A Productive Meandering Day in the Garden

I wanted to start with a pretty picture, and I also have a question: What kind of clarkia IS this? it's our local one and for some reason I can't settle on what it is.

Like a lot of gardeners I'm sure, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, which leaves little time for blogging. So a lot has been going on in the Country Mouse garden that will forever go unblogged. Much of it is unbloggable. I really don't have a lot to say about weeding, though I should - it's a worthy topic, know your enemy and all. But it also requires research - which is why blogging is great - makes you really look into things so as to have something to share. But when it's a case of researching weeds or actually weeding them out - well, the primary activity tends to win.

I also haven't had much free time to spare for enjoying other folks' blogs - and, as in the the world of Jane Austen, the unexeptionable blogger makes regular calls on other bloggers to inquire after the health and activities in their gardens and gardeners' minds. Then only one can receive visitors to one's own blog with good grace. Thanks to those who have been coming by regardless, and I'll be around more frequently soon I'm sure - as we enter the hot later summer months when - oh, wait, all I'll be doing is pruning!

Yesterday, I looked at my propagation graduates and felt moved to get them in the ground. Sure it's the wrong time of year - but I'd be as well water them in the ground as in the pots. And some of them are in rather small digs - deep 4 inch pots. I have mostly alum root (Heuchera micrantha), naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum), sticky monkey bush (diplacus aurantiacus), and lupine (Lupinus arboreus maybe, blue variety). So I cleared more of hummingbird hill and popped them in. Pop is a bit of a euphemism. The ground is like concrete.

I felt a bit bad about clearing the little woodland madia who were happily occupying the space:

... Along with sundry nasty weeds. But after trying to leave some, I decided that they are not going to perish for want of 20 square feet of territory next to the cottage. They just look weedy.

I also pruned up the coyote brush that grows there, so you can see its legs. I love doing this.

Above you can see the heuchera I planted in the shade of the coyote brush, and the leggy stalks of the eriogonum nudum. interestingly, they are all simultaneously, no matter where they are, in what size pot or in the ground or in sun or shade - starting to show signs of finally blooming - their little white puffs will soon appear on the ends of those long weird stalks.

In the course of the day, I also pruned the Dark Star ceanothus back from the path, cleared a patch of land in a shady spot under oaks to put the cold frame to start some cuttings in, then changed my mind when Wood Rat agreeably put up a shade cloth over the place where it currently is, between the greenhouse and the neighbor fence, knocking up a few two by fours to hold said shade cloth! Now I'll plant something in that shady spot under the oaks instead.

I cleared all the plastic pots and trays from their piles on and around the cold frame (where they were somewhat out of sight) and put them neatly in the space under the cottage's back porch (aka my dad's "attic"). As I was in that BOP area (back of porch - like the well-known penstemon from Las Pilitas nursery) I decided to tidy it up too. There's a fair bit of junk back there, but it's organized junk now. Wood and wire stuff that will be useful one day. Then I wheeled some piles of yard clippings from their intermediate storage pile to their final storage pile in the corral, down the hill, where they'll sit till chipped or burned.

On the way back up I thought - I'll just untangle that plastic chair on the path over there from the blackberry vines. They're native blackberries, Rubus ursinus, so I tolerate them, I like them really because I enjoy clipping things back. I may be an editor rather than a creator in the garden anyway. They had grown all over the chair and I like to sit in that chair, but haven't had much time to do so lately.

This chair sits on the path around the north valley, which Wood Rat gnawed with his sharp toothed shovel a couple years ago. It's all overgrown, mostly with weedy grasses, and, well, any number of other weeds. But I walk the path now and then, tearing my hair that I didn't get to the grasses at all this year, and making big plans.

But then I saw the bull thistles popping up here and there down the slope. So there was another hour, or maybe two, who knows, pulling bull thistles, italian thistles, and another kind of thistle - all invasive weeds, and all nasty to live with. Last year I did a good job pulling these, and the year before - there are much fewer this year. I couldn't let all that good work go to waste by letting these go to seed. The flower heads were forming but - not even blooming yet.

And of course while I was down there, I pulled other stuff too. But I had to leave more. I had no bag to put the chervil in, for example, loaded with velcro coated seeds, and all the rest of the common weeds that are going to seed too. I did take out all the very invasive Sticky Eupatorium that I could find, though, and felt good about this limited success, and also felt good that I hadn't stripped the land bare, which I can tend to do once I get all fired with puritanical zeal about weeding. I felt good for the wildlife that has some vegetation to live in and eat.

Thinking about seeds reminded me that there are a lot of common madia flowers going to seed. They are very satisfying to harvest. When the flower withers, you just pluck it off and a circle of fine fat black seeds sits in pockets around the perimiter of the - calyx? One of those words. One day I'll be a botanist, I swear. So I took a break from the outdoors and processed the day's harvest. Sometimes I look at flowers as merely pre-seeds. I've been looking longingly at the lupine seed heads that are not yet ready to pluck:

Oh and Wood Rat vacuumed the pool and drug away the huge bit of waste plastic which is a solar pool cover (aka bubble wrap stuff) and we spread out the new one. The old one was shedding little contact lense bits of plastic everywhere, and was ripping when you tugged on it. BTW I wrote to Paul Kephart of Rana Creek about advice on hatural pool conversion and he replied. I may blog about that another time.

So it was not really till late afternoon that I got to the planting of hummingbird hill, and it was 7 pm when Wood Rat started hovering and muttering about it being time for a beer, and I quit before planting the last five plants to go have a shower, and contemplate my haphazardly happy Saturday.

Sunday (today as I write) I have other and very enjoyable plans, but I hope I can get home in time to finish the planting, and to start some cuttings of creeping snowberry and yerba buena at least. I have plans for using them on that south east slope that is partly on our land and partly on our neighbor's down the hill. But more of that anon.


Town Mouse said…
I'll put my money on Clarkia purpurea, which is the clarkia we saw at Tassajara. And now, I'm off to prune the plums!
I'm not sure about your Clarkia. C. purpurea certainly seems plausible, but I also wonder if C. rubicunda might not be a possibility too?

Sounds like your days in the garden go a bit like mine. I head out, with a particular plan, and by the time I'm distracted by weeds, watering, transplanting etc., I finally make it around to what I planned to do, just as the sun goes down ;) I must admit, I'm very glad that we don't have Sticky Eupatorium here. Nasty stuff!
Country Mouse said…
I'll make a point of trying to key out the clarkia, with these two hypotheses in mind. Always helps to have a hypothesis! Yes, I love the meandering days. I'm a lot more "here now" than when I'm executing against a plan!
Tmouse I have the junky flowering fruit trees to prune and am not exactly sure how. They are pretty deformed from years of neglect, so I'm going for character and whimsy!