Growing by the Bay

Category: seasons


Classic Jack


It’s good to acknowledge the seasons.

Garden, May 2016

May Day Garden (part 2 of 2)

Garden detail, May 2016

Garden detail, May 1, 2016.

It’s taken me a long time to complete what was meant to be a quick survey of the garden after returning from a trip. These photos are now a month old. I’m starting to feel like Lawrence Sterne.

Papaver glaucum, May 1, 2016

Papaver glaucum, May 1, 2016

Last time I looked at Gruss-an-Aachen and Citrus Burst roses, Senicio talinoides ssp azoides, Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty’, Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’, Datura wrightii, and Papaver glaucum. We left off with the poppies, so let’s continue with the above view of the same plant (it can also be seen in the banner atop this blog). This is our best year for these poppies ever.

Limes, May 2016


Some of the edibles are looking good. The limes are a couple of years old, and this one is producing fruit quite well (the other one is recalcitrant for some reason, though it appears healthy). I’m growing them in containers. Limes are, of course, essential for the cocktail garden — more on that soon.

Leaf lettuce

Leaf lettuce.

This lettuce didn’t seem to mind being left to its own devices for a while.

Cunonia capensis, Butterknife Bush

Cunonia capensis, Butterknife Bush.

Butterknife Bush, Cunonia capensis, is one of my favorites. I lost some in our long drought. This one is starting up in a large container, and it’s looking beautiful. This plant is sold at Annie’s Annuals, where it is also called Butterspoon Tree (personally, I use a knife with butter). Most things at Annie’s are sold (either at the nursery or online) in 4-inch pots, but Cunonia grows quickly.

Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage

Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage.

Though Cunonia, native to South Africa, is a little exotic, we’ve been growing a lot more natives recently. I’ve always been put off by the moralistic anti-immigrant tone of some proponents of native plants. (I’ll bet they don’t mind apples and tomatoes.) But I love them for their practicality. Appropriate natives are easy to grow, have a very high success rate, and in our area can be quite drought tolerant. Each spring here in the East Bay Bringing Back the Natives hosts a garden tour, which is well worth joining. Above is Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage, which is doing great, and the hummingbirds really do love it. It spreads by runners, so I will have to keep an eye on it. By the way, one of the best sources of information about California native plants is Las Pilitas Nursery, which is in SoCal. Our local Watershed Nursery, in Point Richmond, is also good, though it generally provides less detailed information. It’s where we buy most of our natives.

Plantago subnuda and Crassula muscosa 'Petite'

Plantago subnuda and Crassula muscosa ‘Petite’.

Another native I like is Plantago subnuda, Coastal Plantain. I has veined basal leaves and puts up interesting tall stalks. The plant in the container behind it is Crassula muscosa ‘Petite’, another South African native. It loves our Mediterranean climate, and I will have to uppot it soon. I like to intersperse container plants throughout the garden.

Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia, Beach Primrose

Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia, Beach Primrose.

Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia, Beach Primrose, another native, is a favorite of Carol’s. It grows in coastal dunes, so I made a soil mix for it with a good bit of sand. I see that Annie says it is showiest in loamy soil though. I’ll have to propagate a couple of cuttings and experiment.

I could go on, but let’s leave something for another time.

Garden detail, May 2016

Garden detail, May 2016.

Mayday garden detail

May Day Garden (part 1 of 2)

May Day garden detail: California poppies, sweet alyssum, camissonia cheirauthifolia (Beach Primrose), senicio talinoides ssp azoides (large kleina)

May Day garden detail: California Poppies, Sweet Alyssum, Camissonia cheirauthifolia (Beach Primrose), Senicio talinoides ssp azoides (Large Kleina).

May Day: Not the distress signal, more like the traditional Northern European folk festival marked by bountiful “May Baskets.” I think the festival developed out of Floralia, the Roman celebration of the goddess of flowers. (I remember dancing around May Poles as a kid. I doubt that’s done anymore.) Anyway, having returned home from a couple of weeks away, I did a quick survey yesterday — May Day — to see what was going on in the garden after our time away (any excuse to practice my garden photography!).

Gruss-an-Aachen roses

Gruss-an-Aachen roses.

The first thing I noticed was that the Gruss-an-Aachen roses are looking good. That’s a key sign, because it means the deer haven’t breached the permimeter. If they broke through they would eat the roses practically down to the ground.

New growth on Citrus Burst Roses.

New growth on Citrus Burst roses

The Citrus Burst roses are putting most of their energy into new growth. They’re clilmbers that can reach 12 feet high.

Citrus Burst Rose flowers

Citrus Burst Rose flowers.

Although they do still have some nice-looking flowers.

Senicio talinoides ssp azoides

Senicio talinoides ssp azoides.

They’re not the only plants reaching for the sky. The always reliable Senicio shows off its architectural quality and interesting color.

Aeoniums, possibly canariense

Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty’.

Speaking of succulents, aeoniums are happy here. This batch is a type called ‘Blushing Beauty’. They are easy to clone by snipping off a branch, hardening off the cut for a couple of days, and then rooting. It would be easy to have hundreds.

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi'

Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’.

The brugmanisa is also expanding profusely. It currently is bearing a record number of its large flowers. (Bottlebrush in the background.)

Sacred Datura

Datura wrightii.

The Sacred Datura (a native) will have similar trumpet-shaped flowers (white ones). It seems to be getting established okay as undergrowth beneath the brugmansia.

I’ll stop there for today and post a few more tomorrow. For now let’s call it a (May) day with this splash of poppy:

Papaver glaucum.

Papaver glaucum.


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