In which I remember that I have a blog

You know I've been very busy with school. There's only another week of classes before finals and then I have a few weeks off. But get this, I've been summoned for jury duty! In case you forgot, I just had five weeks of jury duty in May and June 2009. I'm so ticked I could cuss. Well, they're going to hear all about it.



We've had a lot of rain lately. And they said this would be a dry winter. Not yet. Heck, it's not even winter. But it sure feels like it. It's going to be a long haul to March.


Besides planting out a few foxglove starts, I haven't added anything new in awhile. No substantial changes.


Things are starting to attain mature sizes, however. I'm always in such denial about that when I plant. I feel like I might as well be. You never know for sure how things are going to work out. Plants do what they want. The more I garden the better I can sense their wants. Wants and needs. Too much anthropomorphizing?


I like to think things will be different in the next garden.


The plan is to move to the suburbs in two years. Like, Redwood City or something. We're talking about it anyway. We talk about it so much, a sense of inevitability has settled in.


We'll have a regular-sized yard. Maybe even slightly larger-than-regular. That would be awesome. It's not like there's anything else in the world I want to invest money or time in besides a garden. Summers will be warmer wherever we go, so there will be a lot more food gardening.


We'll have more artichokes, not just one.


It's likely there will be frost in the next garden, but not much. Here there has been none. That's been nice for me, but I'm a gardener who doesn't know anything about frost. It's probably not as big of a deal as I imagine it to be.

Senecio cristobalensis

But I never think about frost now.



And a lot of my favorite exotics are not suitable for frosty situations.


But some are.


And some I just don't know.


We'll definitely have grapes in the next garden.


We'd have to be crazy not to.



I will always maintain a high level of commitment to including lots of California natives.


Maybe even some big ones. I'd like to have a buckeye again. I think I should cut this one down before we move. It'll become a problem in this small space without regular attention. A lot of the plants in this garden would be problems without regular attention. It's that denial thing I just mentioned.


More roses, too. I would love to have a lot more roses in the next garden.


I would like there to be less clutter,


And more groovieness.


What will the next neighbors be like? Could they be more problematic than the one I've got now? I'm happy with him today, actually. He cut his yard down again this weekend. I don't feel like putting a picture of the results on the blog, but you can see it here. Believe me it's a huge improvement.


Bloom Day

I didn't forget. Well, yes I did. I would have taken pictures this morning, but I had a presentation to get ready for. By the time I got home at 2 there was no more sunlight in the small city garden. That's November for you. Shadiness prevails.

The colors in this Gazania--that's November for you too.


That yellow is repeated extensively.


Tagetes lemmonii

Fremontodendron californicum

Hints of future yellow...fruit. Lemon blossoms.


There is a little pink


and some fuchsia colors



And some blurry blue. The blueness is a digital camera artifact. In real life, this salvia is quite purple. 'Jean's Purple Passion'.

Salvia 'Jean's Purple Passion'

Going forward, I want to prune Montanoa grandiflora to better feature the fragrant daisy flowers that cover it from fall into winter. This year I allowed it to grow without control and that wasn't a good thing. Fortunately, I can cut it to the ground and start over, and that's what I'm going to do. In the meantime...


The 15th of every month is Garden Blogger Bloom Day. Everyone is invited to share words and pictures of what's blooming in their garden. Post a link at May Dreams Gardens.


Intro to the winter garden

We set the clocks back this weekend, got an inch of rain, and saw temperatures fall in to the mid-50s. For all practical purposes, winter has arrived.


The days get a little bit shorter for another month, but things don't change that much between now and March.



I wasn't expecting this cordyline to sprout from the roots. What should I do? Please advise.


I'm starting to see the effects of massing monocots (plants with parallel venation in the leaf) on this side of the garden--the grasses, cordylines and one phormium are all doing well. I may need to move two Asclepias curassavica that I just planted, and add more grasses to extend the theme.


Nothing captures wind and light in the garden like massed monocots. I need to start thinking carefully about color. There's the red cordyline back there, and the black phormium up front... In between I seem to have mostly green grasses. Maybe I could add a few orange-y Carex testacea. There's a whole world of colorful Carex cultivars.

Echiums are not monocots, but the bladed leaves are similar enough.



For sure, it's time to put the dahlia pots away. I left them out to soak up whatever residual sunlight they could get. They're dormant now and the clutter only accentuates my hoarding tendencies.


Let's look away. There is some fall color on the grape vine. As long as there's still some fall color to enjoy, we know it's not really winter.








The witch hazels are too small to have any fall color impact. (But note Salvia 'Jean's Purple Passion' in the background. Nice, huh? She's a small, lanky thing now but I think she'll fill out well.)


Witness the sorry state of my vine maples. Sigh.


Even though we're sliding into winter, we still have flowers. I think Tithonia diversifolia could go for months.


Same thing for Cestrum elegans. For what it's worth, this has been a much better Cestrum for me than C. auranticum or C. nocturnum. (I don't have any experience with C. newellii.)


More pink from three Nerines blooming very late in the year for Nerine.


Dahlia imperialis is blooming, but not for me. The tall stalks lean out of my garden and into my neighbor's view.


Same thing with Montanoa grandiflora whose flowers are way high up on tall stems.



An unknown white rose from Annie's Annuals (they call it 'Marble Gardens Mystery Rose') has a few flowers.


Looks like Rosa mutabilis did not love recent rains.


The rains did not wash away the spiders. That would have been nice.