Showing posts from 2023

Aphid Nation

 We gardeners can rarely control the challenges that seem to appear with every new season . Horrid plagues and pesky critters show up one year and disappear the next . Gophers,snails, spider mites, blackspot-they all come and go -though one wishes they would just go. Weedy afflictions such as oxalis and spotted  spurge are predictable and eradication proof-the only realistic outcome is reduction. There was a lot to like about my garden in 2023 but an unprecedented aphid invasion still leaves me a bit mystified .I fully expect aphids on the roses and sometimes on the hellebores and by June they are usually gone. This year they persisted well into fall . Cutting back the lilies in my front garden this past week I found still living aphids on the back side of foliage that was barely green.  Who gets aphids on Lilies ?? It was a first for me. Every Lily in the front garden was covered in them .   First came the aphids, followed by honeydew and then the sooty mold. I got my box of latex glo

A New Focal Point !

A few years ago I expanded the footprint of my driveway garden bed . Since then I've been tweaking and revising the contents but the changes made this spring are a pivot from the plan I had in mind last fall. Those of us on small suburban lots are often at the mercy of our neighbors choices and thus far neighbor planted (or removed) trees have been my biggest challenge. It seems like I'm always bouncing around between a shade garden and a sun garden along my back fence line. At least I'm always open to any opportunity to buy more plants.   After close to 25 years with the same neighbors next door, I have newbies and when one has had excellent long term neighbors there's always a bit of anxiety about the unknown. What I didn't expect was a new rather obtrusive focal point/borrowed view for my driveway garden.  Needless to say, screening plants are on the agenda. The first has already gone in Leucodendron galpinii 'Silver Cone' which  was lucky to find at a nu

Bloomday for May 2023

   After a cold and wet spring, it looks like the weather is settleing into a more normal pattern. We had rain as recently as May 6th and I still have about 75 gallons of collected rainwater that I am useing for containers and newly installed in ground plants. I will likely have to start watering the garden at large before this week is out and it's pretty much the latest I've been able to put off the irrigating for several years.  Here then are just a few of the bloomers in my garden this month.   Cistus 'Snowfire' is always a favorite. Purchased from Digging Dog during my Covid lockdown gardening projects it is a tough plant that has the extra bonus of a bit longer bloom time than others of the genus. Climbing rose 'Sombreuil' is a beast that got a very hard prune this winter , and I managed minimal wounds in the process-it has very robust thorns. David Austin rose 'Golden Celebration.' Topped out right now at about 7 feet, it's giving it's fenc

Winter Stroll through the Ruth Bancroft Garden

  We Northern California Zone 9 weather wimps are having a cold time of it this year. Never the less, I bravely piled on some layers and drove down to Walnut Creek in the early morning a couple of Sundays ago hoping to catch the Aloe bloom at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. The Aloes are running late this year so many were just budded up or barely open but it felt good to be out enjoying a public garden with my camera in hand.   As it turned out I didn't actually take too many Aloe shots , but RBG is particularly photogenic so I aimed the camera at whatever took my fancy .   The shade structure was still decked out in it's cold and wet weather protective gear, and I imagine it still is-it was 28 degrees this morning at my house and similar temperatures are predicted for the next few days before rain returns on the weekend.   There were actually some Dykias for sale in the RBG nursery , but all in 2gal containers and out of my budgetary comfort zone. For now I'll have to be conten