Posts Tagged ‘Winifred Gilman 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!

 

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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:

Mar2016_Primroses

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)

Mar2016_RoyalPenst1

Beloved by bees!

Beloved by bees!

Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus)

Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus)

Mar2016_PenstCloseup

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

Apr2016_NorthWest1

Mar2016_Mallow

Mar2016_WestSide2

Mar2016_NorthEast

Apr2016_NorthEast1

Blooming Cactus!  (Opuntia mocrodasys)

Blooming Cactus! (Opuntia mocrodasys)

Apr2016_Cactus

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.

Apr2016_WoolyBlueCurls

Apr2016_EastSide

My enormous Cleveland Sage has come into full bloom:

Apr2016_CleveSage

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

May2016_WinGilWest

Apr2016_WinGil2

The Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum) is blooming:

Apr2016_SafronBuck

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:

Apr2016_Buckwheat

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):

Apr2016_WestSide

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:

Apr2016_BackYard1

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Early Summer 2015

June 26, 2015

Now the inflorescence of spring has largely died down — though not completely — and we start to head into the hot, dormant days of summer. There’s every indication this summer will be worse than most, as we’ve already hit 90+ degree weather even though we’re only two days into official summer. But I guess that’s to be expected when we’re experiencing global warming.

There’ll always be something worth looking at in my garden, though — such as the simultaneous flowering of the fuchsias (Epilobium septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’) and the Red Buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens):

Jun2015_BuckwheatFuchsia

Jun2015_NorthEast

And a new Red Buckwheat on the west side is flowering for the first time as well:

Jun2015_RedBuckwheat

One of the things I’ve had to do is move the fountain a few feet toward the road, as it was being overgrown by the Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii), which has come into full bloom. (I always forget how huge the Cleveland Sage gets!)

Jun2015_Fountain1

Jun2015_CleveSage

 

Jun2015_Fountain2

 

Jun2015_Lantern

 

 

The Winifred Gilman Sage is gradually losing its blossoms, but still looks beautiful:

Jun2015_WinGil

 

My Seaside Daisies (Erigeron glaucus) finally produced a few blossoms, as well as the Asters behind them (Aster chilensis):

Jun2015_SeasideDaisies

I’m not sure what’s happening with the Seaside Daisies just to the right of the blooming ones — they have not bloomed since I planted them a couple of years ago, even though they are supposed to be the same variety. For some reason, they are taking their time; it’s very odd.

The saga with the Monarch caterpillars and the Tachinid flies continues … I keep losing caterpillars and/or chrysalises to these dreaded predators — every one has died since my last post. I can’t seem to find any reliable information on how to combat them. Meanwhile, as the weather heats up, more and more butterflies visit my milkweeds and lay their eggs. I’m hopeful that sheer numbers will make it difficult for the flies to infest every caterpillar, and a few may yet survive. Such a disturbing trend!

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!

Pre-Spring 2015

February 18, 2015

And here we go full bore into spring! Everything starts to come to life in California gardens around February. The wildflowers germinate and pop up after the first rains, the perennials start their spring growth, and the early bloomers start blooming.

On the wildflower scene, it looks as if I am going to have many more Lupines (Lupinus succulentus) this year than Elegant Clarkias (Clarkia unguiculata), which is exactly how I wanted it. Last year I pulled up many of the clarkias before they went to seed, as I felt their growth was too dense. Here we have the wildflower landscape:

Feb2015_NorthEast

Mostly Lupines here.

More clarkias in this direction.

More clarkias in this direction.

There are some new plants here. First, an Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) in front of the Cleveland sage:

Feb2015_Mallow

 

Then, a new cactus in the succulent bowl, San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi):

Feb2015_Bowl

(The Narrow-leaf Chalksticks (Senecio vitalis) to the left of the cacti has put forth a major growth spurt, and even sports some blossoms now!)

I had to remove the large Winifred Gilman sage (Salvia ‘Winifred Gilman’) near the bowl, as it was starting to die (Rob Moore tells me this is not uncommon). I replaced it with another one in the fall, and it has increased its size significantly just since then:

Feb2015_WinGilNew

Some more notable updates:

The plant in front, a Pozo Blue sage (Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’), has more than doubled in size since I planted it in the fall of 2013. The most amazing thing is the mass of Royal Penstemon stalks in the back (Penstemon spectabilis). There are actually just two plants (one on the left and one on the right), but this year each one sprouted more than a dozen new stalks! The reason I planted the sage so close to them is that I thought the Penstemons would die — I’ve had Royal Penstemons in that location for several years, and they usually die out after a year or two. I assumed these would do the same, but they have taken on new life! They will be gorgeous when they bloom, as will the sage!

Feb2015_SagePenst

 

I added an informal path to the Adirondack chair:

 

Feb2015_ChairPath

 

The Fragrant Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans) has come back admirably from the loss of a large branch in the wind last spring. It’s gorgeous (that’s it to the left of the birdbath):

Feb2015_TowardWest

 

It’s even produced some blossoms, which it had a hard time with last year:

Feb2015_PitcherSage

 

The new Apricot Mallow has also put forth some blossoms:

Feb2015_ApricotMallowCloseup

The Cleveland sage has grown enormously, even though I keep thinking it’s reached its limit (that’s it in the center, to the right of the birdbath):

Feb2015_CleveSage

For comparison, here it is just about a year ago:

Feb2014_CleveSage1

(The birdbath in the top photo has been moved about a foot to the left because it was being overrun by the Cleveland sage and Pitcher sage.)

Let’s take a closer look at some of the wildflowers that have started to bloom. First to show up were the Lupines about a week ago. That’s unusual; usually it’s the Clarkias that start everything off.

Feb2015_LupineCloseup

 

This year I’m seeing some Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) for the first time. This is interesting because I have not sown any wildflower seeds by hand since fall of 2013, and the Desert Bluebells were among them — however, they never appeared last year, that I could see. Here is one:

Feb2015_DesertBluebell

A few Bird’s-Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor) are appearing:

Feb2015_Gilia

 

On the west side, we have the reliable Lilac verbena (Verbena lilacina) coming into full bloom:

Feb2015_Fountain

That’s all that’s going on for now. By the time of my next update, I suspect the garden will be in full spring bloom, and we’ll also take a look at the back yard, which has had some additions as well. Happy gardening!

Early May Update — Post-Hurricane Edition

May 5, 2014

Well, OK, we didn’t have a hurricane. It just felt like it.

A week or so ago we had some very uncharacteristic “Santa Ana” winds — these are the hot, dry winds that come in mostly from the desert, and drive everyone around here nuts (humidity levels are under 10%). Usually we have them in the fall. And usually they blow maybe 25-30 mph, and go away after a couple of days.

Well, this time we had winds with gusts of over 80 mph, and they blew for four straight days! These winds were fierce. They broke branches off a couple of my plants, and they changed the shape, at least for the duration of the summer, probably, of several of my plants. They caused havoc for a couple of my caterpillars that had the misfortune to emerge from their chrysalises during this period.

But first things first … let’s look at some more of the wildflowers that have emerged since my last post.

I had a profusion of Bird’s-Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor) — with two different types of flowers, sometimes on the same plant. Some of them were light blue, almost white:

Apr2014_BirdsEye1

 

Others were a dark blue:

Apr2014_BirdsEye2

Very odd! Maybe that’s why it’s named tricolor? If so, I’m missing the third one!

We also had some less common yellow poppies:

Apr2014_YellowPoppies

And the Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla) ended up being much more prevalent than last year, as I was hoping. Here’s one:

Apr2014_ChineseHouses

 

My Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa) multiplied delightfully:

Apr2014_TidyTips

 

 

On the perennial side, my Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum) bloomed, though the blossoms were not as spectacular as I’ve seen elsewhere. I think maybe its being surrounded by wildflowers was not helping!

Apr2014_SafronBuckwheat

The two Royal Penstemons (Penstemon spectabilis) that I have near my east wall bloomed nicely. I had given up on Royal Penstemons in that location, pulling up a pair of the ratty-looking ones that were there. But I left two that I planted only last year, and they are looking gorgeous. But I fully expect that these will peter out in the next year or two the way the previous ones did. Everything is impermanence. Enjoy it while you can!

Apr2014_Penstemon1

My west side looks nice, with smatterings of poppies:

Apr2014_Fountain

And my “grasses” area is looking wonderful, with the spectacular spring come-back of the prostrate Select Mattole fuchsia (Epilobium septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’). This variety is the most reliable fuchsia I’ve grown. Every fall I cut it back nearly to the ground, and it comes back looking gorgeous. In a couple of months it will start to bloom. I’ve never had any problems with this fuchsia — give it a little water in the summer and prune it heavily when it starts to fade, and it rewards you with years of beauty. I highly recommend it! Here it is in front of the Purple Three-Awn grasses:

Apr2014_Grasses

 

(Next to it, on the left, is the Deer Grass that I  pruned severely in the fall. It’s coming back slowly.)

The Coral Bells (Heuchera elegans) are in full bloom:

Apr2014_CoralBells

My Hummingbird sages (Salvia spathacea) on the side of the house are doing well. I plan to plant some more in this location in the fall.

Apr2014_HummingbirdSages

I like this view of the northeast corner:

Apr2014_NorthEast

My Fragrant Pitcher Sage (Lepichinia fragrans) was looking gorgeous up until last week (it’s to the left of the birdbath):

Apr2014_PitcherSageBefore

Alas, the Santa Anas broke off a central branch:

Apr2014_BrokenBranch1

 

Now there’s a big hole in it:

Apr2014_PitcherSage

Bummer! I also lost a branch on my huge Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii):

Apr2014_BrokenBranch2

Though I don’t have a “before” picture, here’s the sage afterwards. The branch used to stick up at the top, giving the plant a pointy look — now it’s a more rounded shape. Maybe it’s better?

May2014_ClevelandSageAfter

This is one huge plant! I would say it’s grown two feet at least since I pruned it last fall! Here it was last fall:

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

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

It’s the one just to the right of the birdbath. Come to think of it, everything has grown immensely! The Pitcher Sage is hardly visible in this picture (after pruning), and the asters on the mound are about a third the size that they are now!

And look at the Winifred Gilman Sage (Salvia ‘Winifred Gilman’):

May2014_WinGilSage

Gorgeous lady! Here she was in the fall:

Oct2013_Chrysalis3a

It’s when I look at these older pictures that I realize how much my garden is filling in!

My Seaside Daisies (Erigeron glaucus) have come into bloom:

May2014_SeasideDaisies

I also got a new Adirondack chair. The old one was apt to turn over in the wind and just wasn’t very attractive. Here’s the new one — and note, also, the new table next to it, made from a log of the tree my neighbor cut down:

May2014_NewChair1

Looking at it from the path:

May2014_NewChair2

That’s an Allen Chickering Sage in front of the Winifred Gilman — blooming for the first time!

Here’s a view from the chair:

May2014_TowardHouse

Those plants in the center are the California Asters (Aster chilensis ‘Purple Sage’) that have grown so profusely — look at them! They all have dozens of buds and should be blooming soon. I can’t wait!

I have some butterfly news too, but I’ll save that for my next post. Bye for now!