Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Gardens at the Back Bay Inn

 Earlier this week I made a  brief but  mentally required road trip to the California central coast area . The central coast is an obvious transition  between Northern and  Southern California; for the plant-centric among us the differences are easy to see. Our hills began to shed their green winter finery and don the golden brown of summer the further south I traveled. Thanks to a recommend from the Mulch Maid , I booked a few nights at the Back Bay Inn , a  small casual establishment  on the quiet south end of Morro Bay. Besides the attraction of being right on the water , this inn had a lovely small garden with a compelling plant palette that framed the view of the water from my 2nd floor balcony. 

 This Agave has seen better days .

 Looks like there is some new planting to do !

 The little boardwalk takes the stroller past the resting Kayaks and through the garden.

Some nice well-grown specimens; cacti and succulents thrive in this frost-free and relatively low rainfall climate.

 As do South African and Australian cultivars.

The poodled-up trees are unfortunately Melaleucas that are headed back to allow the the balconies an unobstructed view. Since I was in fact on a balcony I selfishly mentally approved of this otherwise unacceptable pruning device.

 On the inland side of the building , grasses , Salvias and Gaillardias provide another punch of color, I expect these are likely to bloom almost year round here.

 While I was gone -3.5 days - all my weeds grew 10 feet. Or so it seemed.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Late Bloomer-The Roses

  At this late date I'm not going to attempt to make this an 'official' Bloomday post. Instead I have been taking the odd rose shot as time permits this month . This morning I was up early getting a few more photos and a camera malfunction (which turned out to be operator error) obliterated my shots. So I'm going with what I've got !

 At one time I  had over 70 roses in my garden. I collected them and when I wanted another I ripped out whatever I had to to make room. My collection has been edited for various reasons; duplicates, disease, and modern roses that sometimes decline or sucker so heavily that Dr Huey takes over.I think I am down to about 30.  Last year I considered removing one (Honey Perfume) that had become so attractive to rose curculio that most of the blooms were ruined. I gave it one more year and used a very draconian method of control that involved sacrificing an entire spring bloom flush. It seems to have worked.I haven't planted a new rose in several years, but I want Lady Hillingdon desperately  so am strategizing a location. Here then are a few that have made the cut.

Golden Celebration is an David Austin rose with a buttery yellow petal packed flower. Though classified as a shrub ,it grows quite large in the Norcal climate and should definitely not be considered for the 'front row' of the border.

A few shots here of the 1909 hybrid 'Gruss an Aauchen' , in some camps alleged to be the 1st floribunda. I love this rose so much that I tolerate the horrible rust and blackspot that comes on in spring, and spend the time to strip off the bad foliage and cut it back hard for a summer re-bloom.

This is the David Austin rose 'Molineux.' It never stops blooming, it never gets diseased,  and the only negative  can think of is that it only holds up a couple days in a vase.

'Brass Band' is a Jackson Perkins floribunda from 1993. Cast iron.

Jean Giono is a Romantica rose ,the  French house of Medillands' answer to the David Austin roses. Sometimes you will see it classified as a Hybrid Tea, sometimes as a shrub rose. The vein-y petals are my favorite feature.

'Prospero' another excellent David Austin selection, but good luck finding it. It was hard to locate when I bought it way back in the 90'  when roses were more popular and rose nurseries were plentiful.

Lets finish up with 'Eden' aka 'Pierre Ronsard' the worst rose for disease (primarily blackspot) in my garden. It has received an annual stay of execution consistently for years-there is just nothing quite like it and so it stays.  See this post for more diva shots.

Monday, February 15, 2016

February Bloom Day at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

 This month Bloom Day takes a road trip to the venerable Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. My own garden hasn't got much going on this month, I have so many renovations in process the early spring view has suffered.How many times can I take a photo of the same Hellebore ?  Here then are Aloes and a few others that caught my cameras eye. Full disclosure-these images were taken yesterday.

Aloe 'Creamsicle '

 The pergola was still sporting it's winter frost cover. The plant labels were not accessible, and due to my spotty Aloe naming skills I have no ID to share.

The A. marlothii inside the covered tunnel had yet to bloom, while the 8 footer in the open garden was showing off .

The tag was elusive on this one, but I think it's mighty cute .

Aloe microstigma

I love the blooms of Aloe striata as they emerge.

The spectacular Aloe ferox arborescens I believe.

Aloe mutabilis ? Moving towards the end of it's run

 A few unknowns

Aloe framsii

Aloe capitata.

 Some non-Aloe blooms were in display as well.
    Leucadendron 'Ebony'

 NOID , a Grevillea of some sort I presume.

Bulbine just coming into bloom.

 Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens to get your February bloom-fix from around the globe. Happy Bloom Day !

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Garden Visit Between Rains

 I should have done some much-needed cleanup and rose pruning today , but it's been gloomy and rainy and it seems like I've been nowhere but the grocery store and the office for ages. It was time for a winter visit to Berkeley Botanical Garden-maybe some Aloes would be in bloom ?

   Unfortunately I was a couple weeks early for most of the Aloes. There was a plethora of safety cones and barricades where paths were washed out , and care had to be taken not to step in mud.  Nevertheless, it was a reasonably pleasant day for January and there was plenty to see.

  Unnamed Aloe with one of the many fabulous Cycads in Berkeleys' collection. And speaking of Cycads, sometime last year I decided I was going to collect them -modest sized specimens of course since the prices are palpitation inducing. This is likely justified- I have had a Dioon for at least ten years and it has exactly 4 fronds.

 I'd have to win the lottery to get anything resembling these cone producing guys.

 I swear though , I'd be happy with a frond or two..

 I think most of these depicted are Encephalartos cultivars, but I was a bad blogger and took no notes. Worse, I resolved before I left home to write down names. A one hour drive listening to sports talk radio (one of my sad addictions) and good intentions went where they always go.

 Always the last stop on the way out---would there be Cycads ? Alas no.