The small, insignificant garden

Maybe I should call it the Garden of Self-Pity. The garden feels especially small and insignificant after spending the day in Big Trees. Small, insignificant, ill-conceived, ineffective, and unappealing.


And I'm losing patience with my container clutter.

Container clutter

Seriously, I'm ready for an intervention.

Container clutter

Time to come to Jesus.

container clutter

Someone call Hoarders.

Container clutter

I'm not even showing you the nursery area. Don't go there.

Let's move on to other topics, but you can leave enabling comments if you want.

We're leaving the tomato cages out for the winter in case any birds need a spot to perch. I think I said that already. I stuffed a tuft of dead grass between the bars in case someone needs some nesting material. And I'm picking raspberries.


I decided containerized raspberries are definitely the way to go. And not because I was worried about the running roots, but because it's easier to water and fertilize the container than it is to cultivate a patch of ground.

I'm very fond of the giant asters from South America--they love San Francisco and grow vigorously with minimal care. This is Tithonia diversifolia which makes yellow, chocolate-scented daisies starting in a month or two. It started putting out a lot of growth recently too.

Tithonia diversifolia

I can't believe how fast Senecio cristobalensis has grown. I've never seen anything grow so fast. Flowers are insignificant, but the foliage and texture are top-notch.

Senecio cristobalensis

I generally don't pay much attention to the cyclamen under the deck stairs, but I appreciated their foliage today too.


A drift of cyclamen is really nice, but I have mixed results getting them to come back from year to year. They go on sale for half off right now so I get one or two every year and hope for the best. A 25% return rate will eventually get me a nice, small drift.

The Passiflora citrina I got a couple months ago at Filoli is doing well. They seem to grow okay in shade which is not surprising considering how competitive they are.


The Wikipedia page says Passiflora are found worldwide except for Africa (and Antarctica, duh), including nine species that are native to the USA, one of which is found in California! How can that be?! I must find out what it is.

Watching the leaves turn colors on everyone's blogs recently, I'm struck by how green my neighbor's neglected cherry tree remains.


I wonder if I can find a record of it changing color in my archives.


Les said...

The first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have one. Although, if you are not hurting anyone else, is it really a problem?

Passiflora is one of the most persistent weeds in my garden. Unfortunately the species vexing me does not have showy flowers, if it did I may feel differently.

Anonymous said...

How can we cheer you up, Chuck? I see on your twitter thingy how taken your were with the witch hazel near Clyde. I think you are suffering from too much green. You need some different colored foliage, maybe with textural interest. The senecio changes colors? It's got that large leaf. Wasn't there a large red leaf on something a while back? As for plant hoarding, how else are you supposed to get new plants? Seeds are the way to go, or cuttings, and they need to be in containers as babies. Maybe time to take inventory. I am a list maker, writing down what is waiting to be planted might be a good way to make some tough decisions. Just trying to help here. Don't know if it does or not, but the intentions are good. :-)

Tira said...

The foliage of the Senecio cristobalensis is great and the color of the Passiflora citrinais striking. My passion vines are rampant but they haven’t bloomed yet-I grow edulis for blooms and fruit.

Anonymous said...

Just my two cents worth: I think that you might have too many fine-textured plants making it seem rather busy in the first two pictures. Maybe adding a few structural plants as accent and focal points would help...

chuck b. said...

Lol! Yes, I already talked about that. The problem is that I don't like "structural plants".

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Well I think your garden looks great. (I guess I'm an enabler, but I do think it does)
I'm looking forward to seeing your Tithonias, I wish I could have some new flowers blooming here in a month or two.

Brent said...

Of course I'm most curious about previously unknown (to me) native passion flowers.

Passiflora isn't recognized by calflora.org as a California native, but it does say that some Passiflora are escaped cultivars.

There's no indexed common name of passion flower, either, so I don't know where Wikipedia got its information.

On the busy garden: What about adding a smallish but busy-leaved tree? Japanese maple? Maybe more movement with a Quaking Aspen?

Unknown said...

So another focal point then? Maybe the answer is to have fewer containers, but to make sure that the ones you have are large and eye-catching?

Again, though... I don't think your little jewel of a garden needs much of a change. It looks very pretty to me. :)

Christopher C. NC said...

Just for the record, I am not the anonymous above. If you are happy with the garden and you should most definitely absolutely be for the most part, it brings you such joy, than I am happy. Could you add a greenhouse floor to the roof of your house for your container clutter?

Ann Atkinson said...

LOL Chuck. I think we have all been there with our gardens. I say it's the sign of a true gardener. We see a new plant that makes our heart flutter. And go on an insane search. And when found, of course, buy it. Sometimes they even live. It's a testament to your green thumb that they have all survived. If you MUST, uhh, remove some favorites, give them to someone you can get cuttings or babies from in the future. Many great gardens EVOLVE. I've found removing big established plantings is quite liberating (shhh). I'm over feeling guilty when a plant dies: I'm excited to try something new! This is your garden - make yourself happy - not us. We love you, and your garden, no matter what!

Brad B said...

The idea of a native Ca passiflora got me interested. I can't find one at all though. Let me know if you have more luck. Everything I found had several species being invasive here. And the N. American species seem to be more in the Southeast.

Anonymous said...

Chuck- I think you are just suffering from "plant culture shock" after going to see those amazing trees that are so old, huge and gorgeous. It's temporary. I feel the same way when i come back from seeing Springtime gardens in Virginia or the Autumn colors in Oregon, but finally I always remember how many more months that we can garden here and feel happy with the results of my efforts again. Cynthia

Bay Area Tendrils said...

Passiflora citrina ...
I want, I want! Yet I know it wouldn't be happy in my garden ;-(
some day I'll get to Big Trees! Alice

lostlandscape (James) said...

Nobody will be able to help you until you show the nursery and fess up to the full problem... But seriously, I think any curious gardener is going to have a battle with entropy.