Monday, January 17, 2011

A Requiem for Encelias and a Manzanita Bloomfest...

Our last frost in late December (12/30-12/31) dealt a fatal blow to ALL of my Encelias and to even a couple of the monkeyflowers. I thought the Encelias would be resilient, but the ground was frozen rock solid around the root zones of these hapless fellows. They didn't stand a chance.

RIP, Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa).

Encelia actonii, deader than a doorknob...

The manzanitas, however, are on a blooming bender. Since my last post, a few more in the garden have put forth their adorable urn-shaped blossoms:

1/16/11 Rainbow Manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowensis).

1/16/11 Ian Bush Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora x A. pungens).

1/16/11 The fruits that form from the manzanita flowers literally look like "little apples" (hence the name "manzanita"). Santa Cruz Manzanita (Arctostaphylos andersonii).

1/16/11 Lester Rowntree Manzanita (Arctostaphylos obispoensis x A. pajaroensis).

1/16/11 Whiteleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida).

1/16/11 Dr. Hurd Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita).

1/16/11 Sunset Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri x pajaroensis).

1/16/11 Howard McMinn Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora).

1/16/11 We have two Mission Manzanitas (Xylococcus bicolor) native to our site. One is a an 8-ft. tree, but this one is more shrublike and is growing at the base of an Engelmann Oak. The oak is on our neighbor's property, but the Mission Manzanita is on our side of the fenceline. Fence not withstanding, they're like two peas in a pod.

1/16/11 Yankee Point Ceanothus (Ceanothus griseus). A great slope cover. This one is growing under the Monterey Cypress.

1/16/11 Ray Hartman Ceanothus (Ceanothus arboreus x C. griseus). 

1/16/11 California Brodiaea (Brodiaea californica), sprouting under one of the sycamores.

1/16/11 Bought a bulb of Desert mariposa lily (Calochortus kennedyi) at the RSABG fall plant sale. Not cheap at $10 bucks a pop. Since our winter weather in La Cresta can be dicey (i.e., really rainy or not at all), I decided to plant it in a terra cotta pot with sand, perlite, and cactus soil mix. Well lo and behold, it sprung a single leaf! And now, puhlease be a trooper and eke out one of those awesome orange blooms!

And now for the birds:

1/16/11 A Rock Dove (Columbia livia), our familiar "city pigeon," landing on one of the boulders lining the property. Why do I include this picture here? Because it's the first time I've seen one of these guys on the grounds. At first I thought it was a Band-Tailed Pigeon due to its hefty size, and was all jazzed & stuff. But, NOT! Koodoes to him for flying so way off course on his way to the Temecula Civic Center.

1/16/11 Scrub Jay, under the bird feeder.

1/16/11 Acorn Woodpecker, on our neighbor's Engelmann Oak.

1/15/11 Lark Sparrows.

1/15/11 Lark Sparrows and an errant Mourning Dove.

1/16/11 This can't be so. But what the hay is a butterfly doing fluttering around in January? Although I have to admit that the 75F temperature reading today was decidedly balmy for winter. My wild guess is that this is the California Dogface (Colias eurydice), which is our official state butterfly. It landed on a Gaura bloom for a fleeting few seconds. 


  1. That's a real pity about the encelias - do you think you would chance them again in the garden?

  2. I'm always game to keep trying, Rosie. At least encelias are easy to start from seed, which I've regularly collected from the "mother" plants. I'm going to start off a flat of these and keep my fingers crossed that a few will take!

  3. Oh, too bad about the encelias. And even the monkey flowers? Glad we stayed a little warmer here. Amazing manzanitas though...

  4. I've got weird stuff growing in the back forty. Think I'll wait a bit to see what develops. We had frost up here, but not enough to kill. Your bird pictures are stunning. You really caught the insolence of the scrub jay. He's just all that and a bag of chips.

  5. Town Mouse, yes - even the monkeyflowers. Such a bummer! And now, for the past two weeks, it's been warm & windy. I'm confused, and so are my plants!

    Altadenahiker, Scrub Jays are the most raucous bunch of our resident birdies. They have 'tude, kinda like a Joe Pesci of the avian persuasion.

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