Monday, January 25, 2010

CA natives enjoying the rain

So I feel like my blog has been a little light on the California and CA native focus lately.  And since we've had a ton of rain, hiking seems unlikely at the moment, so that leaves my garden.

Here are more pics of the Ribes malvaceum pictured in my last bloom day post.  It has indeed started putting on its show.  I think in another week or two it will be even nicer.

I planted 5 western columbine (Aquilegia formosa) under the camelia in the front yard.  I had a bunch of seedlings from the two in back and thought they could compete with the roots and survive the dry shade.  I lost one of the 5 and thought I would lose many more to cats using them as litter boxes and a helpful neighbor giving us free mulch on top of them, but now with the rains they are full and happy and this one is getting ready to flower.

The yerba buena (Satureja douglasii) I potted up and moved to the front steps really likes both its new location and all the rains.  It has filled out wonderfully and some fresh yerba buena mixed with a dried leaf of white sage (Salvia apiana) is now one of my favorite winter teas (though I guess I should technically call it an infusion).  It's very flavorful, so probably not for everybody.

And here was a surprise.  My manzanita (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'paradise') is blooming.  I wasn't expecting this.  It's a small manzanita I just planted in May.  But today I saw a touch of pink out of the corner of my eye.  Aside from the constant rain, I don't think I had noticed them because almost all of the blooms are along the bottom edge, very close to the ground.  I'm very happy all the same.


  1. What a wonderful surprise to have your Manzanita ready to bloom. Maybe it enjoyed all of the rain you have been getting lately?

  2. I am green with envy! Or should I say edged in brown considering that I haven't had the same luck. What's your secret with columbines? I've all but given up!

  3. I'm just plain jealous...our Ribes sanguineum is only at leaf stage! Although our Ribes viburnifolium is starting to bloom, but nothing as showy as your R. malvaceum. Gorgeous! I suppose I shouldn't complain, it is still winter after all...

  4. @christine: A friend of mine who is my mentor gardener was shocked at how well my columbine did in back. I'm not sure what my secret with the columbines in back was, but I dug in a lot of compost before planting them, planted them under our big, old lemon tree and then sprinkled them every 2 or 3 days overhead with a hose, if I remembered. They also went through dryspells where I forgot to water. They bloomed 4 times the first year. Huge spectacular stalks. The constant overhead sprinkle also seemed to make a lot of the seedlings hang through our worst heat in the summer.
    @curbstonevalleyfarm: my neighbor's ribes sanguineum is doing very little as well. This ribes has been very happy and now is fairly close to a drain spout from the roof so is getting a little extra water I think.

  5. I'm jealous of your Western columbine too! Deer ate mine. Nice to see all your plants doing so well. I'm also jealous of your yerba buena. I keep wondering about using the edibles in teas or something, but haven't done more than nibble on a leaf of miner's lettuce as yet.

  6. Slugs decimated my East Oakland columbine. Sigh.