It reseeds, it’s tall, it’s got more leaves than flowers. Its flowers fall off as soon as the day warms. But it’s also a fantastic thing to watch as night deepens. After sunset, the buds begin to swell. The sepals crack apart, then flip open. The petals emerge like popcorn, their motion apparent as you […]Read More Oenothera Hookeri: a wonderful “weed”
Transforming this front yard into a wildlife garden brought a lot of color to the neighborhood. It now feeds pollinating insects, hummingbirds and other small birds.Read More Bringing the ‘burbs to life
It may seem strange for a plant to flower at the beginning of February, but that’s what this plant likes. Its leafless stems are covered with a profusion of strange greenish flowers that somebody thought looked like a Dutchman’s pipe. I suppose if they have to look like something, other than what they really are, […]Read More California Dutchman’s pipe at peak bloom!
This is one of those plants whose common name – Alkali Sacaton – is only a bit more comprehensible than its Latin name – Sporobolus airoides. The Latin name is a lot more fun to say, however. We picked up a small fuzzy looking tuft of grass in a four inch pot at Elderberry Farms […]Read More A new native grass for the meadow
A mostly native garden thrives along a suburban streambank.Read More A (mostly) native garden by a stream
Quite a bit happens in a year. Some plants fail, either totally or partially. Others grow; some re-seed and fill in bare areas. Some decide to conquer their entire section of the garden and have to be dealt with.Read More Garden update, one year later
After the irrigation and lighting systems are installed, it’s time to plant. Often nurseries don’t have all the required plants, so flags are used to mark the position of plants that will arrive later. All the plants are carried to their approximate position on site and placed, still in their pots. After walking around the […]Read More Ready to plant!
The Aster chilensis is blooming, and it’s the biggest insect party of the year. The plants are covered with skippers, with frequent visits by mason bees and other creatures. Despite its Latin name implying South American origins, it’s a California native – but from the Southern part. It’s common name, California aster, makes its origins […]Read More The incredible flying circus
When we redesigned our back yard, we decided to let some volunteer native oaks live. Some that were too much in conflict with the design were removed, but in other cases the design was modified to allow the trees to remain. Since we stopped mowing a patch of weeds in the front yard, another oak […]Read More Let a bit of ecological healing happen
Wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) is a California native that grows under redwood trees in coastal valleys. This alone should have given me pause before planting it here in the Central Valley, yet I was told that it does grow here. I was letting it go fairly dry between waterings, since it is a native plant […]Read More WIld Ginger (Asarum caudatum) having a tough establishment period