Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

I didn't participate in the December or January Garden Blogger's Bloom Days, because the only thing blooming in my garden was the golden currant (Ribes aureum) that I'd already photographed in bloom earlier in December. It's still blooming now, and starting to grow new leaves. On the basis of its performance last year, I expect it to produce many, many more flower clusters in March than the one or two it's had all winter. Oh, and the white flowers behind it are a native weed, Idaho bittercress (Cardamine oligosperma), that I've intentionally allowed to grow, though I didn't intentionally plant it.

This next one is a plant I recently unintentionally bought. In fact, I've unintentionally bought it from two different nurseries now. Both nurseries mislabeled it as the native Munro's globemallow (Sphaeralcea munroana), but based on the information given here, it's clearly the non-native scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea philippiana) instead. The first time I accidentally bought it, I didn't know how to tell the difference; the second time, I mail-ordered it and thus had no way of knowing I'd be receiving the wrong plant. I notified both nurseries of the problem. I got no response from Floral Native Nursery in Chico, but I got an excellent response from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley, which fully refunded my purchase price and notified the grower they bought it from, Cornflower Farms in Elk Grove. Cornflower Farms said it will correct the labels.

So even though the plants aren't what I really wanted, they do have pretty flowers, and they cost me nothing.

This one is an actual native, woollyfruit desert-parsley (Lomatium dasycarpum), blooming with clusters of tiny white flowers. There's also a California golden poppy (Eschscholzia californica) seedling wedged in to its left, with sickly-looking orange tips due to bad drainage.

That's all the flowers I have right now, but I also have a backlog of flowerless garden pictures to post. Here is my blue elderberry in December, wilted from the frost. Every morning in December it wilted like this, but by afternoon the leaves perked up again.

Then in January most of the leaves fell off, and now that half of the yard is completely underwater. It's still an improvement over last winter, though, when the entire yard was completely underwater for much of December and all of January.

This is an example of how not to start seedlings: they are overcrowded and unidentifiable. The only seedlings here that I can identify are the blue flax seedlings (Linum lewisii).

My seedlings in the ground survive mostly just in a narrow strip next to the house, because when the dogs run through the yard at top speed, they leave a few inches of air space between themselves and the house. However, they do sometimes flop down on the ground motionless in direct physical contact with the house, so they still occasionally squish some of my seedlings to death even when the seedlings are within a few inches of the house. I really hope this particular clump survives long enough to bloom, because it's a huge variety of species that will look gorgeous together when blooming: elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum), sky lupine (Lupinus nanus), sand-dune wallflower (Erysimum capitatum), and California golden poppy (Eschscholzia californica).

And this is pretty much the same stuff again, but the species of lupine is different. I got the sky lupine seeds from the levee near our duplex, but this species must have been in the unlabeled seed mix. I think it's arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus).

This next one is springbank clover (Trifolium wormskioldii), which has definitely impressed me. I bought three clumps of it because it's supposed to do really well in soggy clay, which I certainly have plenty of. Shortly after I planted them, two of the clumps were completely submerged by a rainstorm - you couldn't see any part of the plants at all, because they were 100% underwater. I transplanted one to the shoreline to try to save it, but left the other underwater to see what would happen. Continued rainstorms throughout the week kept that plant completely submerged for most of every day for the entire week, although I noticed that the water level did go down far enough for an hour or two of most days that I could occasionally see some leaves poking out of the water. To my amazement, the plant that I left underwater not only survived but spread - it looks significantly happier now than the one that I transplanted onto the shoreline to save it, and also than the one that was never completely submerged at all. I think this plant and I may get along! Now I just have to hope that it also survives rainless summers with hardly any watering.

Over here is my new coyote mint (Monardella villosa), which did not have chartreuse leaves when I first planted it. The leaves are normally dark green with some purple, but they're turning chartreuse for me because of the terrible drainage. I'm hoping it'll survive; winter's almost over anyway, right?

This is a somewhat sickly-looking red yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Heidi') that I recently planted.

And this is my mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) that I transplanted twice this winter, looking for a spot where it wouldn't drown and would have room to grow. (I will move the compost bin when it needs more space. For now, the compost bin is protecting it from being run over by the dogs.) It seems to have tolerated the mistreatment very well. The smaller plant to its right is hairy gumplant (Grindelia hirsutula).

And up in the window is Stardust, supervising my gardening.

She is a weird cat. All day she glares at us sourfacedly from the corners of the room and flinches if we ever try to pet her. Then every night after Susan goes to bed, Stardust jumps on my lap, walks all over my laptop computer keyboard, and shoves her face against my hands over and over, demanding to be petted and purring so loudly that you could hear her from 20 feet away. It's always one or the other: either she absolutely can't tolerate being petted, or she absolutely can't tolerate not being petted.

Tags: native plants, photographs
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