Gil & I tackled the seemingly formidable slope on the back side of our house today, and managed to trench through the decomposed granite with some modicum of success. This veritable wasteland of black mustard, filaree, and star thistle was starting to get on my nerves, to say the least...but alas, upon our fourth year of residence here in La Cresta, we've finally had the time and inclination to tether this wild and wily segment of the property. Goal is to put in more grape vines, avocados, and any other fruiting tree that suits our microclimate. The first plants we installed here were 'Fuerte' Avocado, 'Stewart' Avocado, 'Ruby' Seedless Grape, and 'Snow Queen' Nectarine. The Avocados are Mexican varieties and fairly cold tolerant (to about 20F), while the 'Snow Queen' nectarine is a self-fruitful, sweet freestone that requires just under 300 chilling hours (good for Southern California). The new plants were amended with good, well-draining garden soil and are being irrigated by drip.
In the meantime, the natives in the garden continue to shine ...
5/16/10 Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata). From seed sown over the winter. With sufficient rains, a large stand of these can be always found in the springtime blooming along the fire road en route to the Gabrielino Trail in the Arroyo Seco (San Gabriel Mountains, LA County).
5/16/10 Wild Hyacinth (Dichelostemma multiflorum).
5/16/10 Desert Columbine (Aquilegia shockleyi). I believe this species has now been reclassified as Aquilegia formosa in the Jepson Manual. But, hey - I'm eternally confused and frustrated by constant taxanomic changes, so in this case, I'm going to simplify my life by sticking with the nursery label.
5/16/10 Acton Encelia (Encelia actonii). A desert Encelia that I've seen around the Salsberry Pass area of Death Valley National Park. This one looked almost dead after our cold, wet winter, but has now sprung back to life. A plant you could kill by watering it in the summer.
5/16/10 Chaparral Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus).
5/16/10 'Hanging Valley' Santa Lucia Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus palmeri).
5/16/10 Wishbone Bush (Mirabilis californica).
5/16/10 'Pink Ribbons' Clarkia (Clarkia concinna).
5/16/10 Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa).
5/16/10 Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa). A member of the Rose family, this desert shrub makes for a beautiful accent in the dry garden. The billowy seed heads are in many ways more showy and attractive than the actual flowers.
5/16/10 'Vicki Romo' White Sage (Salvia apiana x clevelandii).
4/25/10 Stream Orchid (Epipactus gigantea). This one is growing and proliferating in an old wine barrel, along with Seep Monkeflower (Mimulus guttatus) and Jeffrey's Shooting Star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi). Thrives on lots of water.
5/16/10 Narrowleaf Onion (Allium amplectens).
4/25/10 Wood Lupine (Lupinus truncatus). Reseeded from last year.
4/25/10 Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii).
5/16/10 Dwarf Silver Bush Lupine (Lupinus albofrons collinus). Needs good drainage, so I've got it potted in sand and cactus mix.
5/16/10 White Sage (Salvia apiana). The flower spikes are about 5 feet tall!. Bees love it, and so do I...Foggy this morning, hence the hazy backdrop.