Apple blossoms on our Cox’s Orange Pippin tree
I love to garden! Besides being great exercise, it’s so satisfying to be outdoors with growing things and when it’s plants one has started from seeds even more so. Anyone with a bit of yard or an apartment balcony can garden. We’re very fortunate in having an acre which is about a mile inland from the ocean in northern California. The soil is very good. We’re in a sheltered location at the end of our street. I’m limited a little by our mild marine-influenced climate (USDA zone 9/Sunset zone 15/17), so plants that need hot weather or seriously cold winters are off the menu, but otherwise if one can find a microclimate here or there, there’s almost no limit.
I got some seeds started a few weeks ago and and plants in the ground are starting to flower, so I thought I’d share what’s happening this morning.
So last year we were finally able to have a potting shed built for me after years of making do under a tarp on the north side of the house. I based my idea on the roofline of a barn in the neighborhood and our contractor sketched it out on a scrap of paper. We marked out the length and width, decided on a smoke-tinted polycarb for the roof and greenhouse end. Then he built this fabulous structure which is anything but a “shed”, so I dubbed it the “potting palace”
From left to right: hollyhocks, sunflowers, wallflowers plus a couple of fuschias and a six pack of shallots from the local nursery. I’ve had the PVC pipe rack for many, many years, which we made from one I saw in a gardening magazine
More hollyhocks and wallflowers, plus a collection of pulmonarias (lungwart) I bought from Joy Creek Nursery for the shade border I have planned for that north side where my potting stuff used to be
I have a regular common lilac also, but this one, called ‘Sensation’ with its picotee edges, is one of my garden favorites
I planted one cowslip plant close to ten years ago and it has self-seeded. I always take as a great compliment when a plant that can be challenging to grow from seed is happy with the spot I picked for it and increases on its own
Poached egg plant, a California native, but these are volunteers from seed I scattered years ago. We first saw it in a garden in England, covered with bees, and were really excited to find that we could easily get the seeds for it over here
Sometimes plants pick their own “associations'”, as the expression goes. In this case, it’s fleabane and sweet alyssum with a patch of lady’s mantle on the right. All are volunteers
Sometimes I think wallflowers should be the national flower of England. Even the tiniest patch in front of an attached house seems to always have a wallflower or two. There are only two colors one ever seems to see in US nurseries, a mauve and a gold, but they actually occur in an absolute riot of colors. I’ve bought seeds in England on past trips there and started them here. Some germinated after ten years. In this photo at the top is a ‘Crown Princesse Margarete’ rose from David Austin. Under and next to it are two wallflowers. The single red-orange flower is a volunteer heliathemum (sun rose). At the bottom is a dicksia, which gets flower stalks with small orange flowers. It is armed and dangerous so plant with caution
At the top is a rhododenron that has just finished blooming. In front are two more wallflowers. I like that the new leaves on the rhodie pick up the warm tones of the flowers around it, one of those happy accidents one loves having
This delicately-colored wallflower self-seeded itself among what will be some fire red Crocosmia ‘Lucifier”\’. We’ll have to see how that works out
And I love, love, old roses. No hybrid teas allowed. This is Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’ so named because the flowers change color as the bloom and age
They’re really just getting started now, with one bloom on some plants. This is the first one on my ‘Charles Rennie Mackintosh’ David Austin rose
I also use containers. These are on the patio. I had to resort to them have lilies after the gophers got all the ones that were in the ground. I threw some forget-me-not seeds into some and they are coming back every year, increasing enough that I can transplant them into other pots. On the right is a mint that I’ve forgotten the name of
And, finally, we like to grow food too. The vegetable garden is ready to be cleared of winter weeds and planted in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I got a baby greens salad mix going in a steel tub on the patio. It sits on a small wood platform with casters. The tub is right outside the kitchen/dining area French doors for easy picking.
I’ll post again next month when things really get going. Happy gardening!
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