Saturday, April 26, 2008

And more...

So the plant sale extravaganza continues - last night John and I attended the "Member's Only Preview" of the UC Botanical Garden's Spring Plant Sale. This exclusive event (open only to members, hence the name) was very exciting. They checked our cards in line, and even stamped our hands!
Anyway, there were a whole lot of plants there and this was a very botanically-knowledgeable crowd of people. People rushed toward the rarities of their choice, wagons tumbling merrily alongside, waiting to be filled with leafy delights! There was a generous selection of foodstuffs and free glasses of wine - a good choice, since I don't think serving caffeine to this crowd would've been wise So I rushed with my plant-hungry cohorts and procured a Hibiscus schizopetalus, three Hoya species, some Canary Islands endemics for sharing (cuttings!), some CA natives, and a handful of others.
As it turns out I have planted over 30 plants just in the last few days. My garden is overflowing with growth and I hope to be posting photos as soon as I can, but lately my daylight hours from sunrise to sunset have been spent in planting! This is not the most optimal time for native plantings so I'm rushing to get it done before it becomes even less optimal. But it will soon be time for other things - more Datura and late poppies!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Plant Sale Mania!

I thought I'd put up a quick post as I'm presently between plant sales - the Regional Parks Botanical Garden sale was on Saturday and the UC Botanical Garden Member's Preview is coming up tomorrow! The sale on Saturday was pretty exciting. Uncle Steven and Kiko met us at the sale and got some native grasses and other green goodies for their garden. We ended up with so many plants we had to get a wheelbarrow, and people were coming over to admire our exceptional horticultural taste! One uncovers heretofore hidden facets of others' personalities at an event such as a plant sale. For instance, I discovered that Uncle Steven doesn't like milkweeds - even showy ones! I'm not sure why he holds this view but nonetheless I did get a showy milkweed for my garden. And much to my unbounded excitement, at long last - Euonymus occidentalis! The Western Wahoo! (or Western Burning Bush) I first encountered this plant at Purisima Creek Redwoods and was quite taken by it's small maroon flowers and lovely green-ness. I've already planted thirteen of my new plants - further research is needed to site the rest. Another plant I'm quite excited about is Solidago californica (Goldenrod). I planted this Summer to Fall blooming yellow flower near my De la Mina Verbena. I saw this Solidago at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden a couple of years ago and was much impressed by it. Well, time to gear up for tomorrow evening - pictures later!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blackberry Prickles

As you may or may not know there is botanically speaking a difference between thorns, prickles, spines, etc. Blackberries have prickles, and yesterday one entered my finger as I was attempting to weed. Let me describe the whole story: As it happens there is a rather difficult to access slope on the north-facing side of the house. It has the unfortunate distinction of hosting calla lily, Vinca major, Hedera canariensis, and Himalayan blackberry. The vinca and ivy are the unwelcome intruders from my neighbors misguided attempt at ground cover. For those of you not familiar with this area vinca and ivy will swamp a nice little diverse, native woodland or riparian area until all the wonderful little habitat-producing ferns, roses, and others are killed - replacing it with non-wildlife friendly monoculture. Seeing as how I'm trying to plant a happy little woodland understory there I went weeding. So there I was, thinking about putting in native blackberry and more ferns, Smilacina, and other foresty things as I weeded. The problem is that I had previously cut back blackberry and left the dead cane there in my brush-pile. This was a bad idea because when I went to pull up a piece of ivy a prickle poked me. It seemed pretty minor at the time - albeit painful. There really wasn't any blood, nothing was lodged in there. So I went about my merry way. But the pain kept getting more and more intense. And then, much to my horror, I realized that the prickled finger was swollen! Now all sorts of horrendous soil-borne pathogens in my bloodstream scenarios went through my head. I won't bore you with all the details. But a day later my finger is still swollen and extremely painful. In fact my entire right arm hurts. My poor digit's range of motion is limited and it's amazing how much a right-handed person uses their right index finger. So there's the story. Since the swollen finger is not much to look at here's some pictures from yet another Botanical Garden foray - Ceanothus, Paeonia, and Cattleya!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Floral Splendor

A new planting, and a sampling of blossom!

Spring Green

It's been awhile since I last posted. All the unfurling leaves have kept me busy! I recently made yet another foray to Annie's in Richmond. There I procured all manner of exciting green things! One of the fun things about going there is finding plants not yet listed on their website. The whole experience of it feels mysterious and privileged. I've had a few plants that I found this way, such as Trachelospermum asiaticum and my Calycanthus chinensis. On this last trip it was Riocreuxia torulosa. Now the only drawback is that sometimes information on these is difficult to find! So far all I've been able to find out about the Riocreuxia is that it's a vine native to South Africa that grows in full sun with fragrant flowers. If anyone out there has more information let me know or I'll just have to wildly experiment with it on my own! Of course I also picked up my usual bevy of lovely California natives - a lupine, or two; a Malacothrix, or Snake's Head; an elegant fescue and some other photosynthetic delights. Right now my garden is overflowing with native wildflowers! It's a sight to see! And almost all the Winter-deciduous plants have leaves - oh, the tender first growth of Spring!
And of course my seeds - I did succeed in getting some of the Ipomoea to germinate and transplanted "Glacier Star" and "Milky Way" morning glories into the ground a few days ago. I'm still waiting for the moonflower to send out some true leaves - the cotyledons are looking a little raggedy. The scarlet runner beans I planted next to my corn are germinating and I also added a sunflower and a cempaxuchitl (a marigold) to the corn area. I'm going to try some amaranth there as well!