Foggy day garden


It was remarkably foggy in Bernal Heights this morning. Fog is more of a summer thing than a winter thing in San Francisco.


Guy made this pot of herbs for me last August. Based on previous experience, I told him all of these plants would be dead within weeks on the roof. Ha! It's the best-looking container we have right now.


The Hardenbergia violacea is flowering very slowly.


But it couldn't be lovelier.


I love its stems, but I might prune them to be more elegant after this season's bloom.


That will be an all-day project. Something to do slowly.



It takes decades to get the special pleached look you can get with fruit trees or sycamores, but Hardenbergia can give you something close in just a few years. I can imagine training it into a design of overlapping circles or Celtic knots on a wall or fence. It's a project I have in mind for the back fence.


Cobaea scandens currently bears several flowers. Here is one at the peak of bloom.


It's sinuous shoots are also favorites of mine.


The growing tips require constant attention. Plant this only where you can afford to mostly let it go, or expect it to be constant work. I snip back all of this stuff, weekly.


Before this year I removed Phaseolus coccinneus (Scarlet Runner Bean) from the garden at the end of the summer, but last year I left it, and I'm glad I did. I cut back the dead parts, and I'm very happy to have what's left. I assume new growth will burst forth in the spring.


Most of the time I can see all the way to the top of Bernal Hill from here. Today, I can only see a few houses away.


My neighbor's Ficus carica.


I will keep mine much smaller. My neighbor's apple tree. I will keep my Gravenstein smaller, too. I'm hoping this one, whatever it is, will serve as a pollenizer.


My other neighbor has a neglected cherry tree that fruits every year, although cherries are not recommended for warm wintered San Francisco. I used my neighbor's tree to justify purchasing two low-chill cherries of my own; 'Minnie Royal' and 'Royal Lee'. You have to do those experiments sometimes.


My other neighbor has a neglected pear tree that fruits too. But pears are easy and I don't like pears as much as I used to. So often they have a disagreeable texture and I wouldn't want to bake them all the time.


How come I don't have more vertical elements in my garden?


I'm working on it. I think I have two more years before that fence line loses prominence from this view. I just don't plant anything larger than a 1-g pot. And now all I do is 4" pots and seeds. That's some slooow gardening.

If you want fast vertical growth in the Bay Area, I recommend the South African tree-shrub Psoralea pinnata. This is 5' from a 4" pot in maybe six months, two of which have been cold.


Tithonia diversifolia will do the trick too, but is much more unwieldy and tender. What a ragged flower!


No more buds on this plant this season. Just future seed heads.


Future flowers are elsewhere.


Manzanitas are flowering now too, but on a small plant the flowers are subtle. The cummulative effect is more obvious on a big, mature plant. But on young plants you have to get close.


More future flowers. I got a gift certificate from Santa and used it to buy a rose--'Wild Blue Yonder'.


I've been removing calas from the garden now that other plants are growing in. I should say I'm trying to remove calas from the garden. It's not easy, or always possible. I guess that's okay...I like cala lilies.


More on my foggy micro-climate, here.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Love your photos. I love SF, used to live there and really miss it!

Anonymous said...

Guy made you a pot of herbs? Sweet. Is there anything he can't do, Chuck? :-)

Les said...

Nice shots! I really like the frosted look of that red succulent's flowers. The Manzanita close up makes it apparent that it must be cousins with Arbutus. Glad you enjoyed your fog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck, okay, I want to see celtic knots from the hardenbergia! Too cool for school. Hooray for the herb pot too, good job, Guy! Your new camera is giving us some real insight into what the garden looks like now, wonderful.


Anonymous said...

Me too on the used to live in SF tip... wow, so much color and life in your garden. Here in Seattle we had a horrible freeze/snow for weeks and everything is looking pretty sad/dead out there. Envy your greenery and fleurs. Is Himalayan honeysuckle a pest in your zone? If not, I've found it grows pretty fast and can obscure a fence even when bought in a small pot or grown from a friend's cutting.

Chloe Marguerite said...

Yes, Celtic knots in the Hardenbergia would be fantastic!

As always, I'm loving the Cobea flowers. I've tried and tried to germinate that - no luck at all.

Chloe M.

lisa said...

I vote for celtic knots too! I love the first shot of kitty in the window. I meant to ask-do you still have trouble with Penny chewing on things? My Gizmo still gets into closed cell foam objects, and my co-worker's cat chews sweaters. She did some research and found that our cats may have pica. I need to look into this for Giz, he's really persistent in his destructive tendencies.

nfkjgaenvl/ said...

Where did you get the Psoralea pinnata? I've been looking unsuccessfully for a local nursery selling it. Thanks in advance.

chuck b. said...

I picked it up at Annie's Annuals (www.anniesannuals.com)

nfkjgaenvl/ said...