Posts Tagged ‘White sage’

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!



Late May Update

May 30, 2013

Before anything, I’ve got to post this:

All together now: "Awwwww" ...

All together now: “Awwwww” …

This squirrel, one of a litter of young squirrels that have shown up in my yard, is all tuckered out in the near-100-degree heat.

Now for something completely different (gardening!). The wildflowers are spent and have been mostly removed, and it’s the sages’ turn:



In the foreground is the lovely lovely Winifred Gilman Sage (Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gilman’), now the focal point of the garden. In the background is the Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii), having just about doubled in size since last year. Here it is in June of 2012:



It’s responded well to the removal of the Italian Cypress, whose shadow limited its growth so much! I probably should have pruned it a bit last fall, but I was so eager for it to grow out I was afraid to interfere. Well, it did get just as big as Rob said it would (though I didn’t believe him)!  I will do some moderate pruning this coming fall to shape it a little more, and to keep it from completely overwhelming the poor Douglas Irises.

More sage pictures:

Winifred Gilman

Winifred Gilman



The Mexican Sage in the foreground is starting to bloom.

The Mexican Sage in the foreground is starting to bloom.


Winifred Gilman

Winifred Gilman

Winifred Gilman

Winifred Gilman

Winifred Gilman closeup

Winifred Gilman closeup


Then there is my White Sage (Salvia apiana) that has finally bloomed very nicely:


Closeup of blossoms

Closeup of blossoms


The lovely Purple Three-awn grasses (Aristida purpurea)  have grown in so nicely:

Purple three-awn in the back; in the foreground: Epilobium septentrionalis 'Select Mattole' (a prostrate fuchsia), and to the left  Muhlenbergia rigens (deer grass)

Purple three-awn in the back; in the foreground: Epilobium septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’ (a prostrate fuchsia), and to the left Muhlenbergia rigens (deer grass)

My (relatively) new Allen Chickering Sage (Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’) is still looking funny to me (a lot of yellow leaves) but is actually blooming, a rarity for the first year:



Here’s the full area around the succulent bowl, including the Winifred Gilman, Allen Chickering, and a tiny Salvia compacta that’s been overwhelmed by the Winifred:




My Red Columbine (Aquilegia elegantula) seems to be thriving now under the pine tree near the house. I was worried it would not make it, but it looks wonderful:



The whole area near the house is filling in nicely:


I have a new plant, too, given to me by Pat Overby, my original native gardening muse, with whom I had a recent consultation. (I’ll report on that in  a later post.) She contributed several plants to my collection. The most spectacular is this lovely Blue Throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum). It’s not a native, but is of Mediterranean origin and does well in our climate:





Pat also provided me with three new milkweeds, which I have planted on the side of the house, in a place where I can see them through my kitchen window. They are quite small at present, but they surprised me by having two Monarch caterpillars on them! One was on such a bare plant I didn’t think it would survive, and I transferred it to one of my other milkweeds. The other continues to do well on the largest of the three.

I have some more caterpillar news, but I’ll defer that discussion to another post. Suffice it to say that the Monarchs have found my new milkweeds quite interesting!

Finally, one of my Seaside Daisies (Erigeron glaucus), at the base of the mound, has presented me with some blossoms (the other one does not seem so happy):