First Views January - Country Mouse

Nice new banner, Town Mouse. Maybe that picture of ice and moisture, and a rain dance, will actually bring us some winter rains! So this is Town Mouse's First Views meme - views of the garden on (or around!) the first of the month. I'm looking forward to seeing each month in my garden, and those of others who join in. You can link throuh Mr Linky on Town Mouse's post here.

As I look at my photos, it is plain I have a lot of work ahead of me!

On the left side of the driveway half way up from the road, the birdbath has been doing great business. Hm. Maybe I should hide the toilet brush I use for scrubbing it though...

Hoses galore as I try to water things every couple weeks - Don't want recent plantings to dry out. This is "hummingbird hill" between Dad's cottage and the driveway. Lots of penstemons, and recently planted local native California fuschia, and a few succulents. Also Mexican sage, which was here before we came.

Dad's cottage, next to our house. Overgrown with rosemary! Somewhere on the list, making this little garden littler! Can't turn around in the driveway very easily. And replacing most of the rosemary.

Front bed to right of path is looking quite nice. Hummingbird sage in bloom there, and seaside daisy. Near the path itself, not shown here, I need to plant more pretty things. Also we need to hide the electrical stuff on the right there, but we can't settle on a good way to do it.

Front bed to left of path, holding its own. Dark star ceanothus. Under it, lots of Heuchera micrantha, Eriogonum nudum, and some Iris fernaldii. Some little fox sparrows were having a good feed in this bed this morning, jumping the soil and mulch backwards with their claws to look for things to eat. The twiggy trees to left and right are a scrubby flowering cherry type tree I think. I keep meaning to give them a good pruning.

Behind the dark star in the prior photo - the steps down into the chaparral, south east and south slope of the property. Needs plantings to the left of the path. Not sure what to try here - very sunny, very steep, very little soil. Monkeyflower grows here.

Looking to the front door and porch from the chaparral stairs. One of those scrubby flowering cherry (or sim) and manzanitas below. I pruned this one somewhat, to let light through to the manzanitas. I want to plant flowering things along the top of this slope, which is just below the flat south garden area, all the way to the neighbor fence. But maybe not this year.

Moving to the flat south garden area, more hoses, more deep watering. I weeded Experimental Bed #1 bed on the left this weekend. So much popweed and other annual pests. But also lots of Clarkia purpurea reseeding, and some naked buckwheat and lots of Madia elegans, too.

The far bed - I'm half way through weeding it. The low green stuff is Madia sativa, native but weedy. I'm taking it out. The coffeeberry shrub is nice though! You can't see the recent plantings - three spreading ceanothus (forget now which cultivar), and 2 bee's bliss salvia. I hope they'll do their thing and spread. I'm hoping to plant bunches of bunch grasses here too, and clarkia - they're all growing nicely in the greenhouse. I just want them to get a bit bigger before putting them out. And I want there to be some rain too!

Looking across that far bed towards the greenhouse patio. Still some shingling to do on this side of the greenhouse. Bit of the new succulent bed visible below the house windows.

OK I know it just looks like some random stones and juvenile Indian Lettuce, but there are a lot of happy little succulents in here, despite the richer soil that was added here before I decided on succulents. I'm leaving the Indian Lettuce, at least for now. It is quite a mat and is keeping nasty weeds at bay. I'll do something nicer with the stones, which are for access. I need a few more too and some nice boulders.

Duncan leading us through the gate from the little patio to the pool garden. I still can't believe I have all these garden areas. I grew up with such tiny gardens in the UK. How'd I get so lucky!

The long bed in the pool garden beside the neighbor fence. Here I am trying some natives and non-natives, hoping simply for a lot of color. Design sense isn't my strong point, as I may have mentioned before. The Monardella villosa may have to go - because I discovered some local wild monardella villosa, and have a few of its seeds in flats - not really doing anything as yet. But I'm hopeful.

This is the corner  between the greenhouse and the neighbor fence. Heuchera micrantha is absolutely loving it here. Also more Iris fernaldii, and some golden yarrow, Eriophyllum confertiflorum, which is proving to be a nice garden plant. I pruned off the naked buckwheat's long stems which were flopping everywhere, and yanked out the thuggish Madia elegans. Shade, richer garden soil - and some irrigation coming through from the neighbor's orchard on the other side all contribute to lusher growth. I've put some yerba buena cuttings here to grow out, in their little liners. This area may turn into a shade house e'er long, if I'm lucky and Rat is ready to build it!

The mound at the beginning of the other long bed, at right angles to the first pool bed above (sort of). Path to the woodland area gate, which still needs a bit of embellishment above it. Encelia californica running wild, and bulb area starting to grow Ithuriel's spear. This area will be flattened and used for the ponds, when we do the natural pool conversion I hope most things can be transplanted.

Rest of that bed, looking towards the pool shed. Wheelbarrow with stuff I weeded/pruned from the sages here. it all looks messy and unformed right now Needs some structure. I hope Winifred Gilman sage will rebound from its pruning and be as stunning in its second year as in its first.

Well that's it. The garden is undertended I have to say. Oh, this month I totally forgot the "wildlife garden" on the other side of Dad's cottage, where I have a lot of ribes, and the woodland valley area. Too bad as some ribes are flowering, including the first of the fuschia flowered ones, Ribes speciosum.

I see a lot of potential and have lots of ideas! Unfortunately, this spring I'll be especially busy with work (work-work as opposed to garden-work). I'm hoping to keep things ticking over, then it's going to be an all out effort come fall.

I'm hoping last fall's hummingbird hill plantings will show some development, and it'll be interesting to see what the succulents do as well. I'm also curious to see what happens in Experimental Bed #1, where I planted a lot of our local perennials and annuals last year - how will they grow back in spring? And - I don't know what might yet pop up in the seedflats in the greenhouse - always a thrill!

I hope you share some photos of your garden, and link to Ms Town Mouse's Mr Linky link!

I wonder how many times I used the word "hope" in this post?


That's funny, you're looking to replace your rosemary, while I'm planting more! I do have bees to keep happy in winter though, and it does bring some nice evergreen structure to the garden, and stability to our slopes this time of year.

You must get a lot more sun than we do, I can't believe your hummingbird sage is blooming, especially after such a cold and dry December. Sadly, I've just spent the last three days annihilating most of our annual native wildflowers (not the perennials though), to control our vole population. Someday I hope we can replant them. I'm really going to miss them this spring.
Country Mouse said…
Well, rosemary crawling up the cottage is just like kindling in the event of a fire, it's so oily. I'm so sorry about the annuals - I don't understand about voles and their values i.e. their likes etc. Which I hope means I don't have to!!
Just lovely! Don't we all see the potential, but your garden shows all the work you have put into it. I have a hummingbird hill, too. :)
Country Mouse said…
Thanks for your encouragement, dear butterfly - these photos are indeed a bit challenging - no hiding behind the macro lens! I see only all the stuff that needs to be done and fixed and ... etc etc etc!
Sue Langley said…
Very nice, Mouse,...I'm watering, too. I look forward to the time when my garden has more full grown natives like your garden has. Love the Dark Star ceanothus. Mine is half the size, but don't you love the blooms?
Country Mouse said…
Hi Sue - thanks for dropping in. Dark Star took forever to start growing, they were small for a long time, then grew quite fast. These ones are between 3 and 5 years old I think.