Seed Season, Rest Season

Later summer is a restful time for California native plant gardeners. Many plants have done their work -- flowers pollinated, seeds set -- and are taking their own break. Like the Clarkia rubicunda I made a banner out of for this post.

Yes, 'tis the season when we smirk say to our color-loving garden friends, "Brown is a color too, you know."

Flowers of naked buckwheat, Eriogonum nudum, gently browning

Mr. Woodrat helped me harvest the top halves of the dried-up Clarkia plants. Their seeds are exploding like sparks out of a riverboat funnel. Well, in my imagination anyway.

I can't wait to run my fingers through the silky seeds hiding in here!

I've spent some hours going through my seeds, those I collected this year as well as in prior years. This year, instead of sowing into seed flats -- which always encourages me to sow way too many seeds even if I do subdivide them -- I'm using 3" and 4" pots to start the seeds.

This is a good start! Shade loving plants on the right, sun on the left.

I'm growing several species, maybe 40 or more by the time I'm done. I'll talk about which ones in another post or two.

I'll also be putting some seeds in the fridge to "stratify" before sowing. Mostly shrubs. I'm debating whether to hold off on the shrubs (so they'll be ready to sow around March 2017) or just stick 'em all in the fridge now. I hate to wait!

I'm happy to say some of the plants I'm growing may take root in the native garden at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, and its nearby Pilkington Creek restoration, as well as at Jikoji Zen Center up on Skyline Blvd. I'll grow to share.

But even now -- thanks in part to a mild August (mild until today, that is) -- California wild fuchsia, goldenrod, and even some Clarkia rubicunda are continuing to bloom in shady nooks and somewhat irrigated parts of the garden...