In the garden of random notes

I feel kind of *blah* right now.


1. I'm really happy with the shape of my lemon "tree". I routinely snip off any yellow leaves and errant growth. It seems happy. It's the happiest lemon "tree" we've ever had, and we've had a few.


We had a lemon tree on our front steps for awhile--a very short while. Did you know Citrus hates wind? We learned about that very definitively. Then I had one in a container for awhile. People say lemons grow well in containers. Well, I had a bad result.

I'm trying to find something nice to plant under it. Right now I have some Graptopetalum. Maybe add some black mondo grass?

2. I don't think Nigella makes a good "filler"; the texture is so frizzy it just looks like a mess.


3. You should think about what you plant under Cobaea scandens because the flowers drop a little bit of nectar when they open. Lots of flowers = lots of nectar. That might not sound so bad, but the sticky nectar collects dust that stains plant leaves.

Cobaea scandens 5

Occasionally some nectar will drop on me when I'm working under the vine. Once it landed on my arm and I licked it off. It was very sweet.

Another thing about the purple-flowering form: strong sunlight will bleach the corolla. That's what's going on in this picture a little bit.

Cobaea scandens 1

4. I recently put Geranium maderense back in the garden. It's a fun plant to have once in awhile, but you don't need it all the time. The painted strawberry pot was here but as focal points go, it mostly failed so I changed it out for G. maderense.

Geranium maderense

5. I decided that I don't like Dahlia 'Prince Noir' anymore--too dark a flower, too blah the foliage. I yanked it out. (Actually, I only pulled off the stems; the tuber is still in the ground.) Now I have a much better view of Beschorneria rigida, and that's a good thing.


6. I'm also disinviting Digitalis ferruginea to my garden. It's a fine plant, it just doesn't work in my garden. Next year I'm going back to purpurea. Say bye-bye.

Digitalis ferruginea

7. I want to always have Cerinthe major. It self-sows heavily so it's likely I always will have it. However the self-sown seeds don't germinate until the fall rains, so I either have to start collecting them in the spring or plan to water my own seedlings, or buy a couple plants in the summer (which I just did) and water those. Welcome back!


8. Here is something new and exciting! A black Ceanothus from Ireland named 'Tuxedo'. You can get them in 4" pots at Annie's Annuals now. And it blooms in the summer!

Ceanothus 'Tuxedo'

Note: Ceanothus is primarily a Californian genus, but the Europeans have bred many hybrids. I can't think of another dark-colored Calif. native, besides some Arctostaphylos pajaroensis which are not really that dark.

9. New bronze fennel takes a long time to really do anything. I guess first-year fennels mostly just make the root bulb..?


10. Another lousy year for tomatoes in San Francisco. Although I don't want to speak too soon. We still have a 3 months of summer.


11. I ripped out all the sweet peas but this one, which has no mold. The others were disgusting.


12. I should probably put some bird netting over the raspberries soon.

Rubus 'Caroline'

13. I cut away all the low-growing foliage of Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'Lester Rowntree' to reveal the wood which seems to be this plant's best feature in the summertime. The foliage is lovely in winter and spring, but by summer the dark green leaves were creating a blind spot in the garden. (I poked sticks around the area to discourage midnight fecal donations.)

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'Lester Rowntree'

I'm thinking 'Lester Rowntree' is not the best A. pajaroensis for foliage. (Besty Clebsch endorses 'John Dourley' as having the showiest fruit.)

14. Fuchsia boliviana fruit makes a tasty treat.

Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba'

15. I bought two kinds of sunflower seed (from Seed Savers and someone else, I can't remember who): Italian White, and Claret. All the sunflowers have come up a generic yellow.


16. Salvia clevelandii flowers make me happy.

Salvia clevelandii, Keckiella cordifolia


Phillip Oliver said...

There are so many interesting plants in your garden. I just love the vine. I like nigella too, just discovered it a few years ago. This hasn't been a good year for our tomatoes either.

Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Its a very lovely Garden! I enjoyed looking at all those Beautiful pictures!

Brad B said...

That ceanothus is fascinating. Never seen anything like it. Do the
Euro hybrids get as gargantuan as our versions?

Nigella looks best to me as just a few plants somewhere you can admire the blooms. in large areas they are indeed messy.

And our tomatoes started late this year (East Bay) but they are coming in now and have amazing flavor. I'm hoping this means the season will go later.

chuck b. said...

I don't think a lot of the European Ceanothus hybrids have come back to us, but I'll have to read up on that.

Most Ceanothus for sale in California are selections, not hybrids. And I don't think Tuxedo's been around long enough yet for people to know if it becomes a tree or not. But it does become a good sized shrub, and takes pruning well.

Frances said...

Hi Chuck, imagining you licking the nectar conjured quite the image of you with hummingbird wings and qualities, flitting about the garden drinking and snipping tips of things with trusty pruners. Bummer about the sunflowers, I grew Italian white one year and it was amazing, and white with a very dark center. This is a very blah time of year in our garden too, but we do have more tomatoes than I am able to pick so they are just falling to the ground and splitting. Hope something likes to eat them that lives in the wildlife habitat.

Weeping Sore said...

Thanks for the exhaustive tour of your garden. I'd love to stroll through it, but it looks like it needs a lot of attention. I particularly enjoy seeing things I can never grow in San Diego. I've got to get me one of 'em black ceanothus.

chuck b. said...

That was not even close to exhaustive.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Hi Chuck thanks for the comment on my blog. I am listening to Digital Fortress by Dan Brown the reader is Paul Michael. Also Widow of the South by Robert Hicks and read by several actors. They are well performed. I love you photos BTW.

carlos said...

WOW, that is an awesome garden! We haven't done much blogging about our garden lately, but you have inspired us to post something soon!
Thanks for sharing!

Jon said...

Chuck, great shots..your garden has lots of punches of color which I like to see. That heuchera is awesome.

Jon at Mississippi Garden