Thursday, May 15, 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day May 2014

Bunny tail ornamental grass seed heads have formed...these have self sowed for several years and I will need to be careful they don't spread too far. However, I think they are cute and oh-so-soft.

Scented geraniums are blooming here and there, here backed by Salvia May Night.

Nigella is another self-sower although last year I had my grandchildren help spread seeds further afield so I could have them in several areas.

I am on a poppy kick. This is Diana's Purple, Papaver paeoniflorum, and I think it is lovely. I am trying to get poppies going here so that they just appear like the nigella and bunny tails. So far I am not having a whole lot of success.

I wish I knew what lily this is...I do think it was in a pot and I thought it was dead so dumped the planting mix out as a little mulch. Now there are 8 lily plants there! Maybe I will dig back through tags and see if I can solve the mystery.

I am so very excited about this bloom. About 5 (6?) years ago I got a very tiny rooted cutting of a pomegranate tree at Picnic Day at UC Davis.  Now 5 feet tall, I was very close to pulling it out since it had never bloomed. However, I did stop and look up how long cuttings take before they begin to produce. 5 years! So I gave it a stern talking-to last March and ta-da! Blooms!

Alstroemeria Regina. Pretty and a favorite of the hummingbirds.

This coreopsis is the wrong yellow. Too bright and doesn't play well with many of the other plants. But it is starting to grow on me and I may need to rethink my biases.

 Thumbelina is one of my favorite lavenders. Tiny and sweet (maybe 6 inches tall) it is a perfect edging plant. I need many more.

On the other hand, Lavandula officinalis is pretty too and moves nicely in the breeze. And the bees are wild for it.

Also blooming are roses, succulents, begonias, aquilegia, carnations, campanulas, scabiosa, and the second go-round on the wisteria, which is just beginning. 

For more Bloom Day posts from around the world head over to May Dreams Gardens and follow the links!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day April 2014

It is definitely spring in Central California! Rosa Berries and Cream...

and California native Heuchera maxima bloom above and below the fountain.

Dwarf blue marguarite, felicia amelloides, is back in bloom after taking a couple months off.

After spending way too  much time watching Carol Klein's Life in a Cottage Garden videos on YouTube this past winter I bought cerinthe seeds to try to copy some of her ideas. These little plants are sweet and I like the blooms but I think I need to try them again and see if I can have a more robust display.

The passalong yellow columbine, possibly Aquilegia chrysantha, is always one of my favorites. But I have created a bit of a monster and a little thinning is going to happen after the bloom period. Or pretty soon that is all I will have in that bed.

Rosa Cecile Brunner blooms over the umbrella table in the far corner of the yard, with a bit of variegated orange abutilon twined among it.

Butterfly Blue scabiosa blooms at the front of the bed being threatened by the columbine invasion.

Salvia Dancing Dolls is just beginning to bloom, backed up by a bearded iris.

Carnation Bliss is one of my recent carnation acquisitions. I would absolutely love it but for the fact that it is relatively scentless. One of the best things about carnations, in my opinion, is the scent.

Rosa banksiae Alba Plena blooms in the back corner, winding down both the side and back fences.

I thought these were Dutch Iris Symphony but they wouldn't be so blue if they were. Whatever they are, I love them!

The passionflower, Passiflora caurulea, has been putting out a few early blooms and the gulf fritillaries have noticed. For now there are just a few blooms and a few butterflies but soon there will be lots of each!

Rosa Flower Girl on the front garden arbor is its beautiful spring pink. As the weather heats up the blooms will become paler but still a welcome sight out the front windows. Elsewhere in the garden there are other blooms, including allysum, iberis, wax begonias, aloes, freesias, bearded iris, salvias, citrus, and hardy geraniums.

Spring is a floriferous time in Central California. Even after our disappointingly dry winter blooms run rampant across the landscape. California poppies, Mexican evening primrose, redbuds and more bloom along the roads and gardens are full of spring beauty. It is reassuring to see nature carrying on but those of us in this area are needing to rethink our gardens. Many changes are happening and many more are needed. I am holding to my vow of no new plants in 2014 (aside from veggies) and have been working on moving, dividing, eliminating, refining, and simplifying my plants and my garden design. So far I have managed to hold strong...and soon it will be too hot to plant so I will be safe from temptation! 

In the meantime, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see other blooming gardens, and maybe some gardens that are still trying to escape winter. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Dear Friend and Gardener...

There is a new virtual garden club on the plot! Dee Nash, Carol Michel, and Mary Ann Newcomer have organized Dear Friend and Gardener,  a club for those of us who grow our own food, flowers, and herbs. Sounds like a lot of fun to me so I have signed up and will be posting on the things growing in my garden this summer.

Although it is pouring rain today (I can hardly believe it! Rain!) we have had some beautiful weather already and I have had a chance to start some seeds. So far I have carrots, beets, radishes, and lettuce sprouting in a raised bed and basil seedlings in pots waiting to be planted out in a few weeks. Fava beans planted last fall are just about ready for harvesting and peas also planted last fall are in full production.

It won't be long before the soil will be warm enough for tomatoes, peppers, and more so the fun is just beginning!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day March 2014

Look closely to see the gnome photobombing the Helleborus argutifolius. The gnome was painted by my grandmother over 30 years ago and has lost a lot of his color but is still standing watch over the garden.

Hyacinthoides hispanica  has spread slowly, in a well mannered way, in the river rock bed. It has taken a few years but I am now able to move plants elsewhere. 

I am so pleased with this! Aquilegia viridiflora "Chocolate Soldier", a 1902 heirloom columbine purchased last year from Annie's Annuals and Perennials ,  is blooming and is just as sweet as I hoped! Planted in a pot for better viewing it is cute as can be.

The pear tree is the (hopefully) penultimate fruit tree to bloom. The Italian plum tree is only now budding out and I am hoping it has some nice blooms. I planted the plum where it has not gotten much winter sun but after 3 years it is just getting tall enough to fix that. I am hoping the wait is almost over.

Coleonema pulchellum, pink Breath of Heaven, is blooming in the Secret Garden. These are tiny blooms but the masses of them lend a pretty pink cast to the fence line.

Not quite open yet in a container on the fence, an echiveria imbricata sets off my plea for rain, a gift from Cindy at My Corner of Katy.

After a nice harvest of Bearss limes this past season I am very happy to see lots and lots of blooms on the tree. Maybe next year I will have enough to use for more than cocktails. Guess that all depends on how many cocktails is enough.

Loropetalum chinense "Sizzling Pink" is backed by Camellia "Chandleri Elegans" with a few leucojum aestivum mixed in as well. 

Yes, these are the flowers of the fig tree. Figs are actually an inverted flower. Luckily, the female wasp that must enter the fig in order for pollination to occur, although stuck inside and eventually dying there, will be broken down by an enzyme in the fig/flower into protein. So it is not too terribly gross and wasp parts are not visible by the time the fruit is ripe. If that grosses you out I am OK with it because it means more figs for me.

The first scabiosa of the year, backed by Helleborus Blue Lady or some other hellebore that was mislabeled Blue Lady. 

More freesias open every day. I do love them and they are so easy to plant and forget until they return each spring.  Also in bloom now: daffodils, Tulipa clusiana stellata, Rosa Cecile Brunner, iberis, muscari, argyranthemum, dianthus, and cyclamen.

For more almost-spring blooms visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens where bloggers from around the world link on the 15th of each month. 

One final photo...the wisteria, the oldest plant in my garden, is just beginning to bloom as well!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day February 2014

Camellia Jordan's Pride
We may be having a scary-dry winter and we may be facing a summer with severe water restrictions and we may be up a dry creek here in central California...but we do have blooms!

Narcissus Ice Follies

 Right now it is late winter as usual with bulbs erupting, fruit trees budding out, and happy pollinators appearing.

Corsican hellebore
The new-last-year corsican hellebore is opening as well!

Layia platyglossa with happy syrphid fly
The layia, also known as Tidy Tips, is a favorite with several of the pollinators seen in the last few weeks.

Leucojum aestivum
The ever reliable leucojum is one of my favorite spring bulbs.

Basking ladybug
Lady bugs have been spotted hanging out near the favas. Favas here always have an aphid outbreak and the ladybugs are on it this year. Often, right about the time I start to think the outbreak is worse than ever, soldier beetles appear as if magic and clean up the patch. We haven't gotten there yet.

Fava bean bloom and honey bee
 This honey bee also found the favas attractive.

Unknown mini early narcissus
I divided these narcissus a couple months ago. and the clump has become a mini-swath. 

Burgundy Plum
My new Burgundy plum, planted 2 years ago to replace my beloved departed Santa Rosa plum, is starting to burst into bloom. I am hoping for a nice sized crop this year. I miss plum jam!

Garden Blogger Bloom Day is brought to you by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Carol is only dreaming about her garden now since it is buried under snow but head over anyway to see what is blooming this month and where those blooms can be found!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Time to Commit

The first leucojum aestivum is blooming! There will be more to come but the first is always exciting. It means the year has rolled over and we are starting anew. I have been anticipating this January with some trepidation because I have been considering a huge commitment, promise, challenge. After growing this garden for over 33 years it is time to take a step back, stop shoehorning plants into any empty (or semi-empty) space and really make some decisions.

Camellia Jordan's Pride is blooming too, another sign of the new year. There is no getting around it. The time has come to commit and be done with it. 

Layia platyglossa, Tidy Tips, is starting to bloom too. This is a new California wildflower I got from Annie's Annuals and Perennials.  Nurseries are just so much fun and there are always so many tempting plants. My garden is the result of many occasions where I could not stick to the plan/list and something new or many somethings new came home with me and needed to be wedged in to any available spot. 

Bulbs, including these Narcissus Avalanche, are also erupting in the garden...pretty much everywhere. There was once a plan to keep bulbs close to the rock edging so that I could use the center of the beds for other things. Another good intention gone in the heat of bulb buying frenzies.

So what is the commitment? The promise? The challenge? I am going to try to make it through 2014 without buying any new plants. Exceptions will include vegetable starts. And possibly a few annuals if I really really need a fix. I am going to be editing out what needs to go, moving things that need to be in better spots. Dividing perennials that have overgrown their spaces. I am studying Rebecca Sweet's book "Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture and Form" among other things. 
I have some ideas for building a few garden structures I've been wanting. I want to clean up and clear out things I will never use. 

Why this year? This is an idea I have considered attempting for some time. Last year I decided the time had come and 2014 would be the year. The fact that California, among other states, is suffering from a serious long term drought is a more concrete reason to choose this year. Maybe by next year we will have had a miracle winter that actually includes rain and new plants will stand a better chance. I have moved to a more drought tolerant plant palette over the years and this will be a good time to refine that element. I am not getting any younger and making plant choices that don't require intensive care will help me be able to spend more time doing what I enjoy in the garden and less time on routine maintenance. 

So, challenge accepted. I will buy no plants in 2014 except those vegetable starts (and possibly annuals  in a mental health emergency). I don't think it will be that is already almost the end of January and I have done fine so far! Although it may be a bit more difficult to control myself in a month or two. Only 11 more months to go!