Plants

Let’s talk about plants! Nicotiana & Dymondia

Early in the spring I bought a tiny four inch Nicotania alta ‘Lime Green’ from Annie’s Annuals. I love chartreuse flowers, look how adorable these are:

i forgot what sort of bean plants i planted.

I have this in a pot and it grew quite quickly, is blooming prolifically, the flowers are big, and it is nicely bushy. I really love this plant and I want a couple more. The Annie’s site says it reseeds itself easily so I’m going to wait to see how that goes and I’ll do some seed collecting as well.

This is a good plant for a kids garden, its got interesting big flowers and since it’s a prolific bloomer who cares if kids pick some to make fairy dresses or potions or whatever.

Dymondia margaretae – Silver Carpet

I bought a four inch Dymondia thinking it would be good as a ground cover for a kid trampled, high traffic area near the hill slide. The soil here isn’t sandy at all and it might be too shady a spot. This is an easy plant to propagate and I turned the 4 inch plant into like… 6 teeny plants. Once you shake off the soil it’s super obvious how to gently separate it.

Read up on Dymondia margaretae at the Stepables web site.

NCC-1701 Farm

My garden is looking mangy but I’m still pretty happy with it. There are a ton of CA poppies randomly everywhere and that is very pleasing. I turned in all the borage and harvested the chamomile and have prepped that bed to be ready for something else. I got some ground cherry plants from a neighbor and some calendula seeds. T’s big fancy poppies are blooming nicely and one of my salvias FINALLY bloomed. The CA fuchsias are starting to flower, they yarrow is still happy and I think my Eriogonum (can’t remember which it is) will flower soon.

onion, basil, CA poppies, orange tree

The carrots, lettuce shallots, and onions are super happy. The garlic didn’t do it’s thing at all so I’ll try again later this year. The plums are almost ripe. My zucchini has a ton of flowers and my basil almost already bolted but I hopefully pinched off the flowers in time. The cilantro is sort of sad and straggly but still trucking.

One sticky monkey flower is doing really well and blooming all over the place and the one I moved from a pot to the ground is still deciding if it just wants to give up the ghost.

The leeks are looking good and the bean vines are twining around.

onion

The weeds and invasive grasses are rampant. Meadow still not done but has a new cover crop coming in.

J and I just picked all the ripe strawberries and ate them all up:
delicious strawberries from the back yard!

I have a bunch of Heucheras placed around, they are still pretty small. I went to Flora Grubb for the first time yesterday with my sister. She bought some cute succulents and I bought a Primula veris, a Dymondia margaretae, and a Dipogon lignosus.

That’s a lot of plants I’ve got in my backyard and that’s not even all the food plants. How many food plants does it take to make a farm? How many farm animals? I think what it takes is a NAME. All I need to turn this thing into a farm is a good name.

Pointy and Clucky Farm?
Howe Street Farm?
FU Farm?
Playscape Farm?
Laurasaurus Farm?
C’mon, I need a good nerd reference name…
Hobbit Hole Farm?
NCC 1701-Farm?
Firefly Farm

She loves me.

In other news I did NOT get the awesome horticultural internship I applied for. Not to worry. I will go on their volunteer days to get some actual official gardening (for someone else) experience.

Wooly pockets…. hmmmm

Well, T tried to get me to put these elsewhere in the garden and I’m afraid he may have been correct. I’m not liking them right here. That side fence is SO janky. Maybe if it was covered with some pretty vines?

These were both planted at the end of April.

wooly pockets

Monardella villosa, Phormium Black Rage, Bacopa, I can’t remember this one, Helichrysum petiole

I set up my two wooly pockets this weekend. I’m not really sure how well all thee plants pair up in a container. I mean, they should be all pretty together but maybe not all compatible water/sun requirement times and size. we’ll see!

Bacopa Growing and Maintenance Tips:
Bacopa flowers best in full sun, preferably morning sun. Keep Bacopa evenly moist and provide good drainage. The plant may rot if it is waterlogged and it may stop flowering if it is allowed to dry out between waterings. Pinch back as needed and feed with an all-purpose fertilizer following package instructions.

Monardella villos – coyote mint
This perennial will grow to 2′ tall by 2′ wide. The dark green leaves contrast nicely with long blooming lavender flowers (June-August). Place in full sun to light shade, with good drainage and little summer water. Cut back heavily in winter for a compact plant next year. Native from Northern to Central California. Flowers attract a wide variety of butterflies and beneficial insects.

Phormium Black Rage
Striking blue-black sword-like leaves make a bold upright (to 2-3′) statement that holds its color well; incredible contrast plant in container or border. Sun/Med-Dry/GdDrain

H. petiolare is a shrubby treasure with felted, heart-shaped leaves. Its stems form low mounds or spill out of containers, weaving their way through their neighbors. Growth is vigorous in average to dry garden soil. For best foliage color, provide afternoon shade. Perennial in Zones 8-10.

wooly pockets

another wooly pocket experiment!

creeping mint, Rumex sanguineus, Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’, centradenia floribunda, Carex flagellifera – Toffee Twist, Prunella grandiflora ‘Blue Loveliness’

Prunella grandiflora ‘Blue Loveliness’
Sun to Partial Shade, Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’
Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ is a low growing, narrow leaved ground cover with compact variegated foliage – dark green splashed with chocolate, with burgundy highlights.
Leaves are thinner and longer than other Ajugas. This versatile ground cover is topped in late spring to early summer with intense deep blue flowers held on 2″ flower spikes.

centradenia floribunda
spreads quickly to almost 6’ across & as much as 18” tall. Praiseworthy bright coppery-bronze shiny foliage make it a true stand-out in the garden, adding tons of long-range foliar interest & contrast. And wow, what a backdrop the leaves & ruby stems create for the showy bright magenta-pink flowers! Trailing stems root along the ground & are simple to control. Cascades beautifully out of beds, containers & hanging baskets! Bright shade/Sun, avg. water

Carex flagellifera Toffee Twist is a zone 7 hardy ornamental grass for sunny areas. Actually a sedge, this carex is grown for its beautiful toasted coppery brown foliage which turns a rich mahogany color by fall.
Clump forming Carex cascades and twists in the most pleasing of ways, making this ideal for container gardening.

Rumex sanguineus
Full Sun, May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

My front porch plants

Most of my adult life I moved once a year and was an enthusiastic killer of potted plants. Now that I’m settled in a house I’m hoping to keep some of these babies alive. Unfortunately I can only have outside planters because our new cats eat, mangle or otherwise harass anything in a pot.

front porch plants
The front planter has one Helianthum nummularium ‘Henfield Brilliant’.
I love this plant’s gray green foliage and bright delicate orange flowers. The flowers are short lived but there are a lot of them. The flowers are also thigmonastic, which means they move in response to stimuli, so if you touch the stamens they slowly move outward, it’s so cute! I haven’t seen any bees around it yet but it has been raining pretty steadily since it started blooming.

Closer picture of the back planter:
front porch plants
I’m experimenting with combining plants in this one. The one on the left is Heuchera villosa ‘Cintronelle’. Heuchera’s are awesome and this one has this great neon-y chartreuse foliage. This plant gets pretty big, like up to 2 feet, so I might eventually transplant it. The flowers are spikes of creamy white flowers and it blooms in late spring to summer.

The Primula polyantha ‘Victoriana Silver Laced Black’ on the right also gets fairly big so we’ll see how it does in this pot. I like an overflowing full looking planter and this one should get fluffy by summer. This Primula is sooo pretty, it has a yellow center w/ black petals and white edges and blooms late fall to mid-spring.
Here’s a picture of the blooms, aren’t they stunning?

The bulb in the back is Dierama pulcherrimum ‘Slieve Donard’, common name is fairy wand, and I’ve never seen this plant in bloom in real life. It has deep reddish purple flowers and blooms in late spring and summer. I can’t find a good picture to use that isn’t copyright protected. so here’s a link to one. this is supposedly a nice cut flower and in late fall I’ll try dividing it since it spreads by corms.

Evolution of an herb spiral

When we moved in and had an arborist come cut down some of the plum trees we kept all the branches. When I was making my herb spiral I dug a hole to mix in compost and such and I buried some of the plum branches in a nod to Hugelculture. We also piled up most of them along the back wall and dumped dirt on it and hove things growing on it (oh, and an embedded hillside) in a more traditional hugelculture bed.

April 2011:
herb spiral to be.

It started fairly small.
June 2011:
herb spiral

I enlarged it to include an attached bed for flowers.

October 2011:
herb spiral

February 2012:
herb spiral is getting bigger and bigger

Here’s the flower part of it in May 2012:
Spring 2012 - backyard

I had a fantastic crop of borage, chamomile and comfrey plus some nice annuals this spring. I have prepared the bed for some new things but I’m not sure what. I already sprinkled some seeds randomly and put in a few ground cherries. There is also some lovely lovely smelling lemongrass and some valerian in there plus some basic herbs like rosemary and oregano.

Here it is June 2012: