Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What Was Blooming At The Huntington May Day Morning 2016?


 Above, Romneya coulteri, petals pleated and puckered, in the parking lot.
Below, Calothamnus villosus and Verbena bonariensis.
Salvia clevelandii made the morning smell like wild California.  
  ???  Love the pure blue of these flowers.  Something related to Borage?  So blue...
 Hesperaloe 'Brake Lights', very red...
 Anigozanthos flavidus(?), looking very yellow...
 ...and fabulously tall.  I prefer the tall species Anigozanthos to the shin-high hybrids.
 The entrance garden rill looks different on every visit.  This visit the ribbon of water was hidden by thriving Muhlenbergia rigens, Chondropetalum, red Anigozanthos, yellow blooming Santolina, lavender, yellow Anigozanthos, and Campanulas. 
 Red Bougainvillas on the pillars.  The San Gabriel mountains were dressed in silky clouds. 
 Gasteria acinicifolia
 Uh, Echinopsis?  Tricocereus? 
 Aloe camperi.  There were several large patches of this in the Desert Garden, providing a bright show there as it is doing in our own garden here at home.
 Lots of umbellifers in the Herb Garden, which is at its best in late spring.  Summer heat brings toasted plants. 
 Whatever this is (Queen Anne's Lace?) it sure is photogenic.
 Sweet peas, soon to be toast. 
 These flower heads look like flying saucers.
 Bidens?   Another photogenic scene:

The rose garden was just past peak bloom.  Photo by Beloved.
 Wandering the Huntington was a beautiful way to spend the first May morning of 2016.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spring Project 2016 Completed!


Infrastructure makes slope gardening so much easier:  infrastructure meaning flat places to stand in order to plant and maintain, flat places so shrubs can have sufficient soil and moisture to grow well, stairs of some sort, and appropriate irrigation.  

The top planting cup is remade and will no longer contain a Nandina.  It will remain empty because the ficus roots would only re-invade if a Nandina there was watered, but it's also remaining empty because it will be the flat place to set a ladder, in order to trim back the neighbor's ficus to the property line.  Long term maintenance planned for!  Clever, eh?  Once the top cup was done, I got a ladder up there, got on the ladder with my handy pole saw, and did some trimming. 

 I also worked on the irrigation, changing it from a few drip lines to Netafim drip tubing, which is more durable.  Of course there were more Ficus roots to remove.  

 There's the new drip line.  Because of the ficus root problem, irrigation will be minimal. The red symbols are where plants will go, or were.  The Salvia indicated by the red arrow used to be in the spot indicated by the paw print. The check is Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' spot, and the red sun, the Hakea 'Gold Medal'.

The flat area gets a big loop of drip tubing, something it never had. 
  
If the Ficus roots were not such a problem, I would do more, but this should look okay.  So, here's the completed project...
If it looks a little empty, keep in mind that 'Austin Griffiths' can grow to 8'x8' or more, and the Hakea 10'x10'. 

'Austin Griffiths' Arctostaphylos in his planting cup:

Salvia discolor in her smaller planting cup, where she has a better chance of establishing a bigger, stronger root system.    Here it will grow faster and soon be feeding hummingbirds.  This Salvia will bloom year round without a pause--year round food for the birds. 
 
If you are wondering why part of the area is not mulched, it is because the neighbor's mow/blow crew blows the Ficus leaves from next door into this area.  Because fallen leaves are "messy", I guess.  I actually don't mind--they make an effective mulch, if not an aesthetically pleasing one.  If I rake up all the leaves and mulch with shredded wood/bark, it will quickly get covered up with Ficus leaves again.  So they remain.  

The remnant of the Salvia leucantha patch--sigh.  I will probably pull it when I am sure the clumps I potted up will survive and grow.  Poor plants can't really thrive on such a steep slope, mostly because they can't get watered properly.  Water stays long enough on flat places for roots to get at them.  At this steepness, it simply runs down the surface.  
 I'll put one of the potted S. leucantha clumps into this small cup below the ladder-perch at the top of the slope.  Not enough space for a shrub, but a good space for a Salvia that is hopefully tough enough to survive should when the Ficus roots invade again.
 On the flat space at the bottom of the slope, the Hakea goes in...
 ...along with an experiment.  An Aloe/Agave nursery--a place with drip irrigation and afternoon shade for small seedlings and offsets, so they can grow big enough to be planted out on the big-boy slope in front of the house, where it is hotter and much drier.  It's a practical rather than an aesthetic arrangement--they are intended to be here temporarily.

Whoopsi, that should be "claviflora", not "claviflorum".  My bad.
 The Aloe alooides may remain here, if it likes the area, and the Ficus roots don't strangle it...  We'll see how it goes.  
At the start of the project:

After:  
 I declare the Spring Project 2016--completed!  Dedicating a spot for a ladder so I can keep the neighbor's trees trimmed back--now that is thinking ahead.  I think I might be getting the hang of this gardening thing...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fire Station California Native Garden Update, and Friday Flowers.

 Well how about that!  They are mulching at the Fire Station!


 

Cool!

Pallets...hmm...maybe the firefighters could make themselves some vertical planters?   Let us end with a few flowers from the garden, because bare dirt and pallets of mulch are not so pretty.

An orchid I don't treat very well--and it shames me by blooming. 
 Clematis buds are as pretty as the open flowers.
 I caught a hover-fly hovering near a Tidy Tips flower.
 Always gorgeous 'Evelyn'
 Enormous flowers on Hippeastrum this year.  Each of these is 9" wide (23 cm).
 Much smaller, but just as enchanting, Fuchsias.
 The graceful green flower stems of the silver-leafed Sideritis cypria. 
 I hope your weekend is as lovely!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Echinopsis Charlemagne Blooms And Last Aloes Of The Season


Above:  the plant and its flower

Below:  overdoing the blooming

 Echinopsis hybrid 'Charlemagne' was so excited to bloom for the first time, it exceeded its abilities.  The flower was so large it fell off the plant as it opened.  The flower is 5" (13 cm) wide, the plant is 2" (5 cm) wide.  I put it in a small glass with a bit of water.   

Wonderful glowing gold color.  I've had another Echinopsis for a few years, a seedling of unknown heritage picked up at Bach's in Tucson, that blooms a beautiful but less impressive white. 
 This gold is far beyond that. 
What a glorious flower, from such a little plant!

I first became enchanted with Echinopsis flowers at the Huntington Desert Garden, so enchanted as to buy a few plants.  I'm wary of cactus spines and as a result very reluctant to grow cacti, but the flowers are--wow.  

Aloes are not spined but toothed.  The blooming "season" here runs from fall through winter to late spring.  Although I have at least one summer-blooming Aloe (A. reitzii), it isn't old enough to bloom yet.  So the season in this garden ends with A. pseudorubroviolacea and A. aff. camperi.
Aloe pseudorubroviolacea's so far solitary, 4' (121 cm) wide rosette  has two large multiple-stemmed inflorescences this year.  The display is the best ever.
 That is Aloe thraskii in the background; it blooms in early winter. 
 A pseudorubroviolacea's flowers angle outward when they first appear, but as they develop they curve downwards and inwards when opening. 

Aloe aff. camperi flowers are fully open now.  It too is putting on a show.
 On the front slope, quite a show.
 The Grevillea 'Moon Light' and the Aloe are starting to merge.

I am unsure if this is the "normal" bloom time for A. brevifolia.  It is producing a flower stem in the garden for the very first time, although it's been here several years.  It was always too dry to bloom.  Given better conditions, finally, its ready to produce.  A finally hurrah from the Aloes. 
Amazing what a little care will do.