Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thufferin Thuccotash - It's Summer already!

Can't believe it's been 2 months since my last blog posting. Too many garden chores and not enough time. Fire season is also in full, unfortunate swing. The 'Volcano' fire, accidentally sparked by a County weed abatement worker on Tenaja Road, scorched through 355 acres here on the Santa Rosa Plateau and La Cresta on Wednesday August 1st, and is at this hour about 95% contained. Close calls for a number of homes, especially on Valle Vista, but only one was destroyed by the conflagration - still, that's one too many. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Snyders. 

Photos of the fire are on my Facebook page: 

On the gardening front, I've spent the last couple months creating a new veggie garden, herb garden, rose garden, and California Mission-inspired garden on a previously neglected weedy swath of land downslope from our driveway. Last summer, I was really bummed and frustrated by the proliferation of black mustard and yellow star thistle in this area, so decided to spend the extra bucks and have our gardener Bruno and his crew clear the weeds & install a drip irrigation system. There is a method to my madness. I'm not one to draw out my garden plans in detail: I just go with my gut and my haphazard intuition, pray, keep my fingers tightly crossed, and hope that my plantings won't result in an impenetrable black forest a few years down the line that we'll need to machete our way out of. Such is my enthusiasm and giddy abandon for gardening. 

Here's a snapshot of what's been going on in our late spring/summer garden:

5/25/12 Driveway. To the left: Fremontia 'San Gabriel', 'White Cloud' Chitalpa, Blanketflower (Gaillardia), Gaura, Cedros Island Verbena, Winnifred Gilman Sage. 
To the Right: Matilija Poppies, Sycamores, Deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) &  assorted Rock Roses.

5/27/12 Gil, huffing & puffing his way up the fruit orchard. 

5/25/12 Southern/San Diego Honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata denudata).

5/25/12 'Blue Flame' Giant Purple Sage (Salvia pachyphylla).

5/25/12 Mojave Sage (Salvia mohavensis).

5/25/12 Winnifred Gilman Sage, 'Tilden Prostrate' Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla), 'Figueroa' Purple Sage (S. leucophylla), 'Alpine' Sage (S. clevelandii), 'Celestial Blue' Sage (S. clevelandii), 'Pozo Blue' Sage (S. clevelandii), Woolley Blue Curls (Trichostema lanata), Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) - native to site.

5/25/12 Foreground to back: Sugarbush (Rhus ovata), Paradise Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis), 'Harmony' Manzanita, 'Sunset' Manzanita, Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis), and Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa), which is doing surprisingly well here in our Sunset Zone 20 something (haven't quite figured it out yet).

5/25/12 Monkeyflowers! Clockwise left to right: Santa Lucia Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus fasciculatus), Ramona Narrowleaf Southern Monkeyflower (D. aurantiacus australis), Agoura Spunky Monkey (D. longiflorus). 

5/25/12 Western Spiraea (Spiraea douglasii).

5/25/12 Large-Flowered Phacelia (Phacelia grandiflora).

5/25/12 In the butterfly-hummingbird garden: Mullein, Blanketflowers (Gaillardia), Autumn Sages (Salvia greggii), & Canary Island Sage (Salvia canariensis).

6/2/12 Clarkia concinna 'Pink Ribbons.'

6/2/12 Lemon Lily (Lilium parryi). This one needs extra moisture so I have it growing in a planter bed on the north side of the house along with Spice Bush (Calycanthus occidentalis), Cow Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), and Creambush (Holodiscus discolor). Smells divine!

6/2/12 Matilija Poppies (Romneya coulteri). This bootiful stand of 'Fried Egg' flowers is just off the driveway, where they can spread & multiply to their heart's content, as they surely will.

6/3/12 Fort William Fairyfan (Clarkia williamsonii). Endemic to Northern & Central Sierra foothills. This annual grows well in our wildflower bed. Purchased from Annie's Annuals.

6/3/12 Pismo Clarkia (Clarkia speciosa immaculata). Federally listed as endangered. My fav clarkia. Purchased from Annie's Annuals.

6/2/12 Winnifred Gilman Cleveland's Sage (Salvia clevelandii) along the driveway.

6/19/12 Pink Monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis x M. lewisii). A great cross that seems a tad more drought & heat tolerant than either of its parents.

6/19/12 Felt-Leaf Monardella (Monardella hypoleuca ssp. lanata). This little monardella is growing under the Monterey Cypress.

6/19/12 San Diego/Gander's Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia ganderi). Seems to be doing ok so far in our decomposed granite with a bit of extra water. Native to the Otay Mountain in SD County.

6/19/12 'Burgundy' Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis). 

6/19/12 Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) and Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa).

6/19/12 'Desert Museum' Palo Verde, a thornless Parkinsonia hybrid. 

7/7/12 Ok, I know Gil is going to kill me for posting this photo, but it's just so classic. It was a super hot day and, after an exhausting day of extreme gardening, he & Hana were all tuckered out and decided to pass out in synch under the portico. 

7/8/12 Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia 'Tuskarora') & Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) along the fenceline.

7/8/12 'White Morning Cloud' Chitalpa (Chitalpa tashkentensis). A cross between our native Desert Willow Chilopsis linearis & the South Eastern Catalpa bignonioides). We planted four of these along the driveway - drought tolerant with showy flowers in the summer that attract our resident hummers. They're commonly used as street trees here in Murrieta. 

7/8/12 'Imperial Thai Delight' Bougainvillea and 'Orange Bells' Tecoma (Tecoma garrocha) in Hana's dog run. I think they're proliferating cuz of her poopie piles. Just sayin'.

7/8/12 Cleared the weeds along the fenceline next to our neighbor's property to create a new rose/herb/veggie & California Mission-inspired garden. 

7/8/12 Biblical herb garden. New plantings include: Clary Sage, Jerusalem Sage, Dill, Fennel, Pomegranate, Lemongrass, Crown of Thorns, Hyssop, Roman Chamomile, Rose of Sharon, Balm of Gilead, Warley Rockrose, Sage-leaf Rockrose, Egyptian Mint, Syrian Oregano, Rue, Borage, Costmary, Shamouti (Palestine) Orange, and Santa Teresa Femminello Lemon.

7/8/12 Biblical herb garden.

7/8/12 Herb garden.

7/29/12 Charantais melon, a French cantaloupe deemed to be the most flavorful melon in the world (grew these from seeds purchased from Seed Savers Exchange). Lots of flowers, but no fruit yet. I put burlap underneath the plants to keep the area weed free and also to protect any developing fruit from direct contact with the soil. Sunflower seedlings are in the foreground.

7/29/12 Tomatoes (Beam's Yellow Pear, Momotaro, Carmello, Brandywine & Zapotec), tomatillos, peppers (habanero, ancho & jalapeno), corn (Silver Queen & Kandy Corn), and summer squash (zucchini & crookneck).

7/29/12 Thompson Seedless grapes.

7/29/12 Zinfandel grapes.

7/29/12 Cabernet grapes.

7/29/12 Champagne grapes trellised in the kitchen herb garden.

7/29/12 Rio Red Grapefruit. Should be ready to harvest this winter.

7/29/12 Scarlet Robe peaches. On the small side this year, but still very sweet. Planning to make peach sorbet with these guys.

7/29/12 Tarantula Hawk on Rush Milkweed (Asclepias subulata). 

8/5/12 Blair's Wirelettuce (Munzothamnus blairii). Endemic to San Clemente Island. Got this  from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden last year.

8/5/12 How cool is that? A band-tailed pigeon (Columba fasciata) landed on one of our bird feeders today. The white band across the nape is indicative.

6/15/12 California Quail. 

6/3/12 Baby California quails with their parents. So cute!

6/17/12 Great Egret in the pond. Hope it didn't eat all our all fish.

6/10/12 Juvenile White-tailed Kite on the Engelmann Oak above the fruit orchard.