Farewell to Spring

Elegant Clarkia in Late Spring
Spring in the Town Mouse garden has been absolutely amazing - and I'll be sorry to see the garden move toward summer dormancy. But a summer dry climate means a less showy garden in the summer months, as some plants go dormant and others stop blooming. For now, though, we're enjoying the late spring blooms, the butterflies, and the finches that come to the sages that bloomed earlier.

Gilia Blooms in Late May in Part Shade
 I saw this Gilia, an annual, bloom in a friends garden in full sun about a month ago, but in my garden it's just getting started. The plants are tall, almost 4 feet. But how delightful to have another stopping place for butterflies and pollinators so late in the season.

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
This showy milkweed, with each flower almost an in across, is one of my favorite later bloomers. It stays dormant until April, then gets tall and has impressive, large leaves. Then the buds, the bloom, and by July or August it's time to cut the spent flowerstalks to the ground. I've seen this milkweed in Yosemite and the Los Padres National Forest, so it's definitely from around here... And yes, I have seen a Monarch stop over for a look last year.

Ithurial's Spear (Triteleia)
I have several different Triteleia in my garden. It's super difficult to source the bulbs from California growers, so I just ordered them online - and they seem very happy. The Ithurial's Spear above is just waking up in its shady location - other bulbs of the same plant in the sunny front garden have long stopped blooming. Location, location!

And finally, just to remind myself of how wonderful Monkey flower looks in the spring, here are 3 different cultivars. Each summer and fall I question whether planting them was a good idea - they get brown and rather ugly. But spring comes, and yes! Amazing! This year I'll try the "cut to 2 inches above ground" approach (usually I cut by 1/3, leaving 2/3 of the plant in place). I'll keep you posted how that works. Many of my Monkey flower cultivars come from Annie's Annuals, so if I kill some plants, I know where to get more. 

Monkey flower 'Jelly Bean - Fiesta'

Monkey Flower 'Jelly Bean Red' 
Monkey Flower (Locally Native, a Gift from Ms. Country Mouse)