Plants in the mail!

Back when I was really into cars the running joke was about how you should always have your car parts mailed to your neighbor, so your wife doesn’t see how much you’ve been ordering online (and how much $$$)… Well, it’s no different with plants, but this time, it was fellow blogger Lance Garden Riots who had the order sent to me!

Now, to be fair, he didn’t really do it to hide it from his wife. It’s because we went in on the order together to save on shipping, and the delivery timing coincided better with a time I’d be able to receive it.

It’s always interesting to see how plants are shipped. I was impressed with this method!

plants in a shipping box

Flowers by the Sea is a mail order nursery specializing in Salvia, a genus that I find particularly interesting, not only for their utility to pollinators, but also because so many are drought-tolerant heat lovers and that’s a pretty important niche in any west coast garden especially inland.

Continuing with the unpacking, under the layer of peanuts there are plants, each in a 4″ pot, very carefully wrapped in 2-3 sheets of newsprint:

plant wrapped for shipping
Salvia pachyphylla ‘Blue Flame’

The first one is Lance’s – Salvia pachyphylla ‘Blue Flame’ aka Giant Purple Desert Sage. It doesn’t look giant here but the foliage smells wonderful – that classic desert sage scent. I can’t wait to see what Lance does with it!

plant wrapped in paper

The taller plants had been folded over inside the paper – you can sort of see that here (I’ve unfolded this one). There was very little breakage.

salvia plant in pot

The above pictured was the only plant that had any of its soil come out of the pot, and as you can see it was only a bit of a dusting.

unboxed mail-order plants
The whole shipment

Here they are all unboxed. My two are the Salvia africana-lutea ‘Kirstenbosch’ (in front with the brown flowers) and the one directly behind it which is Salvia x jamensis ‘Full Moon’. I had also ordered S. semiatrata but unfortunately it was out of stock by the time they shipped.

Now here they are one day later – they’ve unfolded a bit and I have all the confidence in the world that they’ll continue to do so and in a week there will be no remaining evidence of having been folded over for shipping. Pretty neat technique!

boink

In other Salvia-related news, I’m changing up the area by the front door which involves removing (finally, phew) the gigantic ‘Hot Lips’ as well as (at least most of) the culinary sage ‘Berggarten’. Both are very successful plants there, but dangit, I want more interesting things in that highly visible area. Honestly I’ve been sort of stuck, design-wise, in this area for a while (analysis paralysis, anyone?) but my housemate Kate got me unstuck. Basically, she said the Hot Lips is boring and the red and white color is pretty gaudy, and the culinary sage is just an oversized blob that belongs in a less prominent spot, if we’re going to have it at all. Despite my myriad excuses for leaving those plants (both of which came with the house) in place for so long, I knew immediately that she’s absolutely right.

Anyway stay tuned – here’s a “before” pic:

culinary sage plant
So very successful. But I’m over it.

Lastly, I’m happy to report that my S. discolor made it through the winter in its pot, protected under my patio right up against the house. Now it’s out in the garden looking very pretty!

Salvia discolor and that’s Digitalis ‘Honey Trumpet’ at left

Happy gardening.

April: Migration begins

Now that I’m seeing nighttime temperatures pretty reliably in the 40’s, I’ve been moving some tender plants outdoors gradually.

First up is the lime (Citrus hystrix), who looks better than ever before coming out of winter indoors. Last fall it got a re-pot into a more free-draining mix, and, it’s been under an LED grow light all winter. It’s had a great winter, even flowering and fruiting!

 

This Colocasia has actually been out here for maybe a week or so. It did not like the 33° dip we had a couple nights ago and I expect it will lose all these leaves. Just as well since they’re all small and etiolated.

 

Two of four mature Pelargoniums. The green one is a rose geranium and the other is ‘Vancouver Centennial’ which might be my favorite – although the fragrance of the rose-scented one is to die for.

Look at this gorgeous foliage. The flowers are a bright carmine and just stunning against these leaves.

Not pictured are a couple of Monsteras and other indoor subtropicals that I’m taking outdoors only during daytimes for now. Eventually I hope to give most of them summer vacations outdoors – at least, the hardier ones that can take cool summer nights.

Lastly a flat of vegetables that one hardened off and need to get in the ground. I kind of love how these look.

It’s three varieties of lettuce, spring cabbage (Quick Start), peas (Oregon Sugar Pod II), and the single sweet pea that actually germinated of the 10 or 12 seeds I sowed. Not sure what’s up with that but I tried again and set the tray outside so we’ll see.

Post update:

Apparently we’re in for a bit of a rainstorm with possibly significant wind.  Some people actually put tinfoil over the tops of the pots and around the trunks of their citrus to avoid rainfall causing waterlogging but I’m lucky enough to have a bright covered patio so everyone goes under that if it’s pouring.

Grace’s comment below inspired me to add this last frost date thing, which is better than just saying “April 20” because you can see that it’s a matter of declining probability:

What does “Wp Ap” mean? My guess is Airport.

I like that data for 24 and 28 degrees is included.  The link to the page this came from is in the comments below.

 

Next up: last month’s visit to Little Prince nursery, then we’ll take a stroll around the garden and see what’s happening in the landscape.

February 2018 Post-Snowstorm Report

A rather unexpected late-February snowstorm! 5″ of snow and a low of 24F.  I have little to report from my own garden.  In fact, so little that I was considering not posting at all, but since this blog is supposed to serve as a record (at least to myself) of my garden, I figure I better grab a few pics and show them.

Early morning, February 22, 2018

The only thing outside I protected with Reemay was this little group of celery plants.  This pic shows them right after I pulled the Reemay off on Friday morning (3-4 layers).  Looks good! They’ll probably bolt come May but whatever.  I’ll start some new ones this week.

Celery, after 24F with Reemay

Purple sprouting broccoli sailed through it all with zero damage.

 

California poppy seedlings which sprouted in maybe November? are A-OK after getting snowed on.

Eschscholzia

Feverfew is sort of a special plant to me since it’s one of a very few that my birds don’t eat.  I have lots of this here and there; this one in the pot is probably the most vulnerable and look, it’s just fine:

Tanacetum parthenium

That’s it for marginally hardy stuff that stayed outside.  The only other thing of interest is this – one little flower cluster on my little baby Arctostaphylos x ‘Austin Griffiths’ – so cute!

Arctostaphylos x ‘Austin Griffiths’

 

So what did I bring in? I’ll tell you:

  • A flat of lettuce and allium seedlings that I sowed in January (they’d been out; just brought them in until it’s above freezing)
  • All the Iris x pacifica ‘Simply Wild’ divisions that Lance gifted me last fall after he divided his clumps
  • Colocasia ‘Midori Sour’ which had been in the garage most of the winter – I brought it back out during very warm weather in January and now right back in until it’s reliably above 40F at night
  • An ailing Ugni molinae that I nearly killed by letting it dry out and get cold over the last few months.  It might make it…
  • My baby Tetrapanax which has some young leaves I’d like to see it keep – in just for the one night it got down to 24F.

Here are a few of the above hanging out in my kitchen awaiting warmer days.

Colocasia ‘Midori Sour’ , Ugni molinae, and Iris x pacifica

 

Ok that’s it.  The snow is almost entirely gone and thankfully we didn’t get that cold east wind.  It’s almost as if nothing ever happened.  Whew!