Archive for March, 2016

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!