Shut Up And Plant: Spring Busy

'Windermere'  Rose

 I still haven't mulched, but some stuff has gotten done, despite a lot of time wandering around gawking at spring beauty.  Some weeks ago, I experimented with one of the volunteer lavenders that sprouted from seed on the front slope by grabbing the plant like hair and cutting off half;  it responded by pushing out fresh foliage and a fresh crop of flowers, looking full, tidy, and refreshed.  

Works for me.  I get a few new lavender seedlings every year in the location of their choice.  They grow for a while and get pulled when they start looking ratty.   Will cut off the top halves in the future, to see what happens. 
 Happy surprise:  the Aloe 'Moonglow' someone kicked over has sprouted four new rosettes from its broken-off center.  The broken-off piece has rooted, too.  This story could have a happy ending. 
 Macro lens fun with Sideritis cypria
 Macro lens fun with Eriogonum umbellatum v. aureum 'Kannah Creek'
 Leucadendron 'Cloud Bank Ginny' stems sometimes twist and loop;  at first I wondered if there was something wrong, its chosen spot too hot or too dry, but no, it's what this plant does, in contrast to the straight, near vertical stems of other Leucadendrons, like 'Safari Sunset'.  A cone looped around where I could photograph it easily.
 Huh.  Multiple cones here.  What's with that? 
 Nearby,  Aloe 'Fire Ranch' has flowers opening.
 A scrub jay has been battling a mockingbird for control of 'Hercules'.  The jay is winning.  He's bigger.  Today I scared him out of the fountain where he was taking a bath.  Soaking wet, he flew a short distance and perched to screech at me.
 Part of gardening at this time of year is admiring the roses.  
Pink Gruss an Aachen
I finally got around to bowl-floating some Hellebore flowers.  You haven't really grown Hellebores until you've floated some in a bowl.  Okay, I'm satisfied.  
 Another happy surprise:  the Magnolia stellata leafed out fully this year.  Last year, recovering from being transplanted, it had just a few leaves.   It looks good now. 
 A different "Dutch" Iris
 A particularly gorgeous 'Rouge Royale'.  This rose can often be misshapen or damaged, though the fragrance is always sumptuous and intoxicating. 
 I got some tomato plants into big pots for the summer. 
 The Agave I got for $5 a few months back, hoping against hope it wasn't A. desmetiana, turned out to be a variegated 'Blue Glow'.  Yessss!!!  Best bargain plant ever!
The gorgeousness is beginning:

 'Grevillea 'Superb' continues to be so.  A close up gives a hint at how bees must feel about 'Superb'--an intricate matrix of nectar at every step.  No wonder there is always a cloud of them, crawling through every flower. 
 The Fuerte Avocado is blooming like mad, getting the bee spillover from 'Superb'.  To its right, the neighbor's badly neglected (it's difficult to reach) unknown Salvia look much better---a few months back I grabbed it like hair and cut off half, along with removing some dead stems. It just needed a little love.  Next winter it can be cut back harder and will look even better. 
 Of course there was a little plant shopping this week.  I eyed the five gallon size of Centaurea ragusina very carefully twice in the past few weeks, but managed to say "no".  Spotted the one gallon size this week and went for it.  The San Marcos site has high praise for this silver-leafed plant.   If only it had blue flowers--can you imagine?  They are yellow. 

Also in the next photo is a lot of volunteer Alyssum, a bit of the poor Abelia 'Confetti' that I still haven't found a place for, and Lantana 'Cosmic Firestorm'.  The Monterey Bay site has a mad-passionate ode to this wild plant. Wow, and I thought I got besotted with plants.
Mmmmm, silver!
 The Centaurea got a place near the koi pond next to three 'Silver Stone' Leucophytum browniis.  'Silver Stone' is a very dwarf selection.  The original grows to the size of a tumbleweed;  'Silver Stone' to the size of a head of cauliflower.
'Cosmic Firestorm' is planted down in the gully garden near 'Springfire' Metrosideros.  I did plant things this week, not just buy them. 

The 'Icee Blue' Podocarpus was getting to a plant-it-or-lose-it state, so it went into the gully, too.  
Getting tired in that pot.
 Okay, there you go, your very own dirt.  Good luck, baby.  This is a very slow grower, maybe 6" a year.  Slow is okay.  I'm good with slow.  The wall will shade its roots during the worst of summer.       

Another plant for the gully garden, another purchase:  Ceanothus 'Valley Violet' is a more compact plant than the usual shrubby Ceanothus, 3x3 or 4x4.  It called, and I answered.  
 It's said to be very tough.
 In the ground, behind 'Cinco de Mayo' and in front of the pond-cleaning hose. 
 'Valley Violet' is planted next to one of the 'Bishops Castle' roses.  Speaking of which,  first flowers of the spring.  This has proven to be the best performing Austin pink I've ever grown.  Quick repeat, very fragrant.  Big grower. 
All the Hippeastrum bulbs got moved to the edge of the bed in front of 'Cinco de Mayo', freshly moved to the gully, and 'Bishops Castle'.  Some are pushing flower stalks;  nearly all are pushing new foliage. 
 A 'Rose Rhapsody' nearby
 View from the top:
I moved a Quercus agrifolia volunteer seedling;  This one is down at the lower end of the gully.  I hope to shear it as a tall shrub for a number of years.  This can be done, thanks to evolution--in their natural (non-human-overrun) habitat, young Q. agrifolias are repeatedly browsed by deer, which is like being sheared. 
 I've not thought of it as the big 2018 "project", but rehabbing the back gully garden has been the "project".  

An uphill neighbor had the big Euc overhanging the gully cut down, I paid to have seven weed Palms removed, and the new neighbors in the back cleared out most of the rest of the weedy jungle back there.  That made working on it again worthwhile as large falling debris and shading out from the jungle is no longer a problem.  Most all of the plants have very low water requirements, and feed either native butterflies or hummingbirds.

Yet another gully garden inhabitant, the 'Red Splendor' Eremophila is finally blooming.  I caught a hummingbird sipping nectar from it.
The largest oldest Callistemon 'Slim' needed restaking, which I did with a tall aluminum pole that spent the first part of its life as a window shade rod in the living room.   'Slim' is at least 8 feet tall and was flopping.  It's also full of flowers, and now the bees, hummingbirds, wren tits, bush tits, and common warblers are in there.  It's a very bird-friendly plant.

In the veggie garden area, a new small Rhodanthemum 'Marrakech' as a companion for the new Gerbera Galvinea.
 A family member's Salvia clevelandii, the Tagetes lemonii 'compactum' that wasn't compactum, and an impulse purchase Phlomis also gully garden inhabitants, are all doing well.  I cut the Tagetes to nothing in order to move it.  They transplant pretty easily. 
 Still have plants to find places for, and yes, mulch, but spring is underway.  Must shut up and get back out there and plant.
Hey, got through a springtime post without a single photo of Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird'.  Well, almost...


  1. Hello dear Hoover Boo,
    When I visit your blog I have the idea walking in a botanical garden. So many special plants and
    flowers. I am getting a little a bit jealouse. My little garden is a swamp at the moment because of the
    heavy rains we've had. Enjoy the beauty your garden is bringing you!!
    Have a wonderful day.

    1. Well, I am jealous of your rain! We hardly got any this rainy season and now the rainy season is over. Soon you will get spring and have beautiful flowers and then I will be even more jealous.

      Have a beautiful day, Marijke, and best wishes from California.

  2. HB, I am very busy with the garden too! Our fall is like spring after the horrible summer months, everything resurrects. Your roses look stunning! 'Rouge Royale' is just gorgeous! Happy gardening!

    1. Isn't it wonderful when summer is over? Ours looms ahead. :(

      Happy gardening!

  3. Great to se updates on your garden as always, especially now that spring fever has arrived there (we're still waiting here). It'll be interesting to see the shape of MoonGlow once those new sprouts get bigger.

    1. I wonder too what Moonglow will look like. We shall see, unless someone kicks it over again. I think I will put a big rock in front of it.

      Spring Euphoria Syndrome is spreading fast. Enjoy (soon)!

  4. Wow. So many interesting plants. I discovered your blog via Kris P, and would like to follow. You’re growing a lot of things I can grow here in Australia.

    1. I love Australian plants, as do our birds and bees. Do you have a blog? I would love to see your garden.

  5. You are such a good gardener getting so many plants into the ground this week. Yellow birds are welcome in my sight anytime. Seeing all this action makes me want to do more. It was 29F here this morning. Still waiting for warmer spring weather. Love seeing all of your blooms and plants.

    1. 29F!!?!?! Yikes. But surely it won't be long, you'll be out there having fun, too. My fingernails are full of mud, shoes are ruined--all the usual good stuff. ;^)

  6. A tour through your garden, even virtually, is always a joy. You've prompted me to get out and chop back my own volunteer lavender, currently looking like a gangly teenager. The rebirth of the broken aloe is wonderful - this is at least the second time I've heard of broken aloes (and agaves) with resurrection stories. The multi-coned Leucadendron is VERY interesting - I've yet to see that anywhere else. My reaction to the variegated 'Blue Glow' agave? Pure unadulterated envy.

    1. I was so surprised at how well the lavender responded. Good luck with your teenager!

      I wasn't sure what the broken aloe would do, thought it might just die. It could be the Aloe's luck that we didn't have much rain this winter--it might have rotted otherwise.

      I think me getting that variegated BG was destiny. It waited for me for months.

  7. The gorgeousness of that variegated 'Blue Glow' is given an extra, um, glow by the low, low price -- and it's only going to get more good-looking. Congrats!

    It must be a great relief to have the eucalyptus and palms gone, from the fire risk p.o.v. alone. But new richness in the gully will make it an exponential leap forward; fun to anticipate. Best wishes for mulch spreading with a minimum of struggle.

    1. The reduced fire danger is a big big thing. In addition, another neighbor just cut down almost all the palms on her property. That was a happy day.

      Hoping I made the right choices for the gully. Time will tell.

  8. I'm trialing that centaurea and ceanothus VV this year as well. What a coup on that agave -- you win!

  9. Oh things are coming along splendidly at Casa Eden Hoov. You've been productive ! My only pink Austin (Mary Rose) is long gone after being taken over by Dr Huey. I loved that rose but never replaced it. My one and only pink rose now is Charlotte Armstong, and she and I will never part.

    1. Mary wasn't so satisfying here--spring flush was magnificent but she never wanted to bloom much after that.

      'Charlotte Armstrong' is a splendid rose! I wish I still had mine. Crown gall. :( Is she gangly for you?

  10. I don't even know where to start. So many cool plants and amazing photos! 'Blue Glow' and 'Yellow Bird' are my favorites this week but there are so many close seconds and thirds that I really can't get started down that path.
    Weird how the agave sprouted up out of the center like that... and before I forget, I should really make a note to flat some hellebore blooms this spring ;)


Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Popular Posts