Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Bloom this Week: February 28

Some shots from around the nursery:

Viburnum tinus 'Spring Bouquet'. This is one of those plants that is so common I started to dismiss it. In reality though its a pretty nice shrub. Grows to 4-6 ft high and wide. Like most shrubs, keep it pruned a bit to avoid legginess.
Weeping Pussy Willow. These are grafted, and very cool.
Forsythia intermedia x 'Kogold' , one of the newer Monrovia introductions.

Pieris japonica: Lily of the Valley shrub. Graceful shrub for the shade; grows anywhere from 3-6 ft or more depending on the variety.

Another Monrovia hybrid: Magnolia x veitchii 'Columbus'. Pyramidal shape to 30-35 ft. Large white blossoms in early spring before leaves.
Camellia x ' Coral Delight'. This is a cross between C. japonica and C. saluenensis. This picture doesnt do it justice. We have about 5 of them in full bloom and you very nearly cannot see any foliage. (ok, I see foliage in the picture..but you know what I mean)
Euphorbia characais "Humpty Dumpty. Compact perennial to 2 1/2 feet with late winter/early spring blossoms.
I put two pictures on here because I couldnt pick one. I love the way the Hamamelis mollis 'Diane' and the Corylus avellana 'Contorta' are side by side in the nursery! They look so nice together right now.

Thats it for today......


Now that I decided to put my plant purchases on here, to help me keep track, I feel slightly guilty....Im not sure I want everyone to see how many plants I "adopt". Well here goes this weeks, so far.

Violas, again. I dont know why I am always falling for these. I keep hoping they will become so happy that they will naturalize like their hardier cousins and I will have these little sweeties all over the front yard.

Psidium cattleianum ~ Strawberry Guava. Look how big these are and they are only 7.95! While they will produce on their own you will get more with two. Usually a large bush 8 ft or so high and wide, can be in tree form as well. Im hoping the kids will have fun with these. Here is a picture of the fruit I found on the internet:

And in this picture we have a deep maroon Helleborus orientalis with two little Lamium aureum. These are going in the front yard where it is shady.

Next I got two of these: Abutilon hybrid 'Fon Vai'. These grow to about 4' tall and wide and bloom spring until winter, resting only a few months for me. LOVE THEM.

Lastly, its my day off but I had to run down to the nursery to get my oldest sons work permit signed (he is going to carry dirt on Saturdays this spring!) and low and behold we got some new herbs while I was gone yesterday! So I got these three Thymes (they are only 3.95 retail!) We have Thymus vulgaris 'Silver Posie' and Thymus pulegioides 'Archers Gold' in the back...both from Emerisa gardens, one of my favorite wholesalers (link under Sonoma County nurseries). In the front is Lime Thyme from Sweetwater Organics.

Thats it for today. Tomorrow is Friday though and with the nice weather we are probably getting a ton if! lol...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Growing Challenge #1

Melinda at Elements in Time has set up a challenge for gardeners to grow at least one new edible crop or plant this year, preferably from seed. Click on the button on the bottom right of this page to go to her site. Each Monday she will check up on participants and summarize the progress on her blog! Since I just joined and here it is a RAINY Saturday night, I cant see much happening in my yard in the next two days soooooo....I decided to order a few seeds and report on them:


I just know the kids will love growing this one!

I want to plant these on a large teepee for the girls to play in.

That was all the vegetable seeds I could find that I wanted, but I did get some great double poppies, Asclepias and nasturtiums. Because I do work at a nursery I get first crack at all the vegetable starts, seeds etc that we carry. Once spring gets into full swing I will find myself planting way more than I should as it is!

GOALS FOR THIS COMING WEEK: plant the fruit trees that are just heeled in, plant the blueberries that are in a bag on the front porch, weed the vegetable garden so I can begin repairs and prepare to have compost delivered. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Going Home .....

In this section of the blog I want to try and keep track of the plants that go home with me. You have no idea the amount of restraint it takes not to turn around and sign my paycheck back over the nursery every two weeks.
The family gives us a very generous employee discount but I still would have nothing left if I bought all that I want......I tell myself that in reality I will spend just as long enjoying certain blossoms etc. seeing them at work as I will at home (right? right?).

I have some patches of the purple Viola and I just love this sweet little pink one. Ideally I would be buying 3 or 4. One problem that goes with the above paragraph is that nursery workers often end up planting one of this and one of that.....plant collector yards.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Notable Plants

In this section I want to include old/large specimens and plantings I see that I really like. I like to be able to show customers pictures like this.

Alot of people want extra privacy above their fence. This pictures shows one of my favorite plants for that: Dodonaea purpurea, purple hopseed in tree form. In front of it is Carolina Laurel: prunus carolinia.

A bit further down the road I saw this planting of upright Rosemary, very simple and nice use of a narrow space.

Napa is not all grapevines and mustard! No its Podocarpus and outhouses too!

This orange is around the corner from my house. Its just so nice I had to snap a photo.

Whats Blooming this week.....

I want to start putting weekly photos up of plants in bloom at the nursery.

English Daisy: Bellis perennis

Bleeding Heart: Dicentra spectabilis

Camellia japonica

Happy Wanderer: Hardenbergia violacea


and of course, Primroses. After reading a recent article in Fine Gardening I am looking at these winter standbys in a different light. I would like to see them given the respect they deserve: planted in the proper location and treated as perennials instead of winter annuals.

MNA Tour

We are used to seeing our parking lot with several trucks at once, but its not everyday we get TWO tour buses full of fellow nurseryman and women from all over the country stopping by for a visit!

We have known about this for several months and to be honest it was a great extra incentive to have the nursery looking super special clean! It was an odd day....spring a few days ago and then this cold rain again. Everyone has been working so hard that there genuinely was not alot to do.....(anyone who EVER says there is nothing to do in a nursery is kidding themselves). I think we felt a bit like nervous, proud parents as all the "nursery people" poured out of the bus and explored the grounds, it was so weird not to need to be helping anyone! A Monrovia truck arrived while they were there and I heard someone joke about everyone volunteering to help.
In the top middle of this picture you can see Jake, one of the owners, accepting a plaque commemorating the 50th year of Master Nursery Association. As they all got back on the bus I thought wow, wouldnt it be neat to have a chance to visit with so many people in our trade?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Its not all bad.

After posting the dismal pictures this morning I felt I had to go out and find SOMETHING pretty in my yard.

I love the Cestrums, they bloom almost all year for me. My barely surviving Pluot....
A lemon yellow Abutilon, poking through the lattice. Most of the foliage you see is the Clematis. I was thinking it was C. tangutica but now Im having a flashbak of the hybrid "Freckles" that was really popular in the 1990s. Hmm, will update when it blooms.

My flowering pear.

My Meyer lemon is RIPE. I need to pick them and squeeze some lemon cubes for the freezer for future lemonade, lemon bars, lemon cakes...mmmmm.

Magnolia hybrid "Ann". It has a nice Clematis growing through it in the summer, almost blue with rather upright flowers...if I am remembering it correctly.
This is my Michelia, which I was calling doltsopa but I believe is actually M. figo 'Port Wine'. UPDATE: The real name for this one came to me last night: Michelia x foggi "JACK FOGG" and thats it for real.
My quince. The beauty it gives this time of year makes up for its agressive behavior. I want to add some Forsythia too.

And the Loropetalum, with which I have a strained relationship. Just when I hate it and am near refusing to sell it to anyone I see it growing in the right spot and I soften. I remember when all we carried was the green leaved, white flowered one. That "plain" one has an elegance to it that its floppy, gaudy cousin does not.
I also have Camellias, Myosotis, Poets Jasmine, Arctotis and Alyssum blooming today!(Just wait until next year!)

Confessions...the reality

I have spent the last two Sundays hauling JUNK and yard waste from the yard. I pruned massive roses that had been neglected for 10 years, slicing and pricking myself in all places, even my ears had blood on them.
Sadly, one can barely tell. If you were to walk into my backyard all you would see is the amount of work that lies ahead. So, to serve as a motivation to plow ahead...and a reminder of where I have come from later, I am going to post photos from this morning.
Go easy on me...

When we planted this flowering pear it was neatly trained on a big trellis....I really think I have to take it out. I am planning to have a couple of citrus against the back of the house. It faces south and should be a great place for them. Under the window is a Styrax japonica, barely hanging on after years of neglect. It has to be moved. Its going to be a sink or swim situation for that guy, as I know they dont like being ripped out of the ground.

Turning towards the back half of the yard you see what was a big border of English roses, Buddleia alternifolia, Philadelphus, Phlomis, Miscanthus and various other perennials. It was a solid wall of overgrown plant tangle at least 8 foot tall. We just cut out a Paulownia tree the birds planted a few years ago, it was 10 feet already. The stump is at the bottom right. I want to put a persimmon there. On the left side of the picture there is a white Vitex agnus-caste that has never done is coming out and making room for a second persimmon.
Panning to the right you see this mess. On that arbor two roses: Climbing Mermaid and Chevy Chase. The latter was purchased many years ago at Western Hills, in a 4 inch pot with its name barely legible scrawled in grease pen. It is a great rose. Just to the left of the arbor is a Magnolia stellata, just getting ready to bloom. Coming through the arbor on the right is a Clematis tangutica, its delicate yellow blossoms disguise its hardiness...anything alive back here is tough!

Anyhow, tackling the arbor roses is next job.


This "shed" was here long before us. No one dares to venture to close, let alone inside. A huge old walnut tree that was behind it fell a couple of years ago and ripped a giant hole in the roof and back wall, ruining whatever was inside. This is the biggest project I have for the near future. I wish we could hire someone to just come and haul it off. I dont remember what all was stored inside but Im sure I will be sad if I look at it. I just want it gone. I envision a deck here...with a spa...."sigh"

Ok, going back to the border: I wanted to show you this Mauve Mist Callistemon I planted from a 1 gallon can. I just started pruning it, it was leaves to the base. To the left is a Magnolia whose name is escapes me.

In past years this was a glorious vegetable garden. Sunflowers and gourds along the fence, asparagus bed, rhubarb and veggies galore. It will rise again! I need to get it weeded, beds repaired and then have soil delivered. Because we have no access to drive back here we have to haul it in by hand...My goal is to have it ready by May 1st for planting.

This is moving further back, in the back half of the vegetable garden. I have volunteer walnut trees, Ivy and a TON of blackberry to remove so I can grow corn and pumpkins back here. Also, want to build compost bins here.

Ok, so if you turn around and look behind you this is the glorious scene. Remember, this is AFTER we hauled three giant truck loads out of here. This is the area the kids have built elaborate club houses and forts and just generally made a huge mess. I envision a beautiful woodland garden back here, with pathways and a small sitting area. Blueberries too.

Kinda proud of these, although I took no part in their survival. I planted 3 of these Madrones, back when we could get them in the nursery. These are the Arbutus menziesii, not the unedo or the hybrid 'Marina' that are available to us today. They have grown well along the back fence, under the neighbors redwoods. The only problem is they have to bend down because their neighbors up top are taking up all the space.

Now take a few steps back towards the house, and the awful "building that needs to go". I would like to have fruit trees in this area.Look at all the Privets that sprouted along the fence line. Ugh. The swingset to the right is coming out, it is no longer usable. Those roses in the foreground are old roses, I need help identifying them. They are probably just a rootstock.

So there you have it, or some of it. I didnt show you the patio area, or the area we want to have a pond. I have big dreams but, I also have very little time and even less fundage! I also have another project I need to begin devoting more time to and that is the childrens new school grounds, devoid of landscaping. (I think that deserves its own entry) Oh, and Im beginning a landscape design course. And its SPRING at work.

Wish me luck!

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