February First Views, Country Mouse

It was a foggy morning when I went outside with my camera to take photos for Town Mouse's meme, First Views. Please visit her post, and sign in to the Mr Linky thingy there to join in! It's fun to see wider garden shots each month. I like to step back and assess the state of the garden, and think about what to focus on in the upcoming months.

The ceanothus shrubs are bursting into bluish pink buds and starting to bloom. In this photo is Dark Star. The wartleaf wild native ones are also bursting into bloom. I'm restraining myself from showing a closeup. You'll have to wait till bloom day!

I decided to ignore the garden areas near the house this time, and the north side areas, and instead take you on a walk along the road, which bisects our property on the south side.

Below Rat is on the road, approaching our driveway which rises up to the right. We've been walking Duncan. You can hardly see Duncan in the distance. I'd like to get that bank on the right blooming one of these days. I've planted thimbleberry and seafoam shrubs along the edge of the redwood grove, local natives, where scrub oaks and hazels are also growing, and creeping snowberry, and wild rose, and hairy honeysuckle. I hope this spring they all put out some blossoms. Sometimes fairy lanterns and soap root grow here too. I've got them a-propagating and am hoping to be able to get enough bulbs to start making this area pop with color and liveliness in spring. But not for another couple years. Getting bulbs going from seed takes patience. Three to four years.

Turning to our right, we can see the rest of the bank around the small redwood grove behind dad's cottage, and our corral fence. The cute shed there is our neighbors'.

In the pic below, we've continued along the road a little and are walking past our driveway on the right. I've weeded this area pretty well but I want more pretty things growing there. It's a tough area. Dry shade, and the bedrock is close to the surface.

A little later when the sun came out, I rewalked some of the route. Just around the corner from the above pic, you can see the below area well thinned out, and the little oak tree I pruned last year.

Continuing on the road... Sorry for the "jumpy weather." We're back in the foggy set of pics again! This area was also thinned, and it needs to be cleared of dead annuals and generally just thinned out again (next summer). I might wait till the rains are done to clear the dead annuals. Haha, like we get rain any more! Well at least Duncan's paws were damp this morning - he is my moisture meter!

All along this road to left and right we have pretty manzanitas, all just growing there by themselves. All coming into full bloom. They are hairy and get chewed and invaded by fungus, but they manage to be stunning anyway.

More manzanitas. Prettification would be good here also, but takes time. Picture does not do justice to the manzanitas, whose twisty deep red-brown trunks and branches are smooth and marvelous.

Below we are looking downhill to the left of the road. This area has been thinned to about 10 - 15 feet in, then left undisturbed. Last year's (local wild) annuals also need to be trimmed back and also shrubs starting to grow too close to the road edge. Lots of monkeyflower here, and black sage.

Below is another pretty manzanita, this one on the lower chaparral side. Might be a different species. They interbreed so it is hard to tell. Most have burls but some seem not to. Maybe they're just younger.

This is the end of our property, and we've turned around. Now we are walking east, and the house is up the hill to the left.

Almost the same shot, when I came back about half an hour later.

I spotted some blue witch growing in the middle of the muddle of the upper chaparral slope. I got some seedlings to start this year, then they all died. I'll have to try again. It's pretty but gets eaten to the stems. I think it could be a pretty garden plant, with a little protection.

Looking downhill again, the wall of untouched (by us) chaparral just past the thinned strip, misty redwoods (not on our property) in the distance. I don't know when this area was last cleared if at all.

Below, again looking at the lower chaparral, fog starting to push back towards the ocean, which is on our right, six miles off. We have to cut back the chamise, adenostoma fasciculatum, which is the most flammable chaparral shrub we have. I don't remove it, just whack it back, let it grow to a couple feet or three. It's so pretty and it is a dominant part of the natural mix here, which is known as chamise chaparral, actually. I so want this whole roadside to be a pretty showcase of local natives. But it is a loooong strip.

OK, just one parting shot of the somewhat messy pool garden and greenhouse, just to let you know that Rat is planning to tack on an addition to the end of the greenhouse for dry storage, and where the black pots are there on the right, to build a shade house. So the greenhouse and the shade house will be something of an el shape. This will provide a wider range of growing conditions for my propagation efforts. The greenhouse gets too hot, but outside of it, critters munch the seedlings, so I want an area out of full sun and with some critter protection. I hope it will be a nice place to sit too.

OK, off to register with Mr. Linky on Ms Town's post. Why don't you show us your garden shots, too? Any time this week or so is fine, we're not going to insist on meeting any deadline... Happy gardening!


This was a lovely tour. Although it is winter, I can see the beauty in your place. You have a very nice respite there in your place to dwell. I will need to do some long shots for next month's view...
I've read that Blue Witch can be a challenge to grow. I have here that volunteers near the house. I wonder if hardwood cuttings in winter would make it easier to propagate? The challenge is mine is surrounded by poison oak, so I'm not sure I want to get close enough to find out! ;)
Thanks for that nice walk down your road! What a beautiful piece of land. The California plant communities are so different from each other, but also so similar. You have a much wider variety of plants than we do here.
NellJean said…
I always enjoy a walk along a road seeing the wilder parts. Good idea to build a shade house.
NellJean said…
Seedling Camellias, you ask? Easy peasy. You plant the seeds under some similar shrubbery, wait five years, move them to a better spot, wait eight more years and there you are! Blooms unlike any others in the garden.
Sue Langley said…
It's so nice to see your situation there and the views you must have! Do you watch the fog roll in and out?

With so much that is natural like you, I mostly let it stay like that unless there is something that bothers me. Like the other day, I had Larry cut out a brushy live oak that was smothering a flannel bush. Now that it's gone I can 'groom' it a bit and wait for Spring when I hope it shows its gratitude.

A beautiful place you have and nice for walking the dog!
Town Mouse said…
Great views! I didn't even realize for a moment what the first view was showing. Lovely how the fog made those pictures so peaceful-looking
Anonymous said…
Hi TM,

How about some succulents there on the side of the road just beyond the driveway where the bedrock is near the surface?

Mr. Mouse