Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Plant Buying Must Stop

I'm serious. I have no empty spaces needing to be filled, no new beds waiting to be developed, not even any empty pots needing a new look.
But when a gardener is foolish enough to go to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show and is then faced with booth after booth filled with plants, bulbs, and seeds, well, some plant buying is inevitable.

For instance, when a plant is hyped as an "Italian herb much sought after by top chefs" how can a gardener resist? And, although I have several apps to help me, did I even stop to check whether I could grow agretti? Luckily the original information I found post-purchase, the site where it mentions that agretti grows in salty marshland, was not the only information available. Because I don't think any part of my garden qualifies as salty marshland. Other sites clarify that it does not require marshland, salty or otherwise, that it is a spring crop so will not be taking up valuable summer crop space, and that I can start harvesting, by trimming the tops which will then regrow, when it is 6-8 inches tall. It has already grown in the few days I've had it here so I had better get it in the ground quickly! I am so curious and excited to try something that every cooking site I've found raves about. Hmm..so buying this was actually not a mistake!

What about those succulents? They don't count. I'm quite sure there is a clause somewhere that says if you see a succulent you have never seen before you are allowed to buy it. Even if you have something pretty similar. Or if you see an especially healthy specimen of a succulent you are particularly fond of (such as these Senecio rawleyanus, otherwise know as string of pearls). Anyway, when there are people squeezing in to get at the plants it is almost impossible not to get caught up and join in. So I get a pass on these plants too.

The lily bulbs may have been a mistake but they looked so promising and so many gardeners/bloggers have been commenting on their lily orders and their anticipation of the beauty to come that I couldn't help getting a few. They were easy to carry, too, not a small consideration at the crowded show. I only had to move three plants out of one pot to plant one variety and temporarily plant the others in a smallish pot until I can move a few more plants and free up another big pot. Hardly worth being concerned about so, again, they don't count. Although this one was a close call.

The geraniums always get me. I don't mean the common pelargoniums but rather the hardy perennial geraniums and the specialty pelargoniums. I only got 2 which I think shows commendable restraint. Both Geranium phaeum 'Lavender Pinwheel' and Pelargonium 'Splendide' will remain in pots so I don't need to worry about having bought these since they don't need a home in the ground. Pass!

As I crossed an aisle I saw a wonderful display of perennials that included many salvias. Salvias are great: reliable, pretty, drought tolerant, long-lived.  I should buy some! Here is a pretty pink nemerosa 'Rose Sensation'. I need that. What else is there? This was the moment I told myself "the plant buying must stop." So it did. Right after I paid for the nemerosa. Which did need a home in the ground. Which I found after spending a short amount of time channeling Henry Mitchell, wandering the garden with plant in hand, looking for a space, suitable for a salvia, that wasn't already taken.

                                                  At least I didn't bring this home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Fruit Trees in a Small Space and a Contest

Fantasia nectarine blossom
Having lost my decades old plum tree 2 years ago I am thrilled to see blooms not only on the new Burgundy plum but also on the Fantasia nectarine. The Muir peach is just barely leafing out, with only a few tightly shut blossoms to be seen. But I have hope! Backyard fruit will again be mine!

Fantasia nectarine, Burgundy plum, Muir peach

These three trees are in the space my original plum occupied; I spent a fair amount of time trolling the internet for information on high density backyard fruit tree culture and I think I have a good set up. But when I get a copy of Fruit Trees in Small Spaces by Colby Eierman, I will be checking out my system to see if I am indeed good to go.

If you are thinking about adding fruit trees to your garden but are not sure how to fit them in to your space you will want to check out the contest at Timber Press, the publisher of Fruit Trees in Small Spaces.

Enter quickly and you might win your own copy of the book along with four other books from Timber Press. And to get you really going you could also win a bare-root fruit tree and 35 packets of organic heirloom vegetable seeds from one of my favorite places, Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply. As a matter of fact, we drove up to Peaceful Valley to pick up my trees just a few weeks ago and they are beautiful!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Raindrops on Bloom Day

Raindrops on leucojum aestivum...

 Camellia Chandleri Elegans...

 freesia in bud...

plum blossoms and, behind those,  nectarine blooms.

More raindrops on scabiosa Butterfly Blue...

 pelargonium citrosum...

"King Alfred type" daffodils...

evergreen Clematis armandii...

tulbaghia fragrans....

and muscari.

I'm grateful for the blooms but the raindrops are most definitely the star of this Bloom Day for me! Way below normal rain-to-date, coming up on the end of our rainy season, and very low on snow in the mountains to get us through the summer, I can only hope it rains all week. And apparently it just might happen!

Other blooms include sweet allysum, solanum jasminoides, iberis, Viburnum Spring Bouquet, primroses, argyranthemum, fava beans, strawberries, the one hellebore I have so far!, and kalanchoe.

On the 15th day of each month Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites garden bloggers worldwide to join Garden Blogger Bloom Day and share what is blooming in their garden. To see spring busting out all over follow the above link. Carol, by the way, has been nominated for About.com's Best Garden Blog! Voting continues through March 21, with voters able to vote once every 24 hours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Raindrops on...Wisteria

The wisteria is beginning to bloom, just as our first good rainy week of the winter arrives. We are hoping for several inches of rain and, more importantly, several feet of snow in the Sierras which is where we keep our summer water here in Northern California.

Just the other day the ladybugs who every year spend the winter nestled in my garden to emerge on a sunny late winter day, to the delight of all visitors, were covering the yellow argyranthemum. Today I imagine they are finding a cozy dry spot...or at least I hope they are.

But for now, Northern Californian humans are happy that we are getting at least a little more rain, and therefore snow, to help us get through the coming summer.    

                                          And maybe fill the well for the fairies.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

First Blossom on the New Plum Tree

My days of plum deprivation are numbered! Since my original plum tree died in 2010, after gifting us with luscious plums for 30 years, my garden has been barren of plums. But today the first blossom on the new plum tree opened. This is not, as I originally intended, a replacement Santa Rosa. Instead it is a Burgundy. Self-fruitful with a narrow growth pattern, I decided it better suited my goal of growing 3 fruit trees close together in the same space that the old plum tree inhabited. I plan to keep the trees to a height that will be harvestable from the ground. Gone are the days of debating whether it would be dumb to reach, high on the ladder, for that one more perfect plum. The answer is yes, no plum is worth the fall, and I will remain on the ground. In this blossom I see the promise of many years of juicy fresh plums and sweet plum jam. I can hardly wait!