Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Iris’

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!

 

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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:

Mar2016_Garage

(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:

Mar2016_GateFence

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):

Mar2016_FirstLupines1

Mar2016_FirstLupines

Then in short order came the Poppies:

Mar2016_FirstPoppies

Mar2016_FirstWildflowers

And on the west side as well:

Mar2016_WestSide

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!

Mar2016_LaterWildflowers

Late March:

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

Mar2016_TidyTips

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

Mar2016_BirdsEyeGilia

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

Mar2016_Wildflowers

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:

Mar2016_Buddha

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:

Mar2016_BuddhaIrises

Mar2016_DouglasIris

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:

Mar2016_Primrose

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:

Mar2016_PitcherSage

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:

Mar2016_Penstemons1

My Coral Bells (Heuchera) are starting to bloom:

Mar2016_ByHouse

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

Mar2016_CoralBells

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

Mar2016_SideYard

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

A final spring view:

Mar2016_LateMarchSouth

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

Happy gardening!

 

Official Spring Update

March 19, 2014

Yay! Spring is officially here, and the garden is abloom — though not yet completely.

First of all, we had our first poppy a couple of weeks ago:

Mar2014_FirstPoppy

Since that time, quite a few more have shown up (and we’re not nearly through):

Mar2014_Poppies1

Mar2014_Poppies2

Here’s an overall view of the east side of the yard with its riot of wildflowers. The purple ones in the foreground are lupines, while most the of the ones in the background are Elegant Clarkias:

Mar2014_SouthEast1

Last fall I created a small mound near the driveway on the west side using some leftover soil, and sowed some wildflower seeds. None of the seeds seemed to be germinating, even while the seeds from last year’s wildflowers were growing like crazy. I assumed I had done something wrong in sowing the seeds, and basically wrote them off.

But a few weeks ago we had our first serious rain of the winter — a deluge (finally!). And a couple of weeks later, some of the seeds started poking out from the soil!

Here’s the mound — it looks barren:

Mar2014_SmallMound

But a closer look reveals the new growth:

Mar2014_Seedlings

Most of these are small at present, at most about 1/2 high.  But today I noticed the first one had bloomed! It’s a Tidy Tip (Layia platyglossa):

Mar2014_TidyTips

Tidy Tips are new for my garden; I haven’t planted them before. It looks like quite a few are forthcoming. There are some other varieties that are also new, but I’ve forgotten what they are and won’t really know until they bloom!

There’s also this plant with yellow flowers among the Clarkias that I haven’t seen before. I don’t know if it’s one of my new wildflowers or a weed:

Mar2014_Unknown

We shall see what it turns into!

And recently, the first Farewell to Spring (Clarkia amoena) wildflower appeared (though we are nowhere near the end of spring!). There’s also a Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla) plant on the left:

Mar2014_FarewellToSpring

Here’s a closer view of some of my Lupines (Lupinus succulentus). These are such awesome annuals!

Mar2014_Wildflowers2

I love this shot of the northeast corner, with its colorful Clarkias and Lupines. There’s a Pozo Blue Sage in there somewhere as well. It’s new as of last fall, so I’m not sure if it will bloom this year or wait until next year.

Mar2014_ColorfulCorner

There have been a few perennials starting to bloom as well. My Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum) has a number of blossoms:

Mar2014_SaffronBuckwheat

Alongside it, my Bee’s Bliss sage (Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’) has produced its first blossom:

Mar2014_BeesBliss1

My Coral Bells (Heuchera elegans) have started to bloom:

Mar2014_CoralBells1

Yet to come: the Cleveland Sages! They are typically somewhat “late blooming”. But when they and the Winifred Gilman sages bloom — look out!

In addition, the Foothill Penstemons (Penstemon heterophyllus) that I planted near the succulent bowl, in an attempt to get a healthier plant than what I had in a different location, have made it all worthwhile. Here they are amongst the lupines:

Mar2014_Penstemons

Close up:

Mar2014_Penstemons1

In contrast, here are the Penstemons that are currently growing in the other location, in that northeast corner where I’ve been having so much difficulty:

Mar2014_Penstemons2

Not a bloom to be found! There’s something about that location that is problematic to a number of plants.

My Scarlet Buglers (Penstemon centranthifolius), next to the Foothills, are just starting to bloom, but haven’t quite gotten there yet.

We also had our first Douglas Iris blossom about a week ago (Iris douglasiana):

Mar2014_FirstIris

And since that time there’ve been several more:

Mar2014_Irises1

And my Yankee Point Ceanothus (Ceanothus griseus var. horizaontalis ‘Yankee Point’), behind the Coral Bells, is awash with blossoms:

Mar2014_YankeePt

We also have started the butterfly season! About a week ago I found this caterpillar on one of my milkweeds:

Mar2014_Caterpillar1

I was really surprised, as I hadn’t known I had any caterpillars, and this one was large. It has since absconded for purposes of pupating, and I have no idea where it’s gone! (I think maybe it’s a Malaysian caterpillar …)

But seeing that caterpillar made me realize that I’d better get some more milkweeds, just in case we get the same influx of egg-laying butterflies we had last year. So I bought four new plants (all the Mexican variety, Asclepias curassavica). These pictures show (1) the new Asceplias curassavica milkweeds, and (2) the native milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis, which, upon the advice of my fellow native gardener Debbie, I cut low to encourage denser growth:

Mar2014_Milkweeds3

Mar2014_Milkweeds2

Mar2014_Milkweeds1

I hope that’s enough for the butterflies!

Speaking of butterflies … I got a couple of shots of this visitor (who also laid a few eggs while she was here):

Mar2014_Butterfly1

Mar2014_Butterfly2

Finally, here are a few more views of the yard in its current state.

Mar2014_Grasses

Mar2014_PurpleThreeAwn

Mar2014_NorthEast1

Mar2014_Wildflowers1

Happy gardening until next time!

New Plants

November 21, 2013

Fall is when the rubber hits the road for California native gardeners, especially November. Fall is the time for pruning and planting. We like to plant in the fall because California plants lay down their roots in the winter — our rainy season.

Early in November the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, the closest source for me for native plants, had their annual fall sale. I attended and bought 32 new plants!

I had several goals for the new plants:

  • I wanted to replace the Royal Penstemons and Yarrows in the northeast corner of the yard, near the White Sage. One of the penstemons had died; the oldest one looked terrible, with a long length of bare stem, and also looked near death. They just don’t seem to do well in that location, which gets a lot of sun and seems to bake. The yarrows, as well, were doing poorly — a ghostly gray instead of lively green, and only about 3-4 inches high (the normal is up to a foot).
  • I didn’t want to give up on penstemons altogether (they are so pretty!), but I did want to get away from the difficult Royal Penstemons, and I wanted to try the penstemons in a different location.
  • I wanted to get some more plants for my mound, as I want to completely cover the mound with vegetation, with no bare spots.
  • I wanted to replace the Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) that I realized was just never going to look very good. This is a gorgeous plant if it gets sufficient sun — but it was in a partially shady spot, and was never going to get a full growth of foliage. If this plant does not get sufficient foliage, the white stems stand out and it looks terrible, like a planting of chopsticks!
  • I wanted some perennials to plant in front of the Cleveland Sage so that when the wildflowers die out, there is something there besides just bare mulch.
  • I wanted to try native California milkweeds to replace the Mexican variety I have been using. (I wasn’t sure the milkweeds I had were going to be able to recover sufficiently from the onslaught of the caterpillars.)
  • I wanted to plant something under the Privet tree in my front yard.
  • I wanted to start addressing some of the issues on my back hill, especially the need for ground cover under the fig tree.

Without further ado, then, let’s look at some of my new plants!

I decided to get some new asters for the mound, as well as some Yerba Buena (Satureja douglassii) for ground cover:

1. Aster chilensis 'Purple Haze' 2. Satureja douglassii

1. Aster chilensis ‘Purple Haze’ 2. Satureja douglassii

I also added a Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) and an extra Seaside Daisy (Erigeron glaucus ‘Cape Sebastian’).

1. Sisyrinchium bellum 2. Erigeron glaucus 3. Satureja douglasii

My new Narrow-leafed Milkweeds:

1. Asclepias fascicularis

1. Asclepias fascicularis

I replaced the Mexican Sage with a California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), a hardy plant that keeps its blooms into the summer — which is one of the reasons I got the Mexican Sage in the first place, as it blooms in the summer. I wanted to keep a bit of summer color here. Also, note that I’ve pruned back the Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) and the Pitcher Sage (Lepichinia fragrans) so that they are not overrunning the birdbath any more!

1. Eriogonum fasciculatum 2. Lepichinia fragrans 3. Salvia clevelandii

1. Eriogonum fasciculatum 2. Lepichinia fragrans 3. Salvia clevelandii

The Bee’s Bliss sage (Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’) and Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum) were planted in front of the Cleveland Sage and Douglas Irises in order to provide some foliage when the wildflowers were not present:

1. Eriogonum crocatum 2. Salvia 'Bee's Bliss'

1. Eriogonum crocatum 2. Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’

The Saffron Buckwheat is listed as rare, threatened, or endangered by the State of California, and so is a great “find” for the garden. It’s a lovely plant with bright yellow flowers. The Bee’s Bliss sage is a low-growing, spreading kind of sage that I hope will fill in that area nicely.

In the northeast corner, I removed the Royal Penstemons and Yarrows, and planted a Pozo Blue sage (Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’) and a Silver Carpet Beach Aster (Lessingia filaginifolia ‘Silver Carpet’). The Pozo Blue is a gorgeous sage with lovely blue flowers. It grows to around 5 – 6 feet in width, and should fill in that area pretty well. The Silver Carpet is a low-growing plant that can spread to as much as 8 feet, with gorgeous lavender daisy-like blossoms in the summer. The two plants near the wall are Royal Penstemons that seem to be doing OK, though I suspect they will deteriorate like the others over time.

1. Salvia 'Pozo Blue' 2. Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet'

1. Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’ 2. Lessingia filaginifolia ‘Silver Carpet’

I added a Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri) to my succulent area, as well as a Red Buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens) to fill in the gaps between my grasses. It has lovely pink-red flowers that bloom throughout the summer. I also coppiced my Canyon Prince Wild Rye (Leymus condensatus) and Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) so they will grow back more lushly — both had a large number of dead leaves that detracted from their appearance. We’ll see if they grow back in a more comely fashion.

1. Dasylirion wheeleri 2. Eriogonum grande rubescens 3. Leymus condensatus 4. Muhlenbergia rigens

1. Dasylirion wheeleri 2. Eriogonum grande rubescens 3. Leymus condensatus 4. Muhlenbergia rigens

I added a third Purple Three-Awn grass (Aristida purpurea) because I think these grasses look gorgeous when bunched:

1. Aristida purpurea

1. Aristida purpurea

I added some Penstemons around the succulent bowl, in hopes that I have better luck with them in that location. It’s just an experiment at this point. They are Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) and Margarita Bop Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Margarita Bop’):

1. Penstemon centranthifolius 2. Penstemen heterophyllus 'Margarita Bop'

1. Penstemon centranthifolius 2. Penstemen heterophyllus ‘Margarita Bop’

You will also notice that I’ve removed the flagstones from the path. They were turning out to be a maintenance headache — various flagstones were always coming loose and needing to be “reseated” — a major pain in the neck. One thing I’m learning is that you have to try to keep maintenance chores within reasonable bounds.

Finally (for the front yard), I decided to try to get something to grow under the Privet tree: I’m trying Douglas Irises (Iris douglasiana), which I think may do better in the partial shade of the tree than they do in the middle of the yard, where I have them now.

1. Iris douglasiana

1. Iris douglasiana

In the back, I’m planting Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) under the fig tree to replace some of the grasses that were not doing well there. I’m also trying out a ground cover, Emerald Carpet Manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet’), to try to cover the bare area under the fig tree, where even mulch won’t stick because it’s so steep. The soil there is very compacted and hard, though, so at this point I am despairing of anything growing there. We’ll see.

1. Polystichum munitum 2. Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet'

1. Polystichum munitum 2. Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet’

Note, also, that I have completed putting in some edging that I hope will prevent the mulch from falling onto the wall and then onto the gravel. Also, upon the advice of my original muse, Pat Overby, I am in the process of removing quite a bit of the mulch. She thinks that may be one reason the plants are not growing too well. The mulch is as much as 8 inches deep in some places. (I got too much!)

Nov2013_NewPlants12

Finally, I bought two Blue Dart Rushes (Juncus tenuis ‘Blue Dart’) that I intend to plant in the long planter behind. Eventually, I hope to have three of these long planters, to form a kind of “fence” to block from view the part of the yard behind them, which my cat tends to use as a litter box! They will all have these native rushes in them.

1. Juncus tenuis 'Blue Dart'

1. Juncus tenuis ‘Blue Dart’

That’s it for now. I have finished the planting and pruning — now we just have to wait for things to grow. Today we had our first major rain, and already the wildflowers are starting to sprout. I will track the growth of these plants throughout the winter. Stay tuned!

Late(ish) Spring Transition

April 25, 2013

The garden is in the process of transitioning from early spring madness to later spring quietness.

The Farewell-To-Spring wildflowers (Clarkia amoena) have finally started to bloom:

A mix of wildflowers; Farewell to Spring in lower middle

A mix of wildflowers; Farewell to Spring in lower middle

Close-up

Close-up

 

I’m in the process of thinning out the Elegant Clarkias — I am trying to pull out most of them before their seeds are distributed, because I really don’t want quite so many next year. And they’re beginning to look a bit shopworn. I’ve almost completely removed them from the mound:

(1) Asters (2) Coffeeberry

(1) Asters (2) Coffeeberry

What remains are the two asters, which are starting to grow and spread the way I was hoping they would, and the coffeeberry, which is growing very nicely. Here’s a view from the other direction:

Apr2013_Mound1

 

I’m hoping the asters will eventually “take over” the mound to some degree, and the coffeeberry should get fairly big — it’s making a nice start, having just about doubled in size since I planted it in the fall.

A sweet surprise: my “bunny ears” cactus (Opuntia microdasys) has gone into a riot of flowering:

Apr2013_Cactus

Apr2013_Cactus1

The Penstemons are still blooming, and there are more to come from the smaller plants, I believe:

Apr2013_Penstemons

 

My White Sage (Salvia apiana) is, at long last, growing some tall stalks on which, it is to be hoped, flowers will appear at some point:

Apr2013_WhiteSage

 

I originally planted it in fall of 2010, and it has performed admirably, growing slowly but without any difficulties such as bug infestations, and with lovely gray-green foliage. But I knew that these plants had spectacular inflorescences in which they became particularly irresistible to bees. So I am anticipating the arrival of this event sometime this year!

My Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor) is finally showing some signs of wanting to grow:

Apr2013_OceanSpray

 

This plant, near the mound and mostly in the shade, is supposed to reach 15 feet in height in certain situations. It was planted in fall of 2010, and I often thought it was on the verge of death. But this year it finally started growing and producing new shoots, and has reached a couple of feet in height. I’m hoping it will continue its slow growth, as it can be quite beautiful (so I see from pictures) with lovely white flowers.

The area near the house is starting to fill in nicely:

Apr2013_CoralBells

 

Apr2013_NearHouseI anticipate that the Yankee Point Ceanothus (on the left) will, with judicious pruning, snake its way around the potted Monkeyflower and start to cover some of the bare mulch. The tree in the background is an orange tree that produces tasty oranges. Eventually the path will extend onto the side of the house, and I hope to have plants back there as well.

The Douglas Irises are nearing the end of their blooming period, but a couple of weeks ago they were at their peak:

Apr2013_Irises1

 

Apr2013_Irises2

 

Yesterday I noticed a beautiful caterpillar on one of my fuchsias:

Apr2013_Caterpillar

 

A bit of research revealed this to be the larva of the White-Lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata), a large moth that is sometimes mistaken for a hummingbird, as it has the ability to hover and feed from flowers. It pupates underground, and is considered a pest by commercial vegetable farmers. I found at least two of them on my fuchsia — the first time I have found parasites of any kind on this plant. We’ll see if it becomes a “pest”, but so far it’s not damaging the plant in any obvious way. I also found a snail this morning:

Apr2013_Snail

 

I have added some new plants:

(1) Manzanita 'Sunset' (2) Salvia 'Allen Chickering'

(1) Manzanita ‘Sunset’ (2) Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’

Close ups:

Manzanita

Manzanita

Allen Chickering Sage

Allen Chickering Sage

The Sage should get 5 feet across. It started out poorly, with many yellowing leaves that fell off, but has heartened me by growing some new leaves and even blooming. So I have crossed fingers on this one.

The Manzanita is supposed to get 5 – 8 feet high and wide, but we’ll see. It’s in the shade of the tree during the morning, so it may not grow that big. I will prune it down if it does get that high. It’s supposed to be a very hardy and reliable plant that I’m hoping will fill in that gap beside the driveway.

Then there are these new plants in the space previously occupied by the Red Pitcher Sage:

(1) Salvia 'Bee's Bliss' (2) Salvia 'Terra Seca'

(1) Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ (2) Salvia ‘Terra Seca’

These are both low-growing sages that are supposed to spread out quickly. The Bee’s Bliss sage, again, worried me by dropping a number of leaves as soon as it was planted. But, like the Allen Chickering, it’s grown quite a few new ones and I have high hopes for it.

Then, in the back yard on my problematic hill, I decided to replaced a stunted Hummingbird sage with a Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum). Of the four Hummingbird sages planted a year and half ago, only two show any real signs of life. I’m hoping the Sword Fern will find this shady spot more congenial than the sage did.

(1) Sword fern (2) Hummingbird sages

(1) Sword fern (2) Hummingbird sages

Apr2013_SwordFern

The hill itself is proving to be a huge headache. My Ceanothus ‘Julia Phelps’ — which I planted last fall and which was a replacement for one of the same kind that had died — suddenly lost about half its leaves last week. This is exactly what the last one did, so — unable to witness this slow decline once again — I pulled it out.

Apr2013_JuliaPhelps

 

I’ll have to find something else to go there!

The other plants on the hill are surviving, but not growing very well. There’s the Howard McMinn Manzanita, which is supposed to get 7 to 10 feet tall, but which has barely grown and still stands at under a foot:

Apr2013_HowardMcMinnAnd there’s the Joyce Coulter Ceanothus, which is doing much better than the Julia Phelps at two feet across, but still not growing much:

Apr2013_JoyceCoulterThe Joyce Coulter and the Julia Phelps were intended, by Rob’s design, to be the “anchors” of the hill, spreading to 8 feet and 6 feet, respectively. Their failure to thrive leaves huge gaps on the hill. Obviously there is something going on there that these plants are objecting to … but who knows what? This is a continuing dilemma that I’m not sure how to address.

 

Another Spring Update

April 8, 2013

The wildflowers are not going to look good for too much longer, so I’m hurrying to photograph them and get the pictures up.

The Clarkias have continued to bloom and look even better than they did when I took the previous pictures a mere week ago:

Apr2013_Clarkias1

Long view ... (come on, Pacific Wax Myrtles, grow and screen out that boat!)

Long view … (come on, Pacific Wax Myrtles, grow and screen out that boat!)

Colorful corner

Colorful corner

The Chinese Houses continue to make a stand against the Clarkias:

Apr2013_ChineseHouses1

 

The Douglas Irises now have four blossoms:

Apr2013_Irises

And the sages are starting to bloom — yay!

First Winifred Gilman sage blossom

First Winifred Gilman sage blossom

First Cleveland Sage blossom

First Cleveland Sage blossom

And here are two new milkweeds, Asclepias curassavica. I’m realizing that I am going to have to replace the milkweeds every couple of years, as they seem to become diseased and aphid-ridden. I pulled out all of them and replaced them with these two. We’ll see how long it takes for the new ones to acquire aphids (which, as I understand it, are invasive and do not historically attack these plants). I’m hoping they will stay away, since the plants that hosted them are now gone … we’ll see.

Apr2013_Milkweed