Monday, April 14, 2014

Bloom Day April 2014..

 April is colorful month in my garden, thanks to the roses ..and I will always keep a few of them around , though they have been edited here in favor of spaces for other stuff. Always need other stuff.

Brass Band, an excellent floribunda.. and excellent for me means no blackspot.

Jean Giono..

Madame Issac Perrier...I finally figured out the only way to photograph this rose and get an image anywhere close to it's actual color is to avoid direct sun at all costs.This looks somewhat like the real thing. Mme Isaac is a Bourbon rose, introduced in 1881. Blackspot can be an issue here, but I don't care;I happily strip off  Mme Isaacs spotty foliage and wait for a clean set to grow.

Gruss an Achen.

This is the David Austin rose 'Prospero'. Impervious to everything..a cast iron rose.

I don't gow Symphytum 'Axminster Gold' for it's flowers, but here they are , doing thier best to upstage the foliage--an exercise in futility I fear .

Columbine, un-named seedling. It's time to expand my inventory of this old fashioned flower.

The stachys Lavenders are blooming all around town..

First Zinnia of the year, one of the green numbers..


Iris season too. What an annoying plant bearded Iris can be.  But really, what else looks like that ? Tolerance is a virtue.

Phlomis tuberosa 'Amazone' . Second year , still in the trail stage.

 As always, thanks to Carol at May Dreams for her hostess gig..visit to see whats blooming this month on our planet..

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Show Biz

  A couple weeks back I performed my annual trek to the wilds of  San Mateo to attend the San Francisco Garden Show. Since the show moved it's venue from the spacious Cow Palace in South San Francisco several years ago to the long-in-the-tooth San Mateo Event Center, I have come back from the show each year faintly dissatisfied ..see my post from last year here..last year the line up of speakers was particularly disturbing , featuring a whole bunch people I had never heard of . Not to imply that I am a competent speaker critic, but I know what I like, and TV people just don't do it for me.   In the ensuing year, the show has changed ownership , and we were promised a re energized event.

 In spite of some freshman year issues (long lines at ticket sales, late arriving programs and poorly marked speaker venues)  I feel optimistic that the show is on the right path. The display gardens were segregated behind black curtains which gave them an air of importance that has been missing since the good old days at the Cow Palace. Many of them featured natives, drought tolerant and reasonably realistic  plant palettes-at least as realistic as plant palettes can be at a garden show, which is by definition a fantasy land affair. There was plenty of that going on too, and let's face it,   that stuff is what brings in the casual and novice gardener , and their participation the revenue stream is vital to the financial success of the show.

 Every seminar that involved edibles was SRO, and the show seemed as busy as ever, though the footprint was reduced. When I entered the building that housed the plant market I was at first quite happy to see that the aisles seemed wider, but it was an illusion-there were less vendors. Why they can't spread out these booths is beyond me -there are hours in the day when this area of the show is un-shoppable and there is plenty of real estate at the event center.
  My highlight of the show ? Horticultural photographer Saxon Holts seminar on 'Finding the Photo' followed by a hands on workshop on the display garden floor. Thanks to Saxon , I actually came back from the show with some decent photos-anyone who has ever tried to take pictures at these shows knows what I am talking about. Saxon made us feel significantly less inept when he confessed that he too struggles with the lighting , and revealed that official show photos are usually taken after hours with the house lights up. Those of you who follow Saxons' posts on Gardening Gone Wild will be glad to hear that the new PhotoBotanic website along with the much anticipated   E-book is close to fruition.

 Our workshop class spent quite a bit of time around this display garden..the lighting here was on of the least dreadful and there was a story ; the garden featured a rain collection system, something of importance to our drought stricken state.The black structures with grids are cisterns that collect rainwater from the gutter system

The outdoor living spaces seemed much more accessible this year..these next two photos are not particularly over the top, and I founf thsi garden very appealing, though my version of it would be far more untidy.

 The University of Arizona hit another home run  this year..

Re-use, re-purpose--this seat was made out of a discarded propane tank.

These hangy-things in this garden  were splendid..

One of the more theatrical offerings.

 In the shopping zone:

 Not in my wheelhouse.

More glass guys this year I think..

This broom guy was mystifyingly popular , I saw numerous show goers toting these around. Even in the information age, snake oil still sells.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Favorite this Week..

 There is a lot of spring going on here in my garden at the present, and some rain at last. The rain accommodatingly watered in the new haul from the SF Garden show (a post on that is upcoming) and the numerous plants that were moved last weekend . This week, Rosa banksia lutea is peaking , and gets the nod as my favorite. This is a plant I really should not have, as it gets gargantuan and requires draconian cut backs twice a year to keep it from swallowing the house and anything else in it's path.

   A couple of years ago I considered having it removed, but it has over the years become a bird habitat can see how the thatch and sheltering branches mimic a thicket of sorts. The bird feeder is about 20 feet away off to the right .

 In winter Lady Banks is bare and lets the western sun into the house, in summer her foliage provides shade. The sweet yellow flowers are fleeting but abundant , drooping over the patio.

 Have a look-see over at Lorees place to see other garden bloggers award their faves...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Favorite Plant in the Garden ...This Week

 Tuecrium crispum has made the cut this week. This plant is easily overlooked , nothing flashy at all. Grows close to the ground and just does it's job asking very little in return. It's job here is to live under a Crepe Myrtle on the hell strip and provide some sort of greenery in dry shade. This week I was weeding said hell strip, which involved sitting on the ground right there where Mr T. Crispum lives. Look how cute his foliage is !

 Summer flowers on this Teucrium are white, and really pretty insignificant. It sailed through the 20 degree mania we had last winter , sailed through both summer and winter drought, and spreads politely to about a 2x2 carpet .

Swing on over to the Danger Garden to check out more faves !

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Springy Bloom Day...March 2014

I enjoy March in  my garden; it seems like something new happens almost every day.Business trips, rain, and a collapsed fence have kept me so occupied in the last few weeks , I think this mornings bloom day camera stroll was the first opportunity I had in a while to slow down and 'see' what the garden was showing me. The long awaited rain followed by warm temperatures nearing 70 was just what those resting plants needed to wake up .Unfortunately the weeds woke up too.

This tulip is 'Big Smile' , and unlike most of it's kinfolk, this is the third year it has returned for me , with just as much size and vigor as the first. 

This ornamental Oxalis continues to tough it out in a bad location beneath a birch tree that likes to suck up all available water.

Silene dioica

My beloved Erysimum ..variegated with yellow blooms.

Brunnera 'Jack Frost'

The green section !

 Euphorbias in bloom everywhere..this one is 'Blackbird'..

White Swan...

And here we have Anthriscus 'Ravenswing' , which despite warnings has never seeded itself here.

 Be sure to visit May Dreams to check out bloomers across the world...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bloomday February 2014--Planet Hellebore

 Winter has not been kind in many quarters of blog-dom, and though my climate is relatively mild , the persistant cold temperatures earlier in the season along with drought and a frenzy of renovation related shovel-pruning in fall has left me with  a pretty barren garden.

 The Hellebores are about all I have going this month, and they started late at that . I'm enjoying them even more than usual now that they have become the solitary attraction here.

 Thanks as always to Carol at May Dreams for her hostess-hood of this monthly event for garden bloggers world wide...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Moving Lady Emma

 I've done a fair amount of 'rose editing' in 2013 . I embarked upon this particular journey a couple of years ago when it became clear to me that  my garden was not going to get any bigger, and 60+ roses were using up valuable real estate. Many of the roses that have since been sent to the compost facility were either in decline, duplicates or under performers. I had gone from buying one or two roses a year , to buying none; there was simply no place to put them. As of today I have slimmed down my assortment to around 35, a couple of which have questionable status going forward. One of my keepers is the David Austin rose , Lady Emma Hamilton. I bought her the first year she was introduced to US commerce, and she has proved to be a prolific bloomer, very disease resistant (no sprays are used in my garden ) and has a nice shrub-like appearance never displaying the awkwardness that some of the modern roses are prone to.
 I admit that I have tendency to plant things too close together, even though I completely understand thier eventual size. Such is my need to squeeze in just one more plant.Zonal denial is one thing, acreage denial is another.

 Here is Lady Emma as she bravely awaits the shovel.

The digging begins..

 The new spot awaits..

 Here she is, safely installed. Maybe she'll make it and maybe she won't.

And here is a nice empty space , ready for  planting.

Lady Emma Hamilton is the orange number on the left. My  fruitless search for an in-garden shot renewed my resolve to dig into the photo files and fix the file folder organization and  keywording. I'll do that on rainy weekend..if we ever have one.