(with paranthetical annotations for visitors)
I did good pinching back this Mimulus cardinalis. The stems are sturdier now, and I'll have more flowers.
(M. cardinalis, native to streambanks and wet, boggy areas in the western states from Oregon to Baja, over to New Mexico and Utah; a great flowering native plant for moist part-shade; attracts hummingbirds; most specimens make scarlet flowers, this one makes yellow flowers).
I planted it a foot back from the foot path last year, and what did it do but grow up, lodge, and set roots right next to the path. Now I'm going to be pruning it back all the time. More cuttings to propagate for the Botanical Garden, I guess.
By the way, exactly how did you kill mint?
I feel dissatisfied with the whole situation over here. Two-and-a-half years ago, I jerry-rigged these two cheap-o wooden trellises together for the passiflora to grow on in order to hide the compost bin. I never intended for this set-up to last; I thought I would buy one of those tall, arching metal trellises like they sell at garden centers. But I never prioritized that, and now here we are.
Last year, I cut the passiflora back to the ground to prevent this extreme bareness at its lower, wooden extremities (note that it fails to mask the compost bin whatsoever--last year this wasn't a problem). But then I had no flowers, and I was, like, is it because I cut the vine to the ground in early spring? Or is it because it's growing in super-rich soil next to the compost bin and feels no biological need whatsoever to make flowers? Or is it not enough sun? Well, who knows.
I didn't cut it this year and now it's all gone off into my neighbor's yard where noone will see it flower except rodents and insects. Which is an interesting idea in its own right...I'm filing that one away.
So where exactly does that leave me in this corner of the yard? Do I still want the big, arching metal trellis? Do you discern the question at the root of the problem? Why do I want to hide my compost bin? Am I ashamed of it? Does its presence in my garden cry out to be smothered and adorned with tropical vines to diminish its hideousness? I don't think so. Did I ever think so? Did I really feel that way once? It's not exactly an ostentatious compost bin. It's dark green, in the shape of a doghouse. And it's held up pretty well too. Solid Rubbermaid engineering.
At some point in the not-too-distant past I was a yet more amateurish gardener than I am today. It may have seemed like hiding the compost bin was the reasonable thing to do in my garden. Does that imperative still exist? We'll see.
GACK! Fine texture overload!
The Eriogonum grande v. rubescens (the green on the right side of the path) grew much taller in my nutrient-rich soil than it does in nature, making this whole area a near disaster. I'm sticking with this plant for 2007. Maybe the fuzzy red flowerheads that come in the fall will take the edge of this planting. Next year, it's doug iris and checkerbloom.
This little area's coming along nice enough. But seriously do think about getting another Fremontodendron 'San Gabriel' or some other two-dimensional plant to put here next to the staircase. This hole there now wants a remedy.