Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Wall

 My intention was to post this as my favorite plant of the week, and link it up to Lorees meme. I never quite got there.


 Parthenocissus is not the most exciting or unusual plant , and for some it is probably thuggish. I planted mine in fall of 2012, in desparation to hide this wall: I loathe this wall. I hate this wall. Loathe loathe, hate hate. Featureless stucco walls are all too common in tract housing here in California. Cheaper than the siding that clads the front and the more visible south  side , it is a huge expanse of nothingness that my next door neighbors are forced to look at when they are washing the dishes. Note the attractive satellite TV cable. On the lower right you can see the Parthenocissus , heading for domination. Go Parthenocissus, go !



And soon, I will have fall foliage. I will defeat this wall.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Organization

I admire gardeners who excel at documentation. Garden journals, spreadsheets, detailed maps  and planting calendars- I have tried all of them at one time or another in the 30 plus years I have been making gardens, and most were as short lived as my Eryngiums. I know gardeners who diligently keep daily records of high and low temperatures, rainfall, wind speed and direction, moon phases...you name it. I was triumphant the year I actually recorded the date I sowed seeds, and the date they germinated.

 Several years ago I went to a plant swap that included books and there, pristine and untouched,  
was this impressive hard bound garden journal. I had seen it before in a mail order catalog and knew it was pricy; I snatched it up without even looking at the rest of the book offerings-here was the answer to my lackadaisical record keeping.!


10 years at a glance ! Garden maps !



Predictably, it remains unused on my bookcase . Whats the point in mapping a garden I change every year?  The book has the heft of an encyclopedia volume , and no weatherproofing-not something I could carry around the garden unless I rigged up a desk on wheels. Looks nice on the bookcase though. Clearly the gardener who offered this at the plant swap had similar issues to mine.

  I am happy to say that I did eventually develop a very rustic system of documenting my garden. It's a two part affair, consisting of organizing plant labels and written records. I gave myself permission to write sporadically, and I recognized that I am a list maker -sometimes self awareness is needed in the garden. I bought a spiral notebook, and simply started making lists of things I wanted to accomplish , and crossed them out when completed.This is a de facto history as long as I remember to put the month and year on each page. I like writing in pencil, so that is what I use.



 And here we have the Tag-Bags ..Each named area in the garden has it's own bag. When I  plant something the tag goes in it's bag. If I move something, I move the tag too. A few times a year I go through the bags and toss the stuff I dug up . The bags are binder-clipped together and hang from a nail over the workbench in my garage.



 This fall I am adding a "Dead or Discarded" bag...I expect I will be horrified by the volume of it's contents.








Monday, October 14, 2013

October Bloomday

 October has been so very pleasant here, with only the increasingly cold and dark mornings reminding me that the party will be over before too long. I have many projects on the punch list for fall and winter and I am trying to execute as many as possible now before the rains come. We have not had frost yet , and so the blooms continue, though the lowering angle of the sun has plunged summer-sunny areas into shade -floppiness ensues...

Rozanne is never defeated..



Trachelium is pushing out a fall rebloom after some aggressive deadheading in August.


Persicaria continues to bloom away, and clash with everything in it's immediate area.


This is Prospero, one of my 'keeper' roses.


African Blue Basil, could be history at any time .



Does this count ? Eupatorium 'Gateway'  kind of bloomed out, but I love the seedheads..


Calamagrostis 'Overdam'



Unnamed succulent..unnamed because I've had it for at least 20 years, dating back to the days when most succulents sported tags that said "Assorted Succulent "



 And here is the rest.. Dahlias still linger, Salvia 'Black and Blue' , faded PeeGee Hydrangeas and swamp Verbena, and the elegant droop of Claudia Cardinale.


Carol at May Dreams is our hostess for blooms around the planet, every month..Happy GBBD !

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Boxwood Decision

Once a garden renovation idea occurs to me I either dismiss it (usually due to the household financials) or let it incubate until I feel confident about the result. Digging up the boxwoods (Buxus 'Green Gem') that I planted around the perimeter of my front garden after I removed the lawn popped into my mind in a very random way when I was making notes about changes I plan for the garden in 2014. I instlalled them originally because I didn't have the funds to have a low 2-brick high retaining wall built after shooting my wad on an arbor and a brick path.

 Does it's job, creates a border, gives me something green to look at in winter. Blah.





 Just over the boxwood we have this scene, an area that I am in process of replanting..today I dug out a rose standard that was suckering like mad , and next to go will be an Iceberg rose, just out of view on the left.

 This dwarf variegated Euonymous (and it's 2 brethren) will be another possible shovel victim.


 Why did I ever plant this stuff ?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Favorite This Week

 Lavender is pretty ubiquitous here in Northern California. I always have a few scattered about the garden--the key is decent drainage and willingness to shovel prune and replace with fresh stock when the inevitable woodiness sets in. My fave this week is Lavandula 'Silver Edge' , a plant that was on the edge of the dig-it-out  abyss , and has suddenly and inexplicably redeemed itself by throwing up a few flowers.


I've had this plant for  a few years, and frankly don't remember where I got it, but if I had to guess I would say either Portland Nursery, or Bainbridge Island Nursery.Remarkably, I still have the tag , and the 'brand' is not one I recognize locally. The thing is, it's variegated...


 "Silver Edge" , get it ? I have moved this plant once, but in all the years I've had it, it has never bloomed. Not once. I was pretty impressed that I still had the tag --the photo shows a nice flush of flowers. I am happy with the four on my plant. Four  ! Better than none, right ?

 Here it is in it's venue- the smallest multi-year lavender  ever. What a clever plant, it bought itself another year.

Our Dangerous friend Loree got the ball rolling on this weekly fave-fest..