Tag Archives: flowers

almost spring

The view from the front sidewalk, with yellow deerweed, violet gilia, pink arctotis, red aloe.
The view from the front sidewalk, with yellow deerweed, violet gilia, pink arctotis, red aloe.

With several days above 80 degrees this week, it’s feeling like spring. And surveying the garden, it’s looking like spring too.

With rain come the weeds. Everywhere.
With rain come the weeds. Everywhere.
Lest any of you in the lands of blizzards and crazy snowfall think I’m gloating, let me show you one of the many weed patches around the garden. Yes we have lots of spring flowers already. But we also have lots of zones around that look like this. But enough of this unpleasantness. On to some flowers!

Agave attenuata bloom spike that landed on the aloe
Agave attenuata bloom spike that landed on the aloe

The first things anyone walking up to the house will notice are the two ginormous flowering spikes of the Agave attenuata. They’re a pretty common plant around town, but their seven or eight foot flowering spikes from November to February or March cannot fail to impress. If the blooms were coral pink or violet you almost might call the plant gaudy, but they’re a quiet icy greenish-white. Gaudy, but in a subtle way.

Closer view of the end of one of the agave bloom spikes.
Closer view of the end of one of the agave bloom spikes.

An apricot-gold selection of chuparosa, a plant that's usually scarlet red
An apricot-gold selection of chuparosa, a plant that’s usually scarlet red
The number of California native plants in the garden keeps growing. Their two most common spring flower colors seem to be bright yellow and lavender, a combination that can stand my teeth on edge, so I tried to tone down the clashes with some plants with in-between shades of bloom. Apricot is a great peace-maker color, and I’ve used a golden chuparosa, Justicia californica ‘Tecate Gold’ and apricot mallow, Abutilon palmeri.
Mellow apricot-yellow tones of desert mallow  coexist with lavender-flowered plants, like Salvia 'Bee's Bliss' here in the background
Mellow apricot-yellow tones of desert mallow coexist with lavender-flowered plants, like Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ here in the background

But still, there’s lots of yellow around: Bladderpod (Peritoma/Isomeris/Cleome arborea), our local coastal coreopsis (Leptosyne maritima), plus aeoniums from the Azores or Africa.

Leptosyne (Coreopsis) maritima
Leptosyne (Coreopsis) maritima
Peritoma arborea
Peritoma arborea
Aeonium from the Azores, also representing yellow
Aeonium from the eastern Atlantic, also representing yellow

And there’s plenty in the lavender category: the very first (and really early) flower of Salvia ‘Winifred Gilman’, the prolific prostrate black sage (Salvia mellifera repens), “blue” dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) and blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) that reseeds itself at the edge of the veggie garden.

First blooms on Salvia winifred Gilman
First blooms on Salvia winifred Gilman
The rambunctious black sage
The rambunctious black sage
Blue dicks, looking pretty lavender to me
Blue dicks, looking pretty lavender to me
Blue-eyed grass, really more lavender than blue in this form, looking great next to chard
Blue-eyed grass, really more lavender than blue in this form, looking great next to chard

And a few others:

Carpenteria californica
Carpenteria californica

The flowers of miner's lettuce
The flowers of miner’s lettuce

Ceanothus 'South Coast Blue'
Ceanothus ‘South Coast Blue’

Baja fairy duster
Baja fairy duster

Hummingbird sage
Hummingbird sage
Crassula multicava, from somewhere other than California
Crassula multicava, from somewhere other than California

Galvezia juncea 'Gran Canon' from Baja
Galvezia juncea ‘Gran Canon’ from Baja

Galvezia speciosa 'Firecracker', from California's Channel Islands
Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker’, from California’s Channel Islands

Monkey flower (mimulus)
Monkey flower (mimulus)

Flowering, but it's a weed, buttonweed, Cotula australis
Flowering, but it’s a weed, buttonweed, Cotula australis–you can’t escape them this time of year!

This is my first contribution in many many months to the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Thanks for hosting, Carol. Check out what’s flowering around the garden blog world [here] !

may(bloom)day

We begin this month’s episode of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day with the rare lavender-flowered California coffeeberry. Well, actually, there is no such thing and I’m making it up, using one of the older trick in the gardener’s book.

The flowers come from Verbena bonariensis, a tall, stemmy plant that sends it flowers up through any plants around it, making them appear as if they’re blooming with the verbena’s flowers.

The coffeeberry’s flowers are much more nondescript to humans. On the recent garden tour I spoke to a homeowner who was wishing that she hadn’t planted her coffeeberries so close to paths because the bugs seem to go crazy over its blooms, more so than just about any other native plant. Here we have the humble blooms of Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Eve Case.’

The rest of the garden is definitely slowing down. The last few months have been high spring, but you can feel summer’s presence in the lengthening days and the plants slowing down their growth and flower production.

Fortunately some plants choose this time to begin flowering. White sage, Salvia apiana, is one of them.

San Miguel Island buckwheat, Eriogonum rubescens var. rubescens, just getting going.

Winnifred Gilman Cleveland sage, close to its peak.

Gutierrezia californica, California matchweed. It’s not a usual home garden plant, but it has delicate and tiny yellow flowers and miniature leaves that contrast nicely against larger, more substantial plants.

Saint Catherine’s lace, Eriogonum giganteum, probably the most stunning buckwheat. That’s “stunning” in buckwheat-speak, meaning it’s spectacular in a really humble way. Here it is, holding its own against a phlomis from Turkey, P. monocephala.


A closer look at the phlomis above.

We also have a pretty heavy flowering of Island bush snapdragon, Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker.’ Looking close, you can definitely make out its family resemblance to the common garden snappers.

A close look at the “rat-tail” floral structures of Verbena lilacina. This species has coloration identical to the verbena that opened this post, but it’s more shrubby, and comes from Baja, not Brazil.

Clarkia rubi­cunda ssp. blasdalei helps extend the flowering into late spring.

If you let your California poppies go to seed, you’ll likely have little scenes like this, young poppy plants sending out their first blooms–not always in the best of places, but there are usually enough of them that some will be coming up where you’d like them.

On the carnivorous plants we have some new blooms. This is a sundew, Drosera filiformis, “Florida Giant.”

And buds on another sundew Drosera capensis, white form.

The pitcher plants, however, are slowing down their flower production, just as the plants start to put out the amazing pitchers that make us want to grow them. These are the intensely raspberry-scented blooms of the ancestral form of Sarracenia rubra var. gulfensis.

During a couple weeks in later spring the orchid cactus, epiphyllums, go crazy with flowers. There’s really nothing orchid-like to their flowers, and their common names is just a piece of wayward marketing. But dang they’re spectacular in their gaudy, tacky, over-the-top-ness. These plants are John’s obsession. Unfortunately he’s not big on plant labels, so here I can only offer you the most generic plant names:

“White epiphyllum”

“A different white epiphyllum,” a plant in total full bloom

A close inspection of the above, Epiphyllum albus differentus

“Red epiphyllum”

“Magenta epiphyllum”

To conclude I’ll share this first flower of the local red columbine, Aquilegia formosa, a species that I’ve always enjoyed but haven’t grown in 10-15 years. Here it is, returned to the garden at last (courtesy last fall’s native plant society sale). Welcome home. You were missed.

That’s a lot of what’s blooming in my garden. Check out dozens of other gardens [ here ] over at May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts the monthly bloom day meme on the 15th of each month. Thanks as always, Carol!

into the tunnels

The morning opened overcast, foggy, even. You couldn’t ask for a more appropriate day to visit the mysteries of the area the locals call The Tunnels. The location is currently closed to public access until a plan for trails and managmenet is finalized, but I got to tag along on a trip organized by the local California Native Plant Society chapter.

To get to the tunnels you pass a mesa top with blooming chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum.

More blooming chamise. It’s a signature plant of this chaparral habitat.

Disappearing into the trees: This is the fun-slash-magic part of visiting The Tunnels.

The scrub oak scrub deep in The Tunnels is made up of Quercus dumosa and Q. berberdifolia and towers over you–ten, fifteen feet, even more in spots. Trip leader Frank was calling this old-growth chaparral, an environment so old and established that you can’t tell its age, meaning this area hasn’t burned intensely in many decades or even centuries. In old-growth chaparral you’ll find plants of all ages and stages of life, not just a uniform cohort of seedlings starting over after a fire. Seeing how rich this area is, you can begin to understand how big a lie it is when people insist that fire is essential to maintaining the health environments like this.

Acorns on the scrub oaks.

And before you get acorns the oaks must bloom…

Inside the Hobbit World. Giant scrub oak branches overhead, lots of it with lichen attached.

Did someone say “lichen?”

More branches with lichen.

Even more lichen, close up. I never get tired looking at the stuff.

No Hobbits so far, but wood rats had set up this nest overhead. Strange. They usually nest closer to the ground.

Below there was a diverse understory of plants, rare or common or weedy. This is the common wood fern, Dryopteris arguta.

In the weedy category is this new annoying non-native, bur chervil, Anthriscus caucalis.

One of the cooler understory plants, miner’s lettuce. The species here is Claytonia parviflora.

Toxicoscordon fremontii sounds like a scary plant–so does one of its common names of Death Camas–perfect for this netherworld. Yes, the plant, particularly the bulb, is poisonous.

The buds of Fremont’s star lily. Actually it’s the same species as the death camas I just showed you, only this is its prettier name.

Melic grass, Melica imperfecta, thriving in the shade of The Tunnels.

Another of the understory plants here: early onion, Allium praecox.

Another understoy plant: western dichondra, Dichondra occidentalis. I get dichondra popping up in my garden at home. At first I got excited since D. occidentalisis a rare plant. But then I realized he plant in my garden was a relic of the dichondra species (D. micrantha) used as a lawn substitute in the well-watered suburbia of days gone by.

Yet another denizen of the shade, the pretty prolific and common Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia.

So… what other wonders do you think you’ll find in this magical underground world? How about an abandoned pot farm?

Actually, when I look at this hillside, I don’t really see a pot farm, but I’m assured that there used to be one here. There are little telltale signs, like little basins dug into the slope to retain moisture.

On the way out, back on the mesa top you see sights like this: branches of the chamise, with golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) blooming inside them.

Also up on the mesa is this, Adolphia californica, a plant listed as endangered in California, though it’s common elsewhere (Mexico). San Diego County is the only place in California that you’ll find it.

Mine was a group of people dedicated to leaving a place as pristine or even more so than when you experienced it. Here’s one of the bags people had going of assorted artifacts left by previous visitors (and inhabitants, apparently). Shoes, bottles, wrappers–nothing transcendentally weird this time.

more than last month

After posting on Nasher Sculpture Center’s Sculpture garden–very much a rarefied 1%er’s kind of garden–it’s really comforting to return to the garden I call home. It’s April 15 in this 99%er’s garden, and time for this months Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day meme, hosted of Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Every time I do one of these posts I worry that I’m showing you the same things. But since I stare at these plants for hours on end I hope you don’t mind the repeat appearances of some of the things that are still blooming. But in addition to the forever bloomers there are a lot of new things starting up this month.

Here’s an overview of the irrigated raised bed. There’s a native coyote bush in the back that I raised from seed, and it seems fine with this somewhat moist location. In front of it are some blooming exotics: a potted Euphorbia lambii with its chartreuse flowers, an Arctotis hybrid “Big Magenta” in the lower left, Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ to the right and a honey bush (Melianthus major) in the background, right, with its dark red bracts.

Euphorbia lambii detail.

There’s a lot from California (or very nearby) in bloom:

Verbena lilacina (from nearby in Mexico)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) livening up the edges of the veggie plantings.

Some of the last flowers on the black sage, Salvia mellifera.

Takes 1-3 of Salvia clevelandii ‘Winnifred Gilman.”

A red monkeyflower seedling from a cultivar that died a couple of years ago.

The local stinging lupine, Lupinus hirsutissimus.

The local coastal sea daisy, previously called a coreopsis, I’m trying to get used to its new name, Leptosyne maritima.

Another ex-coreopsis, Leptosyne gigantea.

The local bladderpod, Isomeris arborea, with one of its bladder-like seedpods to the right.

Island alum root doesn’t so incredibly well for me. I suspect that I’m not watering it enough to make it bloom like mad like I’ve seen it do locally.

A fremontia that we have in East County, Fremontodendron mexicanum. It’s a plant that’s been imprisoned in a gallon pot from a plant sale last fall, waiting until I figure out where to put a really big plant.

The giant island buckwheat (Eriogonum giganteum) in bud. Last year the gophers got to it. I thought it was doomed. Looks like it’s pulling through.

San Miguel Island buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescens).

A succulent dudleya that you find out in the eastern parts of the county, Dudleya saxosa ssp. aloides.

Carpenteria california, in bloom since December.

The California poppies started up last month. They’re close to peaking.

This plant, a spreading form of chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) known as ‘Nicholas.”

And from other places we have:

Verbena bonariensis.

An unknown red aloe or aloe hybrid.

Three takes on santolina, S. chamaecyparissus, more in bloom than last month.

The rose geranium in the herb garden is a total monster. Pretty in lavender-pink, though. And it’s pretty easy to pull up.

Yah, yah, yah, this protea all over again…

You’re witness to the final moments of this Mexican evening primrose. It’s a noxious weed in the garden, and I pulled it up five seconds after I put down the camera.

Nile, oblivious to all my weeding and survey work in the garden.

Another weedy plant, Homeria collina. Not nearly as bad as the previous one, so it usually gets to live and reproduce in my garden unless it comes up in a seriously bad spot.

Fortnight iris, Dietes iridioides. Another pretty but really weedy plant. It’s still coming up from seed left by plants a decade ago. This is a flower on the one plant that gets to live.

A couple of takes on blooming graptopetalums.

Silver jade, Crassula argentea, just coming into bloom.

But of the exotics, the most splashy right now are the American pitcher plants, the sarracenia. These carnivorous plants have leaves modified into the bug-catching tubes that are often mistaken for flowers. But you’ll see the floppy mop-top flowers that these guys produce.

S. alata and flowers.

A natural hybrid, S. ‘Leah Wilkerson,” flowers and new pitcher.

A hybrid of S. flava by S. oreophila. The pitchers are just opening, and will turn a much more intense combination of red and yellow.

Happy Bloomday, every’all. For more gardens check out Carol’s April 2012 Bloomday post [ right here ].

january bloomday

Happy January Bloom Day, folks!

Lots of pictures this month.

Okay I cheated, with some multiples of the same plant mixed in. But a big dose of perky orange in the dead of winter seemed morally acceptable.

I guess it’s a typical Southern California January, with some ever-bloomers mixed in with the winter-flowering plants or last of the fall plants. You can hover over an image above to get the name, but here’s a quick rundown on the January backbone plants.

Some plants that say “California” but are from other places:

Aloe arborescens

A. andongensis

A. bainesii

Kalanchoe tubiflora

Jade plant, Crassula ovata

Salvia divinorum

S. Hot Lips

Protea ‘Pink Ice’

Lavender

Arctotis

Oxalis purpurea

…and the really noxious

Oxalis pes-caprae

California natives:

Coreopsis maritima

C. gigantea

Ribes indecorum

Gutierrezia californica

Carpenteria californica

Mimulus aurantiacus

Isomeris arborea

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Galvezia speciosa

Verbena lilacina

Salvia mellifera

Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’

Salvia spathacea

There are also a few other things in bloom that didn’t make it into the mix, things like ‘Dr. Hurd’ manzanita, but you get the idea…

Thanks as always to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Check out the January post to see what the rest of the world looks like in the middle of January [ here ]

not for sale to minors (november bloom day)

Things have slowed down. It’s November for godsakes. But stuff keeps happening in the garden.

Probably the most remarkable thing blooming is this, a variegated mutation of Salvia divinorum.

I noticed the variegation a few months ago and will try to propagate the part of the plant with speckled leaves. A sport partially lacking chlorophyll would be at an evolutionary disadvantage out in the wilds, but gardeners–We’re weird–we’ll propagate these runts just because they’re pretty-like.

This is probably the most dramatic of the alligatored leaves. Even though many leaves are variegated, you can see that it hasn’t stopped those parts of the plant from flowering.

Enough of the leaves, this being Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. (Thanks as usual to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly meme on every fifteenth of the month.) Let’s take a look at the flowers.

The blooms are fuzzy up-close, like some other salvias, including the Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, a dependable low-water plant that’s common in Southern California and beyond. This blossom looks very friendly in a lisping, come-hither, snaggletoothed sort of way.

Unfortunately if you’re a gardener under the age of 18 in California you can’t purchase this plant. In some other states owning a plant can buy you three years in prison. I’m sorry but all this sounds ridiculous. People sometimes complain about a government being a “nanny-state,” but many of the states where you hear that claim being made loudest are ones that are likely to ban this plant. Hey, look at the cool flowers! Look at the the cool leaves! This is obviously a plant with ornamental value, just like Gramma Olive’s opium poppies.

Flowers are scarce all around, but if you look deep enough into many plants you’ll see a few hardy holdouts still in bloom. And with winter on the way, there are a precocious winter bloomers starting to do their thing. This one’s germander sage, Salvia chamaedryoides. As far as I know, this plant the rest of those featured here are perfectly legal to grow everywhere.

Another salvia, the common but cool "Hot Lips"

 

Gaillardia pulchella with an appreciative honeybee
Oxalis purpurea, white form
Paperwhite narcissus
Galvezia speciosa 'Firecracker'
Galvezia juncea, a species from near-by in Mexico, a member of the snapdragon family.


 

And here's another local with a name change pending. Was: Isomeris arborea; Now is: Peritoma arborea. Gack.
A rare local native, something I've known as Coreopsis maritima. But in the new Jepson manual all the California species we knew as coreopsis have been moved to the genus Leptosyne. Leptosyne maritima--that one's going take a while getting used to. (Sorry for the ragged half-flower. That is all that survived the weekend rains.)
Sphaeralcea ambigua, the first blooms in a while
An orange epidendrum. I think you saw this last month
Gutierrezia californica--a wispy plant with almost no leaves and a delicate cloud of yellow flowers
San Miguel Island buckwheat, Eriogonum grande var. rubescens, definitely not peaking...
Euphorbia Diamond Frost--This hit just a few years ago and everyone was talking about it. Now...almost nothing. Interesting. Gardeners aren't fickle, are they?
Desperate, flower-starved times call for desparate measures, in this case the macro lens for these tiny creeping thyme flowers...
Gaura lindheimeri
Camellia Cleopatra, yes it was in bloom in October for that month's Bloom Day


And, finally, a few shots of everyone’s favorite this time of year, Protea Pink Ice. Happy Bloomday!

october bloom day

This santolina sums up the state of the garden pretty well. Peak flowering was in the past or hasn’t started up yet, but I’m enjoying where it’s at right now. This particular plant bloomed four months ago, but I liked the dead flower heads so much that I’ve left them on the plant.

California fuchsia, Epilobium ‘Route 66’ peaked about 6 weeks ago.

We actually had some significant rain–0.4 inches–last week. It was appreciated, but it also knocked off some of the plant’s flowers.

But it still looks pretty good. Here it is giving a little shade and color contrast to a chalk dudleya.

Bladderpod (Isomeris arborea) is a reliable bloomer for the times of year when most of the other natives have stopped blooming. It’s never covered with flowers, but there always seem to be a few on each of the ends on its branches.

Not peak monkeyflower season, either. This is all that’s blooming right now. One flower.

Corethrogyne filaginifolia is another reliable plant for this difficult time of year.

And you can always count on the grasses. This is purple three-awn, Aristida purpurea.

Among the non-natives this stapelia (S. gigantea) pretty much owns the garden with its big floppy flowers that smell of dead meat. Charming, disgusting and weird. I don’t apologize for it anymore.

You know things are slow when you show pictures of rosemary blooming. I’ll apologize for that, however.

But there’s a ltitle bit more…

Oxalis bowiei
Don't put too much stock in plant names. White flowers, species name of Oxalis purpurea...
Salvia Hot Lips
Clerodendrum myricoides, butterfly bush
A pink Gaura lindheimeri that either volunteered or came up in a spot where I forgot planting it. That happens sometimes...
The ever-blooming orange epidendrum, an orchid that's definitely not a prima donna assoluta
Camellia Cleopatra, one of the garden's clear signals: fall is here


 

And there are a few other things:
Yellow waterlilies
A red aloe I’m forgetting the name of…
Red epidendrum
Gaillardia pulchella
A big magenta bougainvillea
A somewhat pampered orchid: Vanda roeblingiana

Hopefully autumn is bringing great things to all your gardens. Ongoing thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Take a look at who’s got what blooming all around the world: [ link ]

staycation 2011

College Prowler, the website that provides crowdsource ratings of colleges and universities by important factors like campus dining, academics, and the guys who go there, recently also ranks the schools for “weather.” (Really, we’d call that “climate,” wouldn’t we?) Of the five schools rated as A+, three are here in San Diego.

Keeping that in mind, when I was recently trying to decide where I might want to go on a short little summer vacation, San Diego won out. Really, when Newark recently hit 108, D.C., D.C. struck 105 and Dallas roasted at 100 or more for three weeks solid, it was hard to think about going anywhere else, especially now in the hot breath of summer.

Monarch butterfly on ginger

So home it was. Long weekends in the garden…monarrch butterflies…

The long weekends were an excuse to get to the beach and get my feet wet. Pathetic that I haven’t done this in over two years.


The extra days were also an excuse to go for a short visit to Torrey Pines State Preserve, where lots was still in bloom even though it’s high summer and there’s been no significant rain for several months:


The new cat, hiding in the cables behind the electronics...

And we adopted a new cat. She’s closer to feral than being a lap cat, but we’re hoping that she’ll at least not feel the need to hide behind the furniture while humans are around.

James SOE NYUN. Yellowstone Lake Hotel, Yellowstone National Park, 2008. Digital pigment print, 16x19.75 inches.

And last, I had the chance to participate in some art stuff. I’m in the current 20th Juried Exhibition at the La Jolla Athenaeum. I was really surprised and honored that I was awarded first prize by the local big art name jurrors, Kathryn Kanjo of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and Joseph Bellows of the photo gallery that bears his name. Woohoo!

This is one of three images in the show, works from the Yellowstone region that channel photographers from the nineteenth century. If you’re on vacation here in town, stop by. The show is up through September 3.

Enjoy what’s left of the summer!

it’s da (yarn) bomb

My part of town got yarn-bombed earlier this year.

Guerrilla knitter Kevin Gauge (not his real name) has modified five stop signs around the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego, adding knitted stems and a pair of leaves to the support posts.

I’m probably not divulging anything too sensitive when I repeat that Clairemont is occasionally referred to as “Squaremont,” and that this home-centric community seems to cluster around a couple of homes away from home, Home Depot and Home Town Buffet.

I’ll have to admit that I get a little touchy when someone calls my neighborhood “Clairemont”: Clairemont is over a block away, and most of it is on the other side of the canyon. It has a different telephone area code. It has a totally different postal ZIP code. No, no, no, I do not live in Clairemont!

So to battle this apparent blandness the yarnbomber has proposed doing this to a hundred stop signs. He’s set up a blog, Stop Sign Flower, with some photos of past projects and some background. And to finance the enterprise he’s using Kickstarter.com to “Turn stop signs in San Diego into flowers!”

If you explore his blog a bit you’ll read that the knitter (who also goes by “knitting guy”) was inspired by one of the pieces by street artist Kevin Mark Jenkins. Check out Jenkins’ web page [ here ] and scroll down, down, down (past the dead mannikin with the perky balloons attached to it floating in the river in Malm√∂) to the Washington D.C. stop sign that started it all.

I find it interesting that street art is pretty much a boy’s club, and now there’s a male knitter who appears to be combating some of the medium’s general associations with being women’s work by taking it on the road. But I’m overgeneralizing on this tendency. According to the font of often-accurate information, Wikipedia, yarn bombing was started by a woman, Houston’s Magda Sayeg, and International Yarnbombing Day, first held on June 11 of this year, was the brainchild of another woman, Joann Matvichuk.

God. Is knitting so girly that even most of its street artists are women?

Knitting Guy–more power to ya!

[ Thanks to “Kevin Gauge” for the photo above, which is used by here with his permission. ]

walk on by

Yellow, white, blue, lavender, pink…The front garden is crazy strident right now and I like it. The floral chaos is concentrated along the sidewalk in front of the house, where the plants present themselves at eye-level for anyone walking by.

If you were to check passports on the plants you’d find a number of California origin mixed in with others from Mediterranean climates. Here’s the gloriously sprawley Nuttall’s milkvetch, Astragalus nuttallii, from the California Central Coast, with a South African arctotis hybrid.

The deep violet chia, Salvia columbarae, hails from around here. The bright yellow Jerusalem sage, Phlomis monocephala, from Turkey. The chia is annual but reseeds itself efficiently. After the plant dies back, its seed heads stay attractive for several months. The phlomis starts to drop its leaves in summer’s drought but never goes entire bare. As it does that, the leaves turn more and yellowish- grayish-green in color.

To help control the floral chaos, I’ve planted incorporated a lot of each of these two plants, along with several of the milkvetch above.

The locally common bulb, blue dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum, with the salmon colored South African bulb, Homeria collina behind it.

A yellow crassula picks up on the yellow theme as you walk by.

A couple years ago I broadcast some seed of Southern California’s Phacelia parryi but never saw any make it to maturity. Just a week ago I noticed this, one of the last flowers on a small plant that has come up from that old broadcast. I probably would have missed it if it weren’t up at eye-level.

I tried shooting a walk-by encounter of the front garden using my cellphone’s camcorder feature. Unfortunately the result looks like it was shot with a, well, cellphone, and I’m too embarrassed to share it. Too bad. Gardens are best explored in time and space and not in still photos. Videos could give you a sense of exploration still photos can’t. Well, I love a project, and getting a decent walk-by sequence will be another item on my ever-growing punchlist.