We've been busy around here.
Sheet Mulching the Callas
Talk about invasive! If you live in a Mediterranean climate, I bet calla lilies (Zantedeschia), lovely as they are, and much as I love Georgia O'Keeffe's painting of them, are relentlessly robust and invasive. Rat helped me with this project to clear out a neglected corner of the pool garden -- well, I have to be honest: the entire pool garden is neglected right now. We're going to be replacing this fence, taking the "jog" out of it, so I'm reluctant to do anything long-term here.
I'm not really sure what to put here for the short term - max 1 year. Any ideas? It is shady in the morning and late afternoon.
Retrellising the Dutchman's Pipe Vine - Aristolochia californica
I have no before pictures because I was too ashamed. This vine likes to twine round twigs, and I gave it 2X2 wood. It grew. It languished. I was fearful. We took the wire from around a load of boulders that had been delivered a while back, and Rat straightened it out and attached it, while I carefully untangled the vine from the wooden trellis and pruned it back to the main stems. I was amazed how easy it was. Vines do grow in a sort of pattern I guess. Then I tied up the main stems to the wires with green twine,
and held my breath. But lo, it groweth and looketh fine:
Twine, baby twine!
The Little Plants: Using Some, Admiring Others, And Worrying About a Few
I've been using all the singleleaf onion, Allium unifolium, and bee plant, Scrophularia californica. Planting bee plant is like taking coals to Newcastle, as we used to say in the old country! - They are sprouting all over! But it was a good exercise for a beginning propagator and cheered me on when other things were failing.
I put some Allium on the River of Grass (which is doing OK except the buttercups got munched). No pictures as they don't look like anything. I hope they will light up the river with their pink pompoms.
I also planted the rest of the foothill penstemons (Penstemon Heterophyllus), grown from nursery plants that seeded, hoping they aren't permanently stunted, in crevices around the pink stone stairs that lead down into the chaparral slope. And in so doing I disturbed a bold little Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla) in his home. He kept peeking out to see what I was doing. These guys can change color. He was bright green, but they can go brown. Common from British Columbia to Baja California and east to Montana.
Others I tried in a pot, with some tiny Lupinus bicolor that I propagated from local seed and adore, even though they are fairly plentiful hereabouts. Also some bunch grass in there and bee plant. I want to see what it grows like up here, if it gets caterpillars. The others are totally getting munched by the checkerspot butterfly caterpillars.
My cuttings of Holodiscus discolor are doing well, and I need to figure out when to put them in the larger pot.
But my douglas iris, grown from local seed, are starting to look a bit mungy - yellowish. I think they need more food. I'm not sure if they're getting too much light or not enough. I'm going to unpot a few today and have a look at the roots. The one in front is an iris and the ones behind are something else I know not what. And I don't know what the little mushroom is.
Here's a better photo: of the mystery one:
Any ideas? It must be some extras I brought home from the CNPS propagation group.
Last year, I gathered some seed of hairy honeysuckle - Lonicera hispidula - and they are all sprouting! Come on hairy babies, grow big so I can plant you all over the stumps of the old bay tree and give you to neighbors!
Last but not least, my pink flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) plants, which have been barely keeping themselves alive for a year now, have benefited from this rainy cool weather to leaf out - but what will happen when summer hits! They are in too-sunny a spot I fear.
Postscript: The Greenhouse
It has been raining: the greenhouse has been wet. We can't progress till we get the frame painted. It's dry now so I'm hopeful. Rat does not understand the cultural importance of painting a greenhouse white, but he's just going to have to live with the mystery!