Tuesday evening summer garden.

I seem to be running out of interesting new things in my garden to blog about.

I know my cat's recovery from abdominal surgery will only get me so far...

I suppose the question is, "Interesting to whom?"

Who am I to say what's interesting to you.

I don't even know you.

It was nice and warm today. I understand in some places it was unpleasantly hot. Well, in San Francisco it was nice. The perfect sunny day; warm and satisfying to the body.

Just about this time of year the drought avoiding natives go dormant. Leaves on my little buckeye (Aesculus californica) are turning brown and dropping off. Soon they'll be gone, and leave behind the smooth silvery framework of the trunk and branches--a solid, stunning garden feature in my view.

Aesculus californica, and friends

Trey wrote about this plant here. A fabulous old specimen was recently discovered in Point Reyes. Read about it here. See stunning pictures of it here.

I don't know what's going on with some of my Madia elegans.

Madia elegans

Why is the flower deformed like this? Note that this is NOT the end-of-day, exhausted flower; this is a new flower. I grew several M. elegans from seed; half of the plants have normal flowers, and half of them have this flower. Same thing happened last year. I'm going to keep the warped-flowered plants in the garden longer this year than I did last year. Maybe the flowers will straighten out later in the season.

The normal flower:

Madia elegans

You lovers of red-and-yellow can sneer at me for having some yellow Madia in close proximity to red Keckiella.

Keckiella cordifolia

And here's a dahlia that comes close to more of the same.


Close, but not quite. Not quite red. Not quite yellow.

Lisa, you asked if my anti-raccoon strategy of crowding the garden with pots had any effect. Yes, it made him mad. Now he's doing double-damage. Sigh. I ordered some OMRI-approved repellent material from Havahart (via your tip). It hasn't arrived yet. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, here are some of said pots.


In the upper left is something new, Tithonia diversifolia. Are you familiar with this plant? About it, Annie's Annuals says this:
"Sunflowers for Winter... A stunner & fragrant... Quickly growing from 8-15’ tall & spreading to probably 6’ wide...it blooms from November thru March. Many stout, branching stalks are formed from the base & are topped by many 6” to 7” bright golden daisies. The fragrance is my favorite - chocolate... The deep leaves are large & deeply lobed & tropical looking..."
Hopefully, I'll have more for winter Bloom Days this year than just Hardenbergia violacea. I'm growing it a pot of compost until the rains come. Then I'll plant it in a corner that gets part-sun in summer, and full-sun in winter.

Plants in the two other pots are natives I grew from seed, Berberis nevinii and Galvezia speciosa. No idea what I'm going to do with either one. More on them later.

Triteleia laxa 'Queen Fabiola'. I planted a bunch of these along with some other, more obscure Brodiea. The raccoon got some and who knows what's left. Taxonomy for those plants is "problematic". I don't even go there.


Three cheers for summer bulbs.

Triteleia or whatever and Clarkia

The raccoons left some Sinningia tubiflora tubers undisturbed. (But not all of them. I went down to the garden one morning and found tubers of this plant dug up and tossed everywhere. Very sad. Alas, I potted them all up; maybe they will survive and make it through next year.) Do you know this plant?

Sinningia tubiflora

They should call it S. tuberosa for the powerful fragrance the strange flowers emit when it blooms. Stay tuned...

You may remember a row of potted Echeverias pictured in recent months. I decided to plant them out, in the bed under the abutilon where this black mondo grass is really starting to spread. Nice, color contrast-y goodness.


This Monardella villosa is starting to flower. Every year, it seems like it will make just a few flowers. In early summer it makes a couple flowers, and those die. And then, later, when it's hotter and drier, with no water for months, it just starts pumping out flowers.

Monardella villosa

The common name is Coyote Mint. The foliage has a rich, complex fragrance that I can best describe as musky-mint.

It's growing next to a young manzanita, Arctostaphylos bakeri 'Louis Edmunds'. The manzanita bark exfoliates with gusto in summer. This is just a small plant. Imagine this effect on a much larger plant.

Arctostaphylos bakeri 'Louis Edmunds'

I'm looking for a place to end. I don't really have anything.

A final glimpse of this lily, before it gives up the late-spring ghost?



CiNdEe's GaRdEn said...

great pictures!! It is hot here in Redding. My plants are all getting burned.
How's Kitty doing?

Annie in Austin said...

The manzanita bark is wonderful, Chuck - sorry about the raccoons and good luck discouraging/relocating them. I'm afraid to ask if they went after the green tomatoes.

Did your guests still come on Friday? I just wondered if poor little Penny had a whole group observing her and worrying about her and offering advice.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

Your garden looks lovely. I really enjoy reading your post & looking at you pics. It seems you have a large garden. You are probably in same zone as I. 8a/8b. I like to try different plants to see if they will adapt.
Would like to mail you direct---looking for friend in that area.

Frances, said...

Hi chuck, whatever you write about, we will love it. Promise. I was thinking about your raccoon, how about hardware cloth around the pots, maybe if you make it so unpleasant for him to dig he will go elsewhere? How about sharp pointy stakes, I have used threaded metal rods, because they were cheaper than the rebar, to deter pests. And chicken wire, that worked too. I know all those things are unsightly, but discouraging to diggers.

gintoino said...

Well chuck, your posts are always interesting to be honest. I love to learn about all the new(to me )plants you have in your garden. I googled the Sinningia tubiflora, WOW, what a lovelly plant!
What a bummer that thing with the racoon! Unfortunately I can't offer you any advise on that...
Is Penny recovering well?

lisa said...

Rotten bandits! I'm sorry the Liquid Fence doesn't help, but the other stuff should. I like the leaves on the tithonia, it reminds me of sassafrass. I had to lookup the sinningia, I'm pretty sure my mom had this as a houseplant before. The flowers smell divine, I hope you get to enjoy some.

Anonymous said...

Hello Chuck,

Just a quick note to warn you that Tithonia diversifolia gets far, far wider than 6 feet, at least in south Florida. Plants that are as wide as they are tall (15 feet) are not unusual.

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

I always find interest in your blog.
I don't often leave a comment because I'm not much of a wordsmith, but I always enjoy reading and seeing what you have to post.

Hope Penny the Feline feels better soon.
She looks pretty zoned out in your photo.


chuck b. said...

Michelle, you're one of the wittiest, sassiest wordsmiths I know! I'm always thrilled when you come by.

Ruffino, what about the flowers--do they really smell like chocolate (presumably in that particular way some flowers do)?

Lisa, I got Liquid Fence for the dogs who pee in my planter out front. For the raccoons I got this Critter Ridder. Basically, black pepper, pepper oil extracts, etc. It just came to day, so we'll see tomorrow if it works over the next few days.

Frances, if I had more room, some barrier methods would be better. I just think it would destroy the tiny garden. I do appreciate your thoughts.

Annie, the little beast left those tomatoes alone.

Cindee, Gintoino--I have a kitty post coming up.

Gardener of La Mancha said...

Really like the black mondo with the echevaria.

The Triteleia I planted in the Astelia fountain are beginning to bloom, so I'll join you in your cheers to summer bulbs.

Brent said...

My Tritelia have long since come and gone in our higher heat, but they were freshly planted out this year. Next year, I'll expect them to have a bit more staying power.

Never had much luck with my Monardella. I think it got stepped on once too many times as a young plant.

Nice pictures and links!