Rooting for Growth in 2011

Happy new year to all readers and co-bloggers! Here's a toast in compost tea from the mice, wishing you a year of bounty in your gardens and blogs -- with a special nod of appreciation towards all those who are creating native plant gardens, both for their unique beauty and for their support of wildlife and biodiversity!

It's a foggy rainy New Year's morning as I write,

and all of nature seems quietly appreciative of the life-sustaining water seeping steadily and deeply into the soil and subsoil and on down into the aquifer below, to provide water to our neighborhood well.

Duncan was certainly appreciative of his little rain coat, and I appreciated the chance to contemplate the upcoming year on our morning walk. Above, I am looking towards the lower part of our property, where in summer I spread a thick layer of arborists' wood chips (showing up red). I'd like to use the corral more this year. It would be great for a nursery area, fairly shady and cool, for the graduates of the greenhouse seedling program.

Above we are just a little farther along the road, and you can see our driveway off to the right. I'd like to make the driveway more colorful this year, though I don't have specific plans. I hope the Holodiscus discolor I planted earlier this fall, grown from cuttings of local wild plants, will thrive and liven up that part of the property with its creamy white blossoms. You can just make out the protective wire around them, to Duncan's right. They haven't changed since I planted them. But I know a lot is going on underground.

Most of the new fall plantings in the pool area look pretty much as they did when I put them in, like this Verbena lilacina "De La Mina":

They look healthy enough (with the exception of two non-native salvias that died - Salvia darcyi), but there's not much growth topside. All the growth is going on below decks as it were, as they establish a healthy root system, and I'm looking forward to their spring burgeoning a few months from now.

Above we pause on our walk to take a shot of the lower chaparral side of our property, which extends across the road from our house. I'd like to make the cleared area edging the road prettier this year with some of the Madia elegans and Mimulus aurantiacus I'm propagating in the greenhouse. The pink Tuscan style house dimly seen in the distance is at the end of our road. Its owners kindly hosted our neighborhood holiday gathering this year.

You can see some vivid green of new growth in the photo above, and indeed, as I am wont to say, we don't really have winter in our region - the rains truly bring on the onset of spring. Look - Manzanita blossoms already!

These are the local native manzanita, which I believe is Arctostaphylos tomentosa var. crustacea (though I suspect we also have some A. tomentosa var rosea - to be investigated!)

And other wild natives are sprouting everywhere - for example Bee plant, Scrophularia californica:

And gold back fern, Pentagramma triangularis:

And - EEK! It's ba-ack! Sour grass, Oxalis pes-caprae (sunny photos were taken yesterday).

Yet again I resolve to root out all the sour grass before it sets bulblets, in the ongoing battle to eradicate invasive non-native plants, AKA WEEDS!

In fact, I'm positively bristling with new year's resolutions this year, too many to list. I wonder what garden resolutions you're making this year?


Welcome back! A moist New Year's morning looks like a perfect start for 2011. Good to see all the young green portent waiting for the right spot of the season to start the visible growth.

We share at least one weed that's done more than hang out, growing roots: In the sunny patch of morning before the rains began for us I attacked our own stands of the pesky oxalis. Someone mentioned that our local botanical superstar promoter a century ago brought it to to town--a story I'm going to have to research. I hope she wasn't responsible for all of it in the state!
Happy New Year Meeces! Evil oxalis...caught a little here last year, I'm hoping it stays away this year. We have too many garden resolutions to count...just waiting for the rains to subside long enough to get back out in the garden without sliding down the hill! In the meantime, with the rain, the mushrooms are popping up everywhere. Speaking of which, don't forget that it's the Fungus Fair in Santa Cruz this next weekend Country Mouse!
Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina' is one of my all-time favs in terms of its versatility, drought tolerance, and low-maintenance in the landscape. Did you grow this from a cutting? I've got six of these planted along the driveway, but how fantastico it would be if they're easy to propagate from cuttings!
Country Mouse said…
Good luck with the oxalis, James - sounds interesting about locating the culprit who brought it here!

CVF do get in there as soon as possible - you may be able to get ahead of the scourge. And yes, I am looking forward to the fungus fair - hope to see you there!

Camissonia, I haven't tried growing the verbena from cuttings - so far I've only tried growing our local wild natives. But I did put a bunch of catalina current prunings into a bucket intending to make cuttings - then came the rain and etc - but today I looked out and they are putting out roots right into the water! I'll have to have a go - I like their foliage and growth habit. These I just picked up at the nursery in the usual way. If they are happy here though I likely will have a go!

Thanks for dropping by, y'all!