Garden Report: December 19

It's December, which means the rain has started and plants are waking up. Then they realize that there are only about four hours of daylight in a given day and they shut right down again. OK, not all of them, but a lot of the plants have pretty much decided it's time to give blooming a miss because there are no bugs flying to pollinate, anyway.

Some exceptions: Heliophila longifolia, which is a pretty, airy flower. I usually buy it in the spring from Annie's (it doesn't self-sow, so I must buy it anew every year, oh poor me having to go to the nursery, sob sob), but this year I decided to try it out in the fall. Good call. I put a couple of plants under the new apple trees, where they have been giving a sweet little show of these pretty blue flowers.

Heliophila longifolia

And the Wahlenbergia species, which went strong until I pruned it back in January last year, too. This year I'll be pruning it heavily, and transplanting large sections of it as well, because it's planted in a spot where I will be putting an apricot tree that will arrive in January. This plant is always abuzz with bees and other insects (I counted 22 unique bee species on it this summer, though a couple of those might have been duplicates because I am no professional bee counter), so I'm looking forward to putting patches of it around the garden.

Wahlenbergia species

And consider that it grew like that with no watering at all, during one of our driest summers.

The buddleias are quite happy right now, too. This one, 'Honeycomb,' must be pretty happy to be blooming right now. The other two are showing more restraint. (That thing that looks like an enormous fungus under the blossom is Joan the chicken.)

Honeycomb buddleia

My Edgeworthia chrysantha is not (yet) blooming, but it's looking quite happy. I've had varying reports on how large this will grow, from 3' to 10'. It's around 2' right now, so I'm expecting the higher end of that range. The birds love it, as you can see from the copious poops on its leaves. They don't eat it, but they like to sit on it and look at the lawn, where presumably there is something they want to eat.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

This is feverfew 'Virgo' (I can't recall the Latin name offhand and a cursory web search revealed everybody else suffers from the same issue). I planted this from seed (obtained from Select Seeds), and it has gone strong all year long. I'm impressed, but I definitely need more of these plants if they're not going to look lonely in the bed. Also, it really wanted me to deadhead it more often, so next year I must get on that more seriously.

Feverfew Virgo

And finally, Anchusa capensis, growing from seeds scattered by the original plant that I put in a few years ago. A nice, hardy plant, very pretty flowers. I was heartbroken when the original plant died, but happy when a bunch of seedlings came up in its place. I have some seed from this plant, and really should do a bunch more for next year.

Anchusa capensis

And for those of you feeling like your gardens are a mess, try to beat mine:

Garden In December

OK, you can hardly see it at that size, but the garden is a bit of a mess right now. Grass growing everywhere, weeds in the back of the beds, dry leaves in piles and drifts, and cardboard all over the place where I'm trying to kill weeds. And a few pots and other junky bits around to mess the place up. We did a big garden cleanup a month ago, but since then we've messed it right back up. It's cold enough outside that I don't want to go out and work, but of course it's raining, so everything is growing and I have to go out and work. Sometime in the next few days I have to go out and plant about 200 tulip bulbs that are finally pre-chilled enough in the fridge. It's supposed to rain all week, too. So it will be extra-fun.

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posted by ayse on 12/19/08