Happy new year to all readers and co-bloggers! Here's a toast in compost tea from the mice, wishing you a year of bounty in your gardens and blogs -- with a special nod of appreciation towards all those who are creating native plant gardens, both for their unique beauty and for their support of wildlife and biodiversity!
It's a foggy rainy New Year's morning as I write,
and all of nature seems quietly appreciative of the life-sustaining water seeping steadily and deeply into the soil and subsoil and on down into the aquifer below, to provide water to our neighborhood well.
Duncan was certainly appreciative of his little rain coat, and I appreciated the chance to contemplate the upcoming year on our morning walk. Above, I am looking towards the lower part of our property, where in summer I spread a thick layer of arborists' wood chips (showing up red). I'd like to use the corral more this year. It would be great for a nursery area, fairly shady and cool, for the graduates of the greenhouse seedling program.
Above we are just a little farther along the road, and you can see our driveway off to the right. I'd like to make the driveway more colorful this year, though I don't have specific plans. I hope the Holodiscus discolor I planted earlier this fall, grown from cuttings of local wild plants, will thrive and liven up that part of the property with its creamy white blossoms. You can just make out the protective wire around them, to Duncan's right. They haven't changed since I planted them. But I know a lot is going on underground.
Most of the new fall plantings in the pool area look pretty much as they did when I put them in, like this Verbena lilacina "De La Mina":
They look healthy enough (with the exception of two non-native salvias that died - Salvia darcyi), but there's not much growth topside. All the growth is going on below decks as it were, as they establish a healthy root system, and I'm looking forward to their spring burgeoning a few months from now.
Above we pause on our walk to take a shot of the lower chaparral side of our property, which extends across the road from our house. I'd like to make the cleared area edging the road prettier this year with some of the Madia elegans and Mimulus aurantiacus I'm propagating in the greenhouse. The pink Tuscan style house dimly seen in the distance is at the end of our road. Its owners kindly hosted our neighborhood holiday gathering this year.
You can see some vivid green of new growth in the photo above, and indeed, as I am wont to say, we don't really have winter in our region - the rains truly bring on the onset of spring. Look - Manzanita blossoms already!
These are the local native manzanita, which I believe is Arctostaphylos tomentosa var. crustacea (though I suspect we also have some A. tomentosa var rosea - to be investigated!)
And other wild natives are sprouting everywhere - for example Bee plant, Scrophularia californica:
And gold back fern, Pentagramma triangularis:
And - EEK! It's ba-ack! Sour grass, Oxalis pes-caprae (sunny photos were taken yesterday).
Yet again I resolve to root out all the sour grass before it sets bulblets, in the ongoing battle to eradicate invasive non-native plants, AKA WEEDS!
In fact, I'm positively bristling with new year's resolutions this year, too many to list. I wonder what garden resolutions you're making this year?