January Highlights

Download PDF

Yes I know it is February but I seem to running behind in my garden posts. Luckily I am not running too far behind in the garden. With 124 days until the backyard wedding I have been busy seeding clay pots with wildflowers, making monkeyflower cuttings, weeding (a bit), digging out some old plants that were part of the old deck landscaping (strawberry guave), and “fixing up” the yard.

New pots and old, doing fine with all of this rain.

Large pot with De La Mina verbena ready to burst into bloom. Can I keep it going until June 12?

So how did I actually do with the December to do list?

1. Prune hard Baccharis ‘Twin Peaks #2’
2. Relandscape backyard
3. Continue sowing wildflower seeds
4. Irrigate annuals for long bloom period
5. Finish planting perennials
6. Weed
7. Relax and enjoy the garden

I did #3 and #7. I am working on #2, #5, #6. Haven’t started #1. And I didn’t need to do #4 because it rained regularly. Not great. Here are some details.

#2 – Relandscape yard
With the help of our landscape designer and approval of our next door neighbors we have decided to paint the side of their garage that faces our backyard on the western property line. We thought about putting a fence in front of it but were concerned about creating a tight space that would make that side of the garage hard to reach for repairs and painting. Also the garage facing us will actually add character to our yard. We plan to paint it a fairly bright color – to be determined.

Garage will be painted, fence added to left and right of garage. On left side there will be a new gate to our neighbors’ driveway.

We have also arranged to complete the backyard fencing on the west. The fence will go from our garage to the northwest corner of our neighbors’ and then pick up at the southwest corner and go to the corner of our house, where there will be a gate. We already have the some of the estimates and are ready to go.

We met with our designer to prioritize the work. Hopefully we will have an overall plan that we can work towards. Paths and general areas will be laid out. Most will happen after the wedding.

And finally I removed a large, old and unattractive strawberry guave that was on the side of the deck. I plan to dig out the rosemary shrub that wants to be six feet tall and wide. It too is now in the middle of nowhere since the deck is gone.

The strawberry guave was on the right side of the avocado tree. The big white arrow is pointing at the doomed rosemary. I’ll have to get another one because we often use it for cooking.

Lastly, once the old camellia next to our neighbors’ garage finishes blooming it will go too. I think that is all I plan to tear out – for now.

#5 – Finish planting perennials
I planted the California buttercup (Ranunculus californicus) in a clay pot. It was way pot bound but I think it will be okay.

California buttercup is doing fine in its large pot.

A few of the other gardening chores that got done this month follow.

I also spent a lot of time cleaning up the backyard. I cleaned up all of my pots, cut and stacked some wood, gave some logs to a friend, harvested avocados, gave away avocados, harvested and ate Meyers lemons, lettuce, arugula, etc. Leveled the ground under the avocado tree. Cut the Mexican sage to the ground.

Front yard
Didn’t do much in the front, just a little weeding.

Parkway Garden
Unfortunately there was more vandalism on the garden along the east fence. A Ray Hartman ceanothus that was split in December was finished off in January and an pvc irrigation pipe that I don’t use was pulled out, though not broken. The police are getting to know me and have listened to my suspicions and promise to keep an eye out. Bummer.

Deergrass is tawny-colored until it greens up in late spring, oak trees are coming along fine, and other than the ever-present garden spurge (argh!), the rest of the low-growing greenery is wildflowers.

What’s in color
Wildflowers are really coming up well though none is blooming… except a globe gilia that has been blooming all winter. Very odd indeed. Poppies, gilias and clarkias to name a few are growing well.

Clockwise from left: Clarkia amoena ‘Rancho Lavender’; C. amoena; C. bottae

A wild sage that is either Salvia brandeegi x munzii or S. munzii ‘Baja Blue’ is blooming right now. I planted both of these (the hybrid and the munzii cultivar) next to each other in 2005. Obviously I can’t tell them apart and thought this would serve to educate me but alas I still forgot who is who. One always bloomed way earlier than the other. I removed the later blooming plant last year because it just didn’t look very good anymore. This one may go soon. I will be sure to make cuttings because it has a glorious smell and makes wonderful tea.

Wild sage leaning to left, probably because it grew to maturity with another sage on its right, was planted in 2005.

Flowers of uncertain wild sage.

The toyons still have red berries! Guess the birds haven’t found them.

Claremont pink currant (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum ‘Claremont’) just started to bloom in the side woodland garden.

Pacific Coast hybrid irises are coming out of dormancy.

1. It rained a lot. Yay!
2. The cat got lost for a whole day and night (she’s getting old and shouldn’t be out all night!) and stuck in a tree a week later. It was raining and though I climbed a ladder and tried to coax her down I couldn’t get her. Jim to the rescue! He came home from work and grabbed that cat. Once she got inside she slept by the heater vent for about two days before resuming her delightful ways – annoying us until we can’t stand it anymore and we let her out. Her insistent meow is like nails on a blackboard.


3. I tidied up part of the garage and found some old bird seed so I put it out and got some lovely goldfinches.


To do:
1. Prune hard Baccharis ‘Twin Peaks #2’ – and I mean it this time!
2. Plant two 4″ hummingbird sages (Salvia spathacea) in the front yard.
3. Weed!
4. Clean up the yard: level the ground, cut the rest of the wood, chip and shred.
5. Don’t freak out.

And finally, my son whose wedding is occupying so many of these posts just turned 30. Happy birthday, Drew!

8 thoughts on “January Highlights

  1. I love these updates on the progress! Although I have to say- don't be so hard on yourself! It looks like you accomplished a ton of things- the guava alone must have been quite a monster!

  2. wow that&#39;s quite a roundup! I&#39;m tired just reading it. I should do a roundup too, lots been going on. Not as much as you though. <br />You won&#39;t regret hard pruning your Baccharis. I also have massive rosemary to get rid of – but it&#39;s lovely now, covered in flowers and bees. Also growing like tinder up my dad&#39;s cottage – not good. <br />BTW our blog was tagged with an &quot;

  3. Thanks Susie and Christine. Susie, sorry to miss you. I hope to give a talk at Nopalito Nursery some time, so maybe we can meet then. And thanks for the link.<br /><br />Christine – you&#39;re so kind! The guava wasn&#39;t too bad. Can&#39;t wait to do the twin peaks 2 and the rosemary. It is so beautiful out!

  4. susie

    Looks great….so much still to do. I have faith in you, you will get it done with style. I saw that you will be speaking out in Camarillo at a native plant syposium with Owen Dell close to my neck of the woods. Oh what I wouldn&#39;t give to go, but we will be out of town that day.<br />Here&#39;s the link if anyone&#39;s interested.<br />http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/feb/08/

  5. lostlandscape (James)

    I&#39;m exhausted just reading what you&#39;ve done and what&#39;s left to do. Weeding alone is enough to send me back into the house for some shade. Do we really need all this weed-growing rain? Oh I suppose so but it sure makes for a busy winter. At least you have some great creative things to work on and an amazingly exciting thing to look forward to at the end of spring!

  6. That big oak tree looks awesome… I&#39;m sure a challenge to garden under though.

  7. Wow! And here I thought you were busy preparing for the talk at the Symposium tomorrow! Look forward to seeing and hearing you there! (Been having too much fun in the garden, myself, to blog lately. What a wonderful winter!)

  8. Yes it has been busy! Just got back from a week in Baja too. It was wonderful. I will post on that as soon as I finish picking pictures and words. <br /><br />James, you&#39;re right the weeds have been plentiful this year but the wildflowers look good too. You know I have a globe gilia that has been blooming since last year. It is right next to my neighbors sprinkler head. That makes me think

Comments are closed.