Friday, January 30, 2009

Illness strikes me

Yes, I'm sick. Some virus is as we speak making free use of my very own cells' mechanisms to reproduce itself. This imposition is particularly unwelcome because it makes me feel icky. But despite my weakened state we made a very brief (half-hour) trip to the UC Botanical Garden yesterday. I had intended to get the name of that fern I photographed but did not make it there. Instead I lingered around the plant deck, eventually picking out a pot full of Ferraria crispa. This is a South African bulb that gets a fragrant flower with an odd starfish-esque shape. I smelled this flower about a year ago at Annie's but limited funds preventing me from purchasing it on my last trip there! In other garden news my native wildflowers are beginning to bloom their little petals out. So far it's just the Nemophila menziesii and Lasthenia californica, but there is more floral promise everywhere as flats of seedlings unfurl their cotyledons to the waxing light! Lots of Clarkia, Lasthenia, Layia, a lupine or two, Collinsia, and some Gilia. I derive great pleasure from watching them sprout away - the first true leaves signalling their identity. I've also been pleased to see my California polypodies unfurl more fronds with each rainfall. The "Sarah Lyman" one with ruffly fronds is finally growing again after a prolonged dormancy. I blame it on this dry winter. Anyway I've included a picture of those ferns taken this week, and my very cute and thrilling Arctostaphylos nummularia!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ceanothus Bliss for Bees!

Here's some pictures of my very florally exuberant Ceanothus "Dark Star" The bees have been busy at the flowers all week. It's blooming early this year, but it actually started to set flower buds around November. It would seem that it knew there would be a warm spell which would coax the bees into activity. Or maybe native bees are more active in cool weather anyway. I should research this a bit more. At any rate its blooming period is coinciding with the warm spells (unfortunately another warm, dry spell is predicted) But at least the nights are cold. It was 32F this morning and 33F yesterday morning. I think the high yesterday was about 55F - not too bad. In other plant news we made a trip to the UC Botanical Garden a couple of days ago. There I encountered this beautiful fern which is pictured. I don't remember the species, but I think it was in the Polypodium genus. I believe this spore-bearing lovely hailed from Veracruz.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Amongst the Misty Trees

I'm very happy to report that at last it is once again raining! Those record temperatures in the 70Fs and even up to 80F in some spots were just not agreeing with me (or a lot of my plants) So, with great relief we set out on an excursion.
This proved to be an exciting adventure into the cloud-swathed forests of San Mateo County! First there was brief stroll through the damp Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests of Purisima Creek Redwoods. This lovely patch of coastal forest is also home to some very large and shapely tanoaks (Lithocarpus densiflorus) and some beautiful madrones (Arbutus menziesii). There were also many gorgeous mosses, lichens and ferns! Then we made our way south to Yerba Buena Nursery. This was another lichen-draped spot of coastal forest and native plant excitement. And best of all the newts (Taricha torosa) were on the move! With great determination the little amphibians made their way about, tails moving with rain-fueled energy. There was also a banana slug! This one was a bit yellower than the one we had just seen at Purisima Creek. Anyway I procured a Trichostema lanatum - the fragrant and ever wonderful Wooly Blue-Curls - after we had browsed the plants and garden. After this there was only time for lunch in Half Moon Bay and a trip homeward. But the part of this trip that I've yet to mention is the extremely thick, dense cloud that was sitting right on top of highway 35 between highways 92 and 84 for the duration of this trip. The visibility in some spots was down to a few yards of the centerline. I'm amazed that we saw the turns for the nursery, park, or the coast. This foggy dampness was nice for walking around in, but not so great for driving. But we did make it. In other plant news - I recently obtained a very promising looking Western Azalea. It's the one called "Irene Koster" and appears to have three big fat flower buds! And my first Nemophila of the season bloomed! It's the picture with blue flower. The other pictures are Purisima Creek and a Nursery Newt!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Plantings!

It was pretty warm today - about 62F. Here's some pictures of my new plantings and a just bloomed narcissus taken today!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Frost and Annuals

It's been quite a year so far - the last week temperatures dropped down to 28F and there have been quite a few mornings since with frost. I like to look at the frost as I drink my tea in the morning. I also have been busily preparing for an extravaganza of native blooms come Springtime. Since my little seedlings are still pretty small I went to Annie's and filled a wagon chock-full of native greenery. In addition to a selection of annuals I also took home a Lupinus albifrons (silvery soft leaves!) a Cirsium occidentale (spiny silvery leaves) and Digitalis obscura. Though I was careful not to say so in earshot of the plants, I have previously killed two each of the Digitalis and Lupine. But I think I know what I did wrong in these cases and have firmly resolved to not repeat these mistakes. I also had room for a Fuchsia (for Mom) and a lovely buckwheat (Eriogonum cinereum) After the excursion to Annie's we also visited the Regional Parks Botanical Garden. The garden was brimming over with manzanita bloom and chill winds (which I enjoy) So, I just planted the annuals in the ground today and transplanted more seedlings. I'll post pictures soon!