Random notes, Easter weekend

It's been a beautiful weekend with plenty of sunshine and daytime highs in the 70s. Unfortunately, there hasn't been any rain since mid-March, and nothing in the forecast. I spent Saturday fixing broken drip emitters and running new spur lines to plants added since fall. Then I turned on the irrigation system for the first time since November.

I've started to use blue flags to mark spots that need attention, either repairs or new emitters:

New emitters needed, but when I created this mound, I buried the main irrigation line. Duh!

I love the two clumping bamboos left in the front yard, but they shed more leaves than a golden retriever does hair. After several windy days last week, this is what the path looked like:

The chore that never ends....

I also moved some plants, put a few others in the ground, and repotted some Agave pintilla and Hechtia michoacana seedlings.

And I spent quite a bit of time enjoying what's in bloom right now:

L-R: Helichrysum thianschanicum 'Icicles', Yucca baccata var. vespertina 'Hualampei Blue', and Acacia glaucoptera 'Prostrate Form'

Yellow-flowering Eriogonum umbellatum 'Kannah Creek' and Mangave 'Kaleidoscope'

Study in magenta and red: Mangave 'Red Wing', Hechtia argentea, and Salvia hierosolymitana from Annie's Annuals

Hechtia argentea has six inflorescences; they're hard to photograph

Veltheimia capensis producing seed pods

Rich harvest setting on Aloe wickensii

Cantua volcanica weaving through Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba'

LEFT: Teucrium fruticans 'Cal Flora Form'
RIGHT: Agave colorata × parrasana
BACK: Clematis lasiantha

TOP: Aloe marlothii
LEFT: Yucca 'Bright Star'
RIGHT: Osteospermum 'Astra Purple Spoon'

LEFT: Yucca 'Bright Star'
RIGHT: Osteospermum 'Astra Purple Spoon'

LEFT: Felicia aethiopica  RIGHT: Oscularia caulescens

Ruschia lineolata

The lavender-flowering spiller is a surprise; I'd forgotten I'd planted it there! It's Campanula celsii ssp. celsii from coastal Greece (via Annie's Annuals). It looks great there, combined with Aloe ×spinosissima and Aechmea blanchetiana; Hechtia argentea on the lower right in the photo on the left.

In an effort to add more interest to the succulent mounds in the front yard, I've been adding small flowering plants you might see in a rock garden:

Moroccan daisy (Rhodanthemum hosmariense 'Casablanca')

Moroccan daisy (Rhodanthemum hosmariense 'Casablanca'). The cultivar 'Casablanca' has darker centers than the species. This photo was taken at 10 a.m. By noon, the flowers are wide open.

Bottom right: Persian stonecress (Aethionema grandiflorum)

Bottom: Persian stonecress (Aethionema grandiflorum)
Top: 'Paprika' yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Paprika')

Echeveria 'Ghost Buster', with Dyckia 'Whit Merrin' in the lower left

Now that I have the drip irrigation running, I hope that I can prolong the flower show a little bit longer. But I see temperatures in the mid-90s lurking in the extended forecast. I'm definitely not ready yet!

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  1. Beautiful photos Gerhard. The mid 90's! I think we've only had one, maybe two, days in the 70's. It's been a very cool spring here and the garden is moving oh so slowly...

    1. It's weird, the California poppies took so long to get going this year, but I think that was mainly because we've had so little rain.

  2. Wow everything looks great. I like how your small filler plants cover the ground. They add a nice finishing touch to the whole composition. We are slowly moving into Spring but so far it has been quite dry here too. Am hopeful it will not be another drought year.

    1. Finding these small rock garden-type plants is harder than I thought because rock gardening is definitely an oddity in the Sacramento Valley. I'm heavily leaning on South African ice plants/mesembs...

  3. Your garden is looking great despite the lack of rain. I think we're in for a hot, dry summer but we can hope for a tropical storm - or two. I need to expand my drip system too. I love that Cantua volcanica, which I'd never heard of. Even the references online are few and skimpy in content. Where did you find it?

    1. The only place I've ever seen Cantua volcanica is at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. That's where mine came from. I'll see if they can be propagated from cuttings so I can share some with you.

  4. Being just a zone colder, your garden seems to handle some plants I haven't been able to grow, like the Persian stonecress. Eriogonum 'Kannah Creek' is not looking happy here at all, not much new spring basal growth. I like this new approach to planting you're developing!

    1. I wonder if these two plants need some degree of winter chill to thrive? Eriogonum 'Kannah Creek' is a selection from western Colorado so that would make sense. Have you tried to grow buckwheats from coastal California, like E. grande var. rubescens?

    2. 'Kannah Creek' was a dud for me. E. grande var. rubescens nice, an annual at best. The weedy white Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), Hunnemannia, random Lavender volunteer seedlings, and Limonium perezii have been my go-to plants for a touch of flower color in a harsh location.

    3. Strange that 'Kannah Creek' has done well here. It must be the fact that we have slightly colder winters.

      I had Hunnemannia fumariifolia for a few years but it went away. All my efforts to start it from seeds have failed. I really should buy a few 1-gallon plants again.

  5. Campanula celsii from coastal Greece, Moroccan daisy 'Casablanca', Persian stonecress... around the world in the time of covid. Do you do seed propagation (with Veltheimia capensis for example)?

    1. LOL, I hadn't looked at it this way, but you're right!

      I've never collected seeds from Veltheimia capensis, but I will this year because others have asked me for seeds.


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