Thursday, October 30, 2014

Extra (Mostly) Bloom Day To Celebrate Irrigation Completion.

October usually produces some of the prettiest roses of the year.  'Souvenir de la Malmaison' above, had an exceptional October.
A trio of  ever-blooming 'Belindas Dream'
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'Julia Child'
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'Trumpeter'
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'Bill Warriner' in front, 'Trumpeter' in the background.
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I nearly dumped 'Matilda' this spring as it was miserable in its old location.  It's happy now in a spot that gets regular irrigation.
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'Barcelona'
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The last 'Elizabeth Salter' day lily of the year:
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This unknown doesn't often bloom in autumn.
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This one never blooms in autumn.  Perhaps the extreme heat of mid-August through mid-October did it.
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The winter's Sweet Peas are emerging.  The days are mild now, but the soil is still warm.
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This beautiful pumpkin is so late--I wonder if it will be able to ripen.
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A happy Impatiens growing from the bottom of the Koi pond shower.  No soil, constantly moist crack between the bottom of the shower container and the concrete coping of the pond.  (See where the shower and coping meet there on the left.)  The Impatiens is growing in that crack. 
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The first Nasturtium flowers of the fall.  Nasturtiums inevitably become huge and try to take over, so I usually pull them early.  A few always manage to reseed.  
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The Lotus jacobaeus.  I've enjoyed this odd and dainty little plant, with its black/brown/burgundy flowers.  
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Nice near the beautiful 'Barcelona'.
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This is the lavender plant we were given at the Portland Fling in July.  It has settled in.  Flowers next spring, perhaps. 
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Out front, a Nemesia volunteered this spring.  I haven't grown any Nemesia for at least five years.  This seed came from somewhere. 
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One of the milkweed plants is stripped.
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There's one of the strippers.  We've had just a few resident Monarch caterpillars this summer.  I'm seeing many more now that the weather has cooled.  
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This plant, Alstroemeria 'Rock and Roll', so godawful tacky looking at the garden center I was embarrassed to buy it, has proven to be the surprise plant of the year.  It turned out to be superb.  The rats ate all the slugs and snails;  the lizards ate all the earwigs, the foliage is pristine.  How about that?  You just never know--no wonder we hope and experiment.  Sometimes this happens: 
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That was yesterday's walk around the garden, so neglected for the past nearly two months because of the heat.  I'm celebrating because the irrigation is finally done on the west slope, and I can now plant the darn thing. 
Thar be drip on that yon hill, matey.  
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Great Bones, Dead Plants.


Due to water restrictions, this Cambria herb and vegetable garden has been allowed to die until the rains return.
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The "bones" of the garden, a series of curving stone walls, are better visible in the garden's fallow state.
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Beautifully crafted.
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Sadly, the lemon tree is near death.  If plentiful rain arrives soon, it might survive.  It hurt to see this. 
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Rosemary, on the other hand, has new growth even without water.  However without water, likely the flavor is harsh.
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A few ghostly pumpkins.
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Besides the walls, the star of the garden at present is a potting shed of great charm.
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Carefully detailed.  Like Rosemary, Wisteria laughs at drought. 
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Beautiful glass above the shed's door.
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At present, housing a melancholy lifelessness.
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Beautiful, though.
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Oddly, the shed also housed Santa's throne.  
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Kids, remember to ask Santa for rain.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Central Coast Road Trip: Eye-Catching Plants

Bauhinia x blakeana caught my eye in Carpenteria

It was road trip time last week.  We thought about Tucson, but after so many long weeks and months of endless heat, a desert landscape did not appeal.  A cool, misty climate sounded better, and I wanted to see this rich guy's famous castle near Cambria:
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The idea of shivering a little, of wearing a jacket after 18 months of not needing one--ahh!  
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We headed north.
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A Phyllica pubescens in Carpenteria.  Wow!
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And a monsterous 'Hercules'.  Will mine grow to be so grand?  I hope.
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A quick stop to see the Monarch grove.  
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Thousands winter here for several months, in a small grove of non-native Eucalyptus.  We saw a few hundred early arrivals.
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Time to move on.
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The drought is apparent here.  Lake Cachuma's spillway is dry.  
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Quintissential California in October, Oaks in a sea of golden grass.
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Deer grass by the Starbucks in Atascadero.
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Down the block this blue conifer in the Denny's parking lot.
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Tree mutilation on the way out of town.
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There, coastal fog licking the hills.
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On California Highway 46, you get a brief glimpse of Moro Bay to the south. 
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And so down to the Pacific.
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The Monterey Cypress along the beaches attain fantastical shapes over time.
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A few miles inland, the golden version is pampered and fat.
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Succulent plants have become very popular around Cambria, and they looked happy in a cool-summer climate that has lacked rainfall for the past three years.  This Aeonium nobile was Agave-sized;  I put my hotel key card on one of the leaves to show how big it was. 
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A flawless Euphorbia myrsinites at a motel on Moonstone Beach.  E. myrsinites is a noxious weed in some parts of the world. 
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And Aloe dorothea, red for lack of water.  Residents are not allowed to water outdoors any more.  
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Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, invasive here but most all of it we saw was dead from the drought.  
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This Hebe appeared to be getting water from somewhere;  it was glorious.  
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Dew, and frost-colored leaves.  Sweet.  
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Dew, and fog.  Ahhh.  
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An inexplicably happy Leptospermum in Cambria.
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Drought or no drought, many trees had this mossy stuff draped all through them.  
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The rich guy's castle was amazing.  Beloved took these photos.  I was too busy gawking. 
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Plants in both hands, pleased expression.  I can relate.
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We went on the sunset tour.  It was quite dramatic.
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Nothing like a road trip in October.  
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