July and August are the cruelest months in my garden. In spring, everything is glorious. But now I'm worried what the neighbors will think as they walk past my monkey flowers, so beautiful from April through June, now entering summer dormancy.
I must admit I wanted to come running with the garden hose when I saw my beloved baby madrone lose some of its leaves. That, however, might have proved fatal, because this madrone does not have the sharp drainage they prefer. So I just watched the yellow leaves drop and tossed them in the compost.
The Salvia apiana (white sage) is dropping its bright green summer foilage and starting up the grey summer leaves. I'm actually not sure about the process, I think the green leaves are an extra spring growth on top of the grey, I don't see that many leaves on the ground near the plant.
Here you can see the difference between the different color leaves.
And here some Salvia Leucophylla (purple sage), already done donning its grey summer coat. In the background, some coyote brush, blooming succulents, and Arctostaphylos pajaroensis, a nice contrast between the greens and the greys.
While the greyish leaves displayed by the sages can be quite attractive, summer dormant ceanothus is decidedly a matter of taste.
This year, it's actually not so bad. The winter rains were good and there is a lot of green with the yellow. But I'm still thinking of replacing my Ceanothus thyrsiflorus with some Ceanothus Tilden Park, which seems to keep its leaves much better.
Fortunately, Salvia clevlandii, while doing the drop-leaves thing, is still blooming beautifully (and so fragrant!)
Furthermore, some plants are just getting started. Here we have Monardella villosa (coyote mint), opening its blossoms, surrounded by strong green leaves.
And the buckwheats, just opening up, will keep the garden colorful and the insects happy all through the summer. Here is Eriogonum fasciculatum, which I keep having to prune away from the water feature. How can this plant bloom and grow so extravagantly with no summer water?
As for the neighbors, this is the time of the year when I move the sign. No point rubbing it in that the monkey flower looks ratty. Let us instead focus on the beautiful Eriogonum arborescens, just starting to bloom, and the last of the Triteleia blossoms from the bulbs I planted last fall.
That's better! I'll move the sign back in the spring.