Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mendo Botanical

  In the course of an all too brief road trip I spent a day at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden which is bordered on the west by coastal bluffs overlooking  the Pacific . The spectacular beauty of the coastline in Mendocino County itself is a feature of this garden, as the trails that meander through the forests and meadows of the garden terminate at the sea.

 The garden is is USDA zone 9b, the same zone as mine; an indicator of the limited usefulness of the USDA zones here on the micro-climate laden west coast. Sunset (the go-to zone guide for gardeners in the west) classifies this area as zone 17 , mild wet and frostless winters with summer fog and lack of heat.  Growing a tomato in Mendocino is an exercise in futility, Fuchsias can sit out in the sun all day long, and frost is rare. The perennial gardens here are planted with tough customers that can withstand winds, pounding rain, fog and salt air.

 They grow some dandy Kniphofias out here on the coast.

 Verbena bonarienses, Melianthus (evergreen here) and large scale grasses anchor this bed.

Verbenas are used extensively and effectively.

I failed to note the name of this grass, but it made a dramatic transition between the lawn and the borders, and even the mist couldn't keep it from lighting up the view.

 There were several really nice Astelias in the garden, this is Astelia chathamica .

 Astelia nivicola 'Red Gem'

Angelicas love the climate here, not so much at my house ! Of course I grow (and coddle) them anyway.

 The heather collection is particularly splendid and one of my favorite features here. This is not prime season so I didn't take nearly as many photos as I usually do . This collection has received recognition as a collection of  national significance from the American Public Gardens Association.

 Had my lunch on a bench looking at this..

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

The members only fall plant sale has undergone some procedural changes that leads to a much more leisurely experience than past events. I expect this was the intent, as the plant sales have become increasing popular and with that comes the inevitable traffic, parking and long lines at checkout. It seems to me after attending both the spring and fall sales this year that they have improved things significantly. Unfortunately for this particular sale there was no longer an early opening time for members , thus my opportunity to take some nice morning light photos was gone. Naturally it was a bright sunny day with nary a cloud or wisp of fog in view.

 There are several bed renovations ongoing here, one of the nicest is  an area near what used to be the main entrance , where Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' is planted among the Agaves.


I have started a small collection of Gasterias, but thus far I lack good id skills, and only one of the plants I own currently came with a label.

 The blooming Silk Floss tree gives this view a springlike aspect.

I think I take a photo of this grouping of Agaves every time I visit..

 A sad state of affairs..

 My small group of purchases ..Two Haworthias -the tiny far left is H. attenuata 'Super White' and the large green behind it is tagged only as 'species'. Continuing to the right is Aloe aristata , Aloe melanacantha , and in the front yet another unlabeled Gasteria and to it's left  xGraptoveria 'Silver Star'. The Gasteria is  fairly common so an internet search should provide me with a name.

 Black-spined Aloe up close...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

BloomDay October 2015

 Though much of the garden is exhausted from the rampant growth of summer and persistent drought there is still plenty of bloom action. Our nighttime temperatures are nowhere near winter levels and days are still climbing into the 80's.

 Roses continue to grow and bloom..

 Madame Isaac Periere

 Brass Band

All Salvias are flowering in various stages, for this month it seems Waverly has the most action going.

The Tracheliums were flopping badly in August , so I cut them all quite low , not expecting much other than a bit of fresh foliage; all are reblooming now .

This grama grass -Bouteluea 'Blonde Ambition' -was planted quite late from a mail order nursery liner, and I didn't expect blooms this year at all ..only a few , but damn they're cute.

Chocolate Cosmos has performed well this year , a new edition to replace a tired and woody Santolina.

My biggest surprise though, is the rebloom on this unnamed Sanguisorba from Far Reaches Farm. I don't typically deadhead Sanguisorba but in this case it was in the way of an area I was reworking so all the bloomed-out stems and ratty foliage were taken down to the ground , and to my surprise I have new clean foliage and 4 or 5 new bloom stems . Who knew ?

 Be sure to visit May Dreams for more October blooms , and happy Bloomday to all !