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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -November Surprises

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  Except for a brief interlude at the beginning of the month when we were served up a half inch of rain , the low overnight temperatures here have been consistently in the low 30's with a few mornings dipping into the high 20's. Still, the afternoons climb into the mid-60's making for very pleasant gardening weather and I'm taking full advantage. The blooms this month are not abundant, but there are a few that are inexplicably still pumping out flowers with no sign of  damage from frost. It's interesting to observe the diversity of micro climates within my own small garden. I look forward to the blooms and the fall color on the Hakone grass. Finding a spot where this grass would do well for me involved a couple of fails-eventually I succeeded. All three are watered almost exclusively with gray water.   New to me this year , Jamesbritennia -I believe the cultivar is 'Goldstar'. Supposedly an annual  but so far shows no sign of biting the dust.   'Brass Ba

Looking Back at June Garden Conservancy Open Garden

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  If you know what to look for there is no mistaking the Marin County garden of artist Sally Robertson. The Garden Conservancy Open Days program was back up and running again and after 2 years of  visiting only a small handful of public gardens I was more than ready to tour a private garden again . Ms Robertson is a water colorist dealing primarily in botanicals and her garden provides ample subject matter. Having visited her garden before in 2016 , it was easy to locate once I turned on her road -hard to miss the iconic cloud pruned Monterey Cypress that tower above her fence.  Another Cypress is just a bit further down the path from the entry gate. The trees aren't the only subjects of  strong shaping; many of the evergreen shrubs in the garden are closely trimmed into globes or loose pyramid shapes. Others are allowed to grow naturally. Because it's intentional and clearly managed by someone who knows what they are doing , the effect is actually quite pleasing. It shows what

Belated Bloomday September 2022-Roadtrip Edition

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   It's just as well that I wasn't present in my own garden for Bloomday this month. The protracted heatwave on and around Labor Day was not kind to my plants-many either scorched, shut down or combinations thereof. . Septembers offerings instead are photos taken on a visit to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens where Dahlias and tuberous Begonias were in peak bloom.  I haven't attempted to grow tuberous Begonias  for years. In  my inland zone 9 climate just the right garden location is key -preferably very bright shade with consistent protection from mid- or late day sun. Every few years I buy a few tubers to see if the golden spot has be found at last. I'm about due to give it another go-I continue to be a glutton for punishment. In the meantime I can travel out to the coast to enjoy the perfectly grown specimens in the Begonia House with their baseball sized flowers .   I timed this road trip right -the Dahlias were at their best, complete with absolute pristine foliag

Return to Garden Conservancy Open Days

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   It's been a very long time since private gardens have been open for touring here in Northern California. In late June, the Garden Conservancy had Open Days in Marin County-gardens I had visited in 2016 and well worth a return visit. Tickets had to be purchased in advance and visitor numbers were limited -not a bad thing since GC Open Gardens can be crowded. I took the scenic route through Point Reyes National Seashore which added another dimension to the day.   I only visited two of the three gardens open that day , the first being the Stinson Beach garden of a retired professor of medicine. This mature garden was ahead of it's time when it was created in the early 1990's . Many of the plants seen here were not in common use in Northern California at that time and we can be thankful for garden pioneers who took the chance to acquire rare but climate appropriate plants and nurseries like Western Hills that provided them.  The garden is on a steep rocky parcel at the base