Spring preview

Or, "Random notes"

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I found some flowers I didn't notice for Garden Blogger Bloom Day. I got both the Zantedeschia and the bromeliad as freebies from the Botanical Garden. I need to learn the name of the bromeliad.

The Geranium maderense was engulfing the bird bath, so I removed a leaf and petiole.


The Ceanothus 'Frosty Blue' flowers about to bloom in front of Geranium maderense should provide a wonderful combination. Just a week or two to go, I guess.


I planted my vegetable garden last week. The tomatoes already have flower buds! (Stupice and Early Cherry--two early season varieties I bought from Territorial Seed.)


From the other side...


That plant at 6 o'clock, the one in front of the terracotta pot, is Alonsoa meridionalis. It's one of the plants I ended up buying from Annie's Annuals. I think those flowers will be a great combination with the silvery artichoke foliage.

I grew all my vegetables from seed, including the pumpkin I put in that pot. (I tried to save seed from our Jack-O-Lanterns, but I must have done a bad job drying the seed before I closed them in a jar, because they rotted.)


Anyhow, I want to run the vine across the back fence as seen on page 23 of Extreme Horticulture, shown here.


I don't even care if I get a fruit. I just love the foliage on winter squash. It's such a cool combination of tropical and cottage.

Next to the pumpkin pot is Fremontodendron californicum 'San Gabriel'.


This cultivar of a native California shrub/tree has a naturally two-dimensional growth habit. It's like a self-espalier. Planting it against the back fence seemed like the obvious thing to do, but now I wish it was growing against the stairs down from the deck.


The foliage really blends into the color of the fence and you hardly notice it's there. But that same foliage, and the beautiful orange/yellow flowers about to open, would contrast stunningly with the redwood used to build the deck. I'm not going to transplant this specimen (very, very delicate plant), but I might buy a new one this year and do that.

I still have one Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba' left. Right now, I think I'm going to plant it somewhere at the community garden.


I planted three of them in my garden. There's one here next to the tree fern growing with cineraria, heuchera, tiarella, and Asarum caudatum...


There's one in the clay pot also surrounded by cineraria, bromeliads and in front of the clinmbing hydrangea. A bench will go here too when I have some pennies to scratch together...


And there's one just to the left of that pot under the stairs down from the deck.


The guy who gave me the pot, also gave me this pottery shard which i used to obscure the concrete block holding up the deck post.


I made a little cavity between the shard and the block, backfilled it with dirt, and stuck in a Pelargonium. On the other side, I planted a second climbing hydrangea to climb the post. It's kind of an experiment; the hydrangea wants to climb a wall or a big tree, not so much a post. Maybe it won't know the difference.

At any rate, there's room in the cavity for another plant, and I chose Cobaea scandens. The seed germinated in the garage last week. It should make it all the way up the post and on to the deck by late summer.

On the post itself, I have three hooks for hanging container baskets. I wasn't so thrilled with my baskets last year, and they sure need a lot of water. I might actually install a drip irrigation line to take care of that for me this year. The baskets would use a lot less water with a drip line than with me standing over them with a water can.

Right now, I just have a bird feeder of suet hanging off the top hook. (Thanks for the tip, Lisa!)



Pam/Digging said...

I like the Geranium maderense looming over the bird bath--a nice combo. Your garden is so inviting and fun looking.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Paint the fence?

JvA said...

Hey, there. Just wanted you to know that I enjoy this blog so much that I've decided to pretty much rip off your take-lots-of-pictures-of-gardens-and-yards format with my own blog. Except mine will contain much less wit, humor, and expertise (and the photography won't be as good).

But if anyone wants to see some pictures I took of Cistus Nursery in Oregon, the Faerie Gardens nursery in Washington, and my own weedy little yard today, check it out this sincere form of flattery:



--Your fan in Seattle

chuck b. said...

Thanks, Pam. Once I'm dong planting and designing, it will feel so much nicer and more inviting. :)

Christoper, I've thought of that. The decision feels too overwhelming tho'.

Thanks, jva...I dropped by and took a look. I'll come back soon and leave some comments.

Delphine said...

Non, Chuck chéri, tu ne dois pas peindre la clôture, je ne suis pas d'accord avec Christopher ! but i agree with Pam and Jva, you're such a spring genius.

Your french fan

The County Clerk said...

I love that Geranium maderense and have been looking for some. I'll have to grow it inside and in the hothouse (except in summer, where it will be in a container) as my climate is unlike yours.

But here's the question: is this a nursery flat plant where you are or did you grow it from seed? I'm having a helluva time finding this in non-seed form (the nurseries aren't open up here yet). The reason I ask is: If this is a plant from seed kind of thing, I'll order seeds today. If a nursery kind of thing, I'll wait and buy one in a month or so.

Also, pumpkins: My wife and I always had a pumpkin "crop" and I really enjoyed these vines. You should look into varieties... there are some beautiful variations... especially when you get beyond "true pumpkins" and into "pumpkin squash." I put up a little disambiguation page some time back.... here. I'm thinking of my two favorites:

Cucurbita maxima (Lumina) - HEIRLOOM little white guys. Nifty.

Cucurbita maxima (Rouge Vif d'Etampes) HEIRLOOM scarlet pumpkin.

Anyway, good luck. Any info on the Geranium would be appreciated.

chuck b. said...

Clerk, Definitely get seed; I've never seen the plant for sale at any of the nurseries I visit. I bought mine from the Botanical Garden where they dig it up like a weed and pot it up for sale. It's nearly naturalized in Golden Gate Park.

It's a good plant for a number of reasons but please be aware the flowers smell, well, is there a polite way to say that they smell like semen? Probably not, so I won't say it. Happily, you have to put your face right up to the plant to smell the flowers. Otherwise, you'd never know.

Annie in Austin said...

I guess that's why you can only get it from seed. Sounds like a guy plant to me!


chuck b. said...

Oh, Annie in Austin... What are we going to do with you?

the County Clerk said...


I've paused now for several minutes trying to come up with something... anything... to write in response.

More pausing.



So now I'm racking my brain trying to figure out if I have a clean sense memory of what that smells like... meaning, if it smells bad or not.

I suppose it wouldn't be that difficult to find out... at a more convenient time.


(I'm thinking of a reference to butternuts I came across recently... and how unlikely it seemed at the time. But not so unlikely now.)

Thank you for the information. I'm going to have think about this.

chuck b. said...

Well, that's the smell-association that comes to my mind. Rather subjective. I know people who think melon flesh smells like rank meat. And it's not, ahem, a potent smell. It's just sort of there if you take a deep breath. I only mention it because someone else might actually think it smells worse than I do, and I don't want anyone to associate me with a bad smell. Although I think after this discussion, I may have made that rather futile. Sigh.

The County Clerk said...

No worries. I just ordered some seeds (the only place I could find them - in a very unfocused search - was a UK place: Chiltern Seeds... they have ONE HELL OF A GERANIUM COLLECTION. page 4

I, of course, could not resist some other unknowns:

1 x Cat No.:626Y Unit Price: GBP 2.57 each

1 x Cat No.:622H Unit Price: GBP 3.00 each

GERANIUM ‘Blue Cloud’
1 x Cat No.:628F Unit Price: GBP 3.56 each

Now to see if they make it across the border. I may have donated 12 British Pounds worth of seeds to the department of homeland security. We'll see...

chuck b. said...

That Geranium robertianum is one our weediest weeds at the Botanical Garden. I've weeded many enormous piles of it. Perhaps not so weedy where you are. It has a pleasantly peppery fragrance for most of the year, but then during late summer it turns rank for a month or two.

lisa said...

Hey Chuck-glad to be helpful! If you keep that feeder up all season, the woodpeckers will bring their babies to eat-very comical! As for the unusual smell of that flower...all I can say is, interesting...personally, I've always equated the smell of boiling corn on the cob with that particular scent...but that's just me. ;)

lisa said...

Thanks to Hank for the geranium link...I have a similar "gotta have it" fixation with geraniums, too.

anile said...

Hi Chuck,
I planted my wine barrel yesterday too. (thanks for the tip on where to get one) I also planted Stupice. Out of the 4 different tomato species I planted last year, Stupice did the best so I went with it. And a bunch of greens for now. And ever since Pam's garden class I've been addicted to the chinese mustard. Gotta grow it tho, I've never seen it in any store. I have a question- Can you plant a sugar snap pea and a tomato in the same container?

chuck b. said...

Hi Anile, Tell us more about Chinese mustard.

I'm no expert, but I would imagine it's fine to plant tomato and snap peas together. Are you concerned about phytotox or disease? Tomatoes grow like weeds, and if snap peas behave like other Fabaceae they should get along with everything.

anile said...

I'll show you the chinese mustard at school on wed in Pam's garden. It's super spicy and bitter and I love it sauteed with garlic and onions. And if it's too strong, you can add some chopped chard. There's a great recipe in GG Gardener.