GBBD January 2010 - Country Mouse

Things are lush and green here, especially on the north facing slope, and more blooms are popping out. This lot is rather like last month's set, but just more of them. The ceanothus in particular has really burst into bloom. And the miner's lettuce is starting to flower also. As I'm short of time, I'll just show a bunch of pictures this month. [Note: on 1/16, I went in and edited this post to add details] Mostly natives, some planted, some indigenous, and a few non-natives.

Pop over to May Dreams Gardens for other bloggers' bloom days!

Above: Ceanothus "Dark Star"

Above: Indigenous coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis. A female one. The males don't get the fluff.

Above, indigenous Salvia mellifera, black sage. Looking lovely.

Above and two below: indigenous Arctostaphylos tomentosa, probably crustacea.

(I know above isn't a flower but the new manzanita leaves are like tender young flowers!)

Above: Indigenous Blue witch, Solanum umbelliferum (see A Tale of Two Solanums for more adventures with this plant).

Above: Indigenous Gnaphalium ramosissimum - aka pink everlasting, or pink cudweed. A biennial. Found in chaparral, mixed evergreen forest, coastal strand. I've found that it is lovely in a wildlife kind of way, though sticky - then when it dries up it seems like a fire hazard and is frankly ugly. So you have to whack em back and take them to the compost pile. Found in California only.

Above: Indigenous Scrophularia californica aka bee plant or California figwort. Great for hosting caterpillars of chalcedon checkerspot butterfly which estivate there (estivate - like hibernate only in summer.) Pretty much limited to California.

Above: Ericameria arborescens, indigenous native that just appeared in 2009. Known as "goldenfleece" - a chaparral and open woodlands plant, common after fire (or in this case, clearing). Found in California and Oregon.

Above: planted salvia "Bees Bliss" and Duncan who seemed to be snacking on it. Beautiful carpeting salvia. Spreads really big.

Above: Ceanothus Dark Star from another angle.

Ceanothus "Joyce Coulter" - A spreading Ceanothus that is massively happy here. This one is about 4 years old.

Non-native Mexican sage, Salvia leucantha. Last year's growth, almost ready to cut back to make way for the next. Survives with no care whatsoever. Was here when we moved in 10 years back. Hummingbirds love it of course.

Above: Creeping Rosemary and Jumping Duncan.

Above: spires of hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea, and Erigeron glaucus, seaside daisy.

Above: Monkeyflower, Mimulus "Trish."

Above: rosemary that needs to be whacked back or removed for fire safety reasons, and in the distance the Ribes indecorum that is so stunning.

Above: the Ribes indecorum which is so stunning and in the foreground, Ribes sanguineum. Also you can see a bit of juncus and above, a spreading juniper I put in to spill over the parking area retaining wall, as I couldn't think of a native to do the same job. It doesn't really spill, but it's OK.

Ribes sanguineum, pink flowering currant, which is not so happy here. Maybe to warm overall? And miner's lettuce, which is all over the place.

Salvia "hotlips" I think. I got these from Town Mouse who didn't need them. They are not native but they thrive with absolutely no care, and I just whack em back every year so they don't get too tall. They make a nice backdrop to the parking area. Right behind them is a drop-off and a beautiful big madrone tree.

Above, sugar bush, Rhus ovata, Southern California native, said to grow to 8 feet but this one is about 3 feet and about 5 years old. There is one beside it that is not thriving at all - it is so small you can't see it among the miner's lettuce. I think this shrub would be happier on the sunnier chaparral side. Supposed to be fairly fire resistant, too.

Above: Ah, the gorgeous Ribes speciosum, fuschia-flowering gooseberry. It's so happy where it is, in partial shade, with some afternoon sun. It has furious thorns so you won't want it where you have to prune much or walk close by.

I do not make very inspired containers. That's probably an overstatement. Above, non natives: Some sea lavender (aka statice) and some pelargonium (aka geraniums but that's apparently wrong). Again from Town mouse. I am a sucker for plant waifs and strays. Don't let anybody know!

My attempt to make a container arrangement: Sphaeralcea Munroana (Monroe's Globe Mallow) dangling down, very pretty, with locally indigenous Nassella pulchra, foothill needlegrass. There is also some Margarita BOP penstemon and local indigenous California fuschia in there but they are not doing so well.

Another waif, an abutilon that lights up a dark corner, along with some kind of fuschia, not doing so well. The container on the table had a lovely fern but it died back. All from Town Mouse garden overspill.

Above: Cape honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensis. It should have been trained along the utility fence to hide it but wasn't so it just went into a huge bushy shape about 15 feet tall. One of my initial efforts to design and implement a garden, before the native plant bug took hold.

In front Encelia californica, Coast Sunflower - a "mother plant" that I'm fostering from the CNPS propagation group. A Southern California native. She'll be giving us cuttings at some point.
In the background, Polygala dalmaisiana, sweet pea shrub, non native. Trouble free, just sits there and has little lavendar pea-like flowers. Again part of the initial pool garden plan from '05, that was all non-natives.

Above: Also from many years ago, a snapdragon escapee (Antirrhinum majus). Doesn't spread, just hangs out there at the edge of the pool concrete, and reminds me of my mother's little gardens in Glasgow and Liverpool. Behind it the scourge - calla lily. Never plant these unless you want them for ever and ever. I wish they weren't like that as they are so beautiful. They do also seem to foster snails and slugs.

Last but not least, miner's lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata, nestling among some naturalized California poppy foliage. (Eschscholzia californica is not indigenous to our immediate area AFAIK). Miner's lettuce is covering the north facing slopes where we removed the big-old bay tree last spring. Unfortunately many weedy plants are growing among it, and it's next to impossible to weed in there without disturbing the extremely fragile Claytonia. I like how their little flowers seem like a tiny bouquet. It does taste OK but I haven't actually prepared them in a salad. I really should. Maybe this weekend...


Darla said…
Not fair, not fair at all! Everything is so lush and green here, just beautiful.
Lush and green indeed! I hate you now. (Not really, I'm just lost in the throes of the arctic Ozark winter right now, and very jealous.)

Your place is so beautiful, I hope you enjoy it as much as we winter challenged folks do.
Country Mouse said…
I know, I feel for you I do... And I DO enjoy our place and appreciate every moment here. I popped into a few folk's bloom day posts and felt very sorry for the winter-bound folks. But wait till your lush summer when we are in our mostly dormant dry period - you'll be laughing then!
Christine said…
Hello California spring! Noticed a cute little Erigeron face in there- how are they performing? The large-flowered ones seem so much nicer than the Mexican native ones used so frequently.
Rosey Pollen said…
You have some beautiful stuff blooming. I could only dream of things growing in January! Keep up the good work. Nice to see what you have blooming.
Country Mouse said…
Erigeron glaucus does well for me - maybe because I'm coastal (though about 6 miles inland and on a sunny ridge). They do droop a little in the heat and I give them a little extra water but mostly they are drought tolerant. They seem to enjoy the afternoon shade where we are. I haven't tried them out in the open so much, so can't be definitive on that.
Country Mouse said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
I've noticed our Ceanothus budding down here, but no blloms yet. Your's are just beautiful.
Brad said…
Wow, your natives put mine to shame in the blooming department if not every other. Amazing pics of the manzanitas, ceanothus and salvias. And I really liked the miner's lettuce pic at the end. Thank you for sharing.
Jess said…
Geez, does your stuff always bloom this time of year? It isn't spring! We're barely into winter. I have only a few blooms in my whole yard--a couple confused Erigerons and my Ribes malvaceum. Arctostaphylos are threatening to bloom at some point. But everything else is still way, way off!
Nell Jean said…
There are always blossoms somewhere. How nice that it is your turn. You have some beauties that do not thrive here. Thank you for showing us them.
Helen said…
Goodness. I kept scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, and I thought, if I scroll any further I'll be right down in California and can have a look myself! You lucky ducks. Thanks for torturing, I mean, sharing with us.
Country Mouse said…
Helen that's too funny. Really I was just being lazy - I took a bunch of snaps all over the garden this morning and quickly plonked them in. My property is a bit messy. But it'll be fun to look back on to be sure. I also wanted to NOT use any macro shots for a change so people could see - the reality! of the garden beyond the bloom.
Rose said…
What a treat it is to see so many REAL outdoor blooms today! If you have visited many Bloom Day posts today, you can see why we're all jealous of you:) Seriously, your garden is as beautiful as any summer garden I've seen. Happy Bloom Day!
Gail said…
Lush and green is correct, but you forgot to say lovel! It is!...and I am feeling green with envy! gail
Carol said…
What a startling contrast to my winter world! Beautiful lush garden... love the texture and blooms equally. Cheery post! I confess to being quite envious, while at the same time very happy for you! ;>) Carol
Jayne said…
OH this is gorgeous! You are so lucky!
Anonymous said…
I have questions!

1. What are the pinkish flowers in the picture directly below the blue Solanum flower?
2. What are the yellow flowers in the picture directly below the Scrophularia?
3. What is the huge red-flowering shrub in the picture directly below the pink Ribes and black bench?
4. What are the two pictures directly below what looks like potted Sphaeralcea philippiana with a sedge? The first picture shows two pots on a table and two on the ground. The picture below that shows a huge shrub covered wiht orange flowers.
Country Mouse said…
QBC - thanks for your questions. I had a little more time this morning so I retro-fitted descriptions to all the photos! Hope you enjoy.
Anonymous said…
Oh, thank you! When I'd read about Ericameria arborescens I didn't realize how interesting the foliage would be. The Salvia 'Hot Lips' is stunning also.

Unfortunately, though, I think you were cheated when you bought what you thought was Sphaeralcea munroana. I bought the same plant myself, also labeled S. munroana, but noticed how different it seemed from the descriptions of S. munroana. I did some research and found that S. philippiana has been routinely mislabeled as S. munroana, and that my plant keyed out to S. philippiana. I think you'll find that yours does too:
Anonymous said…
Hmm, my link didn't work. Let's try it this way: S. munroana versus S. philippiana
Ginger said…
Oh wow!! All I have blooming are pansies - so I'm jealous!

You have many things I haven't heard of. That gooseberry is so pretty. The blue witch reminds me of eggplant blooms.
Country Mouse said…
Thanks, queerbychoice, for the info on Spharaelcea - Certainly if munroana is an upright, this ain't one o' them. I got this from CNPS too! So it's a South American plant - funny how our right-brain aesthetic sense is informed by our left brain knowledge bank.
I was just in San Francisco this weekend and saw many of the same things you show on your post in bloom there. How lucky to have such a long growing season (does it ever end?)