Weekend activities

On Saturday I managed to get to both the Payne Foundation (by coincidence just one week ahead of their Poppy Days sale weekend, a time when they have great inventory but few crowds) and to the native grass planting party later that day.

At the Payne Foundation I used my member discount to purchase a number of the items on my purchase list.

Here's what I bought and didn't buy, and why:
  1. 1 packet of Claytonia perfoliata (Miner's lettuce) seed. I'll need to start it ASAP.
  2. Two Sidalcea malaeflora "Palustre" (Checkermallow) - They had tens in stock. I limited my purchase to two due to concerns about compability with my soil. Planted them in my meadow.
  3. Three Iris "Moonlight" (white with blue). I immediately planted these next to my others with the intent of eventually having a large drift of Iris. Apparently I shouldn't expect flowers until year three. The Iris already in my garden have only 1 year, but they've grown quite a bit in that time.
  4. I gave the Encelia californica (Bush sunflower) a pass, since it seemed based on the plant stake info that the size of the one I have would exceed my needs. I usually check that stuff before I shop, but I decided better safe than sorry. However, I've now come to distrust the plants stakes and "shelf talkers" at the nursery. See 7 and 8 for why.
  5. Symphoricarpos mollis (Creeping Snowberry) - one for experimental purposes, planted in the part shade under the Brazillian pepper tree in the back yard.
  6. Two Artemesia californica to interplant with my Rosemary hedge around my vegetable garden as an experiment. The foliage has a similar shape and the growth habit and cultural requirements are close. Contrasting silvery foliage against the dark green rosemary might be just the thing for pleasing visual contrast.
  7. Two Gnaphalium californicum (Everlasting (the common name it's marketed under) or Cudweed (a name I'm sure the marketing department wants to forget) ) to interplant with my Rosemary hedge around my vegetable garden as an experiment. Bought on a whim, I hadn't even heard of this before. It has fuzzy light green leaves, so I don't know if the color will work against Rosemary. Additionally, I thought it was advertised as perennial, but now I see that according to TPF online it dies back. Hmmm.
  8. Two 4" pots with Triteleia laxa 'Queen Fabiola' (Ithuriel's spear), lilac sprouts that were said to enjoy clay and full sun, so that's what it got near the compost bin. But screw me if the online information at TPF doesn't say it wants well drained soil. In fact, there's not a single lilac that doesn't want well drained soil. Hmmm Harumph.
So what explains the disconnect between plant information sources in items 7 and 8? Am I extra careless? Am I really not reading that well these days? Caught up in plant buying fever? Maybe TPF isn't vetting their nursery "shelf talker" info very well? I'm not too fretted, but I do like to start my plant experiments with at least a possibility of success on paper.

Checkermallow as planted.

Note: I wrote the previous paragraph earlier today but now that I'm home I checked the plant stakes that came with each pot and they say "evergreen" on the Gnaphalium californicum, which explains why I thought it was a perennial while shopping. Las Pilitas is a bit more informative than TPF on the matter, "A native biennial or short-lived perennial that grows in disturbed places. This species is a pioneer plant that helps to prepare the site, and aids in the establishment of longer-lived plants in the native landscape..." But the Triteleia disconnect is still unexplained.

Between slow traffic, a long wait at the gas station, and lunch, I made the native grass planting party only just in time. There were maybe 20 or 2 dozen people there and I worked with two others to plant about 25 juncus starts in a seasonal creek bottom in a reserve area at the edge of a new parking lot at CSUDH. Apparently the parking lot covers what used to be a preserve, and this little corner is all that is left. It has the potential to be nice habitat with some year old willow in the creek bed and appropriate grasses and shrubs all less than a year old planted in amongst the wild radish and other invasive aliens. I think that many of the volunteers were new to plants and planting, not just to new to native plants because there didn't seem to be a high awareness of proper planting techniques. Perhaps the greatest benefit will be the sense of ownership that the volunteers will have rather than the actual plants that they installed.

As a reward we were treated to free plants. I picked up some starts of Agrostis Pallens (Bent grass or Thin grass), a turf-forming native grass with a nice delicate look to it. I'll try it in a corner of the yard as a potential lawn substitute. Most others made a bee line for the Tidy Tips.

Dinner Saturday was with Juli, my brother, and his wife. We ended up talking over hot drinks
until late.

Sunday I just hung out until I left to get my son. The garden was growing nicely.

Phacelia with poppies in background.

Roger's Red grape vine climbing arbor.
Matilija Poppies going great. I think they'll be spectacular this summer.

When we got home he helped me start pruning and shaping the large Brazillian pepper that blocks my morning sun. I've decided that I'll lace it out and live with it for a while. If I still can't live with it, then I'll demo it.

Here's the tree after I've pruned it a bit. I last cleaned it out several years ago. Rosemary hedge in foreground. The neighbors have butchered the tree on their side of the fence over the years, but perhaps I can recover some pleasing shape.

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