Visiting the lost garden

As busy and preoccupied as I am with school, it would be garden blogger malpractice not to get a post up during all this warm weather we've been having. I could see the cherry trees leafing out from the upstairs window. When I got down to the garden I found roses, blueberries, Japanese maples, and clematis all leafing out as well. And everyone was thirsty so I watered.

This was neat to see: the first buds of Fuchsia boliviana 'Rubra', which I started from seed a few years ago. These fuchsias take a couple years to start flowering, but once they start they never stop.


You could get one from Annie's Annuals if you don't have time for seeds.

Nearby, Fuchsia fulgens is sending up vigorous new growth from the crown. I'm going this opportunity to back back the single, gangly woody trunk bearing all these flowers. But not today.


As you can see in that picture, the buckeye (Aesculus californica) has not broken dormancy. It's usually one of the first plants to do that this time of year.

Backing up a bit, I can show you the Beschorneria attaining massive proportions. These plants flower more freely than agaves, and the flowers, while not as rigidly upright, are equally fabulous. I don't know when that's going to happen; I see no sign of an inflorescence.


Cobaea scandens seeds, dropped from the once enormous vine that I cut all the way back, have germinated under the Beschorneria leaves. You can see a few seedlings in this picture if you know what to look for. That's good and bad. I do love those prolific cup-and-saucer flowers, but the vine itself is a bit rampant for the small space. Judging by previous experience with seed-grown Cobaea scandens, I have until 2012 before I'll have to deal with it.


I have a second Beschorneria growing in a medium-sized terracotta pot. I don't how sustainable that is for the plant...but it looks fine, doesn't it? It was growing in a much larger container on the front steps, but Guy hated it (said it was a depressing sight to come home to at the end of the day!) so I moved it. Anyway, the tall, leaning Echium pininana is the main thing to see in this picture. I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut it down because it's getting too hard to walk by. I grew a few of these from seed. They shot up fast and haven't flowered. That's fine, but I cannot have them blocking the paths, which are already crowded because the garden is so absurdly over-planted.


When we try to sell the house in a few years (the current plan), I'm guessing I'll have to take out 50% of the garden. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I'm guessing the lemon will stay. From the perspective of re-sale value, an established Meyer lemon is surely an asset. Hopefully, when it's time to go on the market, I won't be having problems with whatever creature is eating the lemons right off the tree!


That's an eaten-lemon on the left. What eats lemons?! Oy.

I can't even resort to my usual complaints about my neighbor harboring rodent-pests in his neglected, overgrown bamboo forest next door, because he cut it down and so far it has not re-grown.

The pest problems are real. I don't know what's going to happen when the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries begin to bear. Will I get to have any? Besides eating fruit, the varmint has some unerring sense for locating bulbs. I'm guessing I've lost any/all tulips and lilies, including every potted specimen, as evidenced by massive digging destruction and overturned pots. Upstairs, I've resorted to bringing the pots in at night so he can't get at them. Happily, the poisonous daffodil bulbs have all been left alone. We'll have those to enjoy soon.

Ceanothus is coming into bloom, but I couldn't get any good pictures of it. Here is the princess plant instead (Tibouchina urvilleana). For many years this seemed like the iconic San Francisco garden plant, and they were really everywhere. I don't know...it feels like I don't see them as much as I used to.


They have not become rare by any means, but it seems like I can walk a few blocks without seeing one now, which was not always the case.


Hardenbergia violacea was late this year, but it has arrived.


Bees are just coming out of hibernation, or whatever it is that they do, and this plant is ready for them.


Spring is on.



martha said...

Gorgeous photos as always. What a wonderful garden! Squirrels, opossums, and tree rats all love lemons. Maybe you could foil their attacks with some chicken wire screening around the fruit?

Good luck!

Kristi said...

What Cloverfield creature is lurking in your backyard? My bulbs regularly get raided by squirrels and rats but thankfully they leave the lemons alone.

Les said...

I was going to suggest you take your studies outside into the garden, but then judging from what you show in these pictures, it may be too distracting.

Queer by Choice said...

Your Hardenbergia violacea is amazing.

I don't have any spring blooms at all yet, but I do have several deciduous shrubs leafing out now.

danger garden said...

"so absurdly over-planted" ... maybe, but absolutely beautiful!

Unknown said...

Thanks for reminding me why I let my husband live down there for half of the year! Sure, he does it for the winemaking, but I go back and forth for the plants!!!

Christopher C. NC said...

Have you considered a live trap about cat sized to solve this mystery varmint problem? This place is crawling with varmints as evidenced by all the tracks in the snow. It's a wonder they don't eat more plants and cause more damage. I guess all the natural mast available is the saving grace.

fer said...

Your garden looks amazing! so full of life.

Mel said...

I stumbled to your site from a link on Randy and Meg's garden blog. I'm very glad I did. Your garden and photos are a welcome diversion from my zone 5 bleak, snowy yard. Many of your flowers are not hardy this far north, so I'll have to enjoy them online instead. Nice to meet you and your garden.

Laguna Dirt said...

you are bustin out all over. what a beautiful sight!

lisa said...

Dean Martin had an exchange on his show, where a pretty girl sang "June is busting out all over!" to which Dean said "You're not doing so bad yourself" :) Yea, your garden sure has become a lush paradise, I can see where space can become a real premium. I think the fruit-ravaging and bulb-assaulting guilt may lay with a squirrel of some sort, or a chipmunk. Do you have those "six-lined" gophers? They can be quite industrious and destructive.

Anonymous said...

Squirrels - they tried to eat even plastic labels in our garden. I saw them trying every new thing and if they like it they'll come again. The solution is to have more opened space, they shy out if there is no quick escape, or netting – ugly, but does help.