Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meanwhile, Down in the Suburbs...

The two greenhouse posts Country Mouse posted here and here really are a tough act to follow. And with those views and those sunsets, and now a greenhouse, who wouldn't want to be a Country Mouse?

Then again, we've had some excitement here as well. Just after the last rains, I wandered around near the plum trees and saw the strangest mushrooms ever. At least 6 inches high, straight up, and with a little puddle on top. Then gone a day later. Where did they come from? Will they come back? So much to learn.


My own plantings are also enjoyable. Above, Eriogonum arborescens in the middle, with a newly planted Chaparral Current (Ribes malvaceum) to the left, the mystery succulent along the edge of the bed, and an Artemesia a little further back. Considering that just 14 months ago, that whole area was covered with concrete, I do think we're making progress.


On the other side of the house my view from the breakfast table. The graceful Festuca Californica nicely contrasts with the lush Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spatacea) and the first poppies. In the background, the Ceanothus is starting to green up and setting flowerbuds.

The scene near the fountain is a little surreal, with the Japanese maple planted by the previous owner showing some pretty fall color while the succulent in the pot is not following the color scheme and looking more purple than ever. Hummingbirds love the other succulent that's in bloom right now, so I'm just leaving the scene alone, clash or no.


I did actually mess with my succulent arrangement a bit: Combined the plants into 2 pots, turned over the empty pot, and placed the saucer on top. Added some sand (important!) and water.

I heard about this simple bird bath arrangement at the class I took with Acterra, though the speaker there places the saucers with sand and water just on the ground. I'm following the advice from Las Pilitas and elevating the saucer to give the birds a better chance at escape should one of the neighbors' cats swing by. The saucer has been surprisingly popular, especially with slightly larger birds such as house finches who don't like the hanging bird bath as much.

So, yes, I don't have the views, and I won't have a greenhouse (no room, no room!). But there's much to enjoy even in a suburban garden. The birds, the native plants greening up, and small surprises such as the Sidalcea malvaeflora (Checkerbloom). This new arrival, just bought in October, already out some blossoms. I hope that means it will do well ... Maybe I can collect some seeds and Country Mouse can propagate the plant...Once the greenhouse is up.

8 comments:

Country Mouse said...

Lovely goings on! - ceanothus is also beginning to bloom up here. How are your manzanitas? Mine are blooming already, I have to go for a walk and see them. But mostly I am curious about the sand. Should I put sand in my birdbath? Or not in the birdbath but in a saucer for drinking water? Is it for their digestion? Won't it get dirty with stuff falling in? You are most welcome to come up and propagate cuttings when the greenhouse is up. I plan to have a kettle in there too - what good is a greenhouse if you can't enjoy a cup of tea in it with your fellow mouse?

Town Mouse said...

I have no idea why the birds like the sand. I think it makes the bath less slippery. I don't worry too much about it getting dirty, we're trying to simulate what's happening in nature... One woman at the workshop said the birds poop in her birdbath, but they don't seem to do that with mine.

Christine said...

Well you know what's better than having a greenhouse? ... Having a friend with a greenhouse! Your garden is looking as lovely as ever. I love the Festuca's dramatic pose! And the birdbath- such a brilliant and pretty idea. Much better than Las Pilitas' garbage can lids!

Michelle said...

The mushrooms might be shaggy manes (coprinus), the caps digest themselves from the edges up, weird stuff.

The year and a half old garden has come a long ways in such a short time, it looks great. And I love that birdbath, I think I'll have to put one somewhere around here, thanks for the idea.

Pomona Belvedere said...

I agree, you should be very pleased with how your garden is coming along, it looks good even in this less-dramatic season.

And I love the idea for the simple but beautiful bird bath. I do hear people say that birds don't indulge in their birdbaths, maybe the sand provides something that imitates the wild, something birds recognize or feel comfortable with.

Barbara said...

TM - your garden looks beautiful! I love the Eriogonum.

I am going to add sand to my saucer birdbath. I get some birds in it but not many - even though there are lots of birds in the bushes.

Lookin' good!

Gail said...

Hey there Town Mouse! I think you have much to feel good about~~You've worked hard and created a lovely garden...That is interesting about the sand~I put larger, flat stones so the birds have a rough surface to perch on in the birdbath. gail

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love the mushrooms (always fascinating the number of sizes, shapes, and colors that mushrooms come in!) and the big clay pots.