Friday, April 1, 2011

Going nuts in the garden

Our two year old almond tree has reacted very well to the removal of the red lava rock and the underlying black plastic by pushing out a promising harvest. Of course, we will have to arm-wrestle the squirrels for these almonds, but it's good to know that there is a remote possibility of us getting to taste our own home grown almonds - if I can figure out how and when to harvest any that are left!

The week of wet weather followed by this weeks glorious summer like weather has stimulated a burst of growth, blossom and scent for the garden.  The orange tree, heavy now with blossom, grows outside our bathroom window, and we get free scented air by simply opening the window.  I've never before noticed how gorgeous the smell of orange blossom is. 
At the front door we are welcomed by the perfume of jasmine from a clipping I started just last summer.
I wish there was a way to let you smell them!

Out in the native garden there has been good news and bad!  Thankfully, more good than bad - of the twenty-seven native plants that we bought and planted, only three didn't make it! 

The showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) never grew from the dormant tuber/root that we purchased, but we hold on to hope that some day we will see green shoots above it's planted spot.

The desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi) blossomed during the winter but then seems to have died.  Again - you never know - it may still come back.

But the Silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons) will sadly never come back having been eaten by slugs.  All that is left is the plant tag!

I mourned the passing of the California sword fern (Polystichum munitum) until I discovered what may be a prothallus -a lifecycle stage, from which it may regenerate... or that may just be a weed! We'll see...

The desert willow (Chilopisis linearis) also worried me, but I think this little tree is going to make it.

And speaking of little trees, my dwarf California buckeye (Aesculus californica) is looking great, and so cute at only 18 inches high.
Last month, the Manzanita (Aectostaphylos bakeri) sported its beautiful bell shaped blossoms, and is still looking happy, though the blossoms have now finished.
I'm looking forward to my clarkia  blooming - I have a wall of it.
One or two have blossomed - if these are anything to go by it should be quite the show!

Right now the Californian poppy (Eschscholzia californica) steals the show.
Closely followed by these gorgeous Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla).
The Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus) has started to blossom too, you can just make out the flowers in the bottom left of the picture.
And here is the blue-eye grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) which is not a grass, but an iris, and if you look closely you'll see it does not have blue eyes, rather it has yellow ones.

The following plants are making promising progress and I hope to see them bloom this year too. I feel like I have the canvas, the paint and the outline drawn - now all I have to do it let it all grow up and fill in.

Chapparal Clematis (Clematis lasiantha)

A tiny but healthy Redbud Cercis occidentalis

California evening primrose (Oenthra Californica)

Scarlet Penstemon (Penstemon centranthifolia)
And even if these never blossom their foliage smells great.  I have them near the path so you can smell them as you walk by. This one is known as "Cowboy cologne."

California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica)

Coyote Mint (Monardela villosa)

I have a ton more photos but I decided to post them when they are in bloom.  Hopefully, I'll be posting year round!

And if you are wondering why I'm posting this so late this week - blame Master Gardeners!  Tomorrow is the highly anticipated Spring Garden Market. I'm on the welcome table at the south gate - if you are in the neighborhood drop by and say hi!

Byddi Lee