Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bloomday April 2017

  On the back end of Bloomday this month-I love it when Bloomday falls on the weekend so I can have a leisurely walk about with the camera whatever time of day suits me. Today I was in a frenzy to get my mulch pile reduced and a few new plants installed before it rains (again) tomorrow.Photos taken in haste and I probably missed a few. Spring clean up and weeding has proceeded at a frustratingly slow pace due to the continuing precipitation we are experiencing here. At this point It's likely I will make it well into May before I have to water anything in the ground.

 Last April I featured my roses, but this year there are only a few that have opened

 Two flowers have appeared on the floribunda 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' .

' Honey Perfume'-which ironically has no detected scent to me-is the only rose that is in full bloom at the present. It's position on the hell-strip with plentiful all day sun is probably a factor.

My beloved Madame Isaac Perrier  has more buds than I can recall in many years, and will be a blackspot mess in a another couple of weeks. But the fragrance !

 Gruss an Auchen

This Geum 'Totally Tangerine' has been blooming since February as I recall. I planted it last summer and will be interested to see how long the bloom continues. Really outstanding so far !

 A full view

Clematis are shifting into high gear-they are loving this rainy spring.



 Mystery plant from the late-great Chalk Hill.

 Weigela variegata with Lavender 'Platinum Blonde'

The tag is long lost on this Geranium from Robin Parer. It only blooms once but has great bronze-y foliage as you can see.

The fabulous and unpronounceable Erygium 'Jos Eijking' .

Always excellent Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

And E. 'Silver Swan'

 My only bearded Iris, noid .

Make sure you pay a visit to Carol at May Dreams Gardens , our hostess for this monthly bloom action.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Morning at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

  Photography workshops at the Ruth Bancroft Garden are popular, typically filled and thus continue to be scheduled. I'm pretty sure I've been to all of them. As usual, the attendees are admitted to the garden at 8am a full two hours before the garden opens to the public. The difference in light between 8 and 10 is significant, and because Walnut Creek is inland from the bay and less prone to marine influence even 9am can be bright and contrasty.I posted about the January workshop here, and you can see how gentle the light was compared with this spring visit. The workshops are conducted by John Ricca, are free to members of the garden and a bargain for those who are not.

The covers have been taken of the tender plants, though I saw many of the more portable covers stashed here and there in the event of a late frost. The area depicted here was under protection all winter.

 The Aloe blooms were mostly done but a few still lingered.

 We were encouraged to get up close, and think about pattern and form but the lens I  had on my camera was unable to zoom in very far. I loved this Mangave , but I blew the focus point. Since one of my goals for the class was to concentrate on focus I feel ok with the fact the I recognized the mistake I made here.

Here you can see the light brightening .

Once the light got stronger I chose to take wider views , trying to use exposure compensation to dial down the harshness.

  So bittersweet to see the Agaves spew forth their asparagian spikes knowing they are doomed.

 I always learn something at these workshops and because I have hundreds of photos taken here I am challenged to look at things in a new way, from a new viewpoint .

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bloomday March 2017

  Though not the only blooms here I managed to patch together a post for Bloomday after toiling at the office -so intent was I on getting rid of the remaining weeds (after spending most of a 4 day weekend on the effort) I pulled for nearly and hour on the hellstrip before I even realized it was Bloomday. Looming rain events next week have created a sense of urgency to at least get the worst of the weed invaders dispatched before the soil is yet again too waterlogged for efficient removal. Have I already complained that this is the worst spring weed episode I have experienced since moving to Norcal in 1986 ?

 The bright spot has been the Tulips, which have thrived this year and given me enjoyment for several weeks. I think I finally nailed a succession that extends the season beyond a two week period. I'm already making plans for next year. Tulips are quite borderline here and you just don't know what you are going to get or for how long.

 The first to bloom this year was T. sylvestris which is a smaller more delicate flower (2 per bulb) which I planted with 'Green Star' .

This is the green tulip 'Virichic' which I will definitely order again next year but will group with Green Star and sylvestris. Quantities will be doubled up.


 My favorite this year is 'Kings Orange' a Triumph tulip . I don't like the combination with Virichic, they just look awkward together to me so I'm pondering a new companion for 2018.

  Close up 'Kings Orange' .

 This is 'Rosalie'. I planted her alone but next year I think I will order a white that blooms at the same time (hopefully). Still to come is the Darwin tulip 'Big Smile' which is a yellow that has naturalized in my garden and has bloomed reliably for over ten years.

Not all is Tulips...

 Eccremocarpus 'Tresco Gold'. This is my second go round with this and I have found that the color is variable.It will be replaced this spring at some point.

Fuchsias blooming in March is not usual here, but 'Hawkshead' must be close enough to the house to enjoy a warmer micro-climate. It never died back this winter even when we dipped into the 20's.

 Euphorbia myrsintes with Geranium 'Bill Wallis'. Bill is being severely edited this spring . He is way too happy.

This Erygium isn't blue yet, but I decided it counts !

 Be sure to check out the global blooming treats at May Dreams Gardens where Carol continues to be our gracious hostess on the 15th of every month.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday; The Farmers Daughter, So. Kingstown Rhode Island

 I love visiting New England. Love the gardens, love the seafood, the charming villages and appreciate the tropical-esqe summer temps; i.e. it's warm at night. And even more important, the company of friends who have welcomed me into their home and gardens and facilitated my visits to both private and public gardens throughout the northeast.
 Back in June 2014, I added Rhode Island to my 'visited states' list.The entirety of Rhode Island is not much larger than Napa County , and in spite of its tiny size still features 400 miles of coastline by virtue of the tentacles of land reaching into the Atlantic. Friends who live in New England annually make the pilgrimage to Farmers Daughter Nursery in Kinsgton RI and always include a meal at Matunuck Oyster Bar. Seared scallops and a cold local beer for lunch-nothing better !  After looking at photos of both plants and food for a few years I finally got to join in. If you find yourself in that area I enthusiastically  recommend a visit to both of these local businesses, they are both first rate.

 Farmers Daughter is a destination nursery that has a vast plant selection and beautiful display gardens as well. Every New England hoop house needs a bit of architectural detail.

 Hoophouse after hoophouse , all impeccably maintained .

 The sales cottage.

 The plants went on and on. I wish I'd taken a few more photos in the plant sales area, but I was anxious to visit the display gardens.

  Better looking than the average porta-potty.

  Container arrangements were positioned in strategic locations around the nursery.

  Lets meander over to the display gardens. The garden runs the length of the nursery and is mature with a pleasing interplay of texture and colors. Not the ideal time of day for photos, but I made do as best I could. Thank you Lightroom !

I long for a shrub border, and have spot for one but it involves expensive concrete removal . I still hope to be able to pull it off one day-space is always an issue . My shrub border would look very different from this one as I don't have the limitations of a frigid winter , or the benefit of summer rainfall.

This long view displays the nice design dynamic. There was no one else in the garden when I strolled though , adding to my enjoyment.

 Very modest and restrained use of sculpture .

 I'll close with one of my favorite succulent containers.