Weekend wrapup

Today, Monday, I ate the first olallieberry from the vines. It was delicious.

Sunday my father and mother came down to celebrate Mother's Day. We ate again at Shafaa, who were offering a Mother's Day platter. It was mostly delicious: I really enjoyed the jeweled rice and kabobs. However the falafel that my father ordered was over cooked. That was the only flaw to the meal in my opinion.

My sister-in-law and brother joined us later in the evening with my son and girlfriend Juli.

My mother and father joined my as I was finishing up some gardening chores in the front yard: I used the weed whacker to demo the yarrow and shovel pruned many of the other spent wild flowers. I collected seed pods before cutting many of them down which I will mostly donate to the One Pot project.

I had read that one could prune poppies, add a little water, and get them to rebloom but I wasn't sure exactly how to prune them. I tried a number of different ways. I subsequently read that you should clip them all off close to the ground, but I'm happy to report that almost any method that removes the seed heads can stimulate new growth. It's just that they look better without the withered remains of the last bloom's leaves, so you might as well take them down to the ground.

The front yard will need a complete makeover this fall. I can't really think too hard about that now, so in the mean time here's my house before my recent yard work. This featured my neighbor's chemical lawn in the foreground (with purposely unkempt edge which he hopes will annoy me or spread his lawn contagion), then fence, Penstemon (great flower performers), driveway, then overgrown random native plantings. I exaggerate, but the yarrow meadow was past its peak bloom, the wild flowers had come and gone (except the many Phacelia next to the porch), the Mimulus had been suffering for some time, and the buckwheat plants were too large for their space and location.

I like the angle of this photo, but usually I'm parked in the drive which wouldn't give quite the same effect.

Here's what it looked like after my demo and shovel pruning. I have plans to extend the native plants onto the turf grass area next to the street so I realigned the existing meadow border at the left of this picture and added a new border that I've extended into the turf grass area (lower left). In what is now turf grass, I'll probably put pavers with low native grasses or sedges to the right of the new border and low shrubs to the left of the new border, though the kids next door might influence my choice more towards something with thorns.

Digging out Yarrow is not all that easy. This yarrow is planted too densely for optimum health but has nonetheless formed a fairly dense mat of roots. I've decided that I like it in small doses, but as a monoculture I feel it has aesthetic problems.

A lot of the dead and gone plants that I demoed yesterday were first crop Phacelia. However, I have a significant area still dedicated to a second crop of P. tanacetifolia. chuck b. also likes the shape of Phacelia and has photographed it well. The flowers curl around on themselves like a scorpion's tail, which may give rise to one of the common names, Scorpionweed. I've never heard anyone call it that around here, however. My second crop of Phacelia was sown from seed collected from last year's meadow garden, but much later in the winter than the first crop (which had the same seed source but sowed itself naturally), so it's only blooming now. Confusion among Phacelia taxa seems to be easy to come by.

Another crop that has run to its end is the Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata). Many of the seed heads were just sitting there like little cups, full of loose seed ready to be tipped into my bag for collection. I also bid farewell to my Mimulus (Sticky Monkeyflower) which I either overwatered last year or, more likely, stepped on while my son and I were removing some nearby plants earlier this year.

1 comment:

  1. It looks great, before and after!

    I have some yarrow from seed sown in situ last year that seems happily dense right now. It's threaded itself between the cobblestones and sent up flowers. I don't even worry about stepping on it. I hope it spreads and spreads.

    I totally cut my poppies back to the ground and water 'em. Discovered that works by accident and then read it about it in a few places.

    I think you said you grew the coastal form, which is sort of yellow-orange with the orangest part at the bottom of the flower. I'm converting to that form next year for sure. So nice.

    I think