Sunday, October 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloomday Oct 2017

 For the first time in several days I have been able to spend at least some time out in my garden, with frequent trips indoors where the smell of smoke from the ring of fires around us has been mostly closed out. Until yesterday, going outside without a mask on was unthinkable . Winds that came up to fan the flames further in the hills ironically cleared smoke out of the valley for a small respite.  Winds have died down again this morning which is a huge plus for the thousands of firefighters working the lines .

 Our temperatures have been warm and there has yet to have been a nights that is close to imposing the first frost, an event that seems to come later and later the last few years. What we truly need is the first rain, and while there is some slight chance of rain for our far north coast late this week it does not seem to be on the agenda for wine country.
  Nevertheless, the garden always gives and there are a few floral gifts still to be had.

 Clematis Arabella will keep blooming until frost, and this years summer cut-back experiment was a success. Clematis foliage can get a bit ratty here in mid-summer, so I decided to try some modest pruning, and as you can see by the fresh green of the leaves in this photo  all turned out well.

 The unnamed Sasanqua Camellia is in full bloom .

The roses are putting forth what will likely be their last big flush of the year.

'Fair Bianca' has escaped my rose digging shovel even though she is rather a scraggly thing , in a poor location. The plant is quite small and as she doesn't take up much room I am letting her stick around for now.

' Golden Celebration'


 'Brass Band'


Geum 'Totally Tangerine' was bloomless for most of Sept and I assumed it was done for the year , and didn't begrudge it a rest since it bloomed non-stop since February. To my surprise it grew a couple more flower stems this month.

The Sedum purchased as 'Indian Chief' may or may not be that cultivar. What ever it is, it bloomed really early, flopped as Sedums are wont to do, and them began blooming again in the fall from  the splayed-open center.

Pretty sure this is Sedum 'Bertram Anderson' -since I buy just about any Sedum I find I do loose track.

Phygelius 'Moonraker' . I have given up trying to dig it out and instead I use the shovel frequently to keep it in bounds. At least I can say it blooms heavily and never looks bad.

Cuphea micropetala.

Late season bloom on Verbascum 'Dark Mullein'

I love my Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' so much, it gets 2 photos this month.

The fabulous Panicum 'Heavy Metal'

Sanvitalia procumbens, a great edging  plant .

Be sure to visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for more October blooms.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Weekend in Maine-Coastal Maine Botanic Garden

 In August I made my 3rd visit to the marvelous Coastal Maine Botanic Garden in Booth Bay , a charming harbor town on the coast of Maine.There is lobster there-it is fresh caught and plentiful.The garden itself is first rate; beautifully designed and maintained, it holds it's own with any public garden I have visited regardless of size or location. Clearly the maritime east is completely irrelevant to my climate zone and the more I visit gardens across the US , the more I realize that there are schemes I can never execute and plants I can (or should) never plant . I live where there is absolutely no rain in summer and by now in October the dryness of my garden- in spite of weekly irrigation -has taken  it's toll, and there are many commonly used plants in the east that just can't tolerate both the lack of rain and the lack of humidity. There is nothing like rainwater, and as much as I dislike that humid factor the plants seem to love it. Not to mention warm nights which we only have here if we are in the throes of  an extreme heat wave.  So I have learned over the years to enjoy these east coast gardens, immerse myself when I am there and take inspiration from colors and textures and design features that can translate to Northern California with a more climate appropriate plant selection.  Having said that, I try plants all the time that are marginal .Collecting is not a particularly rational activity.
 I was excited to see this obviously well financed venue is undergoing  a major expansion, some of which looks pretty close to completion. I've put a return visit on my calendar for 2019 pending at least some of the new features opening. And I'm always up for a trip to Maine.

 The plantings are exuberant and colorful, and a far cry from the sad state of my garden in August. The trade off is the growing season; so short that everything happens at once. These photos were all taken in the childrens' garden, which is outstanding-one of my favorite areas of this garden. I posted about the CMBG childrens' garden on my last visit here.


 I was very taken with this bobbley-dot design-kudos to whoever conceived this, it was so appropriate for a garden that has an emphasis on playfulness.

This green roof looks nice from afar , but close-up....

...Mr. Mantid is revealed

 The next few images were taken around the perimeter of The Great Lawn, which is a central location from which most of the paths initiate-at least for now. The expansion of the garden will no doubt change the orientation, especially considering that a new visitors center and entry is involved. Around this lawn are borders of perennials, grasses and annuals in inspired combinations.

This path leads down the hillside to woodland and conifer gardens.

  The Garden of the 5 Senses is under-represented in my group of photos, but here are a few . An extensive pond system is included in this area

 Sneaking in a couple more from the childrens garden. We ran back in when the overcast showed up.

And after garden touring, lobster. After lobster, cocktails overlooking the harbor.