Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Raccoon Trammelled Trauma

Last night a band of marauding raccoons came through and wreaked massive damage on a small corner of my garden! I found dozens of pots overturned and plants dug up. They seem to have been digging for earthworms. But most of the plants were ok, though quite a few of them lost a lot of growth - my Malaysian ginger and Tacca are down to little green stubs! But I believe they will have sufficient powers of recovery and pull through. This just goes to show that I need a greenhouse for these plants! (plans are in the works...)
On a much more positive note I have made yet another Annie's visit and all sorts of botanical goodies are now awaiting their place in my garden! With my help Mom picked out some pink flowers and I put them in a pot for her. I'm particularly charmed by a little mallow called Sidalcea hendersonii. Delicate little pink mallow-esque flowers! And for me I finally found a Mimulus (Diplacus) aurantiacus! I'm hoping to combine it with a silver-leaf lupine and some coyote brush. The combination of monkey flower and coyote brush is all over the neighboring hills here. I also seem to remember a lupine-monkeyflower combination on Wildcat Peak.
So despite my raccoon trauma, I think my garden and I will be fine!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Osmanthus at last (et alia)!

After nearly a year or more of searching I finally managed to get an Osmanthus fragrans! This isn't usually a hard to find plant, but everytime I went to a nursery they saw me coming and hid them all. At least this was the unavoidable conclusion I reached because I've made several trips to local, well-stocked nurseries and nary a leaf of O. fragrans was to be seen! But my months of waiting for this fragrant-flowered lovely reached a dazzling conclusion yesterday. We were winding our way coastward and made our requisite Half Moon Bay Nursery stop. I had the idea after I'd been there a while of looking for the shrub. So I was moving back through the alphabetized rows (sometimes I get a little forgetful about the sequence) when I stopped to admire a particularly fetching cluster of elders. I sniffed their flower clusters and noticed nearby a glossy-leaved shrub sporting a flush of fresh, red tinted growth under the sun - Osmanthus fragrans! So I made John go get a big wagon and made some other lovely botanical purchases, such as Calamintha and Lemongrass. This nursery, by the way, is a fabulous place to visit. It's big, and full of plants - including some unusual stuff - and the prices are very reasonable. It sort of winds around and you can get pleasantly led off in various directions. A wonderful plant experience in a lovely coastal, creekside setting.
After this excitement we went to the Pillar Point harbor and then further south where we scrambled around on rocks, watching purple crabs scuttle about as the tide went out. We saw a few seals cavorting in the water and even a dead sea lion that somehow had ended up on the beach - a part of the great marine cycle of things. Included in this post is a picture from the beach. Also included are a combination of Salvia guarantica and Grindelia and a pink Clarkia.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hot Days...

The last few days have been rather hot and windy. The heat makes me absolutely miserable. But despite my misery I've identified some problem pots that are drying out too quickly - tomorrow morning I'll be potting up to (hopefully) eliminate this trend! Even with drought-adapted plants new plantings can be tough to keep up with. However my new water-thrifty irrigation system has helped a lot. This high-tech, intricate system consists of a garden hose which splits off to four little tiny hoses which I move around to water my various shrubs (see, I was being funny about the high-tech part). But this eliminates the running around with one hose thing (especially difficult in the areas the hose didn't reach) and gives my shrubs their infrequent but deep watering recommended by all those fancy garden books with the nice pictures.
And today I procured some very exciting new plants. A trip to Berkeley Horticultural Nursery yielded up Salvia "Paula Flynn", Stachys ciliata "Royal Robe", Salvia officinalis "Purpurascens", and Ocimum sanctum. This last one, known as "Holy Basil" apparently has some very deep human significance and associations in Indian religion. It's a very nice, lightly hairy basil and I look forward to gardening with it. The others except for the third Salvia are also new to me. Their intense flower color is striking - deep purple blue and deep purple maroon, respectively - and seem sure to be hummingbird favorites. Tomorrow is for planting, and watering at dawn!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rooted Bounty

It's been awhile since I last posted - I have been busy, however! Many plants to plant and I'm happy to say many cuttings to pot up. My cuttings of Penstemon azureus, Monardella macrantha, Salvia sagittata, and Blue Diamond Impatiens have all rooted! I was so heartened by this that I took several more cuttings yesterday to thus propagate more plants. Most of these cuttings are for my own garden use, but I may gift those around me with the Impatiens.
Right now my garden is sporting a bevy of Salvia blooms - Salvia macellaria, S. "Dancing Dolls", S. jamensis "Sierra San Antonio", and S. greggii "California Sunset" are all blooming right next to each other. This is quite a floral display - the bi-colored little flowers all in shades of orange, yellow, pink and purple from pastel shades to brighter tones. And not far away Salvia chiapensis and S. serpyllifolia bear solid bright magenta and purple flowers. It's certainly turns the heads and wings of passing hummingbirds! And after all those beak-tempting lovelies Salvia discolor, S. "Waverly", and S. melissodora beckon! Happily, most of these Salvias are even drought-tolerant. I'll try to put some picture up in future posts of all this garden excitement.