July First Views (Country Mouse)

It's time to join in with Town Mouse's First Views meme - you can join in too - link to your post of photos of your garden, wide angle shots of garden areas on or around the first of the month -- HERE. And do read her First Views post, which you'll find at that link.

Oh so much to catch up with in the garden! Since getting back from vacation I've spent much of my garden time battling the pool which had turned to algae soup in my absence. Finally it's getting usable.

These shots remind me of those pictures of models with no makeup on, the ones you see in the supermarket checkout lines in the tawdry newspapers.

With just a bit of weeding, rolling up of hoses, and placing of chairs things would look a lot better. But - all in good time.

July on the Central Coast of Califorinia, on a ridge 930 feet high and six miles inland. Lots of seeds for the birds, and vegetation drying out - for the fire season! I'll have to cut back a lot of dead and dry vegetation that I might otherwise leave around for the critters. But the clarkia and toyon and chamise are putting on a great show, and a few other things are in bloom too.

I'm skipping the chaparral areas of the garden this time as I showed them in last month's post. Let's start in the pool garden.

Pool garden - north border - messy and lovely to my eyes. The clarkia have been exuberant - local natives. Can't wait to harvest and share their seeds.

Pool garden west border - some honking big weeds (Madia saliva - native but really ugly I confess)  in there but overall looking nice.

Pool garden Keckiella cordifolia, heartleaf penstemon,  not local but California native, hosting something, not sure what...tiny caterpillars. Some moth? Hope it's a native critter! These are in the far corner of the garden along the little path to the door down into the north garden.

Pool garden seen from door into my room, potted myrtle in foreground. Clarkia catching late rays of sun in the background. And the pool that has been taking up soooo much of my time this past week plus. We're still talking about converting it to natural plant filtration but - not yet awhile.

Here's where we sit after tending the pool! This is the greenhouse patio we both laid last year, a little area between my room and the pool fence Wood Rat built, and the greenhouse Wood Rat built. We love sitting here to catch up on our days, in the evening where this is a pleasantly shaded area, overlooking the south garden and beyond.

And here is the view from the chairs. The area behind the tastefully arranged hose was enclosed by a rabbit fence till a few days ago, but we took it out- there is nothing in there to interest the rabbits, and the deer have not been by in a long time to prune the large coffee berry plant that volunteered its services in the middle of this section or the coyote brush to the left. They never eat coyote brush actually - And nothing seems to like the deer grass (gift from Ms Town Mouse). You can't see but the blue elderberry on the right is full of dark blue berries and a few blossoms. The birds are loving it! This garden area is a canvas with a few daubs on it and it would be nice to make it more pretty next spring. We can sit and think about that over an evening beer. One thing it needs is a proper edging of rock - or something - the edging that is there was just a temporary marker.

In the south garden, this is "experimental bed number one" - planted with 99 percent local natives I propagated, and now in the summer of its second year. I had wrapped the bed in rabbit fencing (2.5 ft hardware cloth) and recently removed it also. As a result, absolutely nothing happened! Everything is old and dried out now. The Madia elegans dominated and crowded out the other plants and got rusty mold besides. Next year I won't plant any and will weed the ones the resprout so there aren't so many of them. I'd cut back a lot of this but there are things breeding in there, and you can't have butterflies without all the earlier phases of life. And overall I like the messy profusion of it all.

In the south garden, this is the succulent bed area next to the house windows and under a high 6 ft wide deck. It faces south and a little west. I planted lots of our local needle grass here - Stipa cernua, nodding needle grass. It looks so messy now they've all sprouted. My garden designer friends would tear their hair out over this. Even I can see it's an aesthetic disaster. But as I write, sitting by a window that overlooks this bed, about 20 birds or more have been feasting on the seeds, mostly sparrow type birds. So now I'm a happy camper.

Last time I showed the south facing chaparral slope so this time I'll leave it out - here is a view south from the south garden, looking over the chaparral to distant ridges, showing the toyon blooming abundantly this year, just gorgeous.

Jump to back of the parking area. You can see where Mr Wood Rat has marked out where he's going to build a simple garage (built like my greenhouse with a mulch floor) to keep out his namesake critters! They've been living in his truck engine compartment. He was driving to work the other day and one popped out and ran across the windscreen! I had to remove the hot lips salvia that lined the back of this area because they created cover for the rats. :-(. Setting sun looks lovely through the madrone though, doesn't it? That fat pale thing near its foot is an old roll of erosion control matting we never used. I think I'll just roll it down the hill and let it continue to rot in peace.

North garden, viewed from back of the parking area roughly. Gone to wrack and wruin! Hard to get perspective on this downward sloping area fringed by tall mature trees.. Next year - this area comes under more management. This year I'm keeping the thistles and other major weeds down and - too late on the grass - argh! so many weedy grass seeds gone into the ground!

The terraced garden (renamed from wildlife garden)  to right of parking area. Soap plant blossoming in there but you can't see very well.  Ribes indecorum lighting up the right side - summer deciduous when not watered. Lemonade berry still green on the leftish. These are all planted and not locally native. I regret planting the non-native Ribes as now I don't know what is sprouting wild - the native one or one of my garden ones. But - sigh. They are pretty.

Potted mock orange, Philadelphia lewisii, in wildlife garden - - renaming it "terraced garden" - since all my place is rife with wildlife :-). It's an area that used to have sheds we removed, and terraced more neatly using those interlocking breeze block things. 

Path down the east side of the north garden, to lower sheds and corral. Coast live oak tree trunk. I pick this area over for weeds regularly, as it's near the path. One small area of satisfaction in my gardening life.

A glance into the redwood grove. We may one day thin these baby redwoods out. They may mostly have sprung up in the past sixty years - Not sure. The grove is right of the path down to the corral. To the north of the north garden and corral, the valley is clothed in mostly young redwoods and continues down, through other properties, to the creek, a mile or less down the slope, and they continue beyond, up the other side of the valley and etc...  The road along the creek was a logging road at one point in history.

My dad's cottage is to the right (south) of the terraced garden, and south of the cottage is our driveway and this garden - we call it hummingbird hill, because I'm attempting to supplement the gallons of syrup my dad feeds to the hummingbirds daily with natural sources of nectar. I have yet to find many things that grow here. Penstemons won't. Red hot poker will - those pale stalks are red hot poker flower stalks, finished going to seed. I don't see them resprouting, which is good.  Matalija poppy - not called "the fried egg plant" for nuthin! - often has three bees at a time feasting on the "egg yolk" of the big white blossom. Don't plant this unless you have room, and don't mind it spreading. Mexican sage also thrives on this hill. This is an area where I want nectar-rich garden plants, not necessarily local natives. Only those that won't naturalize or hybridize with the local natives, of course.

One day I'll do a sort of map of the property so you can see how these parts relate to each other - I realize it's difficult as I jump around from area to area. But I hope you've enjoyed the tour, and I hope next month you'll see the model with eyebrows trimmed and some makeup on! Thanks for coming by - I'll do my best to return the visit soon!


I do really like the "wilds" and colors. So much to see and that is quite a lot to garden. I love how you have lovely flowers and natives around the pool and then you move to the hills and redwoods...what a beautiful spot you have there.
For the hummingbirds? Our sunbirds also like aloes and Tecomaria. I'm working on extending their menu. But ours don't get 'fed', they must battle the nectar robbers at the flowers. The weavers just bash the flowers off, to get at the nectar.
Anonymous said…
Wow! That first picture reminds me of a monet painting, just amazing.
Town Mouse
Anonymous said…
That's quite the little redwood forest! I hope you don't thin them a whole lot. They do look probably no more than 60 years old, but that's not to be sneezed at; it's all the adult years of an average human.