On the way to the hardware store.

Tiny crocuses blooming on my front steps:


The fireman a few doors down is getting a whole new house. I think the cozy cabin is coming along faster.


Dutch iris growing in a crack. Tough as nails.


Seemed like everyone was out and about today.









Solanum rantonnetii

I don't think this wall of roses ever blooms quite like the gardener expected it too.


But I'm sure it keeps people from writing graffiti on the side of her house.






The hardware store's in the blue building.


Why am I going to the hardware store? Some milk boiled over on the stove and nothing I do seems to clean it up. A friend recommended this product.

The walk home goes a little bit faster.





Bernal Heights has a few slides.


Does this help you catch some air?


We're almost home.


It's time to stop.



Not Really Wordless, Not really Wednesday

My general level of dissatisfication with the winter garden runs high these days. On top of that, I'm very unstable. Enjoy what you see ... a big plan is always just around the corner. I'm much too busy to actually implement any changes. That doesn't matter; a plan is always just around the corner....


It doesn't help that a lot of my plants look like weeds, for example this Oenothera. So pretty and interesting when it flowers in the summer with bright, fragrant yellow. But for now just a clumb of weedy leaves and nothing more.


I cherish this aspect of my garden. The design plan is, there is no design plan. I placed big plants with some strategic considerations that I will be flexible about evaluating down the road. After the big plants, use small plants. Next!

Here's a little bit of strategy with the yummy black Phormium cookianum 'Black Adder', framed in line of sight with California buckeye (Aesculus californica) which should be leafing out soon. The buckeye only has leaves for 6 months. The rest of the year, especially during the summer, the tree stems are silvery-gray and quite elegant in the long, dry summer light. Hopefully 'Black Adder' will make a good companion.


I cut back some cup-and-saucer vine (Cobaea scandens) to highlight the ropey vine. You know I love ropey vine. This part of the garden has an old, established feeling I am grateful to have. Come clean up work around the periphery is clearly in order.


The view from a distance is muddled, over the top of Geranium maderense. Geranium maderense! Exciting plant to have in the garden. It's been a few years.


There's so much going on against the north wall, it's a hot mess. Tree fern, Fuchsia 'Miep Aalhuizen', 3 Echium pininana, 2 Carpenteria californica, Cantua buxifolia, Senecio cristobalensis, two Hammamelis, Ceanothus 'Ray Hartman', 3 Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba', Montanoa grandiflora, Abutilon, Dierama, Asarum, Tiearella, Heuchera. A few foxglove, two Rehmannia. One rose. Good times.


I am confident Cestrum elegans can handle the space-filling task it has against the south-facing wall.


Even when that happens, this area will still need some work. The plan for that is, there is no plan. I'm tucked in some foxglove and three Lobelia tupa I grew from seed. I used Juncus patens and Salvia spathacea for filler.


I do have one place where I'm happy. Up on the deck, with Hardenbergia violacea.


Very happy.



"The storm door has opened"

Does the TV weatherman use that expression where you live too? It cracks me up. Yes, the storm door is open and the storms have been barging through it all week.

Today we got a tiny bit of blue sky. I used it to frame this picture of Senecio cristobalensis and to show you its emergent flower stems. This is the fastest growing plant in my garden, ever.

Senecio cristobalensis

Moments after I took this picture, the sky went white again. Because somebody (I won't say who) left the storm door open! At any rate, you can evaluate the evidence for yourself, but I think my picture is conclusive: the sky remains blue on the other side of the clouds.

As the Senecio continues to grow and intermingle with some of ther cloud forest species I have (Tibouchina, Fuchsia), we're starting to get some canopy action going on, which is exciting.


A few of the smaller passionflower species climb up all these plants. They may help to knit together a canopy in a year or two.


Hopefully, the Tibouchina and Fuchsia will provide a solid-enough wood support. I'm not sure about Senecio's long-term prospects. The young shoots are very fleshy, even succulent, but the stalk feels solid. We'll see. At any rate, any canopy will be monitored closely.

I went down to the garden hoping to find some groovy fungi. We had some new mushrooms in '09, and I hope for more in 2010.

It would be great to get one of those mushroom kits all the nurseries are selling, but not for $40. Yikes. Instead, I try to mulch regularly with different kinds of organic material, and I spread compost now and then.

Anyway, I didn't find any mushrooms, but the moss on the birdbath is back. The little clumps get bigger every year. People in the PNW will laugh at me, but I think my 2-inch piece of moss is exciting!

moss on the birdbath

The only actual fungus I found was this orange, crustose material on my oak half-barrels. I'm sure if you can use the word crustose to describe a fungus, but maybe this is a lichen and not a fungus afterall.


Two cherries were new to me last year. They shouldn't flower for months still, but it sure looks like the buds are swelling. And what's the stippling up and down the stems?


You can see the lichen-dusted fence in the background.


The camera doesn't quite get how bright green it really is.


The snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp.) looks much better growing in the shade where it belongs.


It's just a filler, but it's a pretty filler.

Delphinium cardinale is flowering already. Wind blew the stem into the manzanita bush and it can't seem to extricate itself.

Delphinium cardinale

A different manzanita has some flowers on it, but I think the wood is more interesting.


The Ceanothus is flowering now too but the rain-drenched flowers can't be very satisfying for the bees. Or maybe the bees don't care. I don't know.


I can't get over how red the Centradenia leaves are.


And I'm happy to say cabbage grows unmolested in my garden and seems to need no attention from me.

an experiment

This was just an experiment to see if cabbage would grow at all. I might consider it as a winter vegetable crop, but cabbage takes so long to ripen... Too bad kale isn't an option. Bugs eat the heck out of kale.

This is Cretan Rock Lettuce (Petromarula pinnata). You can get it at Annie's Annuals, but I grew mine from seed. Young leaves are edible and salad-worthy and it looks like this when it flowers.


I have a nerine bulb in this pot, but I think I like it more as a pot of tumbled glass.