Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ceanothus Extravaganza

The Ceanothus are just exploding with blooms right now, and I'm not sure why. You'd think the lack of rain this winter would be a deterrent, but NOOOOO. What's up with that? First it was the phenomenal (though short-lived) blooms of the manzanitas, and now the Ceanothus are going to town. Moral of the story is, don't question, just enjoy...

2/7/12 'Valley Violet' Ceanothus (Ceanothus maritimus), growing next to 'Pigeon Point' dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis pilularis). At 1-2' H x 2-3' W, Valley Violet would work well in a smaller garden space. This one's growing next the the driveway in front of the garage. 

2/7/12 Ceanothus 'Concha' (hybrid of C. impressus x papillosus var. roweanus). One of the oldest, most reliable and popular of Ceanothus hybrids. 

2/7/12 'Remote Blue' Ceanothus. Hybrid of C. leucodermis x griseus.

2/7/12 'Ebbet's Field' Ceanothus (Native Sons Nursery introduction).

2/7/12 Wart-Stemmed Ceanothus (Ceanothus verrucosis). Not seeing any warts...

2/7/12 Otay Ceanothus (Ceanothus otayensis). Native to Otay Mountain in San Diego County. Got this one at last fall's RSABG native plant sale, although it seemed pretty bedraggled at the time. I bought it cuz it was the last one there and, sheesh, I really, really wanted - no, NEEDED to get one of these guys. Looks recovered now.

2/7/12 'Julia Phelps' Ceanothus (aka, Small Leaf Mountain Lilac). Hybrid of C. impressus x papillosus. An introduction from the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation. 

2/7/12 'Sierra Snow' Ceanothus. Ok, not many flowers, but at least it's flowering (last year, not even one piddly bloom). 

2/7/12 Hoary-leaved Ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius). This one's native to our property. Well, what kind of name is Hoary-leaved? What does Hoary mean? Sounds like a floozy.

2/7/12 'Ray Hartman' Ceanothus (C. arboreus x griseus). Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden intro.

2/12/12 'Dark Star' Ceanothus next to the driveway and propane tank. KABOOM! Just kidding...Ceanothus are nowhere near as flammable as, say, greasewood (and, it's at the prescribed 10' distance from the tank).

2/12/12 Hairy Leaf Ceanothus (Ceanothus oliganthus oliganthus) next to Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens). Here we go again. What an ugly common name. Whyfore? Not hairy at all, as far as I can tell. Las Pilitas nursery's website has some pretty funny commentary on a few of the ridiculously unflattering common names of Ceanothus 

2/12/12 'Joyce Coulter' Ceanothus. 

2/12/12 'Snow Flurry' Ceanothus (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus). Tons and tons of flower buds on the verge of blooming but not quite yet there. You get the picture.

Several other ceanothus (ceanothuses, ceanothi?) are just starting to bud (Blue Jeans, Skylark, Wheeler Canyon, Mountain Haze and Frosty Blue). I'll be adding pics of their blooms (when they're actually in bloom) later on to this post. And, last but not least, here a few other natives that are defying our winter drought:

2/7/12 California Peony (Paeonia californica). Native to our site.

2/7/12 California Peony (Paeonia californica).

2/7/12 White Chaparral Currant (Ribes indecorum).

2/7/12 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora). One of the most adaptable and dependable of manzanitas in the gardenscape. They seem to do fine with some irrigation, but are also quite drought tolerant. This one's growing on a slope next to our citrus grove away from the drip lines. 

2/7/12 'Anacapa Pink' Island Morning Glory (Calystegia macrostegia).

2/7/12 San Diego Sunflower (Viguiera laciniata).

2/7/12 'Mrs. Beard' Creeping Sage (Salvia sonomensis). Hybrid selection of S. mellifera and S. sonomensis

2/12/12 Western Monkshood (Aconitum columbianum) that I had given up for dead last year, resprouting after some extra irrigation in one of the planter beds. YES!!!! Keeping my fingers crossed that these montane beauties will take to our warmer, lower elevation climes here in Murrieta.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The manzanita bloomfest continues, but we really need some freakin' rain...

The manzanitas, ceanothus and other natives on the grounds are putting forth some nice blooms right now, despite (or because of?) our meager rains this winter season. December was a bust, and January wasn't much better, although we had some light but steady rain on the 16th. At least the ground got saturated and the overcast skies provided optimal lighting for some outdoor photography. 'Light' rain is forecast for next Wednesday, but I'm not putting much stock into this meteorological prediction until and when it actually happens. I haven't been out to the vernal pools at the Santa Rosa Plateau for a couple months now due to my surgery, but I'm pretty sure they're bone dry. The white popcornish blossoms of Hoary-Leaved Ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius) and the scarlet flowers of the bush monkeyflowers (Diplacus aurantiacus) along Clinton Keith Road from the Bear Creek fire station to the La Cresta turnoff are in full bloom right now, so they have obviously not been hindered by the lack of precipitation.

1/16/12 Rainbow Manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowensis).

1/16/12 'Mama Bear' Manzanita. Hybrid (Arctostaphylos stanfordiana bakeri 'Louis Edmunds' x A. densiflora 'Sentinel').

1/16/12 Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi).

1/16/12 Munro's Globemallow (Sphaeralcea munroana).

1/16/12 Hoffman's Nightshade (Solanum xanti var. hoffmannii). Native to the Gaviota Pass north of Santa Barbara. This one is thriving under one of our Sycamores. Nicely fragrant and spreads by underground runners. 

1/16/12 Conejo Monkeyflower (Diplacus longiflorus). 

1/16/12 Cedros Island Verbena 'De La Mina' (Verbena lilacina). Selection from Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (selected by Carol Bornstein in the Canyon De La Mina on Cedros Island off Baja California). One of my all-time favs due to its low maintenance, drought tolerance (after established), and almost year-round flower show. 

1/16/12 Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii). This Southwestern native is a real trooper, still blooming this late in the year and with minimal irrigation.

1/16/12 'Lutsko's Pink' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora hybrid).

1/16/12 'Julia Phelps' Ceanothus.

1/16/12 Wild Cucumber (Marah macrocarpus). Wild cucumber is native to our property and grows in profusion in the chaparral stand near the entry. This one's twining through some California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum). 

1/16/12 Wild Cucumber.

1/16/12 Golden Currant (Ribes aureum gracillimum), growing under the shade of a California Sycamore. The berries are edible to both humans and birds (and the birds will probably get to them before we do).

1/16/12 'Ian Bush' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora hybrid) on the left, Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) on the right. 

1/1/12 A non-sequiter, but Hana is enamored of the oranges Gil just harvested (tennis balls, anyone?)

1/16/12 'Blue Springs' Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus).

1/16/12 Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus). The red form is native to our site. This plant is from one of several cuttings I made last year from a "mother" plant up the hill.

1/16/12 My new crop of monkeyflower cuttings from the "mother" plant.

1/16/12 'Paradise' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis). This has got to be one of the most floriferous of all the manzanitas (and the blooms last a long time, too).

1/16/12 'Paradise' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis).

2/5/12 Whiteleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida). 

1/16/12 Desert Four O'Clock (Mirabilis bigelovii). I planted this one as a small one-gallon back in 2008, and now it's a sprawling 4' x 8' shrub. Seems to be doing well in our decomposed granite and surviving our occasionally wet & frosty winters. The multitude of little white flowers tend to open when it's cloudy or late afternoon (hence, 'four o'clock').

1/7/12 Big Sur Manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmundsii).

1/21/12 'Sunset' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri x A. pajaroensis). 

1/21/12 Bush Anemone (Carpinteria californica).

1/21/12 Wart-Stemmed Ceanothus (Ceanothus verrucosis). 

1/21/12 The parting shot. View from the back patio at sunset, notwithstanding that imposing antenna thing at our neighbor's across the way. ET phone home?