Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fall Colors

Fall. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the wayward gardener who spent too much time last night binge watching old episodes of Star Trek, but I digress...it's been forever and a day since my last post here, but not a day too late since the fall colors in my garden are fading fast, so here we go.

11/19/17 The brilliant red berries of Toyon, aka "Christmas Berry" (Heteromeles arbutifolia). This tree, next to the herb garden, was one of the first California natives I planted on our property in 2007. It started out as a small plant in a one gallon container and is now 8 feet tall, flowering and fruiting reliably every year. 

11/19/17 Rose hips on this native rose, Rosa californica 'First Dawn' 
Great for tea and loaded with Vitamin C!

11/19/17 Roger's Red California grape (Vitis californica x Vitis vinifera)
A selection by Roger Raiche, who came across it while driving 
through Sonoma County in 1983. What distinguishes this grape from the 
straight native species is its brilliant red fall foliage. 
This one is growing along the fence line in our upper orchard.


11/19/17 Beautiful orange foliage on the semi-dwarf Fuyu persimmon in the herb garden.

11/19/17 The Fuyu persimmon has a bunch of ripe fruit that I'll be harvesting this weekend. 
Delicious with prosciutto and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or diced and tossed in a salad.

11/19/17 Borage, both blue and white-flowered varieties, reseed readily 
and year-round in my herb garden. This blue-flowered variety is growing 
and blooming prolifically in one of the flower beds.

11/19/17 My new plant love affair is with Cupheas, many of which are native to Mexico, Central and South America. Their tubular (some even 'bat-faced') flowers are super attractive to hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. They are frost tender and don't like to be in full sun, so I've planted mine in the more shaded herb garden just outside of my kitchen, including this one (Cuphea 'Minnie Mouse').

11/19/17 Fuchsia triphylla 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' in the herb garden.

11/19/17 Candy Corn Plant (Cuphea micropetela)
I planted this Mexican Cuphea as a 4" pot in my herb garden last year. 
It's finally taking off and blooming. 

11/19/17 The leaves on a Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis
on our property, starting to turn color.

11/19/17 Dried seed pods on Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis).

11/19/17 Three weeks ago, the blooms on this Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) were a brilliant yellow. I didn't manage to get a photograph of them in their prime, but here's a shot of the faded blooms. Still pretty cool.

11/19/17 Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata). 
Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina) are native here, but not Sugar Bush, so I planted 2 of them on the property about 5 years ago. They are super drought tolerant, not hooked up on drip and irrigated solely from the rain we receive during our 'wet' season in fall-winter.

11/19/17 California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa) in the upper orchard.

Our 7 year old Monterey Cypress died earlier this year (cause unknown). There was a gradual die-back of the leaves and branches from the bottom up and ultimately we had to cut it down in case it was affected by a disease that could potentially be transmitted to the other cypress species on the property. The remaining stump was adorned with a cool and highly photogenic assortment of mosses and lichen.

11/19/17 Wedgeleaf Goldenbush (Ericameria cuneata)
Just like the Rabbitbrush, this native shrub was adorned with golden yellow blooms a few 
weeks ago. The flowers have since faded, but still look striking in their senescence. 

11/19/17 Our manzanitas have done well, despite the paucity of rain this year. 
Clockwise, left to right: 'Ken Taylor' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri 'Ken Taylor'), 'Pacific Mist' Manzanita (RSABG Intro), 'Sunset' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri x A. pajaroensis), 'Harmony' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora), and 'Dr. Hurd' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita).

11/19/17 Catalina Island Fuchsia (Zauschneria canum).
A 1987 selection by Mike Evans from Tree of Life Nursery, from Catalina Island. I planted one several years ago, and it's since reseeded in the flowerbed next to my herb garden. These blooms have been going to town for almost two months now and the hummingbirds can't get enough of them. 

11/19/17 'Sierra Star' Fairy Duster is a hybrid between Calliandra eriophylla and Caliandra californica. Its super bright red flowers are more brilliant than those of either of its parent species. 

11/19/17 Common Myrtle (Myrtle communis).
This shrub is non-native but widely used as a hedge/landscape plant here in SoCal. 
I have it growing against a rather ugly wall off the portico to hide the unsightly visage. These cute little blue berries are adorning the bush right now - I've read that they're actually edible, but rather bitter and tannic in taste. Probably best to just grow them for ornamental purposes. 


  1. Well who do you suppose this is who hasn't written a post since 2016 ?? Nice Fall pics. Miss the warmth. Had our first snow two years ago. *sigh*

    1. Well, hi there, Kevin! Yes, it's been way too long, so I figured it was about time for me to get back to the business of this blog rather than just posting everything on FB. Looking forward to keeping this blog up-to-date and also checking out your postings. Cheers!