Six on Saturday: Recyclery

With only one exception (#6), everything that I added to my downtown planter box was recycled from somewhere else. Almost all of that which I added came from the garden of the mother of a now deceased old friend, so has major history with me. The original cuttings rode around for more than a month on the dashboard of the old station wagon prior to getting plugged. Yet, I do not know many of their names. Only #5 inhabited the planter box before I got there. Nowadays, bits and pieces generated from occasional grooming of the planter box get recycled elsewhere. Many are shared with neighbors.

1. Tree houseleek grew almost as big as small tumbleweeds. Except for two Indian hawthorn trees that were installed when the planter boxes were built, they are the most prominent features.

2. Unknown succulent resembles tree houseleek, but stays much lower. A neighbor requested ‘Australia’ canna (#6) because this and tree houseleek produce so much pallid light green foliage.

3. Unknown Aloe is more appealing in the planter box than these shriveled cuttings are. I think that it might be more appealing if it bloomed. After a few years, I have not seen a single flower.

4. Unknown bearded is not a good choice for a planter box downtown. It blooms only once annually, and the few flowers get picked. They are slightly grayish white, so are not even very pretty.

5. Variegated lily turf is one of the few plants that was already in the planter box when I go to it. Some of it reverted to unvariegated, and became even more invasive, and then more abundant.

6. ‘Australia’ canna is the only item that I actually purchased for the planter box. I got it because a neighboring merchant expressed an appreciation for bronzed foliage. It does not disappoint!

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Six on Saturday: Happy Beginning

Vermin, weeds and insects can be major problems. Gophers continue to inflict serious damage within the landscapes here. The predators who help with other vermin would get gophers too, if only they were more accessible. However, it could be significantly worse. Some weeds are actually pretty. The worst insect damage was neither serious nor prominent. Deer just glare at me as if wondering why I glare at them.

1. Gophers are the most destructive of the wildlife here. This was a new and perfect hedge of variegated Pittosporum tobira before the gophers got in. The spacing of its plants was impeccable.

2. Perennial pea should have finished blooming a while ago. It typically gets crispy during the warm and arid weather of summer. It is an annoying albeit pretty weed in some of the landscape.

3. Katydids chewed my roses last summer. Fortunately, the damage was not serious, and only affected my own roses that are not within the landscapes. This one seems to be in the family way.

4. Deer have potential to cause major damage to the landscapes, but never have. Their nibbling is minimal. No one knows why. They are a significant problem within adjacent neighborhoods.

5. Predatory birds ‘control’ some of the rabbits and other vermin, but not gophers. I do not know who this bird is, but would guess that it could take off with Bambi if she nibbles the camellias.

6. RAIN! This is the happy ending of the Fire Season, as well as the happy beginning of the Rainy Season! The first storm of the season is always major news here, but is rarely this significant. The flashing blue light on the windshield of one of the pickups is a motion activated security system that began chirping in response to so much water falling from the perforated gutter above.

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Six on Saturday: New England?

New England is even farther away than Williamsburg. Although I have never been there, I sometimes think that some of the vegetation here resembles vegetation there, particularly as foliage and berries get colorful during autumn and winter. Autumn is a bit later here, and does not last as long. The associated color is relatively subdued. There are not as many colorfully deciduous trees. I do enjoy showing off what we get though. There is so much more to California than boringly evergreen palm trees and redwoods; and redwoods happen to make an excellent backdrop for New England style fall color! I will brag about various palms later.

1. Rio Grande turkey was intentionally naturalized here a long time ago, but only began to invade local home gardens since about the 1990s. To me, they look like they belong in New England.

2. Lantana camara makes these weird black berries, which the turkeys are not interested in. Just like turkeys, colorful (or just black) berries in autumn remind me of gardens in New England.

3. Moss, which had been rather grungy and brown through late summer, is now rich and vibrant green from rain last Wednesday. I suspect that moss such as this is common in New England.

4. Tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, is native to neither Maine nor New Hampshire, and was extirpated from its two native counties in Vermont, but is native to other parts of New England.

5. Flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is coincidentally extirpated from the same two counties in Vermont that tulip tree formerly inhabited, and is also native to other parts of New England.

6. English holly, Ilex aquifolium, is from England, which is the original or Old England. It is naturalized here. Just like the other five of these six, to me, it looks like it belongs in New England.

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Six on Saturday: Maples

Maples are annoyingly misrepresented here. Japanese maples are so much more popular than they should be, and imposed by just about every so-called ‘landscaper’ with something to prove, although few of them know or care how to take proper care of them. However, maples that actually develop as shade trees are still uncommon or even rare. Only two species are native locally. Of these, box elder (#5) is rather unimpressive, and bigleaf maple (#6) is potentially too big and too messy for refined home gardens. Norway maple has a bad reputation, but ‘Schwedler’ was a good street tree.

1. Acer platanoides – Norway maple is invasive elsewhere. I do not trust it here. I grafted noninvasive ‘Schwedler’ Norway maple on five naturalized saplings. None took. Ugly saplings survive.

2. Acer platanoides – Norway maple should look like this. I do not remember the name of this cultivar. It supposedly has better bronzed color than ‘Schwedler’. I still prefer classic ‘Schwedler’.

3. Acer rubrum – red maple performs quite well in mild climates, and works well as a street tree with symmetrical and rather compact form. I do not remember the name of this cultivar either.

4. Acer circinatum – vine maple should be more popular here. It is a sculptural understory tree like the countless cultivars of Japanese maple, but is not a Japanese maple. That is why I like it.

5. Acer negundo – box elder should probably be less popular than it is. It is the most common maple of North America, and is native to every state except for Alaska and Hawaii. It is wild here.

6. Acer macrophyllum – bigleaf maple is also native, but only to the West Coast. It is the sugaring maple of the West. This specimen is exemplary, but drops a lot of leaves into a few backyards.

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Six on Saturday: One Yucca

Of the fifty or so known species of Yucca, I formerly grew all but one. I still am not certain if the single species that I lacked, Yucca flexilis, is a real species or a synonym for another species. Of course, some species of Yucca might be considered to be subspecies of others. The genus is complicated. So is identification of its species. That is why I am not certain of the identity of the one Yucca that I got a picture of this week. Actually, only one of my Six, which live with the unidentified Yucca, are identified.

1. ‘Sedums, Dahlias and Hayfever’ might have something to say about this unappreciated mess. A neighbor left these for the gardens. I can identify only that ‘Angelina’ sedum. Oh, the shame!

2. Pups such as this could suggest that the associated primary rosette intends to bloom soon. If so, the pup will replace the original. I do not remember what species or cultivar of Agave this is.

3. This young pup appeared about six feet from its associated primary rosette, so is less likely to be an indication of impending bloom. I do not know the species or cultivar of this Agave either.

4. Agave attenuata is easier to identify. It has been here since December, but has not done much. I got a pup from it prior to planting. Later, another rosette was acquired from another source.

5. This might be Dasylirion wheeleri. I am rather certain of the genus, but not so certain of the species. Those little teeth on the foliar margins remind me that I do not want to weed around it.

6. Could this be Yucca whipplei? Its foliage certainly suggests that it is. However, the common sort should not develop such crowded rosettes. It could be a more densely clumping subspecies.

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Six on Saturday: Williamsburg!

Williamsburg in Virginia is one of those magical places that I heard about when I was a tyke, but have never been to. My parents went there as newlyweds, as they were considering relocating to Vienna, which is also in Virginia, near Washington. Well, Woodland Gnome of Our Forest Garden happens to be there, and sent me some seedlings of the native American beautyberry that I have been wanting to grow for a very long time! They arrived on Thursday. I retrieved them yesterday. As I prefer, they are what grows wild there, rather than cultivars.

1. Packages in the mail are so much fun! This package came all the way across North America, from Williamsburg in Virginia! That is farther than Ilwaco! Heck, that is farther than Oklahoma!

2. Hand written notes attached to such packages demonstrate impeccable cultural refinement. Oh my, I do not write such notes because it seems to me that no one appreciates them anymore.

3. Beautyberry seedlings in a six pack are the first of the species that I ever met! They looked neater after I set the six pack within another for added integrity, and rinsed the potting media off.

4. There are cuttings also! I have not processed these yet, but should do so in the morning. The foliage remains firmly attached, so will stay with these cuttings until they defoliate for autumn.

5. Berries that are attached to the cuttings might contain viable seed. They will likely be sown in the same cans that the cuttings get plugged into. If there are many, they will get separate cans.

6. Butterfly ginger is a major bonus in the package. It is another species that I had been wanting, but had not yet procured. If its bloom is white enough, some of it may go live at the Cathedral.

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Six on Saturday: Recycling

It can become a bad habit in the garden, and migrate into neighboring gardens and landscapes, and even farther. My ‘Australia’ canna was acquired only a few years ago, so has not gotten too far, yet. The African iris (Morea iridioides) seems voluminous, but took nearly three decades to get like that. Montbretia and white violet really should not be recycled any more than they have been already though. They are just too invasive. Agapanthus and Amaryllis have potential to become habitual, but fortunately for me, have been manageable. Amaryllis are not overwhelming. Agapanthus have been useful since I started recycling them.

1. Canna indica ‘Australia’ is one of the very few plants that I actually purchased. A neighbor of my downtown planter box requested bronzed foliage. After a few years, it needed to be thinned.

2. Morea iridioides was another purchase, back in the 1990s. It was in a #1 (1 gallon) can back then. It got so overgrown than it needed to be removed, so will now get divided into many more.

3. Crocosmia masoniorum is probably the same common montbretia that grows as a weed here, but seems to have much bigger leaves. I found it growing wild at my Pa’s home in about 1980.

4. Agapanthus orientalis has been with me since 1978, when a neighbor had me remove it from her garden. These copies of that original were planted nearby years ago, and recently removed.

5. Viola sororia ‘Albiflora’ came from my Grandmother’s garden in the late 1970s. I still have copies of them, but might discretely allow them to go extinct. They are just too invasive to recycle.

6. Amaryllis belladonna is mundane and naturalized. However, these came from the garden of my great Grandmother in about 1980. I need no more here, but recycle these in my own garden.

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Six on Saturday: Ghost Town

As a result of prioritizing our efforts within the landscapes at facilities that have been in use through summer, landscapes at unused facilities have been neglected. It would be embarrassing if anyone else were here to see the results. Those who maintain the other infrastructure have mentioned that these neglected areas resemble ghost towns. Flowers continue to bloom without any assistance. Also though, weeds continue to grow and toss seed for the next generation. There is so much to catch up on. What is worse is that I will not be working here much until November, and will be gone again in February.

1. While no one is looking, lily of the Nile continues to bloom into the middle of September. I was not here to see it, but I suspect that this particular colony was not blooming on time for July.

2. Kahili ginger is blooming too, but right on schedule. This is obviously a substandard bloom. I am impressed nonetheless. It was not expected to bloom at all. It was just planted over winter.

3. Otherwise, most of the bloom here is that of weeds. Strangely, I do not remember anyone pulling weeds from the pavement before. Could the formerly constant traffic have inhibited them?

4. Should this say “PLEASE LET US GROW ON WALKWAYS” or maybe “PLEASE LET US STAY ON WALKWAYS”? Regardless, I am impressed by the ability of weeds to compose a sentence.

5. Grapes would certainly be easier to reach if they grew on neglected, hanging vines like these. Unfortunately, if left long enough to produce fruit, these vines would become a tangled thicket.

6. Goodness! This is what happens when a ponderosa pine seedling grows under a deck, and no one is here to pull it out before it grows right through! The weed problem here is now serious!!!

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Six on Saturday: Naked Ladies And Neighbors

Naked lady, Amaryllis belladonna, is common beyond the landscapes here. Most live on roadsides, likely because that is where we relocate superfluous bulbs, and toss seed after deadheading. All the flowers of a big colony outside the gates at our industrial yard got harvested as they came into bloom this year! Another colony at the historic depot blooms most spectacularly, and was just deadheaded after I got these pictures. Since they were finished with bloom, and still lack foliage, there was not much to get six pictures of. That is why I got two pictures of their neighbors with a third picture of where former neighbors had been.

1. Sarcococca ruscifolia, which does not do well elsewhere, became an exemplary foundation hedge here on the historic depot. Why is it all gone now? A sewer to a septic system was replaced.

2. Echinacea purpurea continues to bloom on the front of the same historic depot. It is prettier than that recently exposed mud between the foundation and the driveway on the opposite side.

3. Amaryllis belladonna continues to bloom, sort of. The majority finished bloom a while ago. Their many bare stems are visible in the background. A few small colonies bloom distinctly later.

4. Amaryllis belladonna otherwise looks like this now. The stems that finished blooming are slightly taller than those that continue to bloom slightly later. Seed will get tossed on the roadside.

5. Amaryllis belladonna that bloom later have pale brownish stems. The five pale brownish stems in the foreground here continue to bloom. The greener stems in the background are finished.

6. Hydrangea macrophylla is unusually happy in front of the historic depot. This floral truss is about a foot wide. There would be more like this, but deer ate them and the roses before bloom.

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Six on Saturday: Late Summer Flowers

Spring is the favorite season among the majority of those who enjoy gardening. I do not really have a favorite season though. Dormant pruning is perhaps my favorite chore, which happens in winter. Stone fruits, which are perhaps my favorite, ripen in summer. I so enjoy the foliar color of autumn. Well, it is still too early for autumn foliar color. In the meantime, the flowers of late summer are blooming. Compositae is the ruling family for a while. It is not too late for the last few roses. Japanese anemones, although locally rare, bloom also.

1. Sunflower should be the grand finale; but I could not get a sufficiently good picture, without the utility cables above and the sun in the background. Nonetheless, it exemplifies late summer.

2. Rose is the one flower of these six that has been blooming all summer, so is not actually limited to late summer. It is a cheap carpet rose, which I loathe, but happens to provide pretty color.

3. Chrysanthemum landed in the landscapes after getting left behind from an event. It was formerly a fancy ‘potted mum’. Now, it is unrefined and rustic, but blooms reliably for late summer.

4. Marigold is one of many annual bedding plants that I can not figure out. Is it a warm season annual that really could bloom all summer, or is it actually limited to late summer and autumn?

5. Marigold exhibits a limited color range of yellow, orange, rusty red, almost brown and very pale yellow that is described as white. We got only yellow, as seen above, and this simple orange.

6. Anemone, or more specifically, Japanese anemone, is a rather mundane pale pink. I would prefer it to be either clear white or a more blatant pink. I like it though, because it is what we got.

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