Showing posts from May, 2013

The Thyme Path

Garden -making sometimes presents us with disappointments-in my case usually a result of 'operator error'. We make plans, we design, we plant our design , and sometimes it just fails. Plants die, or struggle , or clash or just don't look the way we expect them to. I've probably tossed enough plants over the years to fill a small garden center.Success is a triumph for a pastime that presents so many variables over which we have little or no control. We are at the mercy of weather, sun patterns, and our neighbors trees. I've had plenty of happy results that were completely accidental and what a pleasant surprise this is , distracting me from that combination over yonder that looks like hell.  The Thyme path is one of those accidents..I did plant the creeping Thyme at the edges of a bed and it was so many years ago I don't even remember the intent. I know that every other plant in the vicinity is in fact not what was there when it was was originally installed. T

The Roses

 I rode into my life as  a gardener on a rose petal; in my twenties all I wanted to grow were roses and sweetpeas .Sweetpea culitivation was mastered quickly once I learned that in Southern California seeds must be sown in fall, for like edible peas they are a cool-season crop. I don't remember exactly where I planted them (2 houses ago) or which variety they were -probably the most common off the Ferry Morse seed rack- but I do remember the excitement of success with the first plants I ever grew from seed. Victory.  The path to rose mastery was longer , with numerous  potholes and changes of direction. In the early 80's I read the classic "Green Thoughts" by the fabulously opinionated Elenor Perenyi, and the chapter on roses revealed to me the world of the heirlooms.  At the time , I worked in a garden center..none of these roses she spoke of -the mysterious noisettes, bourbons, portlands,chinas  etc, were in our inventory. Our growers didn't have them, our cus

Bloomday Deadbeat

  I seemed to have been unable to collect myself enough to do a May BD post, even though the blooms are vast , the days are long , the camera is operational. Business has interfered;some days even taking photos is not mindless enough after a day at the office. I can always manage a stroll with a glass of wine though. One must have priorities. Here then  are a few selections I managed to snap for this faux Bloomday. Salpiglossis over-wintered here for me  ..even though we dipped into the 20's . This is Silene asterias from Annies, planted last summer. The plants are tidy and have plenty of flowers , but the jury is still I like it ?  Sidalcea...back story . In 1986 when I moved to NorCal from San Diego, a new neighbor loaned me a copy of Taylors Guide to Perennials. This book, along with White Flower Farms catalog was a revelation to me --and I was in a swoon over the Sidalcea malviflora image in Taylors.   I had worked in a garden center in Socal for 10 years

Echium Forest

I have never attempted to grow  Echiums here in my own garden, assuming they would be doomed to failure..I never see them in Napa, and they have always seemed decidedly coastal to me. The coast may only be an hour away, but in terms of micro climate it is in another world altogether, no frost and very little heat. This afternoon I went on a garden tour -'Bay Friendly Gardens' and on the route to one of the venues I happened upon this terraced home with Echium 'wildpretii' not more than two miles from my own garden. It was pure drama.