Planting a wheelbarrow (and a pair of boots) with local natives.

The replanted old wheelbarrow.

I'll write another time about the many sprawling larger projects in progress and pending about the place, but today I want to share something small, complete, and very satisfying: replanting the old wheelbarrow with some local natives plants I've been propagating.

Earlier this year I managed to grow paintbrush, Castilleja affinis in the mix. I apparently didn't take many pictures of the spring-summer planting, but here you can see the tail end of the Clarkia rubicunda, from June of this year...

How the wheelbarrow looked in June. 
(BTW the Clarkia rubicunda was blooming into mid October on shadier and moister parts of the property!)

Not looking so good now!

Cleaned out of all but two dudleya and a sturdy sedge.

I decided to take a risk and put plants that like partial shade into the wheelbarrow for a fall planting. I can always wheel it to a more shaded spot if need be in spring.

Heuchera micrantha on left, Iris fernaldii at 11 o'clock, sedges yet to be identified, and Dudleya lanceolata, all locally native and grown from local wild seed (or descendants' seed). See below for complete plant list and notes.

Here you can see some sedges and heuchera more close up.

The layout, plus addition of a broken duck flowerpot. I don't claim to artistic merit in the layouts but I'm trying my best. 

The complete plant list is as follows:

Dudleya lanceolata, lanceleaf dudleya, which is native to southern and central California. I find it likes afternoon shade, but maybe that's because I've only been growing it one season. I'll write a separate post about fun I'm having planting these in nooks and crannies and slopes everywhere -- I've only got about a hundred of the lovelies. Their flowers are not very showy, sort of yellow, on the usual dudleya stalks. I'm currently in love with these plants, just for their amazing roseate form.

Epilobium canum, California fuchsia - hard to see in the photos as they are single-stalked youngsters. I just stuck them in because I have them - they won't bloom till late summer next year. I find these do tolerably well in full sun, but they seem to perk up if planted where there's a little respite from the sun and a bit of supplemental water. They grow locally in dry conditions on north-west slopes.

Frangula californica, coffee berry. Okay I know these grow to about eight feet, but I wanted something with a little bit of height and I happened to have a nice one around! I can plant it in the ground later on. Fran Adams always used to say we should think of potted plants as long lasting flower arrangements.

Heuchera micrantha, alum root. Another of my favorites - like a coral bells in appearance. I've been planting masses of these also, on north-facing slopes. And dousing them with deer spray. Deer aren't passionately fond of them but if they are along the deer path, they'll munch them down.

Iris fernaldii, Fernald's iris, slender creamy yellow iris, found mostly only in central california near the coast it seems. Likes high shade. I'm planting it around the place too, and I have a big clump to split up this year, the first one since I started growing them.

Who the heck was Fernald anyway. I'll have to look that up.

OK, according to SPCNI, Iris fernaldii was named "By Robert C. Foster, after Merritt Lyndon Fernald, a respected Harvard University professor of botany." And who was Robert C. Foster? Seems to have been an iris guy. He also named Iris thompsonii and Iris munzii. But here the trail of botanists ends, for this post!

A Juncus probably Juncus patens, not sure. I stuck one plant in a corner - a token design feature to give Height and Vertical Form.

Some sort of Carex, unidentified as yet. I hope next year I can get some IDs of the three or four nice local sedges I'm growing around the place to provide welcome greenery. Some are more tolerant of dry conditions than others, some are tall, some are short. I'm trying to observe them and sort them out, but not with any rigor.

So we'll see how this little assemblage fares over time.

And while I was in the mood I planted my old garden boots, too, just for fun!

Boots with Dudleya in? What a load of old cobblers! ;-)


Brent Morgan said…
I'm interested in how the Dudleyas in the boots survive. Did you put a hole in the soles?
Country Mouse said…
Well, I didn't but the zippers open pretty far down. There's already some holes in the sole and leather - but maybe you're right and I should punch bigger ones! I'll leave it be for now and see how they do.

Thanks for the question!
Town Mouse said…
Great fun! I really like the combination of colors and textures in the design!