Country Mouse First Views for February 2013

Ms Town Mouse originated and maintains this First Views meme. We (and you perhaps?) post on or around the first of the month, showing wide-angle views of the garden. It's a chance to take stock, to assess the aesthetics, to think about tasks and the month - or months - ahead. And it provides a record for us to see how our garden changes over the course of the year.

Here at Country Mouse Estate, there is a lot of work ahead - not just weeding, but propagating, planting, mulching, and building retaining walls.

On the 15th I'll have quite a few blooms to show - already the ribes and the manzanita are in bloom, cheering us all up after our grueling California winter. OK, OK, so we're not grueled that much in winter, I know. It's been a strange winter - with bursts of summer between rainy periods. Today was quite summery at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

I've been weeding Hummingbird Hill. Oxalis pes-caprae -- The battle continues!

Looking down the north valley - oops, compost bin could have been cropped! Not doing anything down there this year - as yet anyway - and worried about weeds. Bit by bit, I reassure myself. Bit by bit. Better to make sure the areas that have been cleared remain clear and add to those areas gradually. But I will be weeding thistles and other noxious weeds. The weedy grasses though? - probably not this year.

Recently we had the horse barn demolished - it was getting derelict. Now we have to think about how to use the (now unfenced) corral. You can see a small storage shed that was hidden before. Sugar bush in foreground.

Here in the front bed, you can just about see the two stumps of the poor ceanothus shrubs I had cut down - the baby ceanothus is in that cage between the stumps. This front bed needs work - now there's no shade, so the shade-loving plants are not happy - Heuchera micrantha in lower front. Course it is also winter - maybe they'll come back. I also have Iris fernaldii in this bed and it likes high shade. No afternoon sun on this bed though so they may be OK. I need to get something growing fairly fast here.

We had the demolishers remove the big granite stones from in front of my dad's cottage, so we could make the beds much smaller - to make it easier for cars to turn around in the driveway. I also hacked out all the big woody rosemary shrubs - you can see stains on the walls where they were growing up. I've got lots of pollinator deficit to make up for, after removing the big ceanothus and the rosemary. You can see the basket of Sonoma field stones there on the left. I am so looking forward to the retaining wall project. I have plants for the beds too. Not natives -- just drought tolerant floriferous wildlife friendly plants that my dad can enjoy. More on this in another post perhaps. I'll add natives too - California fuchsia for sure.

Current state of the dry creek bed. Few more rocks added since my post on this. Thinking about plants now. I'm developing a list. There will be more about this in another post!

Another view showing the little hill path. I added a deer grass that volunteered near my big deer grass, and some blue witch - Solanum umbelliferum - that I happened to have in a pot. Blue eyed grass is looking good there too. 

OK, this looks really bright!! But the new mulch will weather soon. I spread this lot in the afternoon. 

The mulch pile - since we had stones delivered I figured it was a good time to replenish our mulched paths. Weeds are coming through with a vengeance! Thicker mulch really helps. I leave a lot of ground unmulched too, for the bees and for birds to forage around in.

Not much going on in the pool garden - been pruning and weeding. But... 

When you look closer you can see lots of the locally native Clarkia rubicunda that is reseeding! I can't wait to see how it looks in June!
And speaking of seeds - I have quite a lot going on in the greenhouse - on two levels which are now irrigated automatically - I love that!! I'll write more about all that in another post.

Hope you enjoyed this peek at some views of our gardens here. So - while Ms Town returns from some travels, I'm kicking things off and providing the Mr Linky gadget below -- Please join in!


Jason said…
The first views meme is an excellent idea. I cannot really participate this month, though, because 1) my resident photographer is away on a business trip; and 2) at the moment all you would see is snow anyhow. Maybe next month, March almost certainly. heiypeq.

Country Mouse Estate (good name) seems to be in an enviably scenic location!
Country Mouse said…
Hi Jason and thanks for leaving your comment - glad you are interested in the meme. I didn't do one last month myself cos nothing much was going on different at the macro level anyway. Snow is interesting to us folk here, something of a novelty ;-) BTW Country Mouse Estate is just the nickname I put there so people were clear which mouse's gardem they were looking at - but now you come to mention it... ! And btw - anybody and their pocket camera can be a photographer - I just do snaps with my iauto mode pocket camera mostly. So don't be bashful!
I really like the way you prepared that bed in the first photo...a lovely way to plant on a slope. And that compost bin is one I use as well in addition to another three bin one with wood. The Earth Machine is what we give to composting class participants. Thank you for hosting!
Country Mouse said…
Hi Ms Butterfly, and thanks for the kind words. I'm enjoying that slope and the informal stairs I build on it - the soil there is very poor, quite clayey, and I have trouble getting things to grow there. I'll keep trying out different plants -- the Mexican sage has grown there unassisted since before we moved in though!
Commonweeder said…
The first view of my garden is just of snow, but having a record of the garden on the 1st and 15th of the month is a wonderful and useful thing to have.
I added my most recent post as somehow I must have added an old one art first. I really love that you can do so much garden work. We are still buried and will be for all of Feb. That little hill path and bed and dry creek bed are my favorites so far.
NellJean said…
Oh, bother! I forgot. Again. I looked back and I did have some 'views' on one blog on the First. Mostly I'm caught up in admiring every little floret on my forced hyacinths while they're coming up in the garden and blooming just as enthusiastically.

I saw the post about ceanothus seeds, too. It is another of those things like peonies and lilacs, that just doesn't thrive here. I admire from afar.
Country Mouse said…
Well that's the beauty of blogging, NellJean - we can admire lots of things from afar - I admire snowdrops and crocuses for example!
Diana Studer said…
your dry creek is looking perfect. With the plants it will be enviable!
Country Mouse said…
Thanks for your comment, Diana - it cetrainly encourages me to STOP freaking twiddling with the dry creek bed! We've had dry and frosty weather recently - I'm awaiting warmer damper weather so I can start planting some babies around there too.
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