Saturday, June 19, 2010

In Which We Begin and End with Artichokes...

Stellar day in the garden; unexpectedly cool and cloudy for June and my first free Saturday for weeks. Perfect for tidying up AND taking pictures. These artichoke blooms are from some of the smaller side shoots; usually not worth the trouble to cook, but lovely to look at later!

They look especially nice with Priscilla. Loving the new brown stain on my fence and arch; an absolutely perfect color and finish.

First fruits on my young Fuyu Persimmon!

And it is now confirmed that we will have Tangerines for Christmas.

I haven't shown this much as it has been growing in, but this is my juniper 'lawn' that wraps around the outer curve of the garden. It is a Monrovia variety called 'Icee Blue' which gets no taller than four inches, and is very soft (not prickly). It also matches the Blue Senecio planted nearby. I've let some volunteers hang out between the plants for now, but will make sure to keep the way clear with a continuous blue carpet in mind. The cobble edge will give it something nice to snuggle up to.

So here's my deal with self-sowers; I let them come up wherever they want, grow for awhile, then I thin them out into a pleasing arrangement (as I've started above with the Nassella and Limonium seedlings that came up everywhere this spring). Because of the mulch, they pull out easily. Plants that choose their own spot often seem healthier and hardier than transplants, and they're free, so I don't feel at all bad tearing them out if they no longer suit.

One of my favorite grasses, Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' doing its thing, what a beauty. I've just added another farther down the fence where I have a gap just this shape!

Our old friend Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' doing a whole new thing for summer. There's my new Miscanthus peeking from behind, next to the Grevillea 'Coastal Gem' which has become its sedate summer self.

Here are a few new additions this spring. This is a Fig-Leaved Hollyhock (Alcea Rugosa) from Annie's Annuals, which is supposedly resistant to rust (so far, so good!) I can't wait to see its pale yellow blooms against the blue fence!

Another Annie's find is Rudbeckia triloba, a little-known heirloom. Two of his comrades succumbed to a massive snail attack, but he seems to be out of danger.

Another new Rudbeckia is 'Cherry Brandy' purchased in a jumbo sixpack from my nursery. The weakest of the herd was immediately sacrificed to the snails, but the other five are settling in.

This looks like a seedling of our native Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis) which I like; the scent of its leaves on a hot day is, to me, the essence of the California foothills. It can stay!

Ok, file this under 'WTF happened here?' I suspect an after-hours rolling cat tussle. Oh well, looks like I have a few more 'Plum Purdy' Aeoniums for the nursery!

I have been on the fence about Aeonium 'Ballerina' since winter (it looked dreadful, and this is a prime location). But the soft billowy mounds it's making now are quite lovely, and no trouble whatsoever. And if I ever want a green wall, all the bits are right there!

These shots are from the porch, where I retreated as the sun began to emerge (remembering when a few hours of gardening didn't leave me hobbling, what's up with that??) Love the Nigella with the Thyme path in the background and a few flower spikes of Stachys 'Primrose Heron.'

Caught in the act! Haku walks up and starts gnawing on this young Nassella; both cats love to do this and then hork it up later at some inopportune time and place. Charming...

"What? Do I have something on my face?" Look at the chomp he took. Luckily this grass won't even notice (or stay there very long for that matter, I don't let many of these guys reach maturity, and pull them out as they get too big).

Yes, my darling, I can see you over there...

There's always something going on at the water cooler, er, fountain. I love how this view aligns with my porch chair; love it even more when I have my camera in my lap when company arrives.

Here's my other artichoke plant. I bought both at the same time, with the same label, but the chokes were a slightly different shape and color, and as you can see, are even blooming differently. It's a mystery! Thanks for visiting, and sincerest Solstice greetings from my garden to yours!


  1. Love that 'Icee Blue' Juniper. In winter when it glows a lovely lavender with ice crystals on it, spectacular!
    Great post once again Laura!

  2. Beyond gorgeous, Laura. Love that Miscanthus sinensis, wish I had a place for some of that...maybe a guerrilla patch at my office. Hope to see your beautiful garden in person someday. Thanks for the tour.

  3. I love the color and architecture of the artichokes. Tangerines for Christmas ... wow! It's so fun to see how different all our gardens are.

  4. I'm so on board with all your plants, Laura. What a thoughtful, choice selection you've made, sited them beautifully, and the results are stunning. What a dilemma with chokes, to eat them or let them do their blue thistly thing.

  5. Dropped by for Bloom Day and saw the cute 'Icee Blue' juniper. I'm not a fan of junipers but I think I have just the spot for a few of them. Also love the nigellas.

  6. Great photo of Haku! Silly kitty. So here is my question about your self seeders. How do you know that it's them coming up, not a weed? Do you just get really good at ID and know what the look like really young? This question probably sounds really dumb but for me it's an issue. Verbascum for instance...I have a couple that will be blooming soon and I want them to seed all over the place...but I don't want to pull them up next spring!

  7. Thanks everyone! @Christina, 'Icee Blue' was indeed very pretty during the winter; nice that it's getting some size so I can see the effect of the color...I like it!

    @Matt, a nice bank of Miscanthus at your office could be protection against drunk drivers! ;-D

    @Kari, actually the tangerines should be ready by Thanksgiving, but will stay on the tree all winter.

    @Denise, thanks so much! My plant selections are an interesting mix of what I love and use all the time, and plants that are given to me or otherwise follow me home...eclectic, to be sure, but also unique and interesting!

    @Melody, thanks for stopping by! Juniper can be a dirty word around these parts, mostly because they live so long and get too big. This variety is a different kind of beast; between the size, color and texture, I'm very happy with my choice.

    @Loree these are plants I've grown for years, and I'm also familiar with all my weeds. Verbascum seedlings are pretty distinctive, you shouldn't have any problem recognizing them! When in doubt you can always let something grow a bit to see who they turn out to be!

  8. Ciao Laura

    Bella ....bellissima!!

    Sorry to miss it. xo Alice

    aka Alice's Garden Travel Buzz