From the monthly archives:

February 2009

An Exquisite Day

by Lorraine on February 23, 2009

This morning started out with overcast and cloudy skies, resulting in a  little bit of rain.   But later in the morning, the clouds disappeared, it warmed up a bit and turned into an exquisite day.

I had been so busy working, I hadn’t noticed the change until I went outside and discovered how perfectly beautiful it was.   And it still is…..

Skies in the most lovely shade of blue, interspersed with white clouds and a delicately caressing breeze.   I made myself a protein drink and Chico and I went out into the garden to enjoy the weather and see what was going on in it.

Bees are very bizzzzy with their work, flying all over the garden and they have lots of flowers to choose from for their honey making enterprise.   Some of the sages are blooming, the Seaside Daisies are too and I noticed that one of the Monkey Flowers has put out a single bloom from a few days ago.

The California Poppies are right on the verge of exploding into color and I noticed that some of them have buds that are getting ready to bloom and be part of a huge show.   The Poppies have been a bit of a pain, since they have spread into areas where I don’t want them and I’ve thinned them out whenever I felt they needed it.

It was necessary and will continue to be so, as I have to keep them under control.   But it’s laughable to see that some are sprouting in the cracks in the sidewalk and I’m guessing that in the next year or two, some of my neighbors will have Poppies in their yards, too!

I’m beginning to seed a few tiny seedlings coming up from my previous efforts with spreading seeds and there are also a few Baby Blue Eyes blooming too.   It’s about 70 degrees, warm sunshine and a feeling of peace.

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Theodore Payne Foundation Newsletter

by Lorraine on February 22, 2009

July 2008

I just received a copy of the Theodore Payne Foundation’s newsletter and devoured it.   There is a list of up coming classes to take and articles on various topics concerning Native plants which is exciting stuff to me.  But what I found to be quite helpful, was the garden guide and what plants may need some maintenance and attention in the middle of Summer

Obviously there are hints on watering, weeding and even planting some species such as riparian and desert plants without worrying too much about them.   It seems a  bit odd to be planting in the middle of Summer, since that’s not usually when it’s done but these plants are obviously an exception.

But what I’m paying attention to is the instructions about pruning and mulching.   They say to deadhead sage flowers back by one-third, which surprised me a bit.  It seems to me, that that’s too much to take off this time of the year.

I’m thinking about what Bart O’Brian had said about pruning them in the Winter and I’m a little concerned about removing the dead flowers at this time year.   What if I trim them too much?   And the directions, also say to remove any spent flower stalks from Penstemons ( Which I had been doing all along, anyway), so at least I wasn’t worried about that!

I don’t have too many sages (Salvia) that are large other than two Whirly Blues.   One of them receives more sun light than the other one and it has almost completed blooming.  It is now starting to drop some of its leaves as it is adjusting the the hotter days, which is completely normal.  I trimmed off all or most of the stems that had dead flowers on it and left the other plant untouched, because it’s too soon to do any trimming on it as it isn’t ready.

All in all, I spent about three hours in the garden.   And it was pure pleasure, especially inhaling the fragrance of Sage and spending time in the sun and just enjoying myself.

A Native plant garden is pure tonic for the soul.   Peaceful, beautiful and inspiring.

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July in 2008

by Lorraine on February 18, 2009

The Sticky Monkey Flowers ( Mimulus Scrophulariaceae) have changed in their appearance.   They are winding down  and not flowering as much as they were previously and their leaves are starting to look yellow.   Should they have some nitrogen, I’m wondering?   The answer is “no”, they are just preparing themselves for Summer.

I referred to the book California Native Plants for the Garden and read that if you trim them back a bit in May or June, they might produce more flowers depending on the whatever conditions the garden is experiencing at the time.

So I decided to do that with the hope that they would continue to bloom. These flowers are considered to have many uses in a garden and interestingly enough,  they are somewhat deer-proof and generally ignored by rabbits and ground squirrels, which is a good thing if you’re sharing your garden with them.

The book also mentioned that they tend to live very a long time and that on the average, they will live for 2-5 years before they would have to be replaced.  The Wooly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum) are a more delicate native to plant and they  have a rather short life span but they have done very well in my garden and they are one of my favorite plants.

I’m a bit anxious about making a mistake with any of the plants when it comes to trimming but I went ahead and did it anyway and removed the stems from the ones that had spent blossoms.  A also trimmed the Wooly Blue Curls while I was at it, as they looked a little needy.


Raining Today

by Lorraine on February 9, 2009

At last, southern California is finally receiving some rain.   Not a lot and it certainly won’t fix our drought problems but it’s better than nothing.

Our weather the last month has been warm and Spring” like and very beautiful.   While the rest of the country was freezing, we were having balmy temperatures and sunny days that were georgous.  But most definitely, not normal for January.

The plants in my garden have been confused about this and many of them have started to bloom prematurely when it’s too soon for them to do so.   All of the Sages/Salvias have flowers as well as the Wooly Blue Curls, the Mallows and the Santa Cruz Island Poppy.

Bulbs are coming up and there are many wild flower seedlings coming up too.   The Poppies are relentless in their determination to take over the garden and I’m just as determined that they won’t.   Boy, they have turned into a problem.

Only plant California Poppies where you can allow them to spread.   A hillside would be perfect for this horde of invaders.   They are beautiful and I love their orange color but don’t mix them into your garden or you will have difficulties keeping them in control.

The garden looks beautiful and is very green and in the rain it looks particularly stunning.   The forecast is for this storm to end by tomorrow and then another one should be coming in off of the Pacific ocean later in the week.

I hope that this is just the beginning of many more storms to come.  I’ll post some pictures later on as I’ve had computer problems for the last two weeks and the one that I’m using at this time is a “loaner”

When I have my new one, then I’ll be up to speed and write more frequently and add some photos, too.

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