Monday, February 23, 2015

Ceanothus Extravaganza!

I really didn't know what to expect from the natives here on the property in terms of their flowering after this season's mild to moderate El Nino (depending on your point of view), coupled with an unprecedented snowfall here in La Cresta and surrounding areas over the New Year, but the manzanitas and ceanothus (aka, California lilacs) have been blooming prolifically like there's no tomorrow! Wow! The previous fall-winter season was very dry and, therefore, totally sucked cuz, amongst other things, it caused the demise of several of my beloved, supposedly drought-tolerant trees which were not on drip. namely the Modoc cypress, Arizona cypress, and Sargent's cypress. 

So far so good. After a couple of dry weeks, we had about 3/4" of rain come down overnight, and more is projected for the next weekend. Much, much more precip is needed to get us out of the water deficit here in Cali, but anything is better than nothing.

2/12/15 Wart-Stemmed Ceanothus (Ceanothus verrucosus) in the foreground and Hoary-Leaved Ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), native to the property, off the driveway.

 2/18/15 Island / Catalina Mountain Lilac (Ceanothus arboreus). Endemic to the Channel Islands off of the California coast, this is the largest of the CA native lilacs, up to 25'. This one is growing outside of the fenceline of the top orchard. 

2/18/15 'Popcorn' Ceanothus (Ceanothus maritimus). A U.C. Davis garden selection that's a great ground cover. This one is growing and spreading nicely along the slope off the driveway. 

2/22/15  Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii) and 'Julia Phelps' Ceanothus (Saratoga Horticultural Foundation introduction: C. impressus x papillosus hybrid). 

2/22/15 'Julia Phelps' Ceanothus. 

2/22/15 'Sierra Snow' Ceanothus (Ceanothus rigid). RSABG intro. 

2/22/15 'Tassajara Blue' Ceanothus (Ceanothus arboreus x griseus). A garden selection introduced by Las Pilitas nursery. 

 2/22/15 Otay Mountain Lilac (Ceanothus otayensis) - endemic to San Diego County, Vandenberg Ceanothus (Ceanothus impresses) - a 1982 selection by M. Nevin Smith from Vandenberg AFB in Santa Barbara County, and Woolly-leaf Ceanothus (Ceanothus tomentosus) found in Northern & Central Sierras, South Coast, San Bernardino Mtns, and Peninsular ranges. All growing swimmingly off of the driveway.

2/22/15 'Blue Jeans' Ceanothus (Ceanothus gloriosus x masonii) - an RSABG intro, and 'Dara's Gold' Fremontodendron.  

2/22/15 'Ray Hartman' Ceanothus (C. arboreus x C. thrysiflorus var. griseus).   

2/22/15 'Dark Star' Ceanothus (Ceanothus impresses x C. papillosus var. roweanus). This beauty off the driveway is 5 years old and blooms like clockwork every year in late winter. 

2/22/15 Canyon Sunflower (Vegegasia carpesioides).  

2/22/15 Pink Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum). 

2/22/15 Nevin's Barberry (Mahonia nevinii). 

2/22/15 Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum).  

2/22/15 Woolly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum).  

2/22/15  Hoffmann's Nightshade (Solanum xanti var. hoffmannii) and 'El Tigre' Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans). 

2/22/15 'Powerline Pink' Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea). Las Pilitas Nursery introduction. 

2/22/15 San Diego Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus minutiflorus).  

2/22/15 Desert Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).  

 2/22/15 Desert Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa). 

2/22/15 Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus).  

2/22/15 'Allen Chickering' Sage (Salvia clevelandii).  

 2/22/15 Baja Littleleaf Rose (Rosa minutifolius).
 2/22/15 Otay Mountain Lotus (Lotus crassifolius var. otayensis). 
2/22/15 'Las Pilitas' Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea). Las Pilitas Nursery introduction. 

2/22/15 'Mrs. Beard's' Creeping Sage (Salvia sonomensis). 

 2/22/15 Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis). 

2/22/15 Big Sur Manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmundsii).  

2/22/15 Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata). 

Friday, January 30, 2015

2014 Native Plant Garden Retrospective

I have no excuses for neglecting this blog since March of last year, except that I've been spending an inordinate amount of time posting to my cooking blog and also on FB, notwithstanding the fact that the summer of 2014 was especially hot and dry and the gardens were in the doldrums. Three magnificent trees on the grounds - my prized Modoc Cypress, Tecate Cypress, and Arizona Cypress - all fell victim to the drought and/or perhaps some disease exacerbated by the weather conditions. I was wary of the weather predictions of a moderate El Nino for the coming winter but also heartened by the decent rains we got in December. Then, lo and behold, we got hit by an epic (at least by Southern California standards) snow storm here in La Cresta, Murrieta, Wildomar, and Temecula on December 30th. OMG!!! I will post pics of the resulting winter wonderland shortly. In the meantime, here are highlights of some of the relatively meager happenings on the grounds last year. 

 4/27/14 "Burst Berry" Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus hybrid). Part of the Ball Ornamental Plants Burst Monkeyflower series, first released in 2013. A compact, mounding shrub with large, luscious flowers. 

8/17/14 Black Widow Spider. This grande dame was behind the fountain in the herb garden. 

4/27/14 Chamise/Greasewood (Adenostoma fasciculatum).  Native to our property, this lovely, though highly flammable shrub, is in full bloom.

4/27/14 Chaparral Whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis) & Tassajara Blue (Ceanothus arboreus x C. griseus) Mountain Lilac off of the driveway. 

4/27/14 Desert Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) in the desert garden. 

6/1/14 Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum). 

 4/27/14 Heart-Leaved Penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia).

 4/27/14 Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa v. Torreyana). Native to San Joaquin Valley, Peninsular ranges and Mojave Desert, extending into Texas and Mexico. 

6/1/14 Mojave Sage (Salvia mohavensis). A lovely sage that's endemic to the Mojave Desert. I planted this one in 2009 in the desert garden and so far so good - it's survived our chaparral habitat, occasionally wet winters, and the recent snow storm without any discernible damage.  

6/1/14 'Desert Museum' Palo Verde.  

 6/1/14 Panther Lily (Lilium pardilinum) and Lemon Lily (Lilium parry) in the planter on the north side of the house. 

5/10/14 Female Phainopepla/Silky Flycatcher (Phainopepla nitens) on a Eureka Lemon tree in the citrus grove.  

4/27/14 Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) in the desert garden.  

4/27/14 "Purple" Monkeyflower and "Georgie White" Monkeyflower (Mimulus cultivars) 

4/27/14 "Sierra Blue" Ceanothus (Ceanothus cyaneus cultivar). 

6/1/14 Sierra Columbine (Aquilegia pubescens).  

6/1/14 Spice Bush (Calycanthus occidentalis). 

4/27/14 Sticky Phacelia (Phacelia viscida).  

5/17/14 Giant Stream Orchid (Epipactis gigantea). Native to the Western U.S. in wet or moist areas. This bunch is growing in a wine barrel in the herb garden. The foliage dies down and they go dormant in the summer, but the plants emerge like clockwork in late winter/early spring.  

5/17/14 Seep Monkeyflowers (Mimulus guttatus) growing in the wine barrel with the giant stream orchids. I grew these from seed and they reseed reliably every season.  

5/10/14 Oak Titmouse on a drip irrigation tube in the front garden. 

4/27/14 Western Vervain (Verbena lasiostachys). A California native that can be aggressively weedy in the garden, but attracts a ton of butterflies. This patch is growing in the Mission garden.  

6/1/14 "Winnifred Gilman" Sage (Salvia clevelandii selection) along the driveway.

5/17/14 Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica) in the main pond.