June 1st garden

I hate to make changes in the garden this time of year, because it's warm and it won't won't rain until Oct/Nov. (Always an outside possibility of rain in September.)


But sometimes change must happen.

I removed the Echium wildpretii...and now I can I can't find the last picture I took of it. Too bad. We had fun, but its many blooms were fading fast. The tall, expiring inflorescence quickly becomes prickly and unpleasant to have around. Better to be rid of it. I wore my heaviest gloves and a long-sleeve shirt for the removal and I used a saw to cut it down in portions. When I got down to the stump, I gripped firmly at the base, and yanked it out in one piece--roots and all. Even chopped up, it overfilled my green waste bin and I couldn't close the lid. The waste collector took it just the same.

Where it was, I put a potted rose 'Charlotte' which I may or may not plant in that location later on. I bought another Echium wildpretii, and it's sitting in its nursery pot for now. I'm contemplating whether or not to have it again.

I also decided to remove some foxglove. This was harder to do because they weren't "done".


Although they were more done than they are when I took these pictures last week. They were starting to fade, and I refused to water them.


In its place, I planted a highbush blueberry and that pinkish abutilon I bought a while back. I can justify watering a blueberry.


I still have three tall foxglove--and, really, that's plenty for a small garden when they get that tall.


I think I'm over the Cineraria. These were exciting to me a couple years ago, but now they seem...blah.

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I'm digging most of them up and planting them at my client's house. They're still exciting to her--and I can charge her for them.. I'm just keeping a few for me.

I removed two Ribes sanguineum. They weren't growing as well in my garden as my two R. malvaceum, which is probably a better plant anyway.


R. sanguineum tends to branch out horizontally while R. malvaceum maintains a very erect habit. Perhaps I can find another spot for these, but it doesn't seem likely.

These Ixia (I think) are horrible and I'm yanking them out wherever I find them. No idea where they came from.


Meanwhile, I have no trouble letting the wildflowers go to seed even though they look much worse in their decline than either the Echium wildpretii or the foxglove.

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Once I've collected every last Cream Cups seed I can get (Platystemon californicus), I'll yank everything out. That might not happen until August, so we'll see how it goes.

Every day I snip off another few seed capsules of Stylomecon heterophylla and drop them in an envelope I keep in the refrigerator. At this rate, I'll be able to yank the plant in a couple weeks. I've must have collected 1,000 seeds already, but who knows for sure. I will not be deterred from my mission.


There are still a few spring wildflowers here and there, but the great masses in my "meadow" are are done. Gilia tricolor.


The summer wildflowers arrive on schedule. My first Clarkia opened this week (left) and the Madia elegans are swelling with buds (right).

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I have four times more Madia this year than last year, so I expect a riot of yellow daisies swaying in the breeze from summer through fall.

The perennial Delphinium cardinale is about to flower too. I wasn't expecting that for another month.


It's not just one terminal flower spike, but several flower spikes all up and down the whole plant which is about five feet tall currently. Very exciting. I've never seen this plant before, but I bought three of them on Betsy Clebsch's recommendation. I tried growing it from seed, with poor results. Now I'm thinking the seedlings needed bottom heating. Maybe I'll try next time.

I bought a witchhazel. I've wanted to have a witchhazel ever since I started gardening. This is Hamamelis x intermedia 'Primavera'. I don't see suitable witchhazels for sale often, so I bought this on the spot (after I checked the nursery's copy of Sunset for suitability in Zone 17). It was $16.99 in a 2-g pot--a lot more than I usually spend on a plant.


Sunset says, "[H]ybrid of H. mollis and H. japonica. Big shrubs 12-15 ft. high and wide...'Primavera' [is] broad-petaled light yellow flowers. Yellow-orange autumn foliage".

I planted it under the tree-fern, and I'll prune as well as I can for size-appropriateness. Nearby, this new (to me) Orthosanthus, which I bought last week from the San Francisco Botanical Garden during my lunch break.


I don't know anything about this genus and the species was not identified. I believe it's Australian. It has grassy, Iris/Sisyrinchium type foliage and pretty blue flowers.


I also bought a Leucospermum. I got it for $12.99 in a 5" rose pot, which is pretty good. I've never seen such a small Protaceae for sale. (Is it vulgar to mention prices? Bloggers rarely do, but I always want to know. It would be more vulgar to ask, I suppose. But I do that too, when I feel like it.)


I've generally resisted buying flashy exotics that grow well here...am I changing? I don't know. We'll see if I can even keep it alive. Protaceae are picky about soil and hate excess phosphorus. I kinda doubt my soil has any excess anything.

Another showy exotic doing well, Cobaea scandens.


I first blogged about this plant when it bloomed for the first time on February 3. Since then it's nearly always had at least one or two flowers in bloom. Now, with recent warm weather, it's more like a dozen. The purple flowers get so dark... It might be nice to try the white-flowering form.

A southern Californian basking in warmth...Keckiella cordifolia.



Penstemon palmeri flowers were waiting for me when I got home from my trip (only 7 days ago; it feels like longer). The inflorescence can be 5' tall, but mine is only 2'. I wonder what the name for the anter structure is... These flowers are supposed to be fragrant, but it's very faint.


Recent warmth has not been enough to excite the tomatoes. They seem depressed. The squash makes lots of flowers but no ripening fruit.


The runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are off and running. This plant is a flower-making machine. Last year I grew the red-flowering 'Scarlet Emperor'. This year I'm trying the peach-pink colored 'Sunset'. I grow them up twine ropes secured to the deck 13 feet above the ground.


I removed a clump of bamboo before vacation (reader sentiment was strong in favor of removal, no?). I left one clump so I can enjoy this Passiflora 'Victoria' which I have growing up the canes.


Next year, we might grow it on this fancy iron structure Guy and I bought for $120 in Morro Bay.


It's a three-paneled affair, and can be used as an elongated wall or folded into a triangle (or disassembled into three separate pieces). It doesn't fit together evenly in this spot but it's just temporarily here.

We also got this pot-of-four-conjoined-pots on our trip. I'm not sure what to use it for, but it won't stay in this location either.


It came from Harmony, just south of Cambria.

I don't remember how much it cost.


Frances, said...

HA, money is so vulgar, who cares of the costs! ;-> Did you shed a tear for the echium removal? I would have. Our foxgloves look about the same as yours. I am waiting to make sure the seed mature before cutting them. We had some return from last year even though they are supposed to be biennials, so they won't be yanked out. Your exotics are so lively, don't you enjoy that in your garden? We don't stick with the natives only, just what will grow with little care and water, like you. Love the little four pot, what will be home there?

chuck b. said...

I shed nary a tear. Twas time.

No idea what to do with the pot. Sedums and thyme or maybe strawberries seem like obvious possibilities.

Christopher C. NC said...

You managed to get a Hamamelis before me. I will have those in my garden one day. Something to bloom with the Daffodils. I am surprised that they are not a standard item here. Of course my shopping venues are not always local independent nurseries.

That Penstemon has a very unique flower structure.

My Delphinium survived the winter, but someone has been eating it since it came up. It seems to be growing only slightly faster than it is getting eaten. Hopefully the warmer weather will crank up the growth a notch.

chuck b. said...

I'm even more surprised they aren't standard items there. You know why--it's because they're winter-flowering plants and nurseries can't feature winter-flowering plants during the popular nursery-shopping months. Well I don't know if that's why or not, but it makes sense.

Drives me crazy when something eats a plant about as fast as the plant can grow. Really makes me confront my values as a poison-free gardener.

Anonymous said...

Alas for the echium. But you're right to rip it out when it's not an asset anymore. You planted quite a lot considering the heat and dryness. It's looking good.

Anonymous said...

I love to know how much things cost. However, I am sitting here trying to decide if I would pay $120 for an iron screen and leaning towards no, but I have step-sons in college right now so money's rather tight. It's so interesting to hear about your climate -- no rain until October? Here in southern-CT we find a week without rain unusual.

gintoino said...

So, no more Echium...that was a sad news (I mean where else in the entire gardening blog world could we see such a outstanding plant?). Plants seem to be so much cheaper around there... this considering that Portugal is a much poorer country than USA.
That pot would look beautiful with succulents in it, something like Echeverias, I think.

chuck b. said...

Generally, plants are not that expensive which helps to make gardening such an outstanding hobby.

They add up tho'.

But, also, right now the Euro is really strong, right?

Hans said...

I think the blue flower is Sisyrinchium montanum, the blue-eyed grass, native to the US. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are pulling plants out and I am putting them in the ground! We are having a very cool spring which gives us much longer flowering on the seasonal perennials, trees, and shrubs. Your foxglove is a luscious pink. I enjoyed your work post also.

chuck b. said...

Layanee, yeah, this is the best time of year to rip stuff out. If it's not working now, it's never going to work. Ruthless, I am. Not the best time to plant. A little bit of water now and then, and a lot of mulch should do it until the rains come.

John, the blue flowers are genus Orthosanthus. Just not sure about the species name.

Heather's Garden, well, the iron screen was 50% off, so it felt like a steal for $120.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

You've been a busy gardener. As hard as it was, you were right to take out those oversized bloomers when you did. Things tend to get left in the ground after they've stopped blooming. I hope your Witchhazel likes its new home. They are such wonderful plants.

Annie in Austin said...

I have a terrible time pulling plants out while they still bloom - which is why the yellow snapdragons planted last December still linger unmolested. It's too hot to plant anything else now - guess I missed my window of opportunity.

Are the pots connected inside? I'd probably want to do something corny like make the high one in the middle into the water part of a disappearing fountain, with plants trailing out of the lower pots... but that's because I want a second disappearing fountain.

What a cool iron screen, Chuck!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Unknown said...

Dig the iron screen and the pot. And I'm doubly jealous of you now--not only do you get to grow cool plants like protaceae and echium, but also your plants are so cheap there, compared to us. $16.99 might be the starting price for a common plant (like, I don't know, those horrible 'Stella d'Oro' daylilies) in a two-gallon pot, but I've paid as much for heucheras, hellebores and the like in mere gallon.

By the way, I just don't much talk about the money I spend in general, but I have no qualms about answering questions if you're ever curious what something costs. My acquisitions run the gamut from "free and trashpicked" to "my god, I could have gotten my hair highlighted for that amount of money!" lol.

Back to important questions... how long does that protaceae show off?

lisa said...

Heh...I usually don't mention prices because I'm a tad embarrased as to how much I actually spend on this hobby! But I'll always tell if anybody asks. I'm surprised by price differences between my area and Kim's, our gallon-sized perennials are $8 at the most. Only shrubs get as high as $16 to maybe $30 at the most for decent-sized trees. I should appreciate this! (As for mailorder...that's another matter entirely! ;-) I really like your new hard-scape items, I can't wait to see what you do with them!

Anonymous said...

I like your Passiflora Victoria. Does it give fruit? If so, what color and which season?

chuck b. said...

Thank you. It's never fruited for me, but somewhere I read that it can. But maybe not in San Francisco..? I don't know. I haven't been able to find out much about it online. I need to locate a good book on Passiflora.

This one hardly ever has more than 2 or 3 blooms on it at any given time--a bit of a disappointment in that regard. The flowers are lightly fragrant. I guess that's some consolation.

P. mollisma is the only one I know for sure that reliably sets fruit in San Francisco. And it's quite tasty.