Showing posts from 2012


A shelf full of bulbs in the fridge, as the rain falls outside. Soil becomes mud. One can only hope a full week with no rain and a weekend day at the end of it is on the horizon. The Dutch Iris bulbs need no they are in the garage--sprouting.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Winter..

Gardeners are prone to exclaim the current years weather as the craziest ever seem, ominously strange, the most unique in decades..etc. I am no exception to this attribute. Every year brings new challenges , new first frost/last frost dates, new rainfall totals, new wind events and for those who live outside of the mild bubble of my zone 9 climate, snow accumulations, ice storms, and actual frozen ground.
 This fall might actually qualify as a real deviation.

 2 frosts in October. Caryopoteris 'Summer Sorbet' shed it's finery, now in November it is growing it's spring foliage.

Verbena bonariensis views it's winter nap with disdain.

 Daylilies die back, grow new folige, send up scapes.

I often have the odd rose blooming in November, but Sun Flare  is favoring me with a full mid-summer blast.

Plectranthus shrugged off the frost and keeps blooming.

 Wendys Wish is usually a few sticks with blobs of black leaves by now.

 Verbascum ? C'mon , what does this mean f…

BloomDay November 2012

If only every Bloomday were on a weekend . I came home from the office for lunch today and rushed around taking some pretty uninspiring photos of those who still soldier on.

 Lobelia laxiflora -I love this plant though I've done it no favors in my choice of location. It can be thug-ish in frost free areas , but it dies back far enough here in winter to restrain it's enthusiasm.

Though we have had a few frosty mornings, Wendys Wish is still pumping out the blooms . I loose this plant every year and have to replant, but I think I've finally found a spot where it can give it's all til the bitter end.

I love these Sanvitalia procumbens, and though they are allegedly an annual they have persisted here for several years. They bloom all summer and make a great edging.

 I planted this Salvia for it's foliage , as it is such a late bloomer I figured it would bite the dust before I saw a flower. It's common as hell here and it's name escapes me at the moment.


Pop Goes the Greenhouse.

When daytime temps were in the mid-80's only a few days ago, a frost event can sneak up on even the most organized gardener. Which I am not, incidentally. It was noticeably chilly when I left my office yesterday, and after viewing the forecast from the National Weather Service, (the only forecast I have any confidence in ) I spent an hour scurrying around moving succulents and begonias into the garage and the house, and putting container fuchsias under the eaves. This morning the roofs were frosty and the bird bath was an avian skating rink. Strangely, the Dahlias were unmolested .A light frost then, but a frost none the less, and action was required. Time to haul out the greenhouse !

 It spends the summer folded up into disc and stuffed into it's case .

It comes out of said case significantly easier than it goes in.

The first step is the pop-up..stand back !

One of the critters shows an interest, always on the lookout for a new napping spot.

The next step involves getting…

Over at My House

A review of the blogging year thus far indicates that I have rarely posted about my own garden in 2012. This seems logical to me, as I started out the spring removing several mature shrubs (or more accurately I hired out the removal ) and while I enjoyed my garden this summer it seemed somewhat barren, with little worth sharing.

 It's enervating to start over in a garden; there's nothing that has as much promise for a gardener as a nice patch of emptiness. My spring demolition was only the beginning, I have since removed several dayliles, 4 rosebushes, a very mature 'dwarf' muhgo pine, and a couple miles worth of Geranium sanguineum. Attempts are ongoing to hoik Pennisetum 'Bunny Tails' but I fear this may have to be penciled on to  the expanding 'hired-hand' list. In addition, I have tree issues that need to be addressed -these invariably strain the budget , but less so than having an old deteriorating tree fall on the roof.

 No frost yet , so all is a…

Visiting Digging Dog

I always try to make it out to the coast to attend the annual fall sale at Digging Dog Nursery in Albion-it's just as much about an escape to the coast as it is about buying plants. October is typically an ideal time to visit the Mendocino County coast..dry and sunny unlike the often cold, miserable, and foggy weather in summertime.  I lucked out in a big way on the weather  and spent a pleasant  3 days driving around taking photos, walking state park trails , and nursery crawling.

 At Digging Dog, the west facing borders show off the grasses .

 The vegetable garden area is a work in progress , and here the hornbeam pillars punctuate. The evolution of this section of the gardens has been fascinating to observe over the last few years. I wish I had taken more photos year !

 A lone hornbeam pillar across the drainage pond.

Grasses and seedheads are left to create fall interest . This garden (and any garden I have had the opportunity to see that was designed by Gary Ratway…

A Stroll Through the Pygmy Forest

It has been a few years since I took the Pygmy Forest trail at one of our coastal California State Parks, and decided to do so on my long weekend trip; the trailhead was close to my cottage and I had a flexible schedule. 

 When approaching the Mendocino County Coast from the east some of the roads will take you through a belt of transitional forest-here the trees and other vegetation are noticeably smaller, the soil is thin  and grey, and there are no Redwoods. Within this belt is the Pygmy forest, where 100 year old Cypress trees that would soar 3 or 4 stories skyward along the coast highway are hardly recognizable as the same tree.
 The area is considered environmentally sensitive, thus the trail is boardwalk built above ground level.

 This is Pinus contorta bolanderi , the Bolander Pine, which is found only in the Pygmy Forest. They are quite small, most seemed to be in the 5' range, but are mature trees which bear cones.

  With no significant rainfall since May,the lichens…

The Fall Dilema

One would think that after 20 plus years in the same garden , the fall regimen would be, if not carved in stone, at least proceeduraly consistant. And yet , every single year as mid-Sept comes around I stare at the gardens indeciseively, as if I'd never considered or performed a 'fall clean-up.'
 There are plenty of overgrown, bloomed out and floppy plants here but I've come to appreciate seed heads and brown stuff more than I ever did in the past , and find it harder to bring myself to start wantonly chopping and slashing away. So here is the balance: No frost for another month , maybe two, so the tender stuff still prevails, yet I still need to find space for all the cool plants bought at the fall sales , also leaving room to dig holes for the bulbs before it starts to rain every other day and the garden turns into a gigantic water feature.Still have several mature shrubs that I want to remove --mature enough to require (yet unscheduled) hired hands . Grasses must…

Bloomday September 2012

I'm bringing up the rear this bloomday, as most of it was spent in airports, airplanes and cars, followed by watering everything that was a-droop while I was out of town. It seems like just about everything is either in bloom or just on it's way out, these are just a small sampling.

Caryopteris 'incana' is one of my favorite new plants this year, with its dark purple flowers and clean green foliage . I particularly like the round flower buds on this one. I love my 'Summer Sorbet' , but the flowers are super showy on this variety.

I can't seem to bring myself to cut these Artichoke flowers down yet.

  'Wendys Wish' is one of many Salvias in bloom in my garden now. I keep hoping it will survive the winter here--most sources list it for zone 9, but it has yet to overwinter for me.

Salvia ugilinosa

Rooguchi was featured in May Bloomday, still a few more flowers to go !

I was surprised to see new flower spikes on Erygium 'Jade Frost', after dea…