Garden Art and More Plants

Another rainy day, and I was sweeping in the hallway when I remembered that there was a piece of sculpture I made a couple years ago lying under a dresser we want to sell, and I'd been meaning to hang it in the garden ever since the foundation guys left. So I hauled it out, we adjusted the wire hanger on the back to go around one of the metal support posts for the fence, and there you have it.

Here it is with the quince and a pile of weeds from my marathon weeding session yesterday (I'm good at weeding, terrible at picking up weeds).

Scultpure and quince

Here's the piece a little closer. It was for a sculpture contest, entered while I was taking a ceramic sculpture class at City College of San Francisco, and I learned a valuable lesson from this particular work: you can glue pieces together after firing and that makes it a lot easier to construct than doing it all at once, the way I made this piece. Anyway, I'm quite fond of it and I think it works better in the garden than against a white wall in a gallery.

Composition

One thing I didn't get a good photo of the other day was the cherry trees putting out their first leaves. Here you go.

Cherry leaves

And the Asian pears are starting to put out leaves, too.

Asian pears

And I should note that the blueberries have more than doubled in size since they went in. I guess they do in fact like our soil. I'm glad because I really am not very fond of growing large plants in containers. I always think about root pruning and the efforts of hauling those things around when I see them.

Big blueberries

As you can see, the Strawberry Free peach is looking like a little tree. Goldie posed with it to show you the size, but don't let that fool you: these peaches can grow to 20 feet tall. (I am going to prune them before they get anywhere close to that.)

Dog and peach

This morning, the strawberry flower opened up. Yesterday we moved the strawberry pot up out of dog reach, and just in time. I can definitely say that yes, strawberries do like being planted in compost and watered almost daily.

Strawberry flower

The Cecile Brunner rose, still engaged in a death match with the wisteria, is putting out tons of buds. This will be the first big flush of flowers for this rose since we planted it four years ago.

Budding Cecile Brunner

On Friday I began the slow process of rescuing the plants that have been beaten into near-death by dog wrestling in the back shade bed. I moved the columbines and toad lilies into the Fern Walk, where they get the right sun and are protected from dogs by the side fence.

The columbines responded by looking one hundred percent better almost overnight.

Columbines in the Fern Walk

The toad lilies are still dormant, but now they stand a chance of actually sprouting.

Toad lilies

And for good measure, a photo of the larger of the two Mother Ferns, this one sited right under the exhaust for the furnace. Regular heat does seem to agree with ferns.

Mother fern

These bulbs were planted in our front yard when we bought the house, but they never bloomed, perhaps because before we came along, they got mowed over all the time. This year they finally bloomed, and they sure are pretty. I feel kind of bad for digging a bunch of them up and throwing them out in a fit of pique because they weren't blooming.

Legacy bulbs


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posted by ayse on 04/02/06

4 Comments

What's the species of the toad lilies?

Also, technically speaking, Casablancas are "oriental" lilies, which are distinct from "asiatics." Have you overwintered them sucessfully here? (They like to be dry during their dormant season).

Also -- sorry, I'm catching up here -- do keep us posted on your rainwater recovery efforts.

The toad lilies are tricyrtis. I don't think they are, technically, actually related to lilies.

Yes, the Casablanca are "oriental" lilies, but a few years ago I got my head ripped off for saying that around somebody who didn't understand plants and common names, so I'm all careful about saying "Asian" now, and trying to be careful to distinguish it from "Asiatic." I haven't yet overwintered them, but there are several in a garden down the street that seem to do well. I decided when planting them that I would not take any extreme measures like lifting and storing or anything like that. If the wet winter kills them next year, oh well. I mean, they're under an inch of water at the moment and they can't like that much.

Rainwater recovery efforts are now centering around tank technologies; I have some research to do before I have much more to post about. I'll probably post more about it next weekend, when I plan to visit a tank manufacturer for some advice.

Yeah, sometimes I wonder if the John Birch Society was responsible for 20th-century lily hybridization. Unfortunately, "asian" doesn't mean anything in terms of lily cultivation.

Tricyrtis are indeed in the lily family, which is huge. Even aloes are liliaceae. I got toad lilies confused with fawn lilies.

Oh, I'm aware that "Asian" means nothing, but I play fast and loose with common names, anyway, and save the precision for the labels. The name was given to them at a time when "Oriental" meant something specific that it no longer implies (that being "from the East") and that makes little sense in California (seeing as how we go West to get to Asia), not out of an intent to be racially demeaning but out of a cultural context in which we no longer live.

Toad lilies are a lot less botanically interesting than fawn lilies, I must say. But they are pretty, and they tend to be blue, which I like in a flower.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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