Sunday, December 9, 2018

Meanwhile, at home, in our own garden...

After being gone for almost two weeks (first for Thanksgiving, then on my trip to Southern California), it seemed like I hadn't spent any time in the garden in quite a while.

We don't usually get much fall color, but the Chinese pistache in the backyard is putting on a good show this year:

I still wish we had actually gotten the male tree we'd ordered (female Chinese pistache are much messier and don't have as much color in the fall), but it's 20 years too late to complain.

2018 post-Thanksgiving road trip to Southern California

Here are all the posts from my 2018 post-Thanksgiving road trip to Southern California (November 26 to December 1, 2018):

Detailed posts to follow about the Huntington Desert Garden, my visits with Andy Siekkinen (Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden) und Jeff Moore (Solana Succulents), my friend Deana's garden in Carpinteria/Santa Barbara, and much more.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Southern California road trip, day 6

Day 6, the last day of my Southern California road trip, arrived all too quickly. I had spent the night in the Central California university town of San Luis Obispo, home of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). I've always had a soft spot for SLO and can actually see myself living there some day. Gardening in such a gentle climate has got to be dreamy!

My first stop was the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, a non-profit endeavor I'd discovered in April 2016. In my post about that visit, I mentioned their ambitious expansion plans for the future. Unfortunately, raising the funds for such a big project is a difficult and slow process, and I didn't see any visible progress on this visit.

Still, the 2½-acre preview garden is a nice medley of plants from the various Mediterranean climate regions around the world. Here are some examples:

Aloe ferox against California buckeye (Aesculus californica)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Southern California road trip, day 5

Day 5 began with breakfast at Esau's Café in Carpinteria ("World Famous since 1939"), just a couple of blocks from the beach. Joining me were my friend Deana and her husband Robert; Deana has lived in the Santa Barbara area for 30+ years and knows everything there is to know.

Imagine gardening in a virtually frost-free climate where 85°F is considered a hot day! The lack of water, however, is a worry that's never far from residents' minds. That's one reason why Deana is such a fan of succulents. Most of them thrive in the mild coastal climate. The only exception are cacti native to extremely hot desert environments; Santa Barbara simply doesn't get caliente enough for them.

After breakfast, I had the opportunity to check out the progress in Deana's garden. As you can see, the front yard is dominated by a massive Agave americana, one of the nicest forms I've seen:

Like all Agave americana, it does offset, but Deana is diligent about removing the pups. She wants a solitary specimen, not an impenetrable tangle.