Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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May Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

It's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day again, and the garden has peaked. The wildflower meadow in the side yard that I showed off last month is completely gone now, and I've been digging out the Bermuda grass underneath it. Some plants are still at their peak, and a very small number haven't reached their peak yet, but the majority of them have passed their peak. No matter; I have photos from all throughout the past month, and nearly all the plants have looked great at some point in the past month.

I'll start with some plants that are winding down. The little garden I installed alongside the patio last summer  no longer looks as good as it did when I took this picture. The native annual mountain garland (Clarkia unguiculata) is not entirely dead yet, but there's a lot less of it now than there was in this picture.

It was lovely while it lasted. It clumped around the large rocks because the rocks prevented our dogs from trampling it to death. Luckily I had the foresight to include a considerable number of large rocks for precisely that purpose. You can't even see the rocks at this time of year, because the mountain garland and a few smaller wildflowers such as bird's eye gilyflower (Gilia tricolor) are obscuring them from view.

This picture of the mountain garland is one I took just yesterday. As you can see, it's not gone by any means, but the clumps of it that remain are smaller and less spectacular than the clumps we had several weeks ago.

Here's a recent acquisition, a hybrid of two native sages (Salvia leucophylla x sonomensis 'Bees' Bliss'). It was in bloom when I bought it but is no longer in bloom now. I planted it in the food garden in the side yard.

When we moved last summer, I brought some seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) seeds with us from the plants at our old duplex. These plants sprouted from those seeds. Although my gardening efforts overall are made a great deal easier by the lack of flooding at our new house, the seep monkeyflower is one plant that definitely preferred the wetter conditions at the duplex. Each plant that sprouted from seed here is almost entirely leafless - the leaves are about one square millimeter in size, as opposed to more like two square inches in size at the duplex - and each of these tiny-leaved plants produces only one flower, as opposed to more like fifty flowers per plant at the duplex. Once I saw the flowers this month and realized that my seep monkeyflower seeds had sprouted, I started watering them a whole lot, but they seem to be permanently stunted by the lack of water they suffered during their earlier stages of growth.

So I bought a new seep monkeyflower plant that wasn't stunted. I put it in a pot next to our pantry door and have been watering it daily. That's more like it! Finally, bigger leaves and a good number of flowers, all on a single plant.

Here's another plant I'm keeping in a pot and watering daily, but this is one I've never grown before. It's a native leopard lily (Lilium pardalinum). The first flower opened just yesterday.

Here's another one I've never grown before--the native Fremont's death camas (Zigadenus fremontii). It's named for its resemblance (at least when it's not blooming; the flowers don't look especially alike) to the native camas (Camassia quamash). Camas bulbs were a common food plant for Native Americans and early European pioneers, but it was very important not to mistake the bulbs of this plant for camas bulbs, because eating the bulbs of death camas causes death.

Here's another native bulb that I've never successfully grown before. This one is white cluster-lily (Triteleia hyacinthina). It's also known as fool's onion because the flowers visually resemble those of wild onions. The smell and taste do not resemble onions at all, but at least it's not likely to kill you if you misidentify it.

Here's a native plant that had already volunteered all over our new yard before we bought the house. This is self heal (Prunella vulgaris), a plant in the mint family that has often been used in herbal remedies. Like all plants in the mint family, it can also be eaten.

Here's a non-native blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum 'Legacy') that I planted. It now has actual blueberries! I recently re-transplanted it from the ground back into a pot, because a whole lot of its leaves were turning brown and I wasn't sure why. Its leaves seem to have stopped browning now that it's back in a pot.

This is another non-native that I planted, German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). I've been harvesting flowers to make chamomile tea for Susan, and I'm rather frightened by how quickly the plant recovers from these harvests. It seems that even if I pick off every single flower on the entire plant (which there's no need to actually do, since far fewer flowers than that will suffice for making tea), the plant will grow back every single flower and then some by the following day. I worry that the plant will escape and become a terrible weed. I plan to try very hard to prevent it from growing at all in future years.

One of the best recent additions to our yard has been something that Susan planted. Susan does not plant plants in our yard, but she did plant this hammock on the patio.

The rest of the plants in this post will be ones planted by the previous homeowners. I'll start with that vine you can see on the patio in the picture above. It wasn't blooming so much yet in that picture, but now it's blooming like crazy and looks like the picture below. This is Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - named not for the former Confederate States of America, although it is commonly grown there, but rather for the Malay Confederacy, which it is native to.

This next plant is a small tree called "yesterday, today, and tomorrow" (Brunfelsia grandiflora). It's in the nightshade family, like potatoes and tomatoes, and is poisonous if eaten. It's named for the fact that the flowers start out dark purple and fade to pale lavender and then to pure white. Unfortunately, by the time they get to pure white, they also tend to have turned a bit brown and crispy around the edges, which doesn't make for a great picture. Therefore, my favorite picture of this plant is one I took within the first 48 hours of when it first burst into bloom this spring, before any of the flowers had had a chance to turn white yet. It's just "today and tomorrow" in this picture, with no "yesterday" yet.

This is a peony, probably a Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora).

This is soap aloe (Aloe maculata).

This is our southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), which is probably close to 60 years old now.

This is a bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

This is . . . my office window. But the large shrub underneath it that's covered with pink flowers is Indian hawthorne (Rhaphiolepis indica). The smaller plants to the right of it are an azalea (Rhododendron sp.) and some candytuft (Iberis sempervirens).

This is the azalea, when it got around to blooming. I don't know what kind it is. Anyone recognize the species? Unfortunately it only looked really fantastic for about 24 hours before all the flowers started turning brown around the edges. Luckily, I managed to photograph it before its beauty started fading.

Here's a closeup of that same azalea.

I think this is a rhododendron, but I don't know what species this one is either.

This is a yellow iris of some sort. The plant is huge, about shoulder height on me, and it's as wide as it is tall. Anyone know what kind it is?

This is a rose. I don't know what kind this is either, but I've never seen a prettier rose.

This is a rose that I'm probably going to kill very soon. It's a rose tree - a rose grafted onto an unnaturally tall stem and pruned as a standard (a lollipop shape). Unfortunately, the stem is weak and floppy, and hardly any amount of staking is really sufficient to hold it up for very long. I fear that the pirevious homeowner, who is dead now, will haunt me forever for killing what was obviously her most prized plant - it took serious devotion to keep this plant alive. But I think the plant is too far gone to be saved.

I think this is an ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). If so, it's a weed that I'm going to have to remove to prevent it from spreading.

This is an unidentified succulent.

These are some unidentified berries.

This is an unidentified absolutely gorgeous little shrub that's completely covered with tiny white flowers. What is it?

This is the collection of pots that I've recently been amassing. Susan thinks I'm becoming a pot addict. Not that kind. Only the kind in the picture.

And this is the collection of rocks that Susan has been helping me amass. We cleaned up some of the debris left over from the hydraulic mining done during the Gold Rush; the miners washed entire cliffs into the rivers and washed all the debris downstream, causing huge flood problems, and we cleaned some of it up by picking these rocks off the riverbanks. We both loaded the truck together, but when we got home, I unloaded all the rocks myself and carried them to the places in the yard where I wanted them. It took me two days to finish. I'm becoming physically stronger than I ever imagined I could be, all by following the Lesbian Couple DIY Landscaping Weightlifting Program. In other words, I constantly lift heavy things just because there isn't anyone else around who's any more able to lift them than I am.

Tags: native plants, photographs
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