2008-12-21

Weekend gardening punchlist

I planted two 1 gal pots of Checkermallow (Sidalcea malvaeflora) purchased from the Payne Foundation in my front yard meadow today. I also found and moved the two Sidalcea that I planted last year, so now I have a group of four positioned around the Wild Rose (Rosa californica) that I positioned ever so carefully to block the neighbor's kids from running through the yard. The rose is looking a bit stressed. According to the nice native plant pruning calendar that I found at Yerba Buena Nursery, this is the time it ought to be pruned ("Can be selectively pruned to thin or control, or coppiced") so perhaps I'll do that soon.

It probably doesn't matter too much that there are four Sildalcea - they are low to the ground and go summer deciduous. However, groups of three are a better design grouping, so I moved and replanted one surviving Deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) and freshly planted two more from 1 gallon containers along a stepping stone path in the front. Actually, I moved the stepping stones and then adjusted the plants in a lather-rinse-repeat cycle until it all looked copacetic. Here's a shot before the final "rinse" when I moved the nearest stepping stone leftward. The Muhlenbergia is at the right of the far stepping stones. The rose is atop the berm nearer the sidwalk. Also in this view is a prostrate Ceanothus (foreground and left), Encelia (behind garden stake at 11:00. I have another near enough to qualify for repetition,), citrus (leaves at left), Nasella pulchra (10:00), Verbena lilacina (12:00)

Muhlenbergia has a strong structural form when the seed stalks grow - they are 3-4' tall arching soft spikes, but I've been unable to get mine to do that. If I can, they ought to look great against the Italian Cypress. However, I think that the one survivor was too close to the Italian Cypress and the root competition was too much because it never sent up the expected stalks. Or perhaps it needs another year to get established.

I also picked up some potting soil and seed starting flats from the local nursery. They have piles and piles of throw-away and recyclable pots so they just gave me some. It's good to have a friendly working relationship with a nursery. I commented at checkout that they didn't have a web site, but it turns out that the parent corporation does. I go to South Bay Gardens which is the retail side of Performance Nursery.


Sunday brought more replanting in the front yard. Putting to use my understanding that massed plants make more of a statement than individuals, I consolidated an Erigeron glaucus (Seaside Daisy) from the meadow to a place near another Erigeron. I probably also saved the transplanted E. from certain death later this year. The yarrow which forms the bulk of the meadow area is really aggressive.

I have a sometime habit of burying the plant stake (the plastic stake which has identifying information) along with the plant. So today I also solved the mystery of which E. glaucus are in my garden, when I dug them up. I have E. glaucus "Arthur Menzies " and "Cape Sebastian". I can't tell them apart, but at least they are side by side now.

The Bouteloua gracilis (blue Gramma grass) got divided and moved, and a prostrate salvia with nice blue flowers (name long forgotten) got moved. Hope they survive.

I also demo'd both large buckwheat plants. I think that if a buckwheat has been planted for a year or less you can dig it up and hope to transplant it. After a second year of growth, the roots are very difficult dig out and there's little hope of transplant. I'll put a smaller species in their place. I also doubled down on the existing Artemisia (California sage brush), adding one that I'd propogated earlier in the year to provide repetition. I have a third in reserve, but they seem like aggressive spreaders, so I don't think I want too many even though I have a big open spot right now.

I was moaning just a couple posts ago about how my miner's lettuce has never germinated. It turns out that last year's seed looks like it's growing. The plants are a bit young for me to tell definitively, but it sure looks like miner's lettuce. This year's seed is showing no signs of life yet.