Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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October Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Only one of my plants is blooming today, but it's certainly blooming profusely. This is my native California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense). Although the flower petals tend to look white in every photograph I take of this plant, they're actually lavender.

I do have other garden photographs to share today, even though I have no other flowers.

I bought several new plants this month, but this is the only one that's a species I've never owned before. This is a native lace parsnip (Lomatium dasycarpum). Also visible are a foothill beardtongue in the lower left corner and some California golden poppy seedlings in the upper left.

Fall has officially arrived: we had our first major rainstorm of the season yesterday. It flooded half the yard and prompted me to hastily transplant a mock orange and a California fuchsia to get them out of the two inches of standing water. I've been pleasantly surprised, however, to see that most of the standing water has drained away today. (Last January the majority of the yard remained under standing water for a full month between late December and mid-January, prompting me to dig a huge drainage ditch that has significantly improved the problem, but not eradicated it entirely.)

Anyway, the new season has provoked some of my plants to do interesting new things. For example, my yawning beardtongue (Keckiella breviflora) had lost all its leaves to survive the rainless summer - many California native plants do this - but now it's leafing out again.

And you know that TV commercial with the wilted cartoon plant that perks right up and stands straight again when it's watered? Well, in real life, plants that recover from wilting don't often do it in that way. When I bought this native blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) in July, it had a brown, semi-woody trunk. Shortly after I put it in the ground, that trunk bent over so far that the top of the plant was resting on the ground. (This was probably due to transplant stress.) I watered it and tried to take good care of it, and the plant responded well - but not in the way shown in the TV commercial. Instead, it sprouted a thick new green trunk that is now taller and thicker than the original brown one. The original trunk is still resting on the ground behind the new trunk.

The blue elderberry is the leafy, upright plant in the middle of the picture. There's a large deergrass to its right, a small deergrass to its left, some barely visible sedges behind the small deergrass, and a narrowleaf milkweed lying flat on the ground in front of the elderberry. (Yesterday's rainstorm knocked over the milkweed.) The yellow-green leaves in the lower left corner are golden currant, which is starting to turn yellow-leaved for the fall. Semi-visible behind the golden currant but in front of the small deergrass are a California wild grape and the mock orange that I hastily transplanted yesterday from the puddle on the other side of the milkweed.

Here's another view of that same corner of the garden: golden currant, California aster, deergrasses, Utah serviceberry, Fremont's bush mallow, and blue elderberry. Look, the bush mallow has buds at the top! (It's the pale plant at front and center.) It might be in bloom for the November Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

This is the diagonally opposite corner of the garden, under the Western redbud (not shown). In the foreground are California golden poppy seedlings, unidentified volunteer bunchgrasses, and a small bush monkeyflower. In the background are deergrasses, the golden currant, blue flax, rosemary, blue elderberry, coffeeberry, pink currant, and a volunteer gray pine seedling that I transplanted from the front yard.

My blue flax (Linum lewisii) hasn't changed for the season, but I think its odd foliage is almost as interesting as flowers.

Lastly, here's a particularly utilitarian view of the backyard, showing my big black compost bin (which Susan gave me for my birthday in July) and the drainage ditch. The redbud tree next to the compost bin is now almost as tall as me. The silver-leafed plants with rocks around them are white sage and a new silver bush lupine - replacing the old silver bush lupine that bloomed last May but died in August.

Tags: native plants, photographs
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