Six on Saturday: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

No matrimony is involved. These are merely six random pictures that could not conform to a sensible topic. I realize that I should feature more flowery pictures, but some of these were just too cool to omit. Well, perhaps #3 could have been omitted and replaced with something flowery, and less objectionable. #2 actually happens to be flowery, but is the only one. #6 is the best!

Seriously!

Winter seems to be going so fast. It is naturally brief here anyway. There is so much to do before spring, and none of it involved flowers. Besides, flowers are merely a byproduct of our work.

1. Old and rotten ponderosa pine trunk has been popular with woodpeckers. Some of the holes seem to be carved out neatly enough for nesting; although grubbing was probably the priority.

2. New camellia flower blooms among many unopened buds. There are many camellias of unknown cultivars here. They bloom when they want, and maybe in different chronology annually.

3. Borrowed bamboo was removed from where it grew from seed in one of the landscapes, but has no permanent home yet. Most was already discarded. This is golden bamboo, a ‘bad’ type.

4. Blue heron sometimes visits the lawns during rainy weather. It sometimes catches gophers! I do not know why it came by without rain. Maybe Big Bird needs directions to Sesame Street.

5. Rock on! This is no more relevant to horticulture than Big Bird or a rotten pine trunk. I just happen to like finding this familiar rock again. It moves around somewhat, but does not get far.

6. Rhody does not cooperate for pictures. Nonetheless, everyone loves Rhody, and wants to see his pictures. It was not easy, but I managed to get this one before he realized I had a camera.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: No Flowers – Again

These pictures seemed to be interesting when I took them. Only now I notice that there are no flowers here. Actually, there are not many flowers in the landscape where these pictures were taken anyway. Until last year, the facility associated with the landscape was used mostly during summer; so most flowers were selected to bloom during summer. Winter can be quite bland.

Also, for such a mild climate, winter can be surprisingly cool in some cooler exposed locales. Mild frost is normal. On rare occasion, if the weather is just so, puddles can get a thin layer of ice.

1. Lemon ripens this time of year. This pale greenish yellow color will become brighter yellow soon. I suspect that these are ‘Eureka’ lemon, but they crop very heavily in season, like ‘Lisbon’.

2. Flowering cherry will be spectacular in spring, but looks horrid now. This particular tree does not defoliate completely until just prior to bloom. It does this annually. This tree is ‘Kwanzan’.

3. Silver wattle is an an aggressively invasive exotic species locally. Fortunately, there is not much within the landscapes here. Now there is even less. I know it will regenerate from its roots.

4. Argyle apple is a silly name for this Eucalyptus cinerea. It grew from the lignotuber of an overgrown tree that was discarded from a retail nursery in Los Osos. The silver foliage is striking.

5. Lawson cypress also has strikingly silvery foliage. It is not as silvery as that of Argyle apple, but is slightly more bluish. The color of both species seems to be more striking through winter.

6. Ice is rare here, but possible. Of course, it is not as bad as it looks. It is very thin. Winter weather is innately mild here, which limits cultivation of apples and pears than require more chill.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2021 was already a popular year before it got started. Many wanted 2020 to end, as if all the unpleasantries of last year would end with it. To me, the first day of this year seemed to be just like any of the few last days of last year. That is not necessarily bad. There was quite a bit of good last year, even with all of the unpleasantries. Many of us see examples of it in our gardens.

Well, these pictures happen to be from yesterday, the first day of January and 2021.

1. Eucalyptus sideroxylon, red ironbark, is the first tree I planted in 2021, on New Year’s Day. It died back last spring, and regenerated with shrubby growth, so got pruned to a single trunk.

2. It should be glad to be out of its can, and into a new home. It originated as a root sucker of a tree that had been cut down. It came up with roots when I pulled it, so could not be discarded.

3. Agave attenuata, foxtail agave, got run over on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. It was not crossing the road, but just minding its own business in a median. I could not leave it there like that.

4. It should be happy here. Adventitious roots are already developing on the trunk. A small section of the base of the trunk was cut off and canned so that new pups could mature separately.

5. Hedychium gardnerianum, Kahili ginger, originated from a neglected landscape near where the red ironbark eucalyptus originated from. Foliage from last year will shrivel through winter.

6. Quercus lobata, valley oak, is the Memorial Tree, and is the first tree that I pruned in 2021. It is developing well. I will return to stabilize the lodgepole stake, and adjust the binding stake.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Flowery Bits III

Merry Christmas! Okay, perhaps not. This posted at midnight, precisely as Christmas Day ended. These are not exactly Christmas flowers anyway. They are not even Christmas colors. The pictures are actually from the previous week. I knew then that I would not likely want to go out to get pictures last week. Until now, Christmas was the priority. There was no work to go to.

My six are very limited this week. There are only two genera and three species. There could be more if the Osteospermum have species designations. I know them only as ‘hybrids’. If there are any cultivar names, I do not know what any of them are.

1. Lantana montevidensis – grows as a ground cover. The color range of the bloom is limited. This color is common, but I thought that individual flowers more commonly have white centers.

2. Lantana camara – is the ‘other’ lantana. It is shrubbier and better foliated. Floral color is more variable and generally more brightly colored. Bloom is not as extensive, but is more prolific.

3. Lantana camara – likes this particular landscape where I got these pictures. Another solitary specimen down the road and at a lower elevation already looks shabby from cooling weather.

4. Osteospermum – within this landscape are all modern hybrids. If anyone knows who their parents are, they do not share such information anymore. I think this color might be ‘lavender’.

5. Osteospermum – looks more purplish than the previous picture. I am no good with colors. Despite the attributes of modern hybrids, I still prefer old fashioned Osteospermum fruticosum.

6. Osteospermum – colors are not easy to describe. Is this one light burgundy red or ruddy pink? There might be six or so cultivars here. This unidentifiable color happens to be my favorite.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Flowery Bits II

Rhody did not make the cut this week. There are too many minor flowers blooming. Only six can be shared here. Besides, flowers are more cooperative with getting their pictures taken than Rhody is. I should get six more flower pictures for next week as well, since I am trying to avoid the sort of dreary pictures I had been sharing, and the weather has not yet gotten interesting.

The botanical names of some of these flowers have changed over the years. The names I use may be outdated or updated. I can not be sure anymore. I am not certain about the identity of the hebe.

1. Hebe buxifolia, perhaps ‘Patty’s Purple’ hebe, is now beginning to succumb to cool winter weather. I am not certain if it has a definite bloom season. It seems to bloom randomly until frost.

2. Lobularia maritima, alyssum, is a warm season annual that finishes in winter, but replaces itself with seedlings that perform as cool season annuals for winter until warmer spring weather.

3. Diosma pulchrum, pink breath of Heaven, also seems to bloom whenever it wants to, although not quite as colorfully as hebe. This cultivar has lime green foliage instead of yellowish green.

4. Morea bicolor, butterfly iris, could be dug, divided, and shared with other landscapes. However, we can not adequately maintain the mature colonies that are already out in the landscapes.

5. Salvia greggii, autumn sage, is not just for autumn. Like the others, it blooms whenever it wants to. I like this one because it is only red. The flowers are too small to be both red and white.

6. Senecio X hybrida, cineraria, is leftover from when a few bedding plants were still added seasonally to a few prominent parts of the landscape. This one happens to be potted on a pedestal.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Flowery Bits

After so many pictures of fallen leaves, firewood and frost, I should probably share a few floral pictures like everyone else does. All those pictures of ash from the fire did not help much. I can expound a bit excessively on autumn and winter topics because they are not as mundane as they are in other climates. For example, I would not notice frost so much if it were common here.

Some flowers continue to bloom later than they would in other climates. Some bloom too early here. Some can not decide when they should bloom. The fifth picture is not even a bloom at all.

1. Callistemon viminalis ‘Little John’ is a bottlebrush for those who dislike bottlebrush . . . or just lack the space. I hate to say it, but I sort of prefer the formerly common Callistemon citrinus.

2. Eucalyptus pulverulenta foliage is prettier without bloom. Nonetheless, for those who get close enough to see them, these small white flowers are pretty too. Bees appreciate them as well.

3. Lonicera periclymenum ‘Peaches and Cream’ has yet to bloom profusely here. Summer bloom is adequate at best. Bigger trusses of buds develop too late into autumn to bloom completely.

4. Narcissus does not wait for spring to bloom. I do not know what cultivar it is, or if it is a cultivar. Some might know it simply as ‘paperwhite’. Daffodils will bloom later, but are not fragrant.

5. Pseudoflora seem to bloom annually here prior to Christmas. Afterward, they will return to the barn for storage for almost another year. Some people believe that they are real poinsettia.

6. Rhody simply will not cooperate for a picture if he knows I am taking one. I included this picture anyway because, no matter what, or how bad his picture is, everyone always loves Rhody.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Frozen II

Contrary to popular belief, there is a bit of chill during winter here. I was surprised by how many were surprised by my pictures of slight frost last week. The stone fruit that used to grow in the Santa Clara Valley could not have produced without adequate chill. Some deciduous trees color well for autumn, and all defoliate. We do not use much firewood, but some of us use some.

It may not look much like autumn to outsiders. Nonetheless, I find the local climate to be more than satisfactory for what I grow. In some regards, I find it to be ideal. Rhody just stays in by the stove.

1. Sycamores are trashy. Because of anthracnose, they dropped leaves in spring. They dropped more after the Fire. Now they are defoliating for winter. A bulldozer is used for all the leaves.

2. Bald cypress colors well by simple local standards, even if it is merely orangy brown. Bald cypress is rare here, perhaps because of the climate, or perhaps because of its buttressing roots.

3. Dogwood fruit is messy through winter. Surprisingly, wildlife is not particularly interested in it. I should make jelly with it for competition at the Harvest Festival next year (if it happens).

4. FreeBay is how we refer to small piles of bay firewood left on roadsides for neighbors to take away. Vegetation management has become a priority, and generates firewood as a byproduct.

5. Canna behave as outsiders expect them to here. They try to continue blooming until they eventually get frosted. The minor frost they experienced so far was insufficient to stop them yet.

6. Minor frost seems to evaporate as readily as it thaws when exposed to sunlight. This sure looks like autumn. I somehow sort of believe that this is what autumn looks like in other regions.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Frost!

Fire and Ice! Frost becomes a concern at about the same time that fire season ends here. Like the article about fire yesterday, this article is from three years ago, in fact, at about the same time.

Tony Tomeo

P71208+K1Yes, we get it too. It took a while, but we finally got it just like most of everyone else in North America and the Northern part of the Norther Hemisphere. It is not much to brag about, but it is enough to melt the big feral pumpkin vine that I wrote about earlier ( https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/too-late-for-pie/ ). It has actually been frosting for a few nights. I just got around to getting this picture this morning.

Now that the foliage is melting and collapsing, a leak is now visible in the exposed valve manifold that was obscured in the previous picture. It did not get cold enough to freeze the pipe, so the water was dripping freely. This confirms the earlier theory about where the pumpkin vine was getting water from.

Two pumpkins are also exposed by the collapsing foliage. They were not visible earlier. Unfortunately, they are too under-developed…

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Fire! . . . Again

This article is three years old, but is relevant annually until the end of fire season.

Tony Tomeo

P71018“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” That old margarine commercial was lame back in the 1970s, but the quote is so true. Inadvertent interference with the natural process of wildfires has unfortunately increased the combustibility of the flora of forests and wildlands throughout California. No one really meant to interfere with the process. It is just what happens when we need to protect our homes and properties from fire.

The longer the vegetation is deprived of fire, the more overgrown and combustible it becomes. If deprived of fire long enough, many plants start to succumb to insect infestation and disease, and they become more combustible as they deteriorate and die. To make matters worse, so many of the exotic (non-native) plants that have been introduced into California are just as combustible, and some are even more combustible than native flora!

Combustibility is certainly no accident on their part. It…

View original post 222 more words

Six on Saturday: Frozen

It was unusually cool yesterday morning. Deciduous trees are a bit more colorful. Some are defoliating. It is looking more like autumn. The soil is still damp from a little bit of rain more than a week ago. Although there is no more rain in the forecast, this rainy season could start at any time now. This is the time for autumn planting, and will soon be the time for dormant pruning.

As much as I like enjoy this weather and this time of year, I can understand why people get annoyed by it in climates where it starts sooner, lasts longer, and gets significantly cooler.

1. Frost on the windshield is not uncommon during winter. It is uncommon prior to winter though. It is also uncommon in the relatively warm (less cool) area where this vehicle was parked.

2. Frost on the roofs is a bit unexpected so early as well. It had covered this roof thoroughly, but is melting now that the sun is coming up. The weather really did not ‘feel’ as cold as it looked.

3. This contraption does not seem so ridiculous now. It insulates an exposed water main, to hopefully protect it from freezing. Water pipes seldom freeze here. Nonetheless, it is a possibility.

4. Dogwood colors well for autumn, even when the weather is not so cool. The species does not perform so well in the Santa Clara Valley, just a few miles north. Notice the frosty roof beyond.

5. This young birch is already defoliated! Actually, it is a formerly canned specimen that is a bit distressed from planting on November 8. Other birches are still wearing bright yellow foliage.

6. Turkeys return annually, precisely on the morning after Thanksgiving, after disappearing for about two or three weeks. Who knows where they go? Their stupidity might be exaggerated.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/