Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Stardust, Hamster, and Gardening

After a 53-hour workweek this week, I'm now at Susan's place for nine days in a row. I brought Stardust with me, and she's sequestered in the guest bedroom to keep the dogs away from her (except when we let them in for brief periods with intense supervision to get them used to each other). I also introduced Stardust to Susan's hamster. She seems confused by it, and sometimes slightly afraid of it. She definitely doesn't have any interest in attacking it - but that's to be expected, since this is my pacifist kitty who objects to killing bugs and who shows absolutely no interest in the guest bedroom's fish tank, either.

The hamster doesn't seem the slightest bit afraid of her, either.

Anyway . . . due to my 53-hour workweek, I never got around to mentioning that last weekend, I drove to a native plant nursery in Chico and bought more plants. Here's how the back yard looks now. At the far left, up against the fence, is one of the new plants: a new golden currant. The nearly bare, vertical green sticks a bit further right are another new plant, narrow-leaved milkweed. Slightly further right, the tiny clump of reddish leaves near the fence is an older plant, the California grape that I bought in August from the same nursery. Also along the fence line, a bit further right but of similar size to the grape, just green instead of red, is the Sacramento rose-mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpus) I ordered online a few weeks ago. Further right than that, the large clump of grass is the deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) I bought in August, and the two smaller clumps of grass in front of it are new deergrasses I bought last weekend. A fourth, very small new deergrass clump is directly in front of the milkweed.

My California grape (Vitis californica) hasn't grown much since I bought it in August, but some of its leaves have now turned very, very red for the winter. (And this isn't even the 'Roger's Red' cultivar that is supposed to turn red.)

Here's a new blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) I bought last weekend. In the back yard picture from earlier in this post, the elderberry is hidden behind the largest clump of deergrass.

My new Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae) is also hidden behind the deergrass.

My native strawberries (Fragaria vesca 'Golden Alexandra'), ordered online a few weeks ago, are now starting to turn red. I haven't tried eating any yet, but supposedly they're very good, despite being quite a bit smaller than typical storebought strawberries.

In this picture, the strawberries are the yellow-green plant on the left near the fence. The larger, darker green shrub on the right is the coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica) I bought in August. And the log in front of the strawberries marks the place where my silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons var. collinus) seedling had been growing. Unfortunately, it drowned during the last rainstorm.

Here's a new California fuchsia (Epilobium canum), replacing the one I bought last August that may or may not be dead. It lost all its leaves, but I'm not sure whether it died or just went deciduous. Anyway, the new one has leaves.

Over in the side yard, here are the Mojave buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) I ordered online a few weeks ago and a new saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis) I bought last weekend.

This is a closeup of the saltbush. There really isn't enough space for it anywhere in the yard at all, and besides that, it will grow up to be hideous. I needed to own it, however, because it was in an important part of the original vegetation around here, and for the sake of having something that would actually grow well, to reassure me that I'm not actually incapable of growing anything. (Or, well, anything but redbuds, coffeeberries, poppies, and deergrass. I suppose all of those have been growing quite well.) Too bad I'll probably end up having to prune it to death at some point. Well, maybe we'll buy a house in time to transplant it before it outgrows its space here. A house with a lot so big that a huge, hideous native plant can be easily hidden in a back corner and never seen again.

I also bought a new golden currant (Ribes aureum) to replace the one that was broken off at ground level in the last big rainstorm. I was hoping to switch to a pink flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) this time, but the nursery was all out.

And I bought a milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis), although at the moment it just looks like a few bare sticks - it's lost all its leaves for the winter.

And my California golden poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are sprouting everywhere, in all different sizes because I spread seed from several sources at various times throughout the fall.
Tags: native plants, photographs
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