Nest Building of Another Sort - with my Daughter

I spent a day off recently with my younger daughter, Mrs. Squirrel of Boulder Creek, who is expecting her first baby.

I loaded up my trunk with various local natives that I've propagated, suitable for her shady redwood forest dwelling in Boulder Creek, which is in the San Lorenzo Valley, same watershed as the plants (San Lorenzo), though some miles away from us. We decided to put the new plants in two different areas.

The first area is a triangular bed at the bottom of the stairs up to the house. It was weedy and in need of sprucing up. Nice sword ferns though, and that strappy leaved plant in the middle is maybe a clivia? A small azalea in the middle I think, and some straggly succulents on the right - not enough light maybe for them. The area gets a few hours of morning sun, as shown here.

So we weeded, and turned up this interesting fellow:

A millipede - Harpaphe haydeniana I think, based on Google searching. I read this: They're brightly colored for a good reason - when disturbed they give off copious amounts of hydrogen cyanide, which is highly poisonous and makes the entire area smell like almonds. We detected no odor so I guess we're not so frightening.

Then we planted some iris, alum root, and seep monkey flower. Here's how it looked after:

The iris is a Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana) but I forget the cultivar name. This is a plant from the native plant sale a while back, or maybe a leftover from the propagation group, that has been hanging around in a pot at my house, needing a home.

Below you can see the iris and the alum root (Heuchera micrantha) which will get small creamy blossoms on spikes, like coral bells, but not so colorful. Still very delicate and nice, and the foliage is very attractive too.

I knocked the iris blossom off when planting it! You can see it nestled next to the stone on the left. Here it is before:

There are other buds so I hope for at least one more bloom this year, and then next year it should be very showy I think. That discarded bloom met with an interesting fate, which I'll show in my next post!

And here is a seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) bloom.

BTW I planted a bunch of the seep monkeyflower that survived the great greenhouse heat disaster in my shady front bed mixed in with the hummingbird sage -- and the magenta and yellow blossoms look really good together.

We went out for lunch at Rocky's Cafe, and to get a few garden supplies. Walking into the nursery the first thing I saw was a display of lemon trees in two gallon pots! "Eureka!" I cried out - and there were indeed Eureka and Lisbon. I decided to go with my urge to get a lemon tree for the pool garden and decided on this Lisbon, both because the fruits are longer and more lemon shaped, and because it was the nicest specimen:

When we got back we set to work on the second planting area. We decided to get some things going just in front of the fence above the slope that is infested with English ivy and vinca. This is a rented home, and so there is only so much a person wants to do. The Squirrels would love to rip all that stuff out. Unfortunately the ivy is everywhere, on the slope above the house as well as below.

In the middle of the fence on the left, in the shade, we put a thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus).

Later on our walk we saw lots of local thimbleberry in bloom, and Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel were happy in the thought that their tiny plant would grow to match these:

Also on a whim, we decided to put three Catalina currant (ribes viburnifolium) plants that I'd grown from cuttings (from plants bought at a nursery some years ago). They were not very well rooted as yet, so we'll see. I think they should take as they propagate naturally by rooting where the stem touches the ground.

Hopefully they'll grow and be espaliered up the fence as a glossy green evergreen backdrop. This plant is native to Santa Catalina island in the California Channel Islands and has tiny flowers that are good for wildlife but are not that visible as garden flowers.

The western bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) and western white clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia) that I planted last time we had a gardening day - over a year ago - are doing very well. Western bleeding heart is locally native in the Boulder Creek area, and we saw some big clumps of it blooming very prettily in the woods. The photo isn't so great, but you can almost see the pink blooms in the midst of the fluffy foliage at the bottom of the fence. We added a couple more I brought to extend the display - but I think they're spreading on their own quite nicely.

Here's the clematis at the top of the fence:

We trained some stems across to hopefully cover more of the fence.

That left only the naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum), and one golden yarrow (Erysimum confertiflorum). We decided to cluster it at a landing on the stairs up to the living areas of the house. The yarrow is on the right.

We put liquid fence on everything, even though they are deer resistant, always a good idea with young plants, and then Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel and their two wonderfully goofy collie-mix dogs took me on a walk along some nearby trails - a lovely conclusion to our delightful day.

On our walk, I saw the largest giant wake robin (Trillium chloropetalum) I have ever seen!

It was a very good day indeed - and my daughter emailed to say all the plants are growing well already!


Terra said…
The Squirrel Family are so blessed to have you for a gardening day, with your bountiful plants and ideas. Boulder Creek has great people living there. Did you say your daughter is expecting her first baby? That is exciting.
luvarugula said…
Sweet piece just in time for Mother's day! Happy Mother's day to you both!
Town Mouse said…
Oh, I love Eureka lemons, and do think it will be a great plant for that spot. Maybe diligent application of tanglefoot will help you avoid the problems with ants (and resulting scale and other nasties) that I have experienced. And I just love Mrs. Squirrel's garden!
Sue Langley said…
After 25 some years of gardening and enjoying it so deep;y, I still thank and bless my Mom for instilling the love in me. You know you're passing on that love and enjoyment to your daughter and how nice to be able to do this so close to Mother's Day when this is special for you both. Best Wishes!

PS That thimbleberry flower is lovely!
Good grief that Trillium is a monster! I love the seep monkeyflowers, and fell in love with a gorgeous specimen during the GNGT. If I can find the right spot, I'd love to plant some here. I also just found my first Thimbleberry on this property too. I hadn't noticed it before as it's drowning in Himalayan blackberry...but not for much longer! ;) I hope all the new transplants do well for the Squirrels. At least the English Ivy and Vinca make a change from the Algerian Ivy that runs amok all over the San Lorenzo Valley, not that I'd want any of them, but as renters what can you do?
Anonymous said…
That is an amazingly large trillium. Don't see that everyday.
Anonymous said…
Such a beautiful area! :)
NellJean said…
What a fun day! Thank you for letting us share it.