Monday, April 29, 2013

The Time of Surprises

 This time of year things change so quickly in the garden it can be difficult to keep up.
This volunteer poppy was not open at 6:00 this morning but the next time I looked, just before 9:30, it was fully opened. The surprise was that it was a fringed poppy! I had these two years ago but none returned last year. You can bet I will be saving these seeds and being careful with them.

The surprise here is that this hoverfly sat down on this nigella long enough for me to snap a quick picture. Most of the pollinators here seem very shy and take off as soon as they see the camera.

We made a quick trip out of town this past weekend to visit our daughter's family for our granddaughter's 6th birthday party. The dianthus went from tight buds to tons of open blooms in the 38 hours we were gone. The 90 degree temperature Sunday might have been a contributing factor!

 This is one of my new iris, purchased last year from Pleasants Valley Iris Farm, a wonderful local source of a wide variety of iris rhizomes. It is Rustic Royalty and I did not realize the inside would be so prettily colored, a nice surprise.

This surprise was a birthday gift for my granddaughter. It is a tic-tac-toe game made of rocks painted to look like bees and ladybugs,  an idea I saw on a Facebook comment linked here. It seemed to go over pretty well which was not a surprise!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Garden Blogger Bloom Day April 2013

Spring has certainly arrived here in Central California! The daffodils are finished as are most of the other spring bulbs with only the freesias still in bloom. The wisteria has finished its big spring bloom and yesterday spent blooms were picked out of and from around the pots in the fallout region. Many of the pots had layers of blooms 2 inches thick so those were easy to remove, just like peeling dryer lint out of the lint catcher if you were really negligent about that lint catcher, only thicker. Except, of course, for  having to maneuver around plant stems. The individual blossoms stuck to individual succulent parts were more time consuming and annoying. 

 Working under the wisteria had a surprise benefit as these first passionflower blooms were discovered. The passionflower, planted to climb a small trellis, has decided to exceed the 10 foot predicted growth and is now intertwined many feet into the wisteria. Luckily, the wisteria doesn't care and neither do I.

The abutilons are blooming, this one in front of Rosa Climbing Cecile Brunner which is also in full bloom.

The hardy geranium, Biokova, is blooming everywhere. From one little 4 inch pot many years ago this stalwart plant has filled in lots of areas. It is wonderful in afternoon shade, otherwise it looks a bit bedraggled by the end of summer.

I am crossing my fingers and hoping for a good lime crop this year! The tree is finally getting to be a good size and, although I've gotten a few limes each year, this year there are lots of blooms and maybe there will be lots of limes!

The columbine is in full bloom and has reseeded here and there so it repeats around the garden a bit. I used to be yellow-phobic but I have gotten over it and this columbine was one of the things that helped.

The bearded iris are starting to bloom and this is one of the first. It blooms above heuchera maxima. Apparently I moved rhizomes around last year and mistakenly moved a tall white iris to about 8 spots even though I don't like it. So I am trying to pull those out as they bloom so I don't have even more next year. I guess I need to be more careful!

Other blooms this month include:

Rosa Climbing Flower Girl
Rosa banksiae Albo Pleno
Solanum jasminoides
Rosa Climbing Berries and Cream
Pink Breath of Heaven

wax begonias
dutch iris
scented geraniums

To see how far along spring is in various parts of the country (and beyond!) visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens and connect with bloggers from around the world through their links. Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A Rock and a Dry Place

The only rocks here in reality are ones that I have been given, three by a friend who bought too many for his garden (how is that possible? asks the rock lover who has never had to plant around buried rocks) and some smaller ones that were being given away by someone in the midst of a garden redesign.

But the dry place is becoming more obvious as March becomes April and we are far behind on our rainfall for the year, all of which usually arrives by the beginning of May or so. After that any rain, until about November, is inconsequential and does little more than wash the dust off leaves and garden benches. The dry place is here...and it is scary.

I have over several years worked to make my garden less water dependent. The lawn is minimal. There is none in the front and the back has been whittled away until even part of the play area is covered with mini-bark chips and there is just a little lawn.

So what is a gardener to do when a garden that has evolved over 33 years needs to become even more water-wise? The plan I settled on is to begin with one path and switch the plants along it to native plants and others that need very little summer water. That area will eventually need watering about 1/4 as often as it does now. It is at least a start. And I can't help but think that anything that results in a trip to Annie's Annuals must be a good idea.