Monday, March 15, 2010

Prelude to Spring

It was very breezy here this morning in La Cresta, adding a bit of wind chill to an otherwise sunny, beautiful, almost spring day.

We went to Armstrong Nursery in Temecula and bought 8 bags of chicken manure to amend the soil around the fruit trees. And heck, since I was on a roll, I also gave them a dose of fish emulsion, micronutrients, and ironite. The first 10 trees was kinda fun, but 20 more trees later, my enthusiasm began to wane. Thank goodness Gilbert got the gardening bug today and put aside his garage puttering tasks for awhile to help me out.

Hana, needless to say, was basking in the sun all day and remained utterly useless...

On the Cal native front, there are signs of a forthcoming bounty of riotous spring color and growth:

3/14/10 Paradise Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis), with its very showy, signature bronzy-red new growth.

3/14/10 Idyllwild Rock Flower (Heuchera hirsutissima), with its tiny pink blossoms just emerging. Native to rocky areas in the San Jacinto Mountains.

3/14/10 'Mountain Haze' Ceanothus.

3/14/10 Feltleaf Ceanothus / Island Mountain Lilac (Ceanothus arboreus). Native to the Channel Islands. I planted this one less than five months ago, but it seems to have taken and has even offered a few blooms. Mine is a mere 18 inches in height, but at maturity, this beauty can span 20 ft. tall x 10 ft.wide. 

3/1/10 Laguna Manzanita / Adam's Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. adamsii). Native to Southern California in the E. Peninsular ranges (including central & eastern San Diego County).

With the warming weather, the wildlife are out in force too. 

3/14/10 Hummingbird feasting on 'Hot Lips' Salvia (Salvia microphylla).

3/14/10 House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) on California Sycamore. 

3/13/10 California Quail (Callipepla californica). Here's the He-Man, marching, unabated, to the birdfeeder.

3/13/10 California Ground Squirrel, stuffing his cheeks with birdseed. Love 'em or hate 'em, but they're still pretty darned cute!

3/13/10 What a cast of characters. Los Tres Amigos. They're somewhat obscured by the shadows, but there's a California Quail on the right, a California Towhee on the left, and a bunny just behind and in between them (you can see his ears silhouetted against the fence). 

3/14/10 Coyote running up the hill in front of our house at around 4:00pm. Hana was whining like a banshee, and that's how we noticed him. Lucky my camera was within reach at the time (just a tad out of focus). What a handsome fellow he is!

3/14/10 Bunny looking for a way in under the wire fencing. Wascally wabbit!


  1. Great post ... the Mountain Haze and Feltleaf Ceanothus are so lovely! Great shots of the wildlife around your part of the world ... very nice shot of the hummingbird and that gorgeous little finch!

  2. I was sure that Paradise plant was a shrimp plant as the flowering bracts look quite similar. M ceanothus skylark died this winter - now I have to dig out a 10 ft high bush. Best place for bunnies is behind that fence thats for sure! - you've quite a selection of visitors to your place but that hummingbird is lovely. We don't have little birds like that in the UK.

  3. Hi Bernie, I just paid a visit to your "Bush Bernies Garden Blog" and was really amused to see those wallabies in your courtyard garden. They remind me of the profusion of rabbits and squirrels we have here on our property - so adorable, but NOT when they're grazing away in your garden like it's a neverending salad bar!

  4. Rosie, I've been reading up Ceanothus, and was quite surprised to find that many varieties have long been in cultivation in European gardens. I've always thought of them as plants suited to areas with hot, dry summers, and cool, rainy winters. When I first started growing Ceanothus, I don't know how many hapless seedlings I managed to kill with love (i.e., too much water)! But, then again, I've seen photos of some stunning specimens in English and French gardens. They're a lot more adaptable than I thought!