It has been hard to post because I have not been doing a lot of gardening. Of course this is part of my plan, my New Year’s resolution, my goal … to become a lazy gardener (use the newly installed search feature to find other posts on lazy gardening by typing in “lazy.”) That said, I do not want to become a lazy blogger and so I am going to try to update a bit more often and still keep it fresh.
As most of you know, while family and friends living in other parts of the country are out shoveling snow, here in southern California it is gardening season. This is the time of year that we should be planting shrubs, trees, and herbaceous perennials in our gardens. It is also the right time to sow annual wildflower seeds. Some plants need pruning, though with the warming temperatures it is getting a bit late for that. Sages and monkeyflowers, especially young ones, benefit from tip pruning or pinching to encourage denser growth and more flowers. Winter and spring weeds like garden spurge, chickweed and the occasional dandelion need pulling. Since we have not had much rain in the last month and a half, new plants that are still getting established may require supplemental water. But that’s about all.
My garden is pretty well planted at this point. I will continue to roll back the lawn in front making room for more natives, but not until next year. I have been sowing wildflower seeds with less luck than usual. This year my garden produced a bumper crop of slugs (arghhh- see what they did to my lettuce!), and so I watch the seeds germinate and then disappear. I’ll keep trying and I’ll even sow some in pots where they have a better chance, but if it is not meant to be, that is okay. Weeds are dealt with on my walk from the driveway to the house and after my morning jog. Even my backyard lawn is quiet right now. In fact, I haven’t watered or mowed it for about three months. It’s not great but it is not bad either.
The woodland garden is nearly at peak. Red berries persist on the lovely toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) while the long pendulous pink flowers are awakening on the Claremont currant (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum ‘Claremont’).
Claremont currant (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum ‘Claremont’) is really pretty and does well in this shady garden. It will accept more sun and doesn’t seem to mind our extreme summer heat as much as other pink-flowered currants.
Red flowers dangle from the fuchsia-flowering gooseberry (Ribes speciosum), and the deciduous ferns and snowberries have leafed out. Even soap plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. divaricatum) and meadow rue (Thalictrum fendleri var. polycarpum) have greened up. Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are spreading and starting to bloom.
As Lester Rowntree notes in her classic book, Flowering Shrubs of California, “There are really two springs in California, the extra one coming in the early winter months.” The manzanitas and California lilacs (Ceanothus cultivars), along with the gooseberries and currants (Ribes species and cultivars) bloom in “first-spring,” while monkeyflowers (Mimulus cultivars), other perennials, and annual wildflowers are still preparing for their glory to arrive in another couple of months during “second-spring.” The native garden is truly awakening.
My vegetable garden is doing okay. I try to remove slugs with chop sticks, giving me the satisfaction of getting rid of the pest, while providing much needed practice with these wooden utensils. Give it a try, it’s kind of fun. The black avocados (Mexicola?) have subsided just in time for the Fuerte’s to come. There aren’t as many as usual, but they are really big! Hope you all are enjoying your gardens too.