Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Expedition Southward

A few days ago a small party and I visited Sierra Azul Nursery in Watsonville. This nursery is set in the Pajaro Valley and carries an impressive array of species from the world's Mediterranean climates. The demonstration gardens are presently featuring a sculpture exhibit, which we very much enjoyed. Some pieces disturbed, intrigued, or delighted. Some pieces did all three. At any rate I have pictured one entitled "Resurrection Series" that in particular drew me. I regret that I don't remember the name of the artist who created this piece! After a stroll through the gardens it was time to peruse the nursery itself. I was (as usual) overwhelmed by all the plants blooming and bursting from their little plastic containers. The Mediterranean herb selection cought my eye and I picked out a lovely Hyssop plant. I then settled on a few others, and after some tricky loading maneuvers (the car was a bit crowded) we proceeded on our way. I have pictured one of my new garden residents Philadelphus "Belle Etoile". This mock-orange smelled so good I had to bring it with me! I should also note that the nursery and gardens were filled with many different bees - honeybees, bumblebees, and others I couldn't name. I love watching bees in their pollination-drived ecstasies - I think it's the way they go into the flowers. At any rate, in my opinion this nursery and garden is definitely doing something right if there's that many bees!
On both our way to and from this area we made a stop at the pebbled section of Bean Hollow beach. We even saw a whale jumping in and out of the water a few times. I was pretty impressed, and I'm not really much of whale person. Then it was on to some pebble watching and tidepool gazing. One of our party developed a quite unnatural (as far as I'm concerned) aversion to those harmless little purple crabs in the tidepool area. I always found them quite nice, though a bit reticent. She said that it was something about the way they walked sideways. Anyway, the waves crashed and I picked up and sniffed various bits of washed up seaweed on the beach. I have included a picture of the ocean's dynamic cycling.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Floral Delights

Another bevy of blooms to delight the senses! The garden has been doing a lot of flowering - my oft-mentioned Clarkias and Hollyhocks have many more companions. The phenomenally fast-growing "Rodeo Rose" Lupine's flowers have now turned to the lovely two-toned hues pictured here. Maybe it signals pollination has occurred? Not sure, but it looks really pretty! And then there's the excitement of Digitalis obscura! Despite the fact that I waited till the only ones left were pretty straggly (buying indecision) it is now blooming with these attractively patterned flowers. What a foxglove! Also pictured is monkey flower (Mimulus fasciculatus) in orange, and Oenothera pallida in white. The latter evening primrose has a wonderful nocturnal perfume!