1/14/10

The California native plant garden in winter

We had business down in Palo Alto today. On the way home, on a whim, I decided to visit the California native plant garden behind the Woodside Library.

Woodside Library

Can you see why I want a bit of prairie grassland in my garden?

Woodside Library

Why am I failing at this?

Woodside Library

It sure doesn't look hard to pull off.

Woodside Library

Want!

Woodside Library

Sigh.

Anyway.

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

I was surprised and delighted to find two Ceanothus 'Tuxedo' plants growing here.

Woodside Library

This is a new plant developed by FitzGerald Nursery in Ireland for its dark foliage (See also). Ceanothus thyrsiflorus is its closest California relative. California has no foliage this dark in its native flora. Putting this plant in a native plant garden surely entailed some controversy (no? please tell me about it in the comments), but I'm happy to see a little bit of...experimentation going on. Bravo!

Woodside Library

The plant's foliar virtues are quite plain, but it also flowers in the summer. Check it out.

Woodside Library

Elsewhere...

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

Woodside Library

11 comments:

Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com said...

Very pretty. Thanks for sharing. My experience w/ those grasses is that they take a REALLY long time to establish themselves even though they look so easy and hardy. I had given up on them and they started taking hold. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Son Glenn and I went there last week so he could record more CA native plants. I noticed the Garden Club had done some work in the garden, including adding the Tuxedos. My friends Lotte and John gave me the book "The American Meadow Garden" for Christmas- awesome awesome awesome! Makes me want to put meadows in everywhere!

Emma

Pam/Digging said...

We don't have dark-foliage plants in central Texas either. I covet them every time I look at garden mags shot in the Pacific NW. I had good luck with 'Black Pearl' ornamental pepper last summer and will try it again next year.

rainymountain said...

I too longed for a tall grass garden after I had been immersed in one but my garden, like your garden, is small and I am a plantaholic. So without converting the entire garden to grass, there is no way I can achieve a grass garden. I think you might have to make do with the odd tuft unless you do a radical makeover, which from my point of view would be a great shame.

Country Mouse said...

I haven't been to Woodside library for some time - things have really come along there! I'm going to have another go at the meadow garden - my first attempt has fed the bunnies well and produces many weeds. Now if I put some bunch grasses in, I wonder if the bunnies will just munch them to the ground? They don't seem to eat the bunch grasses growing wild too much.... We'll see.

Bree said...

"Gardens" are the perfect place to experiment with California natives and cultivars. However, it's when a plant hybridizes with neighboring natives, bringing out features of both and sometimes swamping the genetics of a local population, that can pose a problem. Ceanothus is a genus that doesn't mind mingling the genes, if you know what I mean.

chuck b. said...

You're quite right, Bree. I'll ask Pat what he thinks about 'Tuxedo' fertility. I know 'Tux' is a sport of a cultivar.

fairegarden said...

We'll be expecting to see grasses flowing with the winds, soon, Chuck, in you 40 feet. Natives that have been tinkered with seem perfectly acceptable, especially when they look like that Tuxedo.
Frances

lisa said...

Would it be at all feasable to grow your natives in pots? That way they could be re-arranged any way you like until they look the way you wish without disturbing their roots, until and unless you decide to put them in the ground for good. BTW, what's the plant with the pink bell-looking flowers? Is it a vaccinum of some kind?

Matt said...

Thanks for taking us along Chuck. I've been to the new Town Hall & Library, but somehow missed the garden. Very cool indeed!

JvA said...

I want Tuxedo.