Garden accomplishments

I managed to sleep a lot this weekend. My first full week back at work, and I was beat by Friday.

Earlier in the week, when I was anticipating a storm that never showed, I planted Apricot Mallow (also known as Desert Mallow), Sphaeralcea ambigua, in the front. It needs full sun, so the back yard wasn't going to do. This is not a California coastal plain native and my heavier soil may be a bit much for it. We'll see. It looks a bit scrofulous now, but it ought to bloom into the early summer according to the glossy brochure. This was an impulse purchase at the Payne Foundation and I've been struggling with where to put it. I ought to have used a pot so I could tailor the soil conditions. Or exercise better impulse control.

If it doesn't work out I can switch to a different genus, but still have a mallow. Chaparral Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus) seems to be better situated to clay soils.

I was reminded of the mallows while reading Sunset magazine online. In addition to their nice blog (linked at the right), there's a lot of good articles including this photo essay on eight native plants in the garden. The last photo in the essay says something about a non-native tree mallow, but it sure looks like California native Lavatera assugentiflora. Maybe the garden is in Arizona?

I managed a fair amount of weeding while the soil was moist after the rain. During the weeding, I stumbled across the plant stake that I buried with my Ceanothus "Dark Star". Now I know that it really is "Dark Star" and I only have to puzzle out the other Ceanothus in the yard.

"Dark Star" is getting progressively bluer.

But the other Ceanothus is not.

All its flowers are still waiting to burst forth.


  1. Is that aka the "Desert five spot"?

    I am fortunate (or I make my own luck) in that, I have found a desert five spot on each trip to Death Valley, even the dry years. The ranger said they are extremely rare during dry years. I make Mark park when I see a likely spot and go hunt for it. So far, I am batting 1000. Such a pretty pink and yellow combo...

  2. It's not the Desert Five Spot. There's a "regular" Five Spot that I think I've planted in the garden this year, Nemophila maculata. It has white petals with a blue spot if memory serves.

    There's a nice picture of the Desert Fivespot, Eremalche rotundifolia, here


    I think you posted pictures of the Desert Fivespot on your blog too.

    I think it's interesting how the common names transcend genus and species. I had a similar experience this weekend when I was shown some "locoweed" but which didn't look anything like the Datura (locoweed) which I have at home.