Layia platyglossa

You may recall that I'm trying to punch things up in my garden this year by growing western wildflowers. The first flower on any of them opened yesterday: Layia platyglossa, commonly called Tidy Tips. Here it is!


I started everything in seed flats and began planting out late last year. For me, it's been very labor intensive. Slugs devastated the the Layia and only those in containers survived. The gardener in charge of the native section at the SF Botanical Garden has had similar experiences.

Tidy Tips is early in nature, but Limnanthes douglasii (Meadowfoam) is earlier. I obtained meadowfoam seeds late, so it will be late in my garden too. Slugs haven't bothered my meadowfoam, which is also true for the Botanical Garden.

Two other species taking serious slug damage: Collinsia heterophylla and Linanthus grandiflorus.

Species they haven't touched: Phacelia campanularia, P. tanacetifolia, Platystemon californicus, Gilia tricolor.

Species that fall somewhere in between: Nemophila menziesii, N. maculata.

Apparently, before San Francisco was built up in the 20th century, it was quite the place for wildflowers. The book San Francisco: A Natural History quotes noted California plantswoman Alice Eastwood:
"In the 1890s, the open country everywhere around San Francisco was a beautiful wild flower garden in the spring. In the region near Lake Merced the wildflowers were so thick that it was impossible to avoid stepping on them."
So it's nice to connect to that in my garden--if only a little bit.


Unknown said...

Connecting to that in your garden is definitely a lovely thought.

Frances, said...

You have a little patch of old fashioned San Francisco in your back yard, like stepping back to a simpler time. Try copper collars or extra fine coper screening to keep the slugs off, it works!

Frances at Faire Garden

lisa said...

Bravo! I've always liked Tidy Tips, and I was going to try them as an annual here...now I will!