Tomorrow morning I am heading to NYC to spend Persian New Year with my family (Happy Nowruz everyone!). So I thought I would do a quick post on what has been blooming in my garden. Despite the loss of most of the mediterranean garden there is still quite a bit going on. Tons of volunteer seedlings have been blooming (spring weather really started in Los Osos about a month ago), and some of the perennials I planted last year are starting to really hit their stride.
This will be a picture heavy thread so feel free to scroll through and stop if you see anything that interests you.
Zaluzianskya capensis has been blooming all winter. All my little seed grown plants have become little shrublets (I mistakingly thought they were true annuals). They open in the afternoon and you may remember last year I made fun of the fragrance as being too strong. Well I’ve grown to love them. You can just be walking by and suddenly get hit by the sweet scent. They have been reseeding quite a bit as well.
The California native, Mentzelia lindleyi, mostly reseeded right along the road so most of them got tromped on by the construction guys. Luckily this big clump was in a safer spot a few feet into the bed. I’ve put up some temporary fencing with bamboo poles and twine to remind construction guys to stay on the street and not take short cuts through my garden.
A few Nemophila menziesii seedlings came up and are blooming now. I think I pulled them too early last year so they didn’t reseed as well as some other plants.
The adorable little South African strawflower, Helipterum roseum ‘Pierrot’, reseeded like crazy. Mostly right around where they had been planted last year.
In the evening the flowers close up and look like cute little paper bowls.
Linaria reticulata ‘Flamenco’ is not for the faint of heart. I planted 24 little plants last year and this year I have about 24,000 growing in a huge 10′ x 10′ patch. I can not even beging to explain how happy they make me. Especially all covered in condensation and brightening up a foggy day.
This is the view from my kitchen window when I wash my dishes. Almost makes me not mind the fact that I don’t have a dish washer. Almost.
Ursinia anthemoides ‘Solar Fire’ is another South African annual that reseeded like crazy. From a distance they look a bit like California poppies but up close they are quite distinct. This clump just escaped destruction. See the patch of bare dirt right behind them? That was solid plants before one of the water tankers backed out of my driveway and right through the garden. After that I started parking my car in the driveway so the construction guys couldn’t park in it any longer.
Not bad for a one year old garden, right?
I’m not sure the beauty of the Layia platyglossa (tidy tips) foliage in the foreground is apparent in my photos. The leaf edges have this quality that sort of reflects light and looks all silvery. They must be covered in little hairs or something but I haven’t had a chance to really examine them up close. This huge clump is all volunteers. I collected a huge envelope of seed but ended up not needing to use any of it so I sent it out to friends and the Mediterranean Garden Societies seed share. If I have time to collect some more this year maybe I’ll mail some out to blog readers if anyone is interested.
The flowers are just starting to open. They should go into full bloom while I am out of town. Hopefully we get a bit of rain and they are still nice when I get back. They should be fairly drought tolerant but I didn’t think them as much as I should have so they do get a bit droopy when it gets warm.
I love the way the sticky little hairs on Geranium madersense flowering stems look when they are back lit.
The flowers aren’t too shabby either. These should reseed like mad and make a nice big colony in front of the house.
Euphorbia lambii is another big shrubby plant that reseeds like mad. This is the first bud on mine. It should be looking really nice when I get back into town. These can get 8-10 feet tall if they are happy though they don’t seem to grow particularly fast on the coast.
Lobelia tupa is another slow grower. This is one of those great big perennials that probably takes about 3 or 4 years to reach its maximum potential. This one fat stem should bloom nicely at some point this year but in a few years it will be 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall and covered in blooming spikes.
Abutilon X suntense should have lovely purple blooms when I get back home. I’ve seen it in a lot of English gardens but I don’t know how happy it will be here long term. I’ve heard it is not at its best in California. If it doesn’t succeed I will probably grow Abutilon vitifolium which is one of its parets that I know will do well.
Echium pininana (not Echium pinnata, a common mistake) is starting to expand quite a bit lately. It should grow about 15 feet tall this spring. I grew about a dozen from seed last year and only kept this one. The others went into some of our clients gardens as a fun Dr. Seussian treat for them. Native Coreopsis gigantea is looking rather nice in full bloom now. Hard to believe that was just a tiny little 4″ pot last March.
Phlomis purpurea had to be moved to the backyard garden during the construction and has not been happy. Apparently Phlomis have different shaped leaves in winter and then drop them in favor of more drought resistant ones during the dry summer. I’ll have to see if I notice a change in their leaves this summer. They have really been sulking and needed quite a few deep waterings in their new home.
Some of the former inhabitants of the mediterranean garden have found a new home in my back yard garden. I had started this bed last summer but then had to go out of town suddenly for about a month and lost most of the plants new plantings here. This worked out in my favor because these plants needed a home quickly. The chain link fence is not cute, and my landlady was thinking of removing it, but I want to keep it now so I have a more sheltered area of the yard. A lot of my neighbors have big dogs and this is where my plant nursery is. Once the bigger plants and climbers fill in it won’t be as bad.
And speaking of the mediterranean garden this is how it looks now that it has been replanted. I bet there isn’t a single garden designer out there that isn’t secretly delighted when misfortune gives them the opportunity to try something new. Since all my nice compost is now buried about 12 feet under ground with the new sewer lateral I was left with Los Osos sand. While I would rather work with sand than tough clay it does have some logistical issues. It either drains too quickly or sheds water as if it was completely water-proof and it is probably pretty low in nutrients. While there are many medit plants that would be perfectly happy in poor, sandy, soil I thought it would be safest to use plants that I know for a fact are happy in Los Osos sand so I went very heavily with California natives.
Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery is about an hour east of me in Santa Margarita and their website is an absolute treasure for California gardeners. It was a huge help in deciding what I would plant in this newly imagined garden. They have detailed descriptions and pictures of many plants and even some videos talking about their experiences growing specific plants and what conditions they love or hate. I still haven’t visited their nursery in person but I will have to take a trip out there when I return in April to see their display gardens. A few great native cultivars like Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’ and Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’ are their introductions.
The garden isn’t looking quite as nice as it was a before the sewer work but I think it will fill in quite nicely. The outer edges remain the original medit garden and the center strip is mostly natives now. There is a manzanita, three types of California buckwheat, native Salvias, Verbena lilacina and of course lots of California poppies. I went with white and lavender ones for this part of the garden.
The Dudleya pulverulenta are starting to bloom and perk up a bit after being stomped on quite a bit.
Salvia africana-lutea, Lavandula pinnata var. buchii, and Gaillardia ‘Oranges & Lemons’ are all looking really nice despite the fact they had quite a bit of sand dumped on them.
The path garden got a bit of a refresh since I talked about it last week. The succulents and other plants that weren’t working have been moved elsewhere, a few new plants have been tucked into empty spots, and the left side of the path has been replanted with plants similar to the right side.
And just when I thought I was safe I woke up to this monstrosity this morning. No worries. They didn’t harm the garden. They were just putting in the correct manhole cover at the end of the street. But I am glad I will be out of town and away from the construction noise for a bit.
I hope you all will forgive me for posting so many pictures but that I wanted to tide you all over until I return in April. I hope everyone has exciting things going on in their gardens this spring.