Riparian Recreation

Life has taken me out of the garden quite a bit lately, as it does from time to time, but I'm glad to be posting about a recent small project that has been fun - and could be dangerous!

You may recall our long term project of converting the backyard swimming pool to a natural plant filtration type system. Unfortunately it will costa plenty and has to go on the back burner for this year at least. So in the meantime I thought I'd play with some local native plants that might play a role in the wetlands area where the filtration would go on.  

These are plants I gathered last year from a neighbor's creekside property that lies about a mile or so from our house, and they were languishing in pots for quite a while. So I planted them in a 5X3 bed between the greenhouse and the neighbor fence, next to a hosebib, and under a shadecloth which Wood Rat installed some time back.
The planting is somewhat random - I'm driven more by curiosity than esthetic values I have to admit.

I also put in a couple other local natives I've propagated - seep monkey flower (the yellow flowers above), and (these just needed a home) naked buckwheat. Those are in the upper left corner in the photo above and lower middle.

 Near the hose end are some little five-spot (Nemophila maculata), California native annuals I bought from Goldrush Nursery. (In my garden these are "OK exotic" plants because they are not locally native and I don't believe that they will naturalize here.) They're kinda floppy right now cos they also languished in their tiny pots for too long but they are looking a bit more hopeful. The ones I put in sun did not survive but these in the shade are doing OK. Maybe it's the extra water.

The hose is lying there leaking benignly into the soil to keep it wet. I move it around every day or so.

The pot in the lower left of the photo above is one of the Mystery Seeds I sowed in December or so, from my local natives collection. I have no clue what it is. Maybe it's a weed. Someone said it might be Horkelia. I'm hoping it will flower and make my life easier.

So here they are and here is just a little about each one.

Probably Cyperius eragrostis, tall flatsedge? -- Native but could be invasive - hence the danger!! I have a whole flat of seedlings...

Probably Equisetum hyemale, scouring horsetail. Another one that can take over. These are new sprouts from a transplanted clump. Interestingly, horsetails are in a class of their own, and they are also grouped with ferns.

OK, this fern is not a wetlands one - Dryopteris arguta, coastal wood fern. But it tolerates a wide range of conditions. This clump was taken from our north valley, but it also grows in the sunny chaparral too, with just a little shade. A goal of mine is to learn how to propagate ferns from their spores. Also here is some redwood sorrel, Oxalis oreganum, also transplanted in a clump from the creekside area.

Iris leaved rush, Juncus xiphoides, a true wetlands plant. I'm looking forward to seeing what this does. Another plant with wide distribution in Western states of the U.S..A.

I just love these western coltsfoot leaves. Petasides frigidus disappears totally much of the year, then puts up round stems topped with lovely globes of florets, then these leaves.
Western coltsfoot inflorescence - photo near the place I took the clump for propagation.

This unknown type of currant was growing in the path on our north valley. I'm hoping it is a native pink currant but I have no way to know, now that I"ve planted all these nursery bought ribes. Dang! There is a native grass growing in it which I just left there - it's Bromus carinatus, a common brome here.

Asarum caudatum, wild ginger. I'm glad I've resisted bringing in ginger from elsewhere. I hope I can use these in many areas - if the deer will leave them alone. Propagation effort begins when I can collect seeds! They have lovely leaves.

I added a label, wetland habitat - so related posts can be more easily viewed in the future. I hope!


ryan said…
A nice little group of plants. I really like a lot of the native seep plants lately. I had the yellow seep monkey flower for a while, but it faded away, while the Mimulus cardinalis has done really well for me. I don't know if there's any of it in your area, but it's a really nice one.
Anonymous said…
I'm a little confused by the inclusion of naked buckwheat and five spot. I wouldn't consider either of those to be wetland plants. Did I miss something about them?

Cyperus eragrostis is one of my more persistent weeds. I kill it on sight. I kill it partly because it's the ugliest sedge I've ever seen but also partly because it's believed to be allelopathic.
Country Mouse said…
The naked buckwheat grows natively close to the other plants, just upslope a little so I consider it riparian around here or in proximity to riparian. The five spot just needed a spot. The currant is also not wetland. Basically I had a set of plants that needed more water and more shade than is generally available in my garden, and some orphans that just needed to go either in the ground or in the compost! My interest is in how each plant grows in a garden bed, with me it's all a bit experimental and haphazard right now! I take your warning seriously about that sedge. I may just yank them. I don't want something that is going to crowd out everything else in sight - but all wetland plants seem to have that reputation. Here it is not a weed because we are on a dry ridge. Mim. cardinals is reputed to grow in our county, but I haven't seen any. I'll keep my eyes open though!
James said…
I like your primordial garden with the ferns and horsetails. It should be fun to watch what the plants do. I have parts of the garden that look "nice" but I'm probably more interested in the castoff corners that are the little laboratories where cool plants get to do good things. Good luck with taming the potential invasives. We need more brave people like to you see if these plants are really problematic.
Brent said…
I consider that horsetail plant a pest here in Southern California. Not only is it poorly cared for (think sheared) but the neighbors are often surprised to find it growing up in their yard once it escapes its confinement.
Country Mouse said…
Primordial garden - I like that! - yes, I'm more of the laboratory mouse myself. My one ace card is that it is natively dry here so I don't think these nasty invasives can spread beyond their artificial water source - at least that's my poker hand and I'm hoping it works out. We shall see anyway - it's a start. Thanks for coming by.