Garden Report: May 12

The last time they came, the gardeners worked on the Fern Walk (which I should rename or at least think of some other way since it is not working out the way I originally planned, but that is another story).

This is what they had to start with:

Fern Walk before

What you can't really see is a massive Bermuda grass infestation right by where I'm standing -- so massive that I'm thinking of just bringing in the Roundup and nuking the whole area, especially since it literally choked the plants I had there to death. At the same time I can nuke the Bermuda under the deck. I am warming to this idea.

Fern Walk after

They did more work in the few hours they were here than I can get done in a week of 20-minute work sessions here and there. Amazing.

Now to spend some time figuring out what I want to do in there and how the space should be arranged. The massive stand of sword ferns in the middle has gotten quite dense, and I bet that could be spread out a bit. Maybe some kind of pathway with ferns and such on either side.

I did get to find out from our gardeners that the owners of the green house next door, who are putting the house on the market this summer, are "probably" going to put up a fence down the alley before doing so -- some people from the agent came out and mentioned this to the gardeners. I'm disappointed because a) seems like a stupid idea just for maintaining that side of their house, given that their house is very close to the property line, and also because b) it seems like a lot of the work I've done on the swath between the houses will get dug up.

Of course, they may not do so because where they'd have to put the fence is where their sewer line runs. They do have to completely replace the sewer lateral before the sale (it's a weird condition for the transfer of property in Alameda), but they don't have anywhere else to put it. And I sure don't want a fence there, so I'm not going to let it be on our side of the alley at all.

And it could just be the random drama that gets stirred up by real estate agents who don't understand how it's really only good fences that make good neighbors, and wars have been fought over lesser stupidity.

Pink oxalis

So anyway. This pink oxalis is in bloom all over the garden. It's interesting how much nicer it seems than the usual weedy yellow oxalis. I don't even do anything to encourage it, really, except for not pulling it out.

Last of the roses

We're on the last of the roses now. This year had a ridiculously early spring bloom, and even roses that would ordinarily be holding on are almost over. I can get another flush from them by cutting off the deadheads now, which I should in theory have time to do this week.

Last of the poppies

Just as a sign of how early the roses were, we're on the last of the poppies only just now, and some plants are still producing new flowers. Usually I enjoy the poppies until the roses get going, and the roses tide me over the end of the poppies.

I particularly like this one, which is from the small and weak stand of poppies in the orchard. I have some ideas for making them do better here next year, including adding compost and making sure the irrigation actually works. Meanwhile, look at that pink.

Asclepias speciosa buds

Out front my stand of Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed) is doing well this year, finally not being pulled out or disrupted in mass. These are what the buds look like: I have a lot of those.

Asclepias speciosa bloom

When opened, the bloom is weird and wonderful, and the native bees seem to go wild for them. So far only one plant has any open blooms, but we should get there pretty soon. I'd really like them to do their job and serve as a butterfly breeding ground, but so far that hasn't happened.

Brodeia Pink Diamonds

Another weird and wonderful plant, I actually forgot where I planted this one. It's along the inside of the rose hedge, where the Asclepias speciosa mostly block it from view unless you happen to be crawling around in there trying to get a good photo of a bloom. They are Brodeia "Pink Diamonds" and they are quite pretty, more so than I expected. I might have to reconsider the location, though.

Salvia candelabrum in bloom

The real workhorses of my garden, at least as far as attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, are the salvias. This is Salvia candelabrum, which has these tall airy spires covered in bluish purple blooms all over it. This one is not as popular with the hummingbirds as the Salvia clevelandii, but they will hit it up in a pinch.

Oriental lily

And finally, does anybody know how the heck to find an oriental lily bulb that has gotten really far down in the ground without digging an enormous hole? I really have to move these two bulbs that keep coming up in the orchard, but I can never find them when I dig down. I find other oriental lily bulbs, but never the one that makes this massive stalk.

I guess this summer I need to bite the bullet and follow the stalk all the way down before it has died back. Ugh.

posted by ayse on 05/12/13

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