Archive for May, 2015

Mid-Spring 2015: the Sages Come to Life

May 6, 2015

That is to say they start blooming …

This started a couple of weeks ago, and most of the sages are now in full bloom.

First, the immense Cleveland Sage that dominates the garden:

May2015_ClevelandSage

A picture from another angle shows the new Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) in front of the sage, along with the new small Buddha statue I added:

May2015_BuddhaPlants

The spectacular Winifred Gilman sage (Salvia ‘Winifred Gilman’) is in full bloom on the west side:

May2015_WinGil2

May2015_WinGil

There’s another Cleveland Sage that is threatening to overtake the fountain, that is not quite in full bloom yet, but it’s getting there:

May2015_FountainSalvia

Then there are the smaller sages near the succulent pot:

May2015_AllenChickering

In the center is an Allen Chickering Sage (Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’) that probably has another foot to grow in each direction. Right behind it, but not appearing to be separate, is a smaller Compact Sage (Salvia compacta), which was overgrown by the previous Winifred Gilman sage alongside it, and is now branching out since that sage was removed. On the left is another new Apricot Mallow, which has not grown nearly as large as the other one.

Then there’s the new Winifred Gilman sage in the same place as the old one (which was dying). It’s still quite small, but has nonetheless produced a few blossoms:

May2015_WinGil3

 

 

Finally, there are the two sages in the corner behind the Adirondack chair:

May2015_SagesInCorner

The plant to the left is my White Sage (Salvia apiana), which has sent up stalks and produced some tiny white flowers. The Pozo Blue Sage (Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’) to its right has come up with a few blossoms, though it’s very hard to see because it is just in front of a huge outcropping of Royal Penstemons (Penstemon spectabilis). I made a mistake in planting that sage; I located it where it is because I thought that the Penstemons behind it would die, as has every other Penstemon I have ever planted in that location! At the time the three plants there each had a single stalk. Well, this spring each Penstemon suddenly produced multiple stalks and grew profusely! Curses! They are very beautiful when in bloom (see previous post), but had I known they were going to thrive I would have planted the Pozo Blue Sage a few feet in front of them! Lesson: never make assumptions about native plants and their viability! Hopefully the Pozo Blue Sage will grow outward, and probably the Penstemons will die at some point.

Other items of note include the wonderful growth of my Select Mattole Fuchsia (Epilobium septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’). I just can’t say enough about this variety of prostrate fuchsia. Every fall I cut it down to the ground, and every spring it comes back in perfect mounding form:

May2015_SelectMattole

 

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find this variety at the native plant nurseries, for some reason. I will have to become adept at growing from cuttings, I think!

I have moved the Dudleya succulent that was just behind the fuchsia, since you could hardly see it anymore:

May2015_Dudleya

We’ll see how it does in this location, where it will get more shade.

My Seaside Daisies have just barely started to bloom (behind them the Asters are starting to bloom as well):

May2015_SeasideDaisies

 

A few more scenes from the garden:

May2015_TowardHouse2

May2015_Buddha

A house finch enjoying the birdbath!

A house finch enjoying the birdbath!

My latest attempt to grow  something in the pot behind the chair: Vandenberg Ceanothus  (Ceanothus impressus 'Vandenberg')

My latest attempt to grow something in the pot behind the chair: Vandenberg Ceanothus (Ceanothus impressus ‘Vandenberg’)

That’s all the plant news for now — some caterpillar news coming shortly! Happy gardening!

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Real Spring 2015

May 5, 2015

OK … by March we’ve gotten fully into the wildflower season. Forthwith, here are a plethora of images from March and early April, highlighting the annual “invasion of the wildflowers”:

I had a forest of Arroyo Luplines (Lupinus succulentus)

I had a forest of Arroyo Lupines (Lupinus succulentus)

Lupines and the first of the Elegant Clarkias

Lupines and the first of the Elegant Clarkias

I love the Lupines, but my goodness they do take over the garden! I will confine them more for next year.

I love the Lupines, but my goodness they do take over the garden! I will confine them more for next year.

A collection of  Bird's-Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor)

A collection of Bird’s-Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor)

Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa)

Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa)

Toward the west through a forest of Elegant Clarkias (Clarkia unguiculata)

Toward the west through a forest of Elegant Clarkias (Clarkia unguiculata)

A sea of wildflowers (mostly Clarkias) along the path.

A sea of wildflowers (mostly Clarkias — the Lupines had mostly gone to seed by this time) along the path.

Clarkias galore!

Clarkias galore!

Clarkias in front of the Cleveland Sage, which has not bloomed yet.

Clarkias in front of the Cleveland Sage, which has not bloomed yet.

The start of the "Farewell to Spring" wildflower season  (Clarkia amoena)

The start of the “Farewell to Spring” wildflower season (Clarkia amoena)

All in all, I had fewer wildflowers than last season — which was by design. I felt they literally took over the yard last year, so I made a special effort to pull up many of the Clarkias before they went to seed. (I tried to do the same with the Lupines this year, lest they overwhelm the garden next spring.)

In other developments, I added a number of milkweed plants to my collection, which had been somewhat decimated by caterpillar activity last year:

Mar2015_NewMilkweeds

 

In the back yard, the plants I added had grown somewhat, which was encouraging, since I’ve had so much trouble with the back hill. Here’s the overall look of the hill in March:

Mar2015_BackYard

It still doesn’t look like much, but it’s made some progress since last year. Here are the additions from the fall, individually:

I added another Joyce Coulter Ceanothus (bottom) to match the larger one at the top. The larger one is about 3 feet across -- not as big as it's supposed to get, but at least it has survived!

I added another Joyce Coulter Ceanothus (bottom) to match the larger one at the top. The larger one is about 3 feet across — not as big as it’s supposed to get, but at least it has survived!

I also added a second Bee's Bliss sage below the existing one, since the top one has done much better than I expected.

I also added a second Bee’s Bliss sage below the existing one, since the top one has done much better than I expected.

Coast Sunflower  (Encelia californica). This is native to our Orange County area, so I thought it might do well. It has grown and even produced a couple of blossoms.

Coast Sunflower (Encelia californica). This is native to our Orange County area, so I thought it might do well. It has grown and even produced a couple of blossoms.

Lemonadeberry (Rhus integrifolia) -- another Orange County native. It's growing quite nicely.

Lemonadeberry (Rhus integrifolia) — another Orange County native. It’s growing quite nicely.

Saint Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) -- a native of the Channel Islands. It should get huge, but it's not quite there yet!

Saint Catherine’s Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) — a native of the Channel Islands. It should get huge, but it’s not quite there yet!

My potted rushes (Juncus textilis), intended to hide the part of the back yard used as a litter box by my cat, are doing quite well:

Mar2015_Rushes

 

Finally, my cactus (Opuntia mocrodasys) has been delivering some pretty blossoms:

Mar2015_CactusBlooms

 

Later spring update coming soon!