Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - The Country Mouse Extravaganza

Yes, we mice are in heaven as spring awakens our wonderful flowering natives! Here's what's blooming on the California Central Coast, on a ridge at 930 feet or so above sea level, in Santa Cruz County.

It's a very good week to pick as California's Native Plant Week!

Lots of native plant sales and garden tours are coming up - just as a short peek at my immediate locales:- April 21 and 22 is the Going Native Garden Tour, which Ms Town Mouse is involved in orgainzing - and her garden is also on display.  April 21 is also when to hit the Santa Cruz CNPS plant sale and Santa Clara CNPS plant sale - so get out there and Go Native!


Ceanothus "Julia Phelps" graces the bird bath. Still blooming - Dark star has just about finished - these are nursery bought cultivars, very floriferous and loved by pollinators and people alike.


Our native wild wartleaf ceanothus, C. papillosus, is also in full bloom (left) and the flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum) too - just amazing this year! I wonder how big that flannel bush will get? I hope it gets large enough to fill the space - but no larger! They have felty stems and leaves, and the tiny hairs can irritate when you're pruning.


The blooms on this alum root plant, Heuchera micrantha, - a local wild native I'm growing - have been lovely for a few weeks now, changing from white to pink. Lots more are budding out - this one was very early. I'm not sure if I have one kind with variation or two kinds.


Lovely delicate blossom of Iris fernaldii - local wild iris I'm growing.


They are a bit floppy. Did I baby them too much?  They like high shade. These are under a dark star ceanothus - not very high.


Local wild monkeyflower starting to bloom - and be eaten with relish by variable checkerspot caterpillars.


Oh, the cloud of delicate awns blowing in the breeze, catching the light. Nodding needlegrass, Nasella cernua. Another local wild plant I'm growing. Lots of the new babies I planted out are doing well. Rabbits do eat it if they can, though.


"Poppies golden poppies - symbol of our state" as my children used to sing in school. Not the local kind - these are the kind you buy from nurseries. Eschscholzia californica. Be nice to get some of the coastal ones. They are more yellow with orange in the center.
No poet has yet sung the full beauty of our poppy, no painter has successfully portrayed the satiny sheen of it lustrous petals, no scientist has satisfactorily diagnosed the vagaries of its variations and adaptability. In its abundance, this colorful plant should not be slighted: cherish it and be ever thankful that so rare a plant is common.
—John Thomas Howell, botanist (1937)
quoted from: http://www.ucpress.edu/content/chapters/10911.ch01.pdf


The seep monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus, another local native, comes back in pots where I grew it last year. Requires regular water. I love the buttery blooms with their red spotted throats.


Yet another local native that's very gardenworthy, purple bush lupine, Lupinus arboreus, the lavender colored form. When they thrive, they grow big and bushy and have wonderful large blooms. Sometimes they just up and die, and I don't know why.


I love how poppies emerge.


Purple sage, Salvia leuchophylla - still just going gangbusters! Grows natively as far north as Monterey county (just south of us). This one is a mother plant for the CNPS propagation group I volunteer with.


Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea  - has a very long bloom period!


Scarlet bugler, Penstemon Centranthifolius - looks so vivid in the garden - can't get it to show up in a photo though. Requires excellent drainage. I love it! I'm thinking I'll try it on other dry slopes. Here it is on an artificial mound in my garden. Not locally native - I've seen it in Monterey county though.


Another trusty bloomer - seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus. Grows locally on the coast, but not up here on the ridge.


Lovely little violets, local natives that just volunteered in my garden. Viola adunca.


Western bleeding heart, Dicentra formosa - native in the county but not close to where I live. So pretty, and foliage so delicate. They completely disappear when they're done! then they pop up next spring. They pread from stolons, underground stems.


Not in my garden but just down the road - I have not yet been able to grow these from seed. Aquilegia formosa, columbine.



Western morning glory, Calystegia occidentalis. Local native volunteer - covering the toyon. I like it but sometimes I pull it off things if it's smothering them. It is a bit weedy around here.


Blue eyed grass, Sisyrynchium bellum. So glossy and nice. Nursery bought. native almost all over California.


Blue eyed grass - with syrphid fly - local pollinator.


Soap plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum - starts opening around 4 pm. This photo taken around 7 pm, so it's a bit fuzzy. Spidery and interesting plant - not easy to get a good picture though! This is a wild native volunteer.


DON'T PLANT A PEST - I will remove this Spanish lavender. It doesn't take over - yet. But it definitely spreads. I've seen it sneakin around my place. What's your experience of this one? Other lavenders, I haven't seen spreading.


Nursery bought local native - coast dudleya, Dudleya caespitosa. It's just budding now, not flowering. I love this one's red stems


Here's another coast dudleya - stems not so red.


And this is Dudleya cymosa, rock dudleya or canyon dudleya. Vivid orange-red flowers, actually these ones are nearly done blooming but I think more are on the way. Also nursery bought and native in most parts of California.


On to the fun succulents that are not native. I'm not sure what these are any more. I need to brush up. All these non-native succulents were given to students at a class at the Stanford cactus garden as cuttings. They have that violent pink color I'm not sure I like - but I'm willing to try.


Similar little iceplant with softer pink flowers. Succulents are good near a house, in fireprone areas. I hope these will spread where they are planted - and no more. That was the assurance!

Well that was quite a trip I must say - and I forgot one or two native bloomers, oh well.

I'll log on late to the garden blogger's bloom day site hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens every 15th of the month - thanks Carol! Better late than never. And if you haven't seen Town Mouse's bloom day post, please scroll on! It's magnifique!

9 comments:

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Good grief, your garden is so far ahead of mine. It's amazing the difference elevation makes around here. My S. leucophylla aren't blooming yet, although they are starting to throw up their flower spikes. Monkeyflower is just barely starting. Looks like I'm at least two weeks behind you though. I do have Iris fernaldii all over the slope this year though, it looks like a blockbuster year for that Iris here. Are you watering yours? I find the ones here that get more water grow quite a bit taller.

As for Lavender stoechas, I'm in the process of ripping ours out now we've started on the front garden revamp. The previous owners planted it in front of the house, and I've been finding volunteers in the orchard, up near the chicken coop, and in front of the bee hives (400 feet away!). It seems to really get around. I'm going to stick with the Provence lavender, or the Goodwin Creek Gray, they seem much better behaved.

Swimray said...

I had California poppies come back from last year, after a mild winter - they were planted from seed last year, and were a mix - yellow, orange, cream, and some of those you like with the dark orange center. Californians doing well here in Virginia!
-Ray

Queer by Choice said...

I can't believe you have a soap plant blooming already! Mine hasn't even put up a trace of a spike. Maybe it's just going to skip blooming this year.

And I wish my seep monkeyflowers would come back like yours did. I think I actually drowned them.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! Too bad about the lavender, I've never seen mine reseed (I have angustifolia).

I'm echoing Ms. Curbstone Valley Farm, your garden is very far ahead of mine!

Town Mouse

ryan said...

Nice bloomiferous collection. I have am I. fernaldii, but it has never bloomed yet. It looks like a nice soft yellow.

Country Mouse said...

Hi Ryan et al - it likes high shade. Mine didn't bloom the first year but are blooming away great now. The ones where I water less are a little more sturdy - the floppy ones are in the entrance beds which get more water. So - that may be why they are floppy, Clare.

Jeff said...

Hello,

A while back you posted a soil mix recipe. I would like to try it out. Can you confirm the units of measure for the fertilizers. I imagine that they are by weight and not volume but want to make sure.

Thanks,

Jeff

Country Mouse said...

I had responded to jeff via email - not noticing this comment was "awaiting moderation." In fact, I was guided to use volume of peat, vermiculite, and perlite. But now I'm not so sure that was right. If the peat is fairly dry, I think it works out to be about the same either way. However, I'm going to be rethinking my mix to avoid use of peat - I'm hoping to get a lot better at composting and use that instead of the peat component, and I'll also use sand in the mix. A future post no doubt!

Country Mouse said...

I had responded to jeff via email - not noticing this comment was "awaiting moderation." In fact, I was guided to use volume of peat, vermiculite, and perlite. But now I'm not so sure that was right. If the peat is fairly dry, I think it works out to be about the same either way. However, I'm going to be rethinking my mix to avoid use of peat - I'm hoping to get a lot better at composting and use that instead of the peat component, and I'll also use sand in the mix. A future post no doubt!