Six on Saturday: Lenten Rose?!

Lenten rose does not perform well here. Perhaps it prefers more of a chill during winter. Perhaps it prefers more humidity. I do not know. Some were added to the landscapes at work sometime in the past, and naturalized. Because no one knows when this happened, it is impossible to know which if any are original, and which are naturalized feral plants. Until recently, only one specimen bloomed unexplainably well annually. Now, after very unusually wintry weather, Lenten rose is performing unusually well. Although not quite as impressive as it is in other climates, we are impressed locally. These pictures are more than a week old, but are still relevant, since the Lenten rose continues to bloom. I do not know what to expect. They never performed like this before.

1. Helleborus argutifolius, Corsican hellebore is the only simple species of Helleborus in the landscapes here. All the others are simple Lenten rose hybrids or their feral progeny.

2. Helleborus X hybridus, Lenten rose typically does not perform well here. The climate is likely too mild. This specimen, which is likely feral, performs unusually well annually.

3. Grayish lavender seems to be the most common color here. Lenten rose is performing unusually well this season. Perhaps they appreciated the unusually cool wintry weather.

4. Darker grayish purple is not as common here. Regardless of this unusually impressive bloom, hellebore are still prettier in pictures from other climates of more wintry winters.

5. White, of course, is my favorite. Only two bloom convincingly white, but the other is a bit spotty and blushed. I might have split a few copies if they typically bloomed this well.

6. Rhody does not cooperate for pictures. If I remember correctly, this picture was taken immediately prior to the picture from last week with his tongue out. It could be cropped.

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Six on Saturday: Snow, Rain, Wind, Frost, Etcetera

Etcetera is the important part here We must adhere to a schedule. As mentioned earlier, this winter generated the only snow for most regions here since 1976, and more flooding since 1982. By local standards, this winter was severe. It seemed to continue longer than it should have, as if to delay spring and the chores that come with it. I managed to prune a disfigured lemon tree, perhaps more than I wanted to, but effectively so. It was a good reminder of what time of year this really is. The weather is presently pleasant. More rain is expected for tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday. However, it is not expected to be as torrential as it had been. No more frost is expected.

1. Snow looks silly on top of a Mexican fan palm, Washingtonia robusta. This was weeks ago and hundreds of miles to the south, but is amusing nonetheless. Brent sent it to me.

2. Rain fell faster than it could drain through the recently canned Canna. Their drainage holes are likely in the middle of the bottoms of these cans, rather than around the edges.

3. Wind blew limbs and trees down all over. Then, after it stopped blowing, this Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii, fell across the Roaring Camp Railroad behind the barn here.

4. Frost should be done for the year. So, I pruned the structurally compromised Eureka lemon, Citrus limon ‘Eureka’, and processed a few of the scraps into ungrafted cuttings.

5. Lemons were another byproduct of pruning. Most are not yet completely ripe though. Several ripe lemons are always available, but the primary phase should ripen about now.

6. Rhody has been a good sport through all the unusually wintry weather this winter. He is pleased to get outside more now. We got a similar but cuter picture for next Saturday.

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Six on Saturday: Canna From Heaven

The weather was major news here again. After the only snow for most regions here since 1976, and the most flooding since 1982, torrential rain and more flooding was predicted for yesterday. Fortunately, the rain was not torrential enough to cause flooding. Prior to the rain, I was trying to plant what needed planting so that it would get soaked in well. I split and planted some overgrown Kaffir lily, and split and canned way too many canna. Flowering quince and queen’s tears provide a bit of floral color for this ‘Six on Saturday’.

1. Zayante Creek flowed under the deck to the right of this picture as 2022 became 2023. This was Thursday, a few hours before another flood was predicted, but did not happen.

2. Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Double Take Orange’, flowering quince, like many early spring and late winter flowers, got delayed by the very unusually cool and rainy wintry weather.

3. Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Double Take Orange’, flowering quince is a modern cultivar of a traditional flower. I am none too keen on modern cultivars, but I am fond of tradition.

4. Billbergia nutans, queen’s tears is an unimpressively palid and grassy bromeliad that blooms with these sillily pendulous flowers. Actually though, these silly flowers are cool.

5. Clivia miniata, Kaffir lily was recycled from another landscape, rather than Craigslist. It was crowded within a planter box, so now has more room to grow and be happy here.

6. Canna of various cultivars has become excessive! There are eighty-eight #5 cans of it! At least a dozen more are expected later! Most cans contain enough rhizomes for at least two cans; merely because there were not enough empty cans when I split and canned the dormant rhizomes. I should field grow them somewhere else. At least they will be pretty for this summer.

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Six on Saturday: Aspen

Aspen are not native here like they are around Aspen in Colorado. Common cottonwood is. While bare, it almost resembles aspen, and really seems to be a species from a climate with colder winters. Actually, all of my Six this week seem to be from colder climates. All but #1 and #2 are native however.

1. Forsythia X intermedia, forsythia looks like it belongs in a colder climate where it can bloom as the snow melts. Only a few inhabit our landscapes, and they are blooming late.

2. Leucojum aestivum, summer snowflake blooms whenever it wants to here. I had been wanting some for here when a few mysteriously appeared near a ditch of the main road.

3. Corylus californica, beaked hazelnut is native, but also looks like it should bloom like this as the snow melts in a colder climate. The nuts are rare and tiny, but richly flavored.

4. Populus deltoides, cottonwood grew as a small colony from roots of a tree that got cut down. This colony got thinned. This stump is under water that reflects a remaining tree.

5. This is that reflected tree, which is the only one of seven remaining trees that is out in the water. Its colony grew before the formerly drained pond filled more than a year ago. Platanus racemosa, California sycamore is reflected to the lower left and the upper right and, I believe, Salix lasiandra, red willow or shining willow is reflected to the upper left.

6. These are the other six cottonwood trees. The seventh is beyond the right edge of this picture, where more twigs of California sycamore are visible. Myrica californica, Pacific wax myrtle is in most of the background to the left, with a lodge building farther behind. Such elegantly straight trunks of common cottonwood seem to resemble those of aspen.

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Six on Saturday: SNOW?!

Snow is extremely rare here. It falls every few years in my neighborhood, which is about 1,500 feet above sea level, but this is nearly nine hundred feet lower. For the Santa Clara Valley, just over the Santa Cruz Mountains, it has not snowed since 1976. A forecast that included a possibility of snow was quite a surprise. Actual snow early Thursday morning was more of a surprise. It resumed overnight and into Friday morning with thunder and lightning. Of course, almost all of it melted, so that it was no more than two inches deep. I can understand why those who contend with it regularly during winter dislike it. Yuck! Rhody stayed inside all day.

1. Clivia miniata, Kaffir lily is the most recent and shameless acquisition from Craigslist. Someone in Santa Clara wanted them thinned, so I got a trunkload, totally without guilt.

2. Clivia miniata, Kaffir lily really was justified! More than two dozen split and groomed shoots are a bit more than enough and very appropriate for this shaded and narrow bed.

3. Jericho was not the inspiration for this landscape. It merely succumbed to all the rain. The upper few courses of stone got hastily but futilely removed as the wall began to lean.

4. Digitalis purpurea, foxglove does not do much now, and is merely incidentally to this strange picture anyway. Snow from Thursday and Friday is the major development here.

5. Canna is likewise incidental to this picture of what seems to be snow, but may merely be hail, which remained after the snow mostly melted. Canna are still dormant anyway.

6. Snowman of three handfuls of slush and sticks is here just so that I can brag about the snow here. However, I find that snow is cold, wet and icky. I can see why it is unpopular.

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Six on Saturday: Narcissism

That is such an objectionable word. Perhaps that is why so many of us prefer to describe narcissus as daffodils or paperwhites. Both bloom at work, and as much as I prefer white bloom, I do not maintain favorites in this regard. I enjoy paperwhites for their whiteness as well as their fragrance. However, I enjoy classic yellow daffodils, such as ‘King Alfred’, because they are so traditional. All are blooming late this year. So is winter daphne. The weather has been cooler than it typically is, but only for the past month or so. It seems to me that if chill were to enhance bloom, it would have needed to begin somewhat earlier. Also, it seems to me that narcissus do as they please.

1. Frost is generally minor and uncommon here. However, a wet jersey that was hung to drain overnight froze solid enough to lean against this pickup. Its hanger is not hanging.

2. Cupressus macrocarpa, Monterey cypress is nothing special, but I happen to be fond of its foliage and bark. This is a hedge that never got hedged, but grew as crowded trees.

3. Daphne odora ‘Marginata’, winter daphne is still blooming! It blooms slowly through winter, but should be finished by now. Furthermore, it blooms remarkably well for here.

4. Narcissus grows wild in soil that was dumped on the perimeter of our industrial yard over the years. No one sees them there, so I collect some to bring into our meeting room.

5. Narcissus are much more abundant within the landscapes where they belong. Several sporadic colonies are sparsely naturalized. However, several new bulbs bloom only once.

6. Narcissus are even prettier close up. I consider these to be daffodil, although I do not know what the distinction is. They are blooming late, and more are beginning to bloom.

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Six on Saturday: Brief Winter

Winter is the busiest season here. There is no more to do during winter here than here is anywhere else, but there is a bit less time in which to do it all. Dormant pruning must be done prior to the last frost, and the first bloom. Planting should be done prior to the last rain, especially for small plants and seedlings such as most of these. Even after the most torrential weather since 1982, winter weather here can not maintain dormancy for long. Even if it would do so for more species, canna may not cooperate. I suspect that some of its ancestral species were familiar with frost without winters in the tropical Andes. They survive frost, but are too eager to grow immediately afterward.

1. Lupinus arboreus, bush lupine is a gift from a local nursery that grows native species. They were getting too mature to be marketable. We got a dozen. They grow wild nearby.

2. Lantana camara, lantana is coppiced annually after getting a bit frosted, but prior to regeneration. This unexpected seedling was also coppiced, but relocated in this process.

3. Canna indica, canna does not seem to know what winter is. It survives frost, but tries to regenerate immediately after experiencing it, instead of waiting for the end of winter.

4. Scilla peruviana, squill seems like it should be just as familiar with winterless frost in Peru, near the Equator, but is actually a Mediterranean species. Three are blooming late.

5. Amaryllis belladonna, naked lady generates too many seed. I again made the mistake of collecting some two seasons ago. What now? These actually get put out while foliated.

6. Cedrus deodara, deodar cedar is as prolific, but without my intervention. I pulled and plugged several a few years ago, but most of them were killed by weed whackers anyway.

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Six on Saturday: After The Storm

Rain is expected for today and Sunday. It rained a bit yesterday morning. This is normal for winter here. It will not prevent us from resuming seasonal work that was interrupted by the not so normal and epically torrential rain and associated flooding earlier. A bit of the mess associated with that earlier extreme weather remains, but is not so much of an encumbrance. Spring flowers such as daffodil have been blooming for a while. Flowering cherry buds are plumpening. One flowering cherry and the only flowering apricot are in full bloom. Meanwhile, other crews work to keep the power on.

1. Debris of all sorts remains on the banks of Zayante Creek downstairs. This might be a futon. I hope that it came from an exterior patio, and not from within a home upstream.

2. Zayante Creek is right where it should be now. It was slightly above the arch just prior to midnight of New Year’s Eve. The crew’s galley is inside the windows to the upper left.

3. After all that torrential rain, another crew came to prune trees for clearance from new utility cables. The work was not bad, but they could not remove this log from the cables.

4. After the crew finished pruning a particularly large coast live oak that survived all that torrential rain, the big oak fell. Yes, it fell AFTER the storms, and AFTER it was pruned.

5. As if that were not bad enough, it left this big limb hung precariously on the new cable that they installed immediately prior to the rain! It is heavy and hooked by a small stub.

6. Landon’s Tree blooms as if none of this drama ever happened. It is a flowering apricot that grew from the understock of a purple leaf plum that was cut down several years ago.

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Six on Saturday: Bloom!

Bloom has been conspicuously absent from my Six on Saturday posts for the past several weeks. Severe weather had prevented me from performing my horticultural obligations, and then prevented me from processing pictures after resuming my obligations. As I was able to post last week, I merely posted six pictures of why I neglected to share pictures of horticultural relevance for previous weeks. Finally, I can share a few pictures of some of the bloom that I have neglected. I am impressed that some of it survived so much severe weather. Incidentally, the weather has been totally awesome since the storms stopped as suddenly as they started. Zayante Creek flows as it typically does for this time of year, as if nothing happened. The water seems to be unusually clear.

1. Camellia japonica cultivars are sufficiently numerous here for a month or so of Six on Saturday. Some bloom profusely but briefly. Some bloom sporadically for a long season.

2. Camellia sasanqua cultivars are less numerous, but might be sufficient for two weeks of exclusive Six on Saturday presence. This one is ‘Christmas Cheer’ blooming a bit late.

3. Narcissus is too botanically complicated for species designation. This is possibly ‘King Alfred’. Experts might be able to identify its species or hybrid. I know it only as daffodil.

4. Iris X germanica is also botanically complicated. This unidentified cultivar wastes no time recovering from seemingly early division last September. I am very pleased with it!

5. Scilla peruviana, squill was still canned when we noticed it blooming! We neglected it while busy with the weather. The best is now planted. The rest awaits gopher mitigation.

6. Rhody is very pleased that his crew has been able to resume their normal duties, such as providing treats and petting, without all the stress associated with the severe weather.

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Six on Saturday: Excuses

It had not rained so much here since 1982. Consequences of such excessive rain were the priorities at work. I neglected to procure pictures of horticultural topics while the first of the problems associated with the weather began to develop two weeks ago. I was unable to transmit new pictures last week because of disruption of telephone service. Now that I am able to share new pictures, I find that a few are redundant to some that I posted two weeks ago, and none are any more horticulturally oriented than a few unidentifiable logs and an unseen redwood tree. Well, at least they demonstrate why I was too busy to share horticultural pictures on Six on Saturday.

1. Mudslides blocked a few portions of the main road into town at various times. None of them stayed for long, but they took turns. Shortly after one got cleared, another one slid.

2. Sinkholes were mudslides from below rather than from above, and ruined portions of roads that were not under mud. I nearly dropped the camera here to hastily grab Rhody.

3. Floods got deeper than since 1982, and took trees that were big enough to leave twigs two thirds of the way up the right and upstream side of the pillars nearest to the middle.

4. Logjams collected some of those trees that would otherwise be on beaches near Santa Cruz by now. Ironically, that is a municipal water pumping station across Zayante creek.

5. Fallen trees are particularly dangerous within forests of the tallest trees in the World. This one took out about twenty feet of the trail. I will share two more pictures of it later.

6. Rhody was exhausted from exemplary service to his similarly exhausted crew through many days of the rainiest weather here since 1982. He is enjoying sunnier weather now.

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