Thursday, March 29, 2007

a new rose...

Oh, I've been trying to keep new rose aquisition to a minimum-- I was quite impulsive in 'the early years' (um, 3 years ago, say) and wound up with more roses than I really should have. But there's a nursery on every corner when you're tryin' to get home.

And Abraham Darby (a David Austin rose), in bloom, on 'own root' locally grown at Emerisia-- $7.99 in front of the Ace Hardware!
(Sorry, you might have to be a rose nerd to appreciate that.)
Two of the four new roses last year were David Austin's-- Golden Celebration & Teasing Georgia, and they are happy as clams.

Monday, March 26, 2007

little iris in the rain

From a batch of rhizomes (bought at the Graton Community Club Plant Sale) I put in... a year & a half ago, last year this one didn't bloom. Now here it is!
And much appreciated rain!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

spanish lavendar

This winter, I lost a number of good-sized lavendar bushes to the combination of a drought-like January & deeper-than-average freezes. Others are struggling to return.
This one, however, looks plenty happy.
Spanish lavendars, in general, however, have not been so successful for me, or I'd have a lot more of them. I like the more unusual colors-- white, pink, red-violet. But these have not survived. Over at my Mom's, where they have irrigation, these are all looking very fine. (hmmm...)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

camellia love

We moved into our house in early fall. The front of the house was entirely obscured by camellia bushes, taller than the front roof-line. Needless to say, they were not in bloom. I've confessed here before, I didn't used to be a particularly big fan of camellias; I imagined they might all be removed.
However; they have been trimmed back to more manageable heights, and it turns out to be a nice visual buffer from the street. And now, in the spring, we walk out the front door right into a wall of flowers.
Which we like!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I (heart) Euphorbias

I have been composing an ode to euphorbias in my mind for some time. And right now, they're 'blooming'-- so to speak (they aren't your average bloom). Euphorbias seem to thrive in the conditions we give them (including sometimes hot, dry summers). They're evergreen. They're... unusual looking. They can be big and bushy. They can be creepers. They can have red foliage. And recently, I've discovered they re-seed nicely. I've been moving volunteers about.
On a recent tour of my Mom's garden in Calistoga (parts of which I started for her back when I was just a gardener with a dream and no garden), I noticed-- no euphorbias. Ye gads. And winter seems to have opened up some... opportunities.

I think I can see some euphorbias in her future...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

a bit of morning magic

Monday, March 12, 2007

blue / violet

From a distance, it's a very yellow & green season-- all daffodils, mustard, and acacias in bloom.
But if you look really closely, there's something new on the way. Tiny bits of blue & violet are emerging...

in wildlife news today...

I'm seeing signs of nest-building; mockingbirds & bluejays flying around with small twigs in their mouths. (It was a bluejay that built this very fine nest in our bamboo last year.) Also meadowlarks (without twigs) have been spotted for the first time in the yard, a couple days in a row (and we're not terribly close to a meadow.)

And some sort of butterfly migration-- they're orange & brown but not painted ladies-- is going on. They have been flying purposefully from west to east across the yard all day.

Oh, and snakes. Tony & I see a snake or 2 each day in the garden. (not scary snakes, cute little snakes) Tony say garter snakes.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

As the garden...grows

Yes, the garden area is continuing to spread, crowding out areas of previous lawn. Places to put new plants! (though it'll be full all too soon, I'm afraid.) When we moved in four years ago, I started first with the front yard, a desolate clay strip. Each year I've pushed into new territory, and this year is no exception.
Beautiful soil thanks to Grab'n'Grow. I'd be nowhere without them.
And that dead-looking plant in the middle? Waiting to see if it comes back. Mexican Marigold. Not fond of the freezes.

Friday, March 09, 2007

River of wildflowers

I pass this scene whenever I drive to work-- a swath of flowers between 2 vineyards. I feel that someone surely scattered seeds here, because it's an isolated occurrance-- elsewhere the fields are all yellow (also beautiful!) with mustard.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lots o' bird activity

We're having lots of bird visitors in the yard, celebrating the coming Spring. So much so that Tony has suggested "Mockingbird Studio" as a name for the studio. Which has a certain ring to it. A mockingbird has been sitting right up on the peak and running through his repertoire. One of my students recently found this lovely little booklet at a garage sale, and knowing that I use vintage paper stuff in collages, she kinly allowed me to take it home and scan it. It was originally some sort of promotion for a tobacco company.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Magnolia Season

On a recent visit to Sonoma State University's campus, it was high season for magnolia blooms, and the campus has lots of the trees-- in at least three varieties. Fun fact: trees, like many Magnolias, which flower before having leaves, are known as 'precocious'. (new: the fourth shot is the bloom that opened on the little tree in our yard today)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Save the Butterflies!

I was reading over in the California Gardening Forum on GardenWeb about the loss of Monarch habitat, with links to a recent article in the SF Chronicle. (and yes, I know this picture, from last July, is some sort of swallowtail!) Anyways, there's a link to a group called Monarch Watch, who is trying to help create monarch 'way-stations' across the county (monarchs migrate from north to south, across the United States to Mexico annually). The group sells packets of seeds which contain the monarch's necessary 'host plant' -- types of milkweed-- plus nectar plants. We grew a type of milkweed for the past 2 years (it's beautiful, as well!) and last year was the first in the four we've lived here that I've seen any monarchs in our yard. (I've never seen any caterpillars or chrysalis' though). Our little town also contains the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens, (now there's another story)... but I know that Louise Hallberg is also working to create monarch habitat.

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