Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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July Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Most of my blooms for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day today are the last straggling remnants from plants that had previously bloomed much better, so I don't much feel like photographing them in their current state. My foothill beardtongue had completely stopped blooming for a few weeks, but now it's reblooming with a few more dark blue flowers. Both my sticky monkeyflowers are still producing a few new flowers each, but only on the new growth at the tips of their branches - the flowers all burn away in less than a week. Also, their latest flowers haven't been in their original shades of red; the recent flowers have been in increasingly ugly shades of faded red and sometimes orange. It's as if they're trying to revert to the pastel peach shade of the locally native sticky monkeyflowers, but since my red ones aren't a cultivar, just a naturally occurring red-flowering shade from southern California, I'm not sure why the red color would be so uninclined to stick around. I also have a few lingering narrowleaf milkweed flowers, though the stems have all flopped over horizontally, so the plants as a whole don't look too great. And I have some lingering California golden poppies in bloom, though not nearly the profusion I had in May.

I have two new intentional blooms today - that is, blooms on plants I'm intentionally keeping alive, and that haven't bloomed before. One is sort of cheating, because the plant - my new native bush mallow (Malacothamnus fremontii) - bloomed the day after I put it in the ground. But at least I've managed to keep it alive so far. (Actually, I bought two, and I think one of them might die. But the one in bloom seems healthy still.)

The other new intentional bloom is a bit of a disappointment. A rather weedy native, northern willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum), volunteered last fall, and ever since then, I've been watching it grow and looking forward to seeing it bloom. Little did I guess quite how tiny its flowers would be! Each petal is about one millimeter long. I still rather like it as a foliage plant filler, but its blooms are essentially invisible.




I also discovered a first bloom on another volunteer today, which enabled me to finally identify the species: Indian mock-strawberry (Duchesnea indica). It's a non-native, imported from India. Identifying it led me to decide to pull it out.




I've also identified a new native volunteer: a baby cottonwood tree (Populus fremontii). I hadn't planned ever to grow this species, but the fact that it showed up for free makes it harder to resist. It will eventually become far too big a tree for our current tiny yard, but I might take it with us when we someday buy a house. (And you can see one of my lingering California golden poppies near it, too.)




And most of the new plants I purchased this month seem to be doing well, despite the lack of flowers. I bought a new foothill beardtongue, a new California fuchsia, and four plant species I've never owned before (plus the bush mallows I already mentioned. The first is the native sacred datura (Datura wrightii) that I previously mentioned when someone dug one of them up from my front yard and stole it. The remaining one still appears to be in good health.




Another is the native white sage (Salvia apiana). I was worried about this one for a while, because several of its leaves were burning off in the first few days after I planted it. So I watered it daily for its first week, and now it seems to have stabilized.




My new lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus 'Variegata') doesn't look like much, but I can smell it from several yards away.




And my new rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has already survived longer than any of my numerous previous efforts to grow rosemary. Apparently the secret to growing rosemary is to stop buying it from reputable nurseries and just grab a damaged, potbound specimen from Kmart.

Tags: native plants, photographs
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