Sunday, April 20, 2014

Symphytum 'Axminster Gold' is This Weeks Fave..

 This comfrey cultivar is fortunately less robust than the common green version, which is both large and difficult to dig up. But the color !

 These are hard to find locally, and I finally scored a couple at Digging Dog , where it is still offered occasionally-get it when you can as they often sell out. I've seen these get much larger in garden that benefit from summer rains-mine have to live on the stingy irrigation allotment they receive in my summer-dry climate.

 Visit   The Danger Garden to see more faves of the week..

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.