Sunday, February 12, 2017

Observations on a Post-Rain Cleanup Weekend

 It has been an unacceptably long time since I had the opportunity to see what is going on in my own garden. It either has been raining (and raining and raining) or other commitments pulled me away. My garden viewing has been pretty much limited to the short distance from the mailbox to the front door. Those brief trips were enough to tell me I have a serious weed problem. In fact  I can't ever recall an early spring this bad. I believe the seeds of these damnable things must have been laying around waiting for the torrential rains we've experienced in the last couple months after years of drought.The ground is so saturated that pulling them is still impossible ; they either bring up a tennis ball sized blob of mud with them that won't shake off, or they break off at the soil level. I need two weeks of dry weather and 3 yards of mulch. This weekend has been splendid, warm temps, no rain and I spent most of it trying to get  a handle on the rose pruning and fall/spring cleanup.


 Geum 'Totally Tangerine' was purchased last summer and never bloomed . It has remained evergreen over winter and many flower buds are emerging. Hoping for a long bloom season-I only bought one but will get more if the flowering progresses as promised.



Unfortunately, it and many other plants in my front garden are completely surrounded by shotweed, which is what you see in the upper third of this photo. My garden has never looked so unkempt.


 This is Clematis 'Arabella' . Every Clem in my garden is budded . None have been cut back except for 'Rooguchi' which I did today. I had actually planned to move Rooguchi because of the shade it casts, but I decided to leave it where it is for the present and instead try to manage it's size with in-season clipping. We'll see how that goes.


 All my Fuchsias are leafing out, but I'll wait til March 1 to prune. Late frosts can still be an issue here , though they are all in protected locations and it's unlikely that we will experience temps in the 20's at this point.


 And what is this Daylily thinking ? At least a month ahead of schedule.


Leucodendron 'Pisa' just laid itself down, the whole plant is on the ground. Not dead, so I cut it back to 3 feet. I think it's too close to the fence , ergo too much shade .


Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' was liberated from it's container last summer , only to suffer the ravages of the rainiest winter in several years. Looks pretty crappy with slimy stuff in the center-never a good look on an Agave.



 Many things are emerging:

 Teuchrium 'Purple Tails' sometimes shows up where you would prefer it not too, but can always be dug and moved . The criss-cross twigs  are last years growth yet to be cut down.


   All the Persicarias are shooting up , and luckily this is one of the few plants I actually got cut back in fall before it started raining. As you can see there are old branches in the photo- I do the half-assed trim in fall and refine it in spring.


 I left my Artichokes to provide winter interest. Said winter interest is long gone. They keeled over at some point , hit the ground and sprouted. This would be exciting if I had an acre or two. A-chokes are gargantuan  plants and I have room for one and one only.


The beloved Lobelia tupa. Excited to see what this will do in its second summer.


 This one has put a big-a frowny face on the gardener. Echium wildpretii which was pristine  and fabulous, sailed through the frosts of early winter and now looks awful. A blob of black linguine tops it off.


Geranium pyranaicum 'Bill Wallis' has colonized my pot of Yucca rupicola . In fact Bill has made himself at home everywhere. Just make sure you really really like this plant before you buy it. I will likely spend a full day digging up seedlings this month.


On the plus side, Tulipa 'sylvestris' a new favorite since seeing it on Tangly Cottage Gardens blog. It blooms early and there are at least two blooms per bulb in my experience and the bulbs are relatively inexpensive.
 



18 comments:

  1. My Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' has quite a few spots of rot on the leaves. I hope the rot will stop now that it's dry and sunny.

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  2. So surprised to see the Geum 'Totally Tangerine' growing and blooming happily in your garden. I have seen many lovely Geums in England last year and would have loved to grow them in my own garden, but thought that San Diego would be way to hot for them. But your garden seems substantially cooler than mine and it would be lovely if the Geum would make itself at home in your place for many years to come.
    Like you, I noticed that the weeds grow like crazy after all this rain. That is one of the very few moments, when I am glad that my garden is small, so that I have a chance to put them in their place.
    It made me happy to see all the interesting plants sprouting in your garden and reminded me that I wanted to go for more diversity in my own garden this year. After all it is not all about the roses ;-)!
    Happy Gardening!
    Christina

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    1. We get pretty toasty here in the summer too Christina and I would not try to grow this in all day sun. It gets morning sun, early afternoon sun and then is in open shade for the hottest part of the day.This seems to suit it well. It was all about the roses for me for many years but I ran out of room !

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  3. A mixed bag, some happy and some not (poor Agave!). I bet it felt good to get out there and get things moving along.

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    1. That Agave was the first plant I ever bought at Cistus. It has sentimental value,so I'm hoping for survival. And it did feel good to get out.More rain on the way though.

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  4. The current rain break has given me a greater appreciation for the sunlight and warm weather we usually enjoy here. I had very little issues with weeds the last couple of years but I can already see that that tide has turned. I'm excited to see if all the rain will deliver the spectacular spring some have suggested we're going to get - I'd love to see my own Geum bloom! (The plants are living on borrowed time if they don't.) I hope your 'Pisa' and 'Arizona Star' recover! They're both wonderful plants. As to Geranium 'Bill Wallis', I wonder if mine will rebound with the rain - unlike your experience, it's barely hanging on in my garden.

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    1. I'm thinking I'll move Pisa to a spot with more consistent sun. As for Bill Wallis, it may be to your benefit if he doesn't make it. Cute as hell but nearly as abundant as the shotweed.

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  5. Your plants look happy despite some winter battering. Rain is magic.

    I nurtured a Geum for five years without a flower, hoping, hoping. No more of that nonsense. Since winter is cooler where you are, success seems more likely. Geranium 'Tiny Monster' is said to be sterile--threaten Bill with that one: perhaps he'll restrain himself. Hope you can get out there in the garden and enjoy some good weather. Thank goodness you are not in Oroville!

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    1. Yeah, Oroville, Marysville, Yuba City etc.Interesting article in The Atlantic today on the damn. I had a couple business contacts that had to cancel this week due to the evacuations.
      I have G. sanguinium all over the place in my back garden, I think it's the species and not Tiny Monster, but the problem with that one is running rizomes.

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  6. You're further into Spring than us, otherwise I'd have said just like an English garden. Weeds and waterlogged soil, dishearteningly familiar.

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    1. We have more rain on the way too. If I tried to bury the damn weeds in mulch now I fear it would just float away !

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  7. Your garden looks happy that spring is arriving soon and that you've had so much rain. Well, maybe not the agave.

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    1. I'm a little worried about some of the succulents. I provide pretty good frost protection but the rain has been relentless this winter. But a gardener must be flexible and take the good with the bad !

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  8. Love that orange Geum! Nice to see some signs of spring. I may even get out in the garden myself this weekend.

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    1. I was riding on an airport shuttle today from SFO to Napa and the Acacias along the highways were all just bursting with blooms. Thats a sure indicator of the onset of spring here.

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  9. I never had much luck but Monique grows beautiful orange Geums. Maybe once we remove another half dozen or so trees I'll give them another try.

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    1. I have had spotty luck--this one is morning sun/late afternoon shade and that seems to work well.I had a yellow a couple years ago that had too much shade and got the heave-ho. If my entire garden was full sun till 2pm I'd be one happy gardener.

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