Friday, November 15, 2013

Garden Blogger Bloom Day November 2013

After being trapped inside with the day care kids most of the week due to painters working on the eaves (the last step in the drawn out new roof process) I took a quick trip through the garden to see what was blooming. The chrysanthemums that have been spread throughout the garden, all from an original 4 inch pot, are looking pretty and mixing in here with salvia greggii Chiffon.

Although it has been chilly at night it has only once dipped below 40. Still, the heat loving annuals such as the zinnias are looking a bit ragged and will need to be pulled soon.

The salvia farinacea is blooming well in various locations, even as next spring's dutch iris begins to spike up through both it and the falling leaves.

Some of the lavender varieties still have a bloom or two and the alyssum is happy enough. Other blooms include wax begonias, abutilon,other salvia greggiis, Rosa Flower Girl, and a last few echinacea and rudbeckia blossoms. 

Every month on the 15th garden bloggers around the world post about the blooms in their garden. Hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens this is a delightful way to get your bloom quota no matter what season it may be!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Passiflora caerulea

Passiflora caerulea is a vine native to South America that serves as a host plant for Gulf Fritillaries. My vine is about 4 years old and has grown quite large, winding through nearby privets and wisteria. It is supposedly semi-evergreen here but I have never had it lose leaves due to frost, possibly due to the protective properties of the privet.

I find the flowers fantastically amazing but must admit that 20 years ago I thought them weird, almost fake looking, and wasn't interested in them. Now I keep taking photos of them because they ARE so weird and fake looking.  Tastes change I guess!

Passiflora winds through surrounding plants or supports and clings by way of tendrils that are quite strong.  It also produces massive quantities of orange fruit which is disappointingly bland and unappealing.  But those amazing flowers and disappointing fruits are not the reason I love my passiflora. That would be this: 

My vine is crawling, and has been for months, with gulf fritillary caterpillars.

Any chomped leaves (and there are lots of chomped leaves making me glad the passiflora winds through the wisteria rendering it less noticeable) are an easily made sacrifice. Because after they crawl around a while they find a convenient branch, hang upside down, and shed their skin one last time.

And they keep metamorphosing into this!

This post is part of Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail at Clay and Limestone. For more posts about (mostly) wildflowers click on that link!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ruth Bancroft Garden

It was already hot when the our San Francisco Garden Blogger Fling bus pulled into the parking lot at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. Being a Northern California gardener I had already been to all of the public spaces we visited during Fling...except for this one. And being a succulent enthusiast I was pretty excited; I was finally checking this garden off my list of must-sees. 

 As I exited the bus the heat seemed to be ramping up but I began to walk the paths to see what the garden held. My first realization was that there were many more cacti than I had expected. I had only seen a few photos of the garden before this visit and it was much drier and spare looking than the impression I had gotten from those photos. 

The more I walked the dry paths the hotter it felt. I suppose the landscaping added to the feeling of being in a desert and we were visiting during a bit of a heat wave. I felt like I was planning my explorations according to which direction promised the most shade.

But despite the heat there was much beauty to be found...and luckily I managed to take photos. Because it was only after I started looking at photos when I returned home that I was able to fully appreciate the beauty in the midst of starkness.

Much of that beauty was sculptural. 

 But the blooms that were there were amazing. This one deserves a second look!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Garden Blogger Bloom Day July 2013

The echinaceas are in full bloom and more than just we humans are enjoying them.

Hymenocallis, peruvian daffodils, are beginning to bloom. I divided them a couple years ago and blooms have been sparse. I guess they are finally getting comfy in their new spots.

The summer blooms on the wisteria are not as grand as the big spring bloom but by picking off the seed pods a nice amount of purple enhances the side yard pretty much all summer.

The biggest swath of flowers I have right now are the 4 o'clocks, mirabilis jalapa. It would be an even bigger swath if I left them alone. Although I've pulled lots of the volunteers this year I returned from the Garden Blogger Fling in San Francisco to a huge explosion of them all over the bush beans. The bush beans may never recover.

Ornamental oregano Herrenhousen (below) has spread a bit and a nice patch of it blankets a sunny area in the back garden.  Oregano Hopley's Purple has spread in the front garden and is a bit more what I guess you could call invasive. It's pretty, though, as a ground cover and I will just need to remember to rein it in a little next spring. 

July is a time of many blooms in my Sunset zone 9b garden. Pelargoniums, plumbago auriculata, salvias, alstroemeria, tulbaghia violacea, wax begonias, and zinnias are some of the other blooms. For lots of blooms from gardens all around the world head over to see Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Organic Mechanics

 Talk about a secret garden! The first garden that my bus visited on the first day of the Garden Blogger's Fling in San Francisco was on the edge of the Tenderloin and accessed by entering an apartment building, threading our way down a couple flights of stairs, out a side door and through a short hallway/tunnel after which we stepped into a cool oasis. 

And I mean cool in both senses of the word. The day was just beginning to heat up, giving us the first inkling of the unusual heat we would experience in the next few days. But in the hidden areas of  Sean Stout's and James Pettigrew's garden all seemed cool and serene. The garden surround walls, some of which were neighboring buildings,  were decorated with cool found objects and the entire area was set up to provide a wonderful retreat from the outside world.

Succulents, a particular weakness and attraction for me, were displayed in fanciful nooks that were perfect for holding collections.

And when a group of us took the old fashioned lift up several floors and then climbed the rest of the way to the roof we could see why the garden felt so secluded. From up here all you see are tree tops...and no sign of the 25 or 30 bloggers who were down there. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

GBBD June 2013

My hollyhocks, going on 4 years old, have rebelled at my neglecting to post for Garden Blogger Bloom Day. I meant to, I took photos, I put them in Blogger, then I wrote nothing. Sometimes life gets too busy. So it appears that the hollyhocks took offense and decided to die back, one 7 foot stem at a time. After 4 days of this disgusting behavior the remaining stems had a change of mind and so far seem to have agreed to remain. I have no idea, other than the possibility of rebelling, to explain the die back.

So in order to appease them (and any other plants that get the same idea) here are a few of the June bloomers in Davis.

Shasta daisies are blooming here and there, spread over time from a purchase many years ago. Most are not even eaten up in the center by earwigs, something I can't claim every year.

Agastache 'Rosy Giant' is just getting established after being planted last fall but is starting to have at least a few blooms. Soon the hummingbirds should be very happy!

New lily this year, Lilium Cocopa, has been amazingly floriferous but much shorter than expected. I am hoping to see more height next year.

Salvia "May Night' is a bee magnet which is a great thing being planted so close to the vegetable garden. 

Agapanthus is opening but the number of blooms has dwindled. Looks like I need to divide them again this year.

Other bloomers include lavenders, allysum, roses, wax begonias, alstroemeria, dianthus, daylilies, tomatoes, peppers, beans and more.

There! I hope that appeases the hollyhocks! Since I am posting so late I can guarantee you a huge selection of Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts to check out if you head over to May Dreams Gardens where Carol has been hosting this special day for years.

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!!