Monday, December 29, 2008

In the Bleak Mid-winter

Taken outside today in my garden -Lilac, Nicotiana glutinosa, Salvia elegans, S. purpurea, and a manzanita (Arctostaphylos nummularia). Just a small sampling of blooms!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yuletide blossomings

I'm still in the midst of my Mid-Winter revelries but thought I should make a quick post. Some of the Autumn-blooming Salvias have finally taken a rest from blooming but the Winter bloomers are just getting fully into their flowering thing. Some are still forming a spike, but others like Salvia purpurea have already opened their little blossoms to the cool days. And I am pleased to report that some of my native wildflower seedlings were just transplanted and at least one appears to be growing. I even got into holiday decorating by cutting some flowers to adorn my bathroom for our Yule-tide guests - I cut some of the lilac that's blooming right now and added some heliotrope, stock (Matthiola), and greenery. I think it appears quite festive! Happy Winter Holidays to all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rain and Frost!

The last week or so has been rainy and cold! The temperature dropped below freezing on a couple of nights and the daytime highs didn't get above 50 degrees F. I was even able to see from the garden snow on Mt. Diablo and on the ridges of Las Trampas! All my little tender tropicals were cozily tucked in the greenhouse so I was free to enjoy the cold. Of course all of the native plants were fine - even the seedlings - and everything was nicely drenched with rain. Despite this cold Prunus mume "Matsubara" has started to bloom and the lilac bush on the side of the house has several clusters of flowers and even some new leaves. I'm very excited by the fragrance of the Prunus flowers - spicy, with a hint of floral sweetness! Speaking of scent, the white heliotrope next to my door is still blooming strongly, greeting me in the morning with a lush vanilla scent. And though the blooms are white, some are faintly blushed with lavender. Later (still mastering that whole camera thing) I'll get up pictures of some of the many blooms that are present right now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Autumn Splendor and Mystery Senecio

Here's the pictures! The interior of my new greenhouse, Anthuriums in the tropical greenhouse at the U.C. Botanical Garden, the Asian flora section of the Garden, and if anyone knows which species of Senecio this is at the top - let me know!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well I finally got a greenhouse! Now my tender little tropicals can safely shelter from the cold and dry winds. It's not huge - only about 24 square feet - but it's big enough to walk into and should accommodate quite a few plants.
And today I made my last foray of the year to Annie's. I was there primarily to grab some native annuals before it's too late. Now John and I had bought along a friend of ours who has a minor case of plant obsession (compared to my severe form) and she and I went examining the pots and plantings around the nursery perimeter. Suddenly we were struck by the presence of a magnificently tall plant with brilliantly reddish/magenta-esque flowers. It was soon clear that it was a specimen of Cantua buxifolia. I had always known that at some point I would end up with one of these plants - I just didn't know when. But as I stared up at the flowers glowing under the sun, just after the fog had cleared, I knew this was the moment. So I ended up making my way over to grab one (after some confusion wherein we realized that we had lost our wagon somewhere in the midst of 2 1/2 acres of plants - we remembered eventually where it was and found it.) After this plant adventure we made our way to the U.C. Botanical Garden in the lovely Berkeley Hills. We enjoyed the tropical atmosphere of the fern greenhouse until an odd noise that may've been a frog and was moving from place to place convinced my friend we should exit the greenhouse. From there we walked to the Asian area of the garden, which was incandescent with Fall color. The seasonal hues ringed the pond on Strawberry Creek and continued up the hill. A particularly spectacular highlight was a pink-blooming Luculia that saturated a pathway with fragrance - sweet yet floral. Then I was lured to the plant deck by a Modiolastrum lateritium (another Mallow!) with salmon flowers and a Senecio (mis-labeled S. mandraliscae - I think it's still a Senecio, but then again I'm not entirely sure) After these two purchases our party made its' way back to the parking lot. By this point I was overstimulated by all the plants and downing elderberry coughdrops for my dry throat (from talking about plants all day while recovering from a cold)!
I hope to post some photographs from this exciting escapade tommorrow!