Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bev, the apple cake was great

This is off-topic, but I forgot to tell my aunt that the apple cake she brought to the family reunion was AMAZING.
Peripherally, this is garden-ish as we talked about the apple trees we each recently planted.

Jupiter's Beard/centranthus? Yeah, not quite dead yet.

I got busy, it started blooming, it looked pretty, the bees loved it, the passers-by asked about it and the next thing I knew I hadn't ripped out the Jupiter's beard. Anyone know of a centranthus birth control? Contraceptive bees, perhaps?
A nice substitute in a part-shade area of the garden is a carmine-colored spirea and it is more dignified and well-behaved. However, it doesn't carry the same stately garden drama as centranthus.
Yesterday I planted a nice buckwheat, and today I'm putting in mirabilis multiflora and a taller perennial linaria. These are all experiments.
I've got the summer to sit back and let things figure themselves out.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


TOP TO BOTTOM: (1) Photo taken from the vantage point of one of the curbstrip beds with two of the dry borders visible in the background; (2) "Red Rocks" penstemon & upright rosemary; (3) "Midnight" penstemon & more rosemary; (4) "Sally Holmes" rose; (5) "Sally Holmes" and "Betty Pryor" roses; (6) "Foothills" penstemon blooms nearly year-round in my Napa garden; (7) "Fama Blue" scabiosa; (8) "Tequila" rose, nearly thornless on new growth; (9) See number 5; (10) Mediterranean foxgloves, cultivar unknown because I lost the plant tag; (11) Section of a dry border with festuca, dianthus, nepeta, and yellow groundcover helianthemum; (12) "Lyda," which is my favorite musk rose. It has a beautiful open habit, excellent disease resistance, bright berry-like hips in the fall and it blooms in shade.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

There's a time to be ruthless

Jupiter's Beard, centranthus ruber. It's pretty, the bees love it, it's drought-tolerant, wet-tolerant, loves any kind of soil, is easy to grow and it must go. It reseeds prolifically and it's a thug, I tell you. There are hundreds of new baby plants all over the garden crowding out the things I love like dianthus, penstemon and clarkia. I've enjoyed all the centranthus I can stand and now it shall die. Gotta get it out before it seduces me by blooming.
It has rained (and rained & rained) and the soil is soft so I'll be out digging up large, stinky centranthus tubers. Walk a wide berth. See ya when it's over.

(It might get to live in the back yard where it can't get loose on the neighborhood.)