From the monthly archives:

September 2008

Sages, Salvias & Native Plant Gardening, II

by Lorraine on September 30, 2008

My other sages are smaller or low growing and primarily along the front of the garden, next to the low wall.  When the CA Poppies were growing, they ended up covering some of my plants, one of which was a sage and eventually it died.   I wasn’t very happy about losing it and I must say that you have to be careful when you plant Poppies, because they will take over and smother smaller plants.

There is a really beautiful, low growing sage called, Bees Bliss (Salvia clevelandii x sonomensis OR Salvia leucophylla x sonomensis), on the right side of the garden in the front of the wall.   It has a beautiful silver gray leaf and when it’s blooming, the flowers are a delicate white color.



 It is sharing the area with California Fuchsias/Silver Select (Zauschneria).  These are beautiful Fuchsias, about 18″ high and mounding and they have been blooming all summer long.   The Hummingbirds are particularly partial to them and have set up a turf war over who gets to dominate the territory.   Sometimes they even confront me and act as though I’m an intruder!

On the opposite side of the walkway, I have Tera Seca sage (Salvia mellifer x Salvia sonomensis).  I don’t know what the variety is of the Sonomenis, but they are low growing, green leaves and spreading.   This is the type that the Poppies smothered and I intend to replace it in the next couple of months when I’ve been to the Native Plant Garden sales.

There is more to cover on sages but I will finish up with that later.   Right now I want to provide some information for the Plant Sales that are coming up.   If your garden is almost ready to be planted, you will want to attend the sales and buy your plants.   And be ready to run around a lot and bump into other Native plant people who are madly dashing to grab their favorites.   And it’s fun, just enjoy yourself!

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Annual Plant Sale. Saturday & Sunday, November 1 & 2. There will be thousands of plants and it’s free admission.   For details or call 909-625-8767.

Theodore Payne Foundation Plant Sale.  October 3-4 and October 10-11.   A huge variety to chose from and it’s free.   For details or call 818-768-1802

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens Plant Sale.   Oct 10th- Nov. 9th.   Go early, otherwise you won’t have a large choice in plants if you wait until November and it’s free.  For details  805-682-4726


Sages, Salvias and Native Plant Gardening

by Lorraine on September 27, 2008

I’m back-tracking here to when I attended a class on Salivas through the Theodore Payne Foundation last June.   A native garden without some sages just wouldn’t be complete and there are so many types and varieties to chose from that you have to restrain yourself from buying everything in sight.

Bart O’Brien of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden taught the class and it was very interesting.   He brought in several samples of clippings from various sages and discussed each one in detail.   The room was completely enveloped in a wonderful aroma of sage and I learned a great deal about how to care for Salvias, otherwise known as sage.

I am particularly partial to sages and I have, needless to say, several different types in my garden.   But due to space considerations, I had to limit my choices to a few but I what I planted has been delightful!

I purchased two cultivars from Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, called Whirley Blue.   This sage is a combination of Salvia clevelandiix and Salvia leucophylla and has grown to be somewhat large and round in shape.

They are about 4 and a half feet tall and the stems are covered with the most beautiful soft blue flowers and one as continuously bloomed right through the Summer.   The Humming Birds and bees are frequent visitors and the scent from the plants is wonderful.   I love to run my hands along the stems, releasing the fragrant oils and then lifting them to my face, breathing in the incredible and wonderful fragrance.

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Native Plant Gardening

by Lorraine on September 26, 2008

My Native plant garden is amazing and it has thrived in it’s (almost) first year of existence.   Soon my garden will be having it’s first birthday and I’m so happy about how well its done and all of my fears about gophers or the Bermuda lawn, never materialized.  The plants have flourished and some have grown to be very large, such as some of the sages and the Quail Bushes. 

Native plants are the way to go in anyone’s garden.   There is such a huge variety to chose from, making it very difficult to narrow down what you end up using in your garden.   The Fall plants sales will be coming up in Oct. and Nov. and I will post those dates, so that if anyone decides that they want to get some native plants, now is your chance.

We are coming into our Santa Ana (windy, very windy) season and I’m hoping that it will not be as bad as it was last year.   The winds are very hot, crazy and scary and usually we have brush fires that break out.   Last year there were several burning in southern California all at the same time and many homes were lost, not to mention native vegetation and wildlife.

The nights are now cool, almost requiring a sweater but the days are hot.   It’s actually over 100 degrees today, but very beautiful.   My plants are thriving and I only lost a few of them during the year after they were planted.

The garden’s year was filled with butterflies, lizards and many types of birds.   Wildlife has found my garden to be a wonderful place for cover and food.   In the last couple of months, I’ve noticed that there seems to be an abundant amount of small lizards.   They are about 1.5 inches in length and have obviously staked a claim in the garden.

They are scampering over the rocks or sunning themselves on them.   Typically looking for bugs to eat and in general, enjoying the view of the plants, flowers and hanging out.

Tomorrow, I will finally start to write about the class that I attended last June on Salvias.   Otherwise known as sage.   A “must” for a Native garden.  so stay tuned.


Sages, Salvias and Gardening

by Lorraine on September 21, 2008


Yes, I know that I’m not posting in “current”, time.   I’m still trying to catch up to the present, but I was writing notes on the garden from the very beginning, not knowing at the time that I would create a blog.   I will keep posting them until I get caught up but sometimes I will write what’s going on in the garden in “real time” as well.

I was at a class a few days ago that was offered by the Theodore Payne Foundation on Salvias, otherwise know as sages.   The speaker was Bart O’Brien who is the Dir. of Horticulture and Curator of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont, CA.   The class was really great, but more of that in a moment or two. 

I wanted to get his advise on my Holly bush dilemma and he said that probably the RoundUp isn’t working because of the waxy service on the leaves…oh…why didn’t I think of that?   In other words, the chemical can’t penetrate the leaf!   He suggested using a soapy wash first, then applying the RoundUp afterwards.   So, in lieu of doing that, I thought, “What the heck”? 

As long as the “juice” can’t get past the waxy barrier on the leaves, I’ll just put it directly on the roots.  Aha!  I’m thinking that I may have finally solved the problem and at last I’ll get rid of the plant.  So, we’ll just see what happens after I attempt this latest maneuver. 

Do you want to know about sages and Salvias?   Hang on, the next several posts will be sharing what I learned.   And it’s amazing just how many varieties of Salvias there are, more than I ever realized.


Native Plants V.S. Holly Plants

by Lorraine on September 18, 2008

June 2nd. ’08 

“It’s” bacccccckkkkkk!!!!  The d**** Holly.   I found that it was sprouting again last week and Rigo  dug it up again but we didn’t see another shoot that was underneath the Santa Cruz Island Poppy bush, (Dendromecon harfordii).   It was lurking, hiding and being sneaky!


I am soooooooo mad and frustrated with this ongoing problem.   So I soaked the area with water and I attempted to dig it out but it turned into more of a job than I expected.   It was beyond my scope and my strength to tackle this.   I needed help once, again from Rigo.


It’s a pretty good size root, probably about 2″ to 3″ inches in diameter AND part of it is running right underneath the Quail Bush (Atriplex lentiformis)!!!!  Now I’m really concerned about getting it out.   I’m afraid that I might have to remove it to get to the roots from the Holly bush.   And now that Summer is approaching, this could really be bad news for the bush, as it’s barely established and could die if I have to move it temporarily in order to reach the Holly roots.


It’s a beautiful bush and doing very well in it’s location.  I called Rigo and explained that now there is even a bigger root to deal with and told him that unfortunately it’s located in a really bad spot.   He will be coming over tomorrow to dig it up.   In the meanwhile, I had the “brilliant” idea to take a sharp knife and scrape three sections of it and then I carefully applied RoundUp.