Sunday, October 18, 2009

UCR Fall Plant Sale & other Fall happenings

Aaaahhh - Fall...finally I can now let loose, unfettered, with my gusto for native plant planting. I will nevah, evah plant natives smack dab in the middle of summah again. Woe is me for having even tried. I'm mortified by all the unhappy casualties of my tragic experiments:

Arctostaphylos pringlei drupacea? POOF! Arctostaphylos luciana? KAPUT! Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'? DESSICATED! Arctostaphylos glandulosa howellii? SAY IT AIN'T SO! Heteromeles arbutifolia var. macrocarpa? AUF WIEDERSEHEN! Prunus virginiana? ASHES TO ASHES Castilleja miniata? WHAT WAS I THINKING? Monardella odoratissima? ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST! Salvia dorrii? TSAI JEN! Arenaria macradenia? AY CARAMBA!

I could go on and on, but it's simply too gut-wrenching. I know that conventional wisdom generally dictates fall planting for CA natives. However, my problem with gardening is and always has been unbridled enthusiasm with a touch of OCD. I simply could not resist the temptation to plant something, anything, even in the dead heat of July-August (like those boneheads who want to go camping in Death Valley when it's a balmy 130F). Whyfore hath reason absconded from thee?

But with the extremely subtle change of season upon us, I can now plant without undue fear of root rot reprisal!

Went to the UC Riverside Botanic Garden's annual Fall plant sale yesterday and scored the following:

  • Winter Fat (Krascheninnikovia lanata)
  • Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata)
  • Mormon Tea (Ephedra viridis)
  • 'Arroyo de la Cruz' Ceanothus (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus)
  • 'Santa Ana Cardinal' Coral Bells (Heuchera hybrid)
  • Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)
  • Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
  • Island Oak (Quercus tomentella)
  • Cedros Island Verbena (Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina')
  • 'Magenta Hope' Autumn Sage (Salvia x jamensis)
  • 'Dancing Dolls' Autumn Sage (Salvia x jamensis)
  • 'Ruby Cluster' Rockrose (Cistus hybrid)
So am I satiated? Nope...already drooling over the goodies to be had at the upcoming Fall native plant sale next month at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. Oh yeah, baby!

Today was a phenomenal, quintessential Southern California Fall day. Got all the above planted without too much hassle, other than the occasional need to ward off the swarming yellow jacket wasps with my extremely stylized but still impressive (at least to my dog) hover-jump-kicking Keanu-Matrixesque moves.

According to Wiki, "In late summer, foraging [yellowjacket] workers change their food preference from meats to ripe, decaying fruits or scavenge human garbage, sodas, picnics, etc., since larvae in the nest fail to meet requirements as a source of sugar. This is why yellowjackets are known largely as pests that are capable of ruining picnics."

All I can say is, don't leave your unscreened doors or windows open this time of year, unless you want to find a few morsels of uninvited black & yellow-striped insect proteins floating around and flavoring that pot of soup you've been simmering in the kitchen. Believe you me - BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. Really tips the scales on the Yuck meter.

10/18/09 Zen Arbor partially draped by Anacapa Pink Island Morning Glory (Calystegia macrostegia) and some cool clouds

10/18/09 Mt. San Jacinto sort of visible today...

10/18/09 Angel's Trumpet Brugmansia in full bloom. A couple years ago, this plant was just a wee sproutling that my Mom had commandeered from their previous residence in West Covina. The scent emanating from those ginormous blossoms are absolutely heady in the evening hours.