Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dad's Memorial Garden, Planted


A few posts ago I mentioned I was working on a special little garden and would write more about it soon. Well, I was writing about my dad's memorial garden. My dad passed away in April. We miss him, but how can we feel bad -- 97 years of full life, and an easy passing. Can't complain.

We enjoyed having Dad live in the cottage next to our house. For the ten years he lived there, he fed the hummingbirds, gave 'em as much as they wanted -- sometimes a gallon of syrup a day! I'm feeding them now, much less, and planting hummingbird favorites around the cottage to provide lots of nectar.

As well as feeding the hummingbirds and caring for Duncan, his dog, Dad liked building computers -- lots of them! -- and also taking pictures of birds at the bird bath he could see from his window.

Dad's photo of a visiting black-headed grosbeak. You can view an album of his pictures here: Santa Cruz Birds.
So I decided to add some new plants to the area around the bird bath and put his ashes to rest there.


Dad's memorial garden - work in progress. Ribes nevadense in foreground.

Because I'm filling the bird bath every day or so, I can give this area some extra water. So I'm trying a few plants that need more water, or can tolerate it.

Ribes thacherianum, Santa Cruz Island gooseberry
The soil in this area is not the best -- compacted and a lot of clay. It gets sun from mid morning to mid afternoon, with some shade from trees. I'm growing some shrubs to fill the gap behind the garden, but they'll take a few years to fill in. I'll also tidy up the existing shrubs in a month or two.

Ribes sanguineum, pink flowering currant

Blossom of the pink flowering currant - R. nevadense is similar.
Of course I hope the hummingbirds will enjoy a lot of the plants. Here's a list of what I put in:

Three different flowering currants - from this year's CNPS spring plant sale:
  • Ribes sanguineum, pink flowering currant: Likes partial shade, occasional to moderate water, depending on where it's growing -- can also take regular water.
  • Ribes Thacherianum, Santa Cruz Island gooseberry. Likes part to full shade, occasional to moderate water. Dark pink to white flowers. It's rare in the wild.
  • Ribes nevadense, pink Sierra currant -- the high mountains version of pink flowering currant. Flexible as to water -- can even grow with its feet in water. Later flowering than the others - listed as April to July, and can take sun to partial shade.
Also I planted an Australian Grevillea, because my dad lived in Australia for many years, and hummingbirds enjoy their nectar.

And  a mixture of other local wild flowers both just growing there, and some I had to hand from spring planting, mainly:
  • Alum root - Heuchera micrantha
  • Golden yarrow - Eriophyllum confertiflorum
  • Ruby chalice clarkia - Clarkia rubicundum
  • For late summer nectar, our local California fuchsia, Epilobium canis.
  • Bush lupine, Lupinus arboreus
  • Seep monkey flower, Mimulus guttatus
  • I also planted a tiny coffee berry seedling just downslope - Frangula californica
  • And a wart-leaf ceanothus, Ceanothus papillosus, also on the downslope.
  • Also a mystery sedge which is growing really well in another garden area. it is really nice and green.
Mystery sedge!
Some of what's just growing wild. Rough leaf aster, Eurybia radulina in foreground not blooming yet

You'll have to check back next spring to see what all this can develop into, and its value to wildlife.

And here is Dad's great granddaughter, who used to light up his eyes with a smile. She will surely develop into a great gardener, if I have anything to do with it!

Helping plant the garden -- my younger daughter and granddaughter

9 comments:

Terra said...

Your dad's memorial garden is turning out to be a beauty and very appropriate for a bird lover.

Ginny said...

What a wonderful lasting memorial!

Queer by Choice said...

I'm sorry you lost your father, but glad he got to meet his great-granddaughter first. The memorial garden is such a nice way to commemorate him!

Jason said...

Your dad sounds like a wonderful man, he clearly had a big influence on you. I'm sure this garden will make a very fitting memorial that will help you remember him fondly every day.

Country Mouse said...

Thanks for your kind words - I realize what a gap he leaves more as the days pass by - he was quite a presence indeed. I hadn't realized that watering the bird bath and garden would also be a time to remember Dad - I'm glad it is so. And yes, it was so great he got to meet his littlest great granddaughter!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

April has been so busy for us, that I've fallen behind on everyone else's news. I am so very sorry to read that your Dad passed. I love memorial gardens, both as a place of honor, but also as a place to reflect. Your Dad's garden will be particularly special as it keeps it close to home, and was a place he enjoyed for so many years. Sending a big virtual hug. I hope you'll post occasional updates of the garden through the seasons.

Diana Studer said...

catching up, my sympathies on the loss of your father. Yours is a more daily, intense, practical reminder - with the feeders and the bird bath. I find myself thinking - I must tell/ask my mother that ...

There's an Australian Grevillea? in our next garden. Don't like it, was going to remove it. But we have sunbrids there - need to check first if it is a nectar plant. But I'd rather have indigenous, so many choices and such a smaller garden.

BTW mediterranean garden blogs from Chile - have you come across any?

ryan said...

A nice selection of plants. Should be a wonderful way for him to have a continued presence in your garden.

SaveSutro said...

What a good way to live and to be remembered!