"The storm door has opened"

Does the TV weatherman use that expression where you live too? It cracks me up. Yes, the storm door is open and the storms have been barging through it all week.

Today we got a tiny bit of blue sky. I used it to frame this picture of Senecio cristobalensis and to show you its emergent flower stems. This is the fastest growing plant in my garden, ever.

Senecio cristobalensis

Moments after I took this picture, the sky went white again. Because somebody (I won't say who) left the storm door open! At any rate, you can evaluate the evidence for yourself, but I think my picture is conclusive: the sky remains blue on the other side of the clouds.

As the Senecio continues to grow and intermingle with some of ther cloud forest species I have (Tibouchina, Fuchsia), we're starting to get some canopy action going on, which is exciting.


A few of the smaller passionflower species climb up all these plants. They may help to knit together a canopy in a year or two.


Hopefully, the Tibouchina and Fuchsia will provide a solid-enough wood support. I'm not sure about Senecio's long-term prospects. The young shoots are very fleshy, even succulent, but the stalk feels solid. We'll see. At any rate, any canopy will be monitored closely.

I went down to the garden hoping to find some groovy fungi. We had some new mushrooms in '09, and I hope for more in 2010.

It would be great to get one of those mushroom kits all the nurseries are selling, but not for $40. Yikes. Instead, I try to mulch regularly with different kinds of organic material, and I spread compost now and then.

Anyway, I didn't find any mushrooms, but the moss on the birdbath is back. The little clumps get bigger every year. People in the PNW will laugh at me, but I think my 2-inch piece of moss is exciting!

moss on the birdbath

The only actual fungus I found was this orange, crustose material on my oak half-barrels. I'm sure if you can use the word crustose to describe a fungus, but maybe this is a lichen and not a fungus afterall.


Two cherries were new to me last year. They shouldn't flower for months still, but it sure looks like the buds are swelling. And what's the stippling up and down the stems?


You can see the lichen-dusted fence in the background.


The camera doesn't quite get how bright green it really is.


The snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp.) looks much better growing in the shade where it belongs.


It's just a filler, but it's a pretty filler.

Delphinium cardinale is flowering already. Wind blew the stem into the manzanita bush and it can't seem to extricate itself.

Delphinium cardinale

A different manzanita has some flowers on it, but I think the wood is more interesting.


The Ceanothus is flowering now too but the rain-drenched flowers can't be very satisfying for the bees. Or maybe the bees don't care. I don't know.


I can't get over how red the Centradenia leaves are.


And I'm happy to say cabbage grows unmolested in my garden and seems to need no attention from me.

an experiment

This was just an experiment to see if cabbage would grow at all. I might consider it as a winter vegetable crop, but cabbage takes so long to ripen... Too bad kale isn't an option. Bugs eat the heck out of kale.

This is Cretan Rock Lettuce (Petromarula pinnata). You can get it at Annie's Annuals, but I grew mine from seed. Young leaves are edible and salad-worthy and it looks like this when it flowers.


I have a nerine bulb in this pot, but I think I like it more as a pot of tumbled glass.



Matti said...

You seem to have the same fondness of moss and lichen as I do. If possible and available, I like to get a little moss on all my containers.

Anonymous said...

I love moss too. I'm always surprised to find that I do get some of it. For me it's usually very flat moss, growing directly on the dirt. I rarely see it on other surfaces and never see it with flower stalks like yours.

Unknown said...

I love those fence photos! Very much more PNW than San Fran for sure.

By the way, I'm surprised that the bugs eat the heck out of your kale, but not the cabbage. Weird. Have you ever tried Swiss Chard?

Christopher C. NC said...

Well someone needs to close the damn door. Enough already, before I am swallowed in lichen, fungi and moss. That is about all I have to look at these days.

I think the stiples on your cherry are most likely latent stem buds.

chuck b. said...

That's what I thought, but my goodness! If they don't stay dormant, I'll have a porcupine, not a cherry tree.

Julie said...

I love your moss, lichen, red leaves, and pot of tumbled glass!!! Seriously...a great post...wonderful photos!

Anonymous said...

A regular rain forest, Chuck! You have certainly overcome the little leaf syndrome, it looks quite tropical and a canopy of green, with splotches of color is a dream come true. Unmolested cabbage, unheard of here. The bugs go for the cabbage worse than the kale, it is a serious problem that seems only curable with spray, won't use it, or covers, what's the point then? Thanks for reminding us of the blue sky.

Brad said...

A canopy in the garden. Sounds great. Also your snowberry is looking really good. Ours has lost all of it's leaves for winter.

Nicole said...

Your canopy is looking pretty nice. I also like the manzanitas, I think they will grow well here if I could ever get some.

Katie said...

I always love seeing what's going on at your place. Beautiful pics.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

great post... love the moss fence... looks yummy!

The Dirt Guy said...

I'm with you Chuck, somebody needs to shut the dang door for awhile! Your mini rain forest is looking pretty cool! Always dig your pics.

lisa said...

LOL! I've never heard the storm door reference...and I thought our local weather people were silly for naming snow storms! You wet landscape looks refreshing, the colors are really rich in the overcast. I may have a solution to your cabbage dilemma...last year I grew a cute pointy cabbage that matured in 68 days and was yummy. This year, I found 'Point One' that matures in only 48 days! I find your pot of tumbled glass to be highly decorative...makes me wonder if rock tumblers can still be found at yard sales?