Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Succulent Housekeeping

The majority of succulents here live in pots- those that are planted out in the garden are sedums and semperviviums , both of which tolerate the winter nightime temps in the 20's and seem to get along with frequent rain,  wet soil and occasional standing water. The containers are arranged under a poor-mans pergola affair sporting a mature Rosa banksia lutea which, in spite of her gargantuan size requireing draconian pruning twice a year, is treasured for the nicely dappled shade on the west exposure of the house.  There are lots of flowers on Lady Banks, and those flowers have many little tiny petals. The petals fade and fall and come to rest in the myriad crevices furnished by Agaves, Echeverias and Senecios among others. This starts to look pretty crappy along about April. Sticking my hand into Agave 'Blue Glow' to pick out banksia  debris is downright hazardous-I get enough wounds during rose pruning season. So, once Lady Banks has exhausted herself I perform the annual succulent vacuum, courtesy of my trusty mini Shop Vac. I try not to use power equipment in my small garden. I have a push mower for the tiny bit of lawn that remains solely for the pleasure of the feline gardeners. I have an electric weed-eater that I use a couple times a year on said lawn, and a geriatric electric blower hanging in the rafters of the garage that hasn't been plugged in since sometime in the 90's. I've become exceedingly grumpy about the  constant noise of gasoline powered machines over the weekends in my neighborhood .I blogged about it briefly way back here. Some even have the gaul to mow, blow, and hedge trim at cocktail hour..c'mon, who wants to stroll around the garden with a nice glass of Chardonnay or a gin and tonic on a summer evening and listen to that ? Ok, back on topic. I allow myself this annual shop-vac fest in the interest of puncture wound prevention and the all important succulent ambiance.











..after the beauty treatment ..Don't they look all spiffed up ?



Uh oh, I missed a spot.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A New Kid Makes Good

 Ordered in late March and planted in April , 'Symphytum 'Axminister Gold' has already made a statement in the mid spring garden. Though the blooms are not the main attraction here , they are an appreciated bonus. How clever I am to have had the presence of mind to buy two of them. If there are any left (doubtful) when I pay an in-person visit to Digging Dog for the first ever Garden Conservancy Mendocino County Open Garden Day next weekend , I will surely buy another one.

 Seen here with with Achellia 'Moonshine' , Phygelius Croftway Purple Prince' and yet to bloom Trachelium .





Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, The Merry Month of May 2012

So many blooms this month, which ones to share ? May is a splendid month in the garden; the freshness of spring still prevails, frost is a distant memory, the empty spaces fill in. Our hostess Carol is rightly smitten with May Dreams. Be sure to visit and see the blooms of our fellow gardeners across the globe.

 Erigeron hangs with green Santolina. 




Penstemon pseudospectabilis..strict warnings relative to over watering accompanied the instructions here, and the common name 'desert beardtongue' sealed the deal. I  put it in a large clay pot with a couple of trailing Sedums and a Dudleya caespitosa. The presence of the succulents should deter me from the temptations of watering.



Oooo-la-la the flowers of this Penstemon cobaea  are pure drama.


The fabulous Sombreuil.



How I love the extreme cuteness of this grass, Briza media.



...and  Stipa gigantea , a grass I feared would be too big, but  instead has a neat mound of foliage and tall see-through blooms that are always moving, and overpower nothing.




Parahebe pseudospectabilis



Knautia macedonica has earned 'repeated element' status. Seen here with it's neighbor the seldom seen Austin rose ' Happy Child '.



And we wrap up with the outstanding Rooguchi, which will likely be available for Bloomday status til November.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yellow Roses

 Roses take up a sizable chunk of real estate. They were the first plant I collected and hours were spent  pouring through catalogs, lurking on internet Rose forums, making lists of those I had and those I wanted. Now I am deleting. There is still a want list, but it is small, and a new rose is only installed when an old one is removed. Today I dug up Austins 'Mary Rose', after many years of service she was about to become Dr Huey.

 The yellow roses have become the majority. I am partial to them, and few yellows have been shown the door to the compost bin.

Buff Beauty. 




The excellent Molineaux, ridiculously prolific, not a black spot in sight.



Golden Celebration.



Toulouse Lautrec. Black spot and vegetative centers are tolerated in view of the sunny color and the recurved form.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Missions and Oceans

 While on the coast last week, I scheduled my days lazily; puttering around Carmel in the morning before the tourists descend (since I live in an tourist area I always feel that I am a honorary local in other similar towns) and heading out with the camera and the addresses of all the nearby garden centers loaded in the GPS in the afternoon.
 My first stop this day was Mission San Carlos Borromeo Carmelo , aka Mission Carmel, which I had not visited since the 80's. I arrived simultaneously with a bus full of school kids, and since I am famously child-phobic, I hit the road for Big Sur. Luckily, by the time I rounded back to Carmel the small fry were long gone.

 Father Serra was a revered personage back in my days as a Catholic Kid. Since then his reputation has soured , muddied with accusations of abuse of the native population, ranging from simple paternalism to slavery. Father Serras grave site is here in the basilica at Mission Carmel. I stood before it , but took no photos. I thought only of the wonderful buildings I have visited along El Camino Real , the beautiful remnants of Old California .

 This mission has gardens, nicer gardens than most I have visited. Not cutting edge, but well designed and heavy with plants that thrive in this mild maritime climate on the Monterey Peninsula.


 Doesn't any plant look great against the adobe walls ?




Someday I will tell the story of the Cup of Gold Vine-Solandra maxima-a main character in my walk to school in the 50's. Here it draped nicely over the mission walls.




 Then there was Big Sur..