Monday, June 22, 2015

Turf No More

  As drought marches on, we are asked by the State of California to reduce home water consumption by 20% in our county. I took out my front lawn many years ago- not because I was a pioneer of water conservation, but because I needed room for more plants. Don't we all ? Since I had little interest in maintaining lawn it looked pretty crappy most of the time anyway. 
 In the city of Napa, emergency drought regulations are in place subject to a 500.00 fine for non-compliance. Water during rain or within 48 hours of measurable rain (a moot point this time of year) watering on consecutive days, excessive run-off and hosing off sidewalks or driveways are a few of the new restrictions in place. None of these are in any way a hardship for me-common sense procedures one and all, most of which I already practice.My garden gets watered once a week or less, I never hose off sidewalks or driveways, and why would anyone water within 48 hours of measurable rain ? Useful guidelines they are for people who are not particularly interested in their landscape and have a set and forget approach with regard to their irrigation controllers. It's unfortunately not rare to see lawn sprinklers spewing that precious resource in December or January.
   Around my neighborhood, it would seem that many are heeding the restrictions. I took a stroll early Sunday morning with the camera , interested to see up close what I had noticed only fleetingly when driving in and out on my commute.

  Several lawns appear not to be being watered at all -or mowed in some cases as seen in the first photo below. Others, as in photo two, are continuing to trim and mow . Perhaps the goal in some of these cases is to let the lawn expire and then remove it.

 This former lawn is gone and the resident has made a decent effort at planting for our summer dry climate. I think it will look nice once it fills in.

 No lawn here, but judging from the appearance of the soil (such as it is) they are diligent about their herbicides and have signed on to the school of meatball landscaping. I never see these folks outside so I assume they have a mow-blow outfit coming in to keep the weeds and debris out of the bon-bons. No water needed though !

 This house has not had a lawn in years , though I expect  it's a pragmatic solution to the challenge of landscaping a tiny front yard in the root zone of  a mature Redwood. Once the Agapanthus (snail motels) have gone over there won't be much to see.

 Here we have our first faux-lawn in the neighborhood.

 It doesn't look too bad on an overcast day, though it has a bit of a sparkle effect when the sun hits it. The plants in the stock tanks are not legit either. They certainly don't need to put one drop of water on this  front yard but it is rather a jarring sight when compared to the withering and sparsely watered lawns of the neighbors around them.

   A recent removal and xeric installation..hopefully they have a plan for weed control.

 This resident removed half of the front lawn, a nice compromise with good plant choices. 

 This was one of my favorites ..the plantings are well maintained, on drippers , and clearly there is more planting to come . Construction here (note plywood) is a chimney re-build from the August 2014 South Napa Quake.

 These folks no doubt removed the lawn so they could continue to water the  thirsty Brugmansia. Note that the house is painted to match the plant.  I will be interested to see what they do for winter protection with this Brug..but who can fault anyone who loves a plant enough to re paint their house ?

 Really nice rock work and plant selection here. This one gets my no-lawn first prize.

Another recent installation-it includes a dry steam bed that is out of the photo.

I guess they meant well...

      The homeowner just finished removing his lawn last week. Since I drive past here almost every day  I will be able to observe the progress ..

 Our neighborhood park has dialed down the irrigation too-glad to see the city is compliant with their own rules.

 I guess this household has given up laundry and showers.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June in Bloom -Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

June is shaping up nicely here ,with only one day so far of over 90 degree heat and our June Gloom  morning overcast shows up most mornings.. makes for fine gardening weather. 

 Lilies...the pink was carefully labeled and said label has faded into illegibility. Time to peruse the Lily Garden catalog and see if I can retrieve the ID. The melon-y number is Copper Crown .

 This variegated Lantana is slowly reverting; it has frozen down to the ground several years in a row.

Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' has become a grove of nicely branched plants.

Drumstick Allium --Allium sphaerocephalon.

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'

Poor floppy Sideritis cypria . Needs more sun, so a move may be on the agenda for fall.

Fuchsia 'Winston Churchill'..

The damn Daylilies are peaking now-what's left of them. I have edited down to 11 varieties , with a couple others on the hit list. This is another missing tag victim .

Moonlit Masquerade , an outstanding performer for many years.

Purple Rain

Mail order Daylily houses are generous with their freebies- this was gifted with the last order I placed a few years ago. I have no tag , and don't recall if it even came with one.

 Clematis Rooguchi, inflicted with mildew this year.  I rarely see mildew in summer here, even on roses, but this year it has struck roses and others less likely victims. 

Sanguisorba 'Chocolate Tips'

Group shot with Tuecrium 'Purple Tails' in the foreground and a couple Lavenders in the distance.

 Sanguisorba 'Tanna' , similar to 'Chocolate Tips' but smaller .

The thug-ish Phygelius 'Moonraker' . Keeping after it is key.

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens to check out more blooms around the globe..

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Really Big Water Feature-Garden Conservancy Open day Visit

  The Pacific is the focal point of this garden sited on a bluff above the ocean on the Mendocino coast of  Northern California. Unfortunately there's not much I can tell you about the gardens' history or ownership-the Garden Conservancy website takes down the information on gardens whose open day has passed , and there is no longer a guide book to refer back to. I can conjecture that this is probably not a full time residence, that the owners are not gardeners , and that funding is not an issue.

 I believe that this is the guest house..the slope here is planted with grasses , heaths, cistus and others that tolerate the proximity to the tumultuous north coast. Though typically frost -free the wind ,damp, fog and robust winter storms are the challenge here.

The tether-ball and basket ball courts are in the midst of a clever Podocarpus and Dodonea maze.

 The maze viewed from a distance.

The deck of the guest house looks over a circular lawn to the Pacific beyond. Because of the site of this garden I expect this lawn uses much less water than one even 10 miles east would. There is no city water in this remote area , thus the irrigation is from well-water. Average rainfall for Mendocino is 51 inches, and like the rest of California, they are under average year to date. Summers on the coast are usually cool, foggy and damp-in spite of the sunny blue sky you see here.

The bocce court...

View from the bocce court. Notice the deer fence .No shortage of those critters on this coast. This entire property is discretely fenced .

A white garden had recently (very recently-this week perhaps ?) been installed at the base of this heart sculpture.It will be a nice feature once it fills in.

Up the path we go to the spa building , Rhododendrons bloom in the distance.

 To the left and up the circular patio is the spa-the main house windows are seen on the right.

 How about an outdoor kitchen ?  Note the large heaters suspended from above--warm evenings are an unknown here, so the comfort of the guests has been considered.

The view from the outdoor kitchen..

And in another thoughtful gesture, the guests that draw the non-view seats with their backs to the sea can observe the reflection in a very large mirror mounted above the counter-

View from the deck of the main house...

I conjecture that when the tide is out, the lock down on this stairway disengages for the climb down to the cove.

Mighty fancy wood-shed !

Time  to move on-the northcoast vernacular lamp post leads the way.