then died … but not the whole plant. Now some of the sub-stems have grown and blossomed – and will shortly die (but there are more!). Here’s the largest one:





Whew, pretty much caught up I think. I haven’t covered quite everything that’s new … next time! Happy gardening!


Summer 2017 — Succulents!

September 1, 2017

Succulents have played a big part in my garden — I love how varied they are, how easy they are to care for, and how easy it is to fit their interesting, sculpted, and sometimes almost other-worldly shapes into pots or small spaces. I’ve also been drawn to potted succulents because the soil in my back yard (the level part) and on the west side of my house has been largely silt that turns to mud when watered … making it unsuitable, for the most part, for in-ground plantings.

So, as promised, a review of the succulents that are a major component of my garden is in order.

In the back yard:

First, the delightful Cliff Maid (Lewisia cotyledon), which bloomed back in February, and sits on my patio:

(It doesn’t look too healthy right now — September — and I’m not sure it will survive until spring; we’ll see.)

Others in the back yard:

Crassula in June (Crassula mudicaulis var. platyphylla)

Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya brittonii) — on of the few California natives among the succulents.

Graptosedum (Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ and Crosby’s Prolific (Aloe nobilis) in June

Climbing Aloe (Aloe ciliaris) and Elephant Bush (Portulacaria afra) in June

Overview of the west side of the back yard in April

Grouping consists of Pinwheel (Aeonium hawarthii) in the rear; Desert Agave (Agave deserti v. simplex) in front; and Desert Spoon (Dasylirion acrotriche) on the right; in June

Arizona agave (Agave arizonica) on left and Firesticks (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’) on right; in June

Overview of the patio to the west.

Yuccas, species unknown, in the white pots. (I’ve had them at least 20 years!)

Includes Echeverias (‘Perle von Nurnberg’ and ‘Blue atoll’), Golden Barrel (Echinocactus grusonii), Silvar Coral (Senecio scaposus) and Thimble Cactus (Mammillaria gracilis fragilis)

In the side yard:

I have added a path and deeper gravel to the side yard, and added some cacti in an attempt to suggest a desert:

Roadkill Cactus (Opuntia rubescens)

Aloe Vera (Aloe vera) and Cotyledon Chalk Fingers (Pachyphytum ‘Moon Silver’)

Blue Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus glaucescens), left, and two Dwarf Chin Cacti (Gymnocalycium baldianum)

Left, clockwise from bottom: Dwarf Chin Cactus, Spiny Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria pilcayensis), Silver Bell Cactus (Notocactus scopa); Right: Queen Victoria Agave (Agave victoriae-reginae)

Front Yard Succulents:

The big news of this summer is that the huge Aeonium bloomed quite spectacularly in May (and that I finally identified it! It’s a Giant Velvet Rose, Aeonium canariense). Here it is in full bloom:

The bees fell in love with it for several weeks, but in June it finally faded, and that whole stem died:

A couple of the pups also bloomed, less showily:

They too, have faded and are slowly dying. The plant as a whole has lost much of its luster, but there are several pups that are still in decent shape. I’ll trim the dead stuff and hope the rest of it perks up with the winter rains (hopefully we will get some!).

The biggest change is in the section of the yard where I used to have milkweeds. I pulled them all up when the Monarch caterpillars that they were hosting were relentlessly attacked by tachinid flies — a parasitoid fly that lays its eggs in the growing caterpillars, which die later when the eggs hatch. As much as I loved the Monarchs — in fact, because I loved the Monarchs — I could not bear to see caterpillar after caterpillar succumb in this way, over two seasons. In their place I have planted a collection of succulents. It has been difficult to find succulents that can take the unrelenting sun of this strip of land on the east side; many have withered and died. The result is that most of them are Agaves or very hardy Aloes.

(1) Fatal Attraction Agave (Agave funkiana ‘Fatal Attraction’), (2) Twilight Zone Aloe (Aloe hybrid x haworthiodes ‘Twilight Zone’), (3) Blue Glow Agave (Agave ‘Blue Glow’), (4) Coral Aloe (Aloe striata), (5) Ray of Light Foxtail Agave (Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’)

(1) Mateo’s Agave (Agave ‘Mateo’), (2) Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa), (3) Blue Chalksticks (Senecio mandraliscae), (4) Twilight Zone Aloe

(1) Narrow-Leaf Chalksticks (Senecio vitalis)

This area should fill in when all these plants grow a bit more and form groupings. I will dutifully follow their progress here!

In the following grouping, the cactus has nearly overgrown the lovely Queen Victoria Agave. I am going to look into moving the latter. Succulents are among the few plants that can be transplanted and survive — but we’ll see; this one may be too large and established.

(1) Blue Chalksticks, (2) Mateo’s Agave, (3) Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys), (4) Queen Victoria Agave (Agave victoriae-reginae)

Last but not least, there is the spectacular Aloe Vera that thrived and grew to great heights when I moved it to a shadier spot near the house. This is an example of a succulent that does not do well in constant sunlight. It now consists of three pups:


‘Till next time, happy gardening!

After the Deluge

April 6, 2017

This winter we Southern Californians were told to expect a La Niña season, something that usually brings drought conditions. Given that we were in the midst of a historic drought already, we were dreading it. But no …. It rained and rained and rained. And then it rained some more. Truly, the plants thought they had died and gone to heaven!

A few scenes from the garden, to illustrate the lush growth:

My White Sage (Salvia apiana) has grown HUGE and is encroaching on the chair. I have never pruned it, but will probably do so in the fall.

This Aeonium (not sure of the species), which was one of my first plants, and which has labored long in the shadow of the Cleveland Sage and the California Fuchsia that overhung it, has responded to the rain and the absence of the sage by growing gigantic, and, from what I have been reading, this configuration means it is close to flowering, for the first time:

New Plants

When last we spoke, Argentine ants had decimated several of my plants, including my two Cleveland Sages, two Ceanothuses, and my Pitcher Sage. Here’s what the damage looked like:

I reluctantly decided that the two Cleveland Sages would probably never recover to their full glory, and I had them removed. The Pitcher Sage and one of the Ceanothuses had already been removed – when I was not yet aware that it was the ants that had done them in. Because of the gaps left with these huge plants missing, I withdrew from the California Native Plant Society garden tour, in which I had planned on participating this April. I’m hoping to join the tour next year, if the replacement plants have grown back sufficiently.

So I decided to replace the Pitcher Sage with a Lilac Verbena (Verbana lilacina), with which I have had some success. I had a hard time finding another Fragrant Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans), and anyway I felt it was too big for that spot. Now, the Verbena does also get to a large size, but it grows more slowly. And I love this plant — it flowers so beautifully.

I replaced one of the Cleveland Sages with another one:

And I replaced the other one with a Pozo Blue Sage (Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’), which is a hybrid of Cleveland Sage and Purple Sage, but does not get quite as big as the Cleveland Sage (so they say!):

This is on the west side.

Some “hardware” changes: I moved the solar fountain from the west side to the east, as it was being overtaken by the Cleveland Sage (before I knew I was going to remove it!), and also because it was in the shade of the Pacific Wax Myrtles in the afternoon.

Likewise, I moved the potted succulents to the west side, because they were beginning to be overtaken by the Allen Chickering and Winifred Gilman Sages:

If there is one cautionary tale to be taken away from my garden it’s this: be more careful to space your plants carefully! I have continually underestimated the size to which many of these plants will grow, and my garden is actually more crowded than I would like. When you plant them, they are so small, and you want to fill in that space. Have patience! If the literature says they will grow to 4-5 feet, they probably will. Leave enough space!

The potted plants above are now in danger of being overtaken by the Lilac Verbena …. so I will probably have to trim it back next fall!

I also added several plants to the area near the Adirondack chair near where the fountain is now located. The first is a Bladderpod (Peritoma arborea), with small yellow flowers which appear near the end of winter, and small fruits (edible, so I hear, though I haven’t experimented yet). I am told it adds nitrogen to the soil, instead of taking it out, and that this is a good thing.

Also new is Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis), behind and to the right of the fountain in the rear:

Coyote Brush will grow huge, and I will cut it back to fit the area. I wanted a green background for the new Saffron Buckwheats (Eriogonum crocatum) that I planted in front of the fountain, aiming to create a mass of them with their beautiful yellow flowers:

Finally, I replaced my Miniature Rose – which was one of the first plants a visitor would see, near the curb, but was not very attractive – with a slightly non-native sage (it’s one of those Mexican immigrants), “Hot Lips” Sage (Salvia gregii ‘Hot Lips’):

When this comes into full bloom, it will be gorgeous!

What’s in Bloom

Coral Bells (Heuchera):

The Bladderpod and some of my Elegant Clarkias (Clarkia unguiculata):

The Clarkias have been late in blooming this spring – perhaps because of the rain? I don’t have many this year for some reason – possibly because I refreshed my mulch, and perhaps buried some seeds too deep.

The Hot Lips sage has a few blossoms:

The Lupines (Lupinus succulentus) are at their peak:

My Monkeyflowers (Diplacus), planted last fall to partially replace my diseased Asters, are big show-offs:

The Apricot Mallows (Sphaeralcea ambigua) are blooming (they never seem to stop!):

My wildly proliferating Evening Primroses (Oenothera californica) are showing a few blossoms (only in the late afternoon, of course – by morning they are withering away):

My Royal Penstemons (Penstemon spectabilis) and Farewell to Spring Clarkias (Clarkia amoena) are starting to blossom:

A few blossoms have appeared on my Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana):

And, of course, the ubiquitous and delightful California poppy (Evening primroses in front):

Shortly: Changes and growth in the back yard, and some focus on succulents — which have really loved the rain!

Happy gardening!



December 9, 2016

Is that too strong a word? It doesn’t feel like it.

In May, here’s what my Cleveland Sage and Apricot Mallow looked like:


As of a couple of days ago, here’s what that part of the yard looked like:


Now, the Apricot Mallow has been pruned back, and that’s not the problem. But I have lost half of my Cleveland Sage. Here’s another view:


And another:


Note also that the Fragrant Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans) that was next to the birdbath is also gone — died. Here’s what it used to look like, only a few months ago (it’s the tall plant to the right of the birdbath):


And on the west side, here’s what we had in May:



And here’s what we have now:


The Fuchsia in front has been coppiced, so that’s not the problem. But half the Cleveland Sage is gone, having died and been cut away.

And here is the culprit:


This is an Argentine Ant, an invasive species that causes havoc with native California plants (and probably others as well). This ant cultivates scale insects and aphids, and milks them for their honeydew secretions. It also protects these pests from their natural enemies, ensuring that they continue to live on and do the maximum damage to their hosts. These sucking insects attach themselves to stems and roots and gradually kill the host plant if not eradicated.

This is exactly what happened to my Cleveland Sages, and also to my Pitcher Sage, and to a Ceanothus that died a couple of months ago, and which I removed, mistakenly believing that it had died of a fungus. It had been a fine specimen near my mound for several years. Here’s what it looked like just a few months ago (it’s in the middle foreground):


Now there is a blank spot there, which I filled in by extending the dry stream bed.

In retrospect, I realize now that it died from scale infestation. I have not seen aphids on my plants, but I have seen scale. Here is the evidence of scale infestation on my sages, and also on my Yankee Point Ceanothus, which is still alive, but which had several dead branches that I had to remove:






Ceanothus branches


More Ceanothus branches

The white spots and areas are scale insects — these  are insects which have lost their legs, even though they look like a fungus or something from the plant family. And they will kill your plants if you are not aware of them!

Here’s the hole in the Yankee Point Ceanothus where those removed branches used to be:


Other changes have taken place that are probably not related to the ants (though I can’t be sure!). I had to remove my California Asters from the mound. Here they were in June:


But over the next couple of months they developed what looked like mildew on the leaves, and then the leaves gradually turned brown and died:


Though the plants continued to survive and bloom, they looked so ugly that I cut them down to the ground in August. This is something I usually do in November or December, and by the spring they have come back with fresh shoots. The shoots did start to grow back with fresh-looking leaves, and I thought all was going to be well. But then the new leaves developed the same mildew and turned brown. So I finally made the decision to remove the asters from the mound. I am still not sure what did them in, but I would not be surprised to discover it had something to do with the ants!

I have replaced the asters with the following completely different plants:


(1) Three Monkeyflowers of varying colors (Diplacus), (2) two Coyote Mints (Monardella villosa), which will have lovely lavendar flowers in the spring (I hope!), and (3) four additional Seaside Daisies (Erigeron glaucus). Needless to say, the look of this area has changed profoundly. I trust it will fill in nicely and look perhaps even better than it did before!

Additionally, I finally gave up on growing milkweeds and raising Monarch butterflies. This I did with the heaviest of hearts, and only because I was losing almost all of the caterpillars to the dreaded Tachinid flies, which have apparently taken up refuge in my garden and persist from year to year. My garden did produce five or six butterflies that made it to adulthood, but many more, more than a dozen, perished either as caterpillars or chrysalises, showing the dreaded brown spots and white strings characteristic of an attack by these parasitoid insects. I felt I was doing the species a disservice by growing milkweeds when these dangers abounded. As such, I have replaced the milkweeds with a strip of succulents:


(This picture also shows that my potted Woolly Blue Curls has, alas, reached the end of its days! Such a result is not surprising for this very hard-to-grow species.)

Dealing with the Ants

So back to the ants. How did this situation come about, after so many years of lush growth and no problems? After all, I have had ants for years in my garden — I often noticed them, and occasionally they would come into the house and cause havoc. But as long as they stayed outside, I was not the least concerned about them. There are always ants in a garden, right? The biggest problem they caused, as far as I could tell, was that they made it difficult for me to sit unmolested in my Adirondack chair. (I had to purchase a footrest to make it more difficult for the ants to crawl onto my feet.)

I have no idea why it took them this long to cause severe problems with my plants. Perhaps they have been colonizing scale for several years, and their efforts just finally reached a tipping point this summer. Or it could be that I had native ants for quite a while, and they were only recently displaced by these invasive Argentine ants.

It wasn’t until I hired a native plant specialist to prune my sages and other plants this fall that I realized what was happening. He pointed out the large amount of scale on several of my plants, and the many ants crawling on the stems and branches, including the dead Pitcher Sage.

I vaguely remembered reading warnings about invasive ants, but I had dismissed them, never believing that the ubiquitous ant could be truly dangerous. After my maintenance specialist pointed out the damage, these warnings came back to me in full force.

So what to do? I did some research and found some sources of information — the work of San Diego expert Greg Rubin was especially helpful. I immediately purchased some Advion Ant Baits from Amazon — one of the treatments recommended by Greg. As of this writing, the ants are very much under control — these baits are very good. However, I notice that there are still a few ants here and there in my front and back yards, and I think this effort will be an ongoing one for some time to come.

In the meantime, I have yet to decide what to do about the damaged Cleveland Sages and a replacement for the Pitcher Sage. I’m thinking of removing the sages entirely and planting new ones. Stay tuned.

And if you have a native California garden, please take this warning to heart: If you notice ants in your yard, check your plants very carefully!



Mid-Late Spring 2016

May 12, 2016

Late March/Early April Florescence

My new primroses started blooming this month:

Beach Evening Primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia)

Beach Evening Primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia)

California Evening Primrose (Oenothera californica)

California Evening Primrose (Oenothera californica)

Overall view:


The last of the wildflowers were hanging around:

Bird's Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor)

Bird’s Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor)

Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa)

Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa)

And the Penstemons were in their glory:

Royal Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis)

Royal Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis)


Beloved by bees!

Beloved by bees!

Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus)

Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus)


There is color everywhere at this time of year!

The Allen Chickering Sage blooms in the foreground

The Allen Chickering Sage blooms in the foreground






Blooming Cactus!  (Opuntia mocrodasys)

Blooming Cactus! (Opuntia mocrodasys)


Late April-Early May

I bought a Woolly Blue Curls plant (Trichostema lanatum) from Home Depot, of all places … a notoriously difficult plant to grow. (I can’t imagine it will prove too long-lived among the “water every day” crowd that frequents Home Depot, as it is highly averse to overwatering.) I placed it in a pot because it is very picky about soil, preferring more easily drained soil than my yard can supply. This picture is from a couple of weeks ago and it’s not looking quite as healthy now, alas.  It’s a gorgeous plant if you can grow it. So far it’s hanging in there — we’ll see.



My enormous Cleveland Sage has come into full bloom:


And the incomparable Winifred Gilman sages are in bloom — just as the Allen Chickering sage declines:



The Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum) is blooming:


And one of the new buckwheats I planted, Shasta Sulfur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. polyanthum) has sprung a few blossoms. This plant is near the adirondack chair, along with three others I planted, none of which has produced blossoms yet:


By the way, take a look at this “Little Sur” Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica ‘Little Sur’) on the West Side (on the left near the gate):


This is a variety of coffeeberry that’s supposed to be smaller and tidier than the normal variety — it’s not supposed to get bigger than 3-4 feet high and wide. This one, though, is taller than I am and is approaching 6 feet! (Also note that the tall Pacific Wax Myrtles are finally getting big enough to almost screen out the boat and RV next door!)

Back Yard

A number of changes have been made in my back yard. For one, the Italian Cypresses on both sides of the yard have been removed, and the wooden fence on the west side has been replaced by a block wall:


And I am finally getting some plants to grow on the hill! I have been experimenting with plants that are native to our specific area here in Southern California:

(1) St. Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) (2) Joyce Coulter Ceanothus (3) Indian Mallow (Abutilon palmeri)  (4) Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) (5) California Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia calycina) (6) Island Snapdragon (Galvezia speciosa)

(1) St. Catherine’s Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) (2) Joyce Coulter Ceanothus (3) Indian Mallow (Abutilon palmeri) (4) Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) (5) California Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia calycina) (6) Island Snapdragon (Galvezia speciosa)

(1) LemonadeBerry (Rhus integrifolia) (2) Bee's Bliss Salvia (Salvia 'Bee's Bliss') (3) Coast Sunflower (Encelia californica)

(1) LemonadeBerry (Rhus integrifolia) (2) Bee’s Bliss Salvia (Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’) (3) Coast Sunflower (Encelia californica)

The back yard is scheduled for some sprucing up now that the cursed Italian Cypresses are gone … stay tuned!

Next time: more Monarchs!

Happy gardening!






Middle Spring 2016

March 24, 2016

Home Improvements

I have upgraded my house in several ways since I last posted. The most noticeable improvement is a new garage door:


(One of the side panels next to the door has already been repainted in a lighter color — the entire wood siding in the front will eventually be this color!)

Note how much the huge Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) has grown — it’s almost too big and sprawly, and next fall I will prune it nearly to the ground so it will come back more neatly. But I love the color this plant adds in the front before the sages start blooming. In fact, it continues blooming throughout the summer.

I’ve also added a new vinyl gate, low vinyl fence and block wall on the west side:


Note the fuchsias growing in front of the Cleveland sage on the right — the sage having been pruned back quite a bit and looking much tidier! I love the color contrast.

Early March Wildflowers

The first wildflowers started blooming in late February/early March. First to appear were the Lupines (Lupinus succulentus):



Then in short order came the Poppies:



And on the west side as well:


Note how the Lilac Verbana (Verbena lilacina) has grown. It looked a bit spent last year, with brown stems showing, and I thought I might have to take it out. But for some reason it rebounded and now looks better than it ever has!


Late March:

More wildflowers, such as these Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa):


And Bird’s-Eye Galia (Gilia tricolor):


And more Elegant Clarkias (Clarkia unguiculata) along with the Lupines and Poppies:


I’ve made a real effort to limit the number of wildflowers this year. The “forest” effect that I had last year did not sit well with me. Limiting them meant pulling many of them — especially Lupines — before they went to seed. The wildflowers are more “scattered” this year, and yet the garden is still full of color.

Here’s a shot that shows just how much my front yard is filling in:


The small Buddha is surrounded by Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) right behind it, with Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii) behind that and Fragrant Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans) to its left. On the right of the Buddha is Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum), and further right is the Apricot Mallow. On its left in front of the birdbath is Canyon Gray Artemisia (Artemisia californica ‘Canyon Gray’).

A few days ago the Douglas Iris bloomed briefly:



Usually we have sequential blooms for several weeks, but I don’t know if we will have any more this year — I don’t see any more buds.

A new plant in front of the Buddha, Beach Evening Primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia) is already blooming, even though I only planted it a few weeks ago:


My Fragrant Pitcher Sage has grown enormous as I cut back the Cleveland Sage to its right — some of the sage’s branches had lost their leaves. It’s a gorgeous specimen, already in bloom:


My Royal Penstemons (Penstemon spectabilis) — on the right — are starting to bloom; much more to come though. Behind them is a mature White Sage (Salvia apiana), and in front some Elegant Clarkias:


My Coral Bells (Heuchera) are starting to bloom:


Note how the Evergreen Currant (Ribes viburnifolium) on the right has nicely filled in that area!


On the side of the house, my Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) has become a dense patch the way I was hoping:


(Behind it is my orange tree, the source of many juicy snacks during the summer!)

A final spring view:


There are also some big changes in the back yard. Next time!

Happy gardening!