Monday, June 30, 2008


Here's a quick article from about an eccentric man and his garden. Skimpy on the gardening, but we share some thoughts:

"Ugly can sometimes be beautiful, but merely pretty can never be beautiful," he says. "Things that are really beautiful keep you coming back because they're not just attractive, they're compelling."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Green Daylily

Check out Frances's green daylily. While I normally despise daylilies (sorry Frances, if you're reading this, it's just me...I prefer Lilium), there is something about green (and black actually) flowers that make them candidates for a dream garden.


I have a landscaper friend who had to leave town for a couple of months, so I've been doing the gardening for a few of her clients on the weekends. It's been fun.

Anyway, I want to remember this:

Forget landscape tape--that nasty oily tape that one has to buy, that may never biodegrade, and that usually stands out in a garden despite being green. The Phormium tenax growing in the pot over there has a few browning leaves it won't miss. Cut them off, shred them into a few strips. There. They work wonderfully.

Food, fiber, firewood, building material, medicine...what are the resources around you?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June Bloom Day

The prairie is at peak bloom. The lupines are nearly finished, but the Armeria maritima, yarrow, and others have taken off.

Mimulus aurantiacus. What I've learned this season is that while my winter pruning helped keep them bushy (though one did not survive the harsh cutting back--ok because of seedlings), the ones left unpruned bloomed several weeks earlier. It's a trade off.

There are a few random wildflowers. I didn't sow a mix this year, so these were probably spawned from last year's crop. Collinsia heterophylla.

I planted about seven Aquilegia formosa last year. The full sun and poor soil are keeping them pretty short with only a couple flowers per plant, but as the meadow fills in I hope more an more will appear. I've noticed a few seedlings already.

Sisyrinchium californicum
Ok, some more clover shots. Trifolium wormskioldii in front of a golden mystery sedge.

The fountain has Lotus 'Amazon Sunset' and lemon variegated thyme blooming (society garlic blooms come from a pot on the back porch). The Triteleia laxa 'Queen Fabiola bulbs have not produced blooms (or even buds yet), but they were planted extremely late for bulbs.

Today I bought a pygmy white waterlily, Nymphaea 'Candida,' to give to my dad for Father's Day (kind of a self-serving gift...but he did want one!).

Ah, this is what the bulbs in the fountain should look like when they bloom. This Triteleia has been here a few years, in a bed behind the fountain.

Water parsley is blooming in the middle of Juncus patens.

Eleocharis macrostachys, a snippet propagule, is blooming. This will eventually go in the bog.

Mimulus guttatus is blooming all around the bog.

Ok, I've got wrap this up. Fuchsia procumben is growing under a potted hydrangea. The blooms are small, not much longer than a thumbnail, but have you seen a more colorful flower? Check out the blue pollen.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Just a self-indulgent look at two plants.

Euphorbia bupleurifolia, the pineapple or pine cone euphorbia. My favorite plant.
I love its bizarre form and how the leaves and flowers seem to shoot out the top. It's from the southern cape region of South Africa, and is apparently endangered. I bought mine at an Arcata Farmer's Market (in CA) five (?) years ago for $10, and haven't seen it for sale anywhere else or I would buy a few more. I'd like to at least acquire one female plant, since mine is male, and supposedly it's relatively easy to raise from seed. Has anyone out there seen these for sale?

I'm mentioning the plant now because there has been a new development: a little side branch is appearing.

I will miss its old simple form, but am curious to see what it will look like. (To see an incredibly cool specimen of this species click here.)

The second plant I have obsessed over before. Trifolium wormskioldii, the Springbank clover. This is how the story goes. I saw some flowerless clover growing near the shore of Big Lagoon on a canoe trip. I took a piece because the leaves had a "native" look--they didn't look like red or white clover. I put the piece in a pot waited a year and had a pot full of the stuff. Transplanted some into the garden. Last year it bloomed and it's identity was confirmed.

Turns out it was an important vegetable for the native peoples of the northwest. I propagated it more and more (piece of cake--just pull off piece with nodes and insert in soil). It's spread beautifully. Last year there were maybe 5 flowers, this year there are dozens.

(Sorry the picture's so dark.) The propagation continues as we have a lot of wet clay that needs cover, and I have to say, it's my favorite plant in the garden right now. I hope to introduce this plant to our local chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It'd be good for sales. Tips I will humbly offer: put it in a sunny, moist place and cut it to the ground in winter if you want to maintain a tidier patch. C'est tout.