Sunday, April 26, 2009

From the U.C. Botanical Garden Sale!

Here's the next installment of plant frenzy - Friday evening was the member's preview of the U.C. botanical garden's Spring sale. (Once again readers may refer back to last year's account) This year seemed a bit more laid-back than last year's, even before the attendees got the free wine into them. We arrived early, anticipating the ever-present crowd and limited parking. We passed some pleasant moments sitting on a live oak shaded bench while flowering currant and hummingbird sage photosynthesized behind us under the oak. Then, about an hour before the sale began we joined the already growing line. The time passed pleasantly as we conversed with fellow plant enthusiasts. But as the time neared a surge of excitement went through the line. Soon, the gate was opened and with mutual wishes to one another of "Good luck!" the plant hunters rushed into the garden. By then I'd decided to focus on getting some houseplants so it was to there that I made my way. I think I was actually the first one in this section and I procured several wonderful plants. After this I made my way to all of the other sections. I found several more plants, including some blue-eyed grass for relatives who were off running around somewhere in Big Sur. As my initial plant grab surge calmed I made my way to the refreshments and got a couple plates for John and I (John was once again stationed near the grasses.) The little sandwiches with basil and tomato were especially good and I very much enjoyed these. So, after a glass of sparkling water and a couple more plants it was time to go! We made our way through checkout and out the exit. As it was last year the plant loading area was an area of intense activity. Since we were close by we bypassed this and simply took our plants up to the car ourselves. After all this excitement I was pretty worn out. We came home and I passed a pleasant evening finishing my Thai hot and sour soup. So, just a few highlights are pictured - first, an Aeschynanthus from Borneo. This one is in a 6" pot with a width of nearly 3.5 feet! I imagine its aboreal habitat with clouded leopards frolicking in the vicinity. Next is Kohleria cv. Ampallang. I looked up this cultivar name and what I found didn't seem immediately connected to the plant, though I suppose you could see an approximate resemblance. Perhaps the word has another meaning. If anyone out there can determine how it got this name let me know. The next picture features some blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum cultivars) and a Festuca idahoensis. I got the fescue from the grass area where John was waiting. There's more, but if I listed everything I wouldn't have time to plant! Stay tuned for my next adventure in plant-world!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From the Regional Parks Sale!

I'm still recovering from the native plant frenzy of the Regional Parks Botanical Garden's once a year sale. Faithful readers will remember last year's account - a tale of milkweeds and monardella. Well, this year the sale was on a hot day, which brought manzanita-hungry and PCH Iris-lusting folks from all over the Bay Area. We lined up outside the entrance, excitement mounting as the availability lists appeared. I was surprised to see a couple of plants I'd been hoping for were not listed. But others were, including some I hadn't even imagined would be there. Soon I had a plan for what I would go after, shading my eyes from the Sun's ruthless assault as I perused the list. When the time to begin finally arrived I was able to get the plants I had hoped for! I have included some pictures of these green natives - they are still in their one gallon grower's pots, awaiting placement. Anyway, after several trips back and forth to where John stood, faithfully guarding these plants I sat down to rest. The grass was somewhat damp but I didn't mind, plants from the Sierra leafing out behind me as people passed by with boxes filled to the brim with branches and flowers. After some time the direct sunlight started to get really hot so we got in line. It moved quickly and we were soon walking down the road with our happy plants! Back here in my garden the last couple of days have proved to be uncomfortably hot - I think it hit at least 90F yesterday. Despite this everything seems to be fine. As usual I'm more distressed by the heat than the garden! As soon as it cools a bit I'll transplant my new plants. A couple of highlights from the sale - Dicentra "Bacchanal", a Western bleeding heart with intensely colored, scented flowers and a new Salvia clevelandii cultivar "Deer Spring Silver" California Salvia excitement! Also pictured here is a fern I picked up at work. I have never seen such a fluffy fern. I'm guessing it's a Nephrolepsis mutation, but if anyone thinks they recognize it and can give me a name that'd be great!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Before the Frenzy

I have 3 major plant events coming up in the next 21 days, so I though I'd post before the frenzy of these events overwhelms me. I will try to update for each of these events, but may end up covered in leaves, sniffing flowers. I'll try. So here are some pictures. The Brugmansia sanguinea has at last flowered and the rest is a bouquet of native flowers all sprung up from the green of my garden and the soil. Layia platyglossa, Nemophila menziesii, Penstemon heterophyllus, and Phacelia viscida. What pollinator-tempting lovelies!