Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Blooms-Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

 Hard to drag oneself indoors this time of year , especially on a busy weekend when prepping the garden for the absense of the gardener; Idyllunion 10 followed by Fling..I'll be coast to coast garden touring in a few days.

  I am loving my cool pink Sanguisorba, an un-named seedlimg that I acquired last summer at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend Wa.

I took a photo of this momentarily majestic Shasta Daisy, since I am expecting the annual flop fiesta to commence any day now.

An tagless ornamental Oregano, just opening.

Caryopteris 'Summer Sorbet' . Love this plant and wish it was a bit more vigorous in my garden.

Eucomis 'Tugela Ruby'

I 'm extremely partial to this swamp Verbena , Verbena hastata, another Washington state nursery find.

Lilies are budded up and starting to open .

Phygelius 'Moonraker' . It wanders a bit, but can be kept in bounds if I'm vigilant. There are several newer yellow varieties that I might try ;back in the day when I bought this there were only a handful of Phygelius in any color.

I believe this to be Stachys hummelo , it came from our local 'no-tag' nursery. Although it allegedly wanders I have seen no sign of such behavior here.

 Be sure to visit May Dreams Garden to sample the blooming wares of gardeners around the globe..Happy Bloomday !

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Defeated by the Monarda

 This is , I believe, my 3rd try with Monarda  , and it does not look promising. What can the matter be ? I plant it, I give it 2 or three years, and it never ever blooms. Never ever. This was not a mail order selection from afar, but purchased at a local garden center, every one of which carries Monarda, locally grown in Northern California.

 This plant was installed in 2011. It has spread a bit, and has been modestly popular with the snails-thus a few chew holes here and there. I see no sign whatsoever that it will produce flowers. This has been my experience with all I have tried-all planted in different spots, all languish, all are eventually shovel pruned. And I can say with conviction, I have never seen it growing anywhere in my town. Is this a red flag ? Apparently. I give up. Monarda, you win.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Two Gardens, One Gardener

 This past weekend I attended the Garden Conservancy Open Day in Marin County. It seems as though Marin Open Days always takes place during a heat wave, and after last year I swore I was through with it-too hot, too many unmemorable gardens, horrible photo conditions. In the future, when scheduling weekend travel plans, I will wait for Marin Open Day dates to be announced ,assume there will be a heat wave, and plan a trip to the coast.
 My snubbing of this event went out the window when I saw that Robin Parers Geraniaceae was open- a legendary nursery that I have never visited. I'm not exactly sure when I first heard of Ms. Parers operation, but I do know it was a very long time ago-the 80's maybe. I know that at the time I was just learning of the existance of the 'Hardy Geranium' without any real understanding of what that meant. When I worked at the garden center in San Diego in the late 70's , it was  assumed that when a customer asked if something was "hardy" they really meant  "something easy to grow that I won't kill" ; the concept of winter hardiness seldom was an issue in zone 10. My first true Geranium purchase was G. Johnsons Blue , a plant which I still have even though it's been improved upon significantly by newer varieties.  I can't seem to bring myself to get rid of it-remembering my excitement at finding a plant I had read about in so many magazines and catalogs and had never seen in person. 
 Geraniaceae is in the decidedly upscale burg of Kentfield , perched on a hillside and terraced with shady paths leading through the property. Clearly a gardener lives here, and a collector. The plant palette was vast.

 The entry path .

 I got a Berkeley Hills vibe in this garden, I expect the two areas had much more in common back in the 60's , 70's era than they do now.

 Neatly terraced rows of Geraniums on the hillside. A smorgasbord.

 Sadly, I didn't write a single name down. Bad me.

 And a greenhouse full of them. I am told by an industry 'insider' that Ms. Parer has a growing facility in the Richmond area , where packing and shipping is done.

The light was bad for photos, but there you see tables at the back of the house , long rows of them, packed with plants.

And a magnificent stand of bamboo hugged one of the lower terraces .

Honor plant sale..I had no cash ! damn.

  Garden 2 was quite nearby, but could not have been more dissimilar. It was beautiful , cleverly designed , spotless, perfect... it was clear to me that the residents here were not gardeners . What they had was in reality an art installation made of plants and hardscape, a stage set. 

 The entry wall was a row of hedged Arbutus marina..not something you see every day . It was quite striking , but one wonders what it will look like in 5 years. 

And then, well what can you say about a specimen sized agave plopped right in the middle of a very lush, green lawn. Apparently there is some sort of underground barrier that prevents the lawn irrigation from bleeding into the Agaves territory.

Agave , lawn , water feature.  Quite striking.

 A path lined with Phormium on one side and reed on the other, leads to the back of the house. I liked the idea alot, but the Phormium was stretching.

 Once you traverse the path, you are confronted with a killer view of Mt Tamalpias. 

 This is were you sit to view the view.

The designer used Asparagus meyeri to excellent effect in this garden, a softer echo of the spiky Aloes and Agaves.

Poolside. Of course there was a poolside.