Welcome, Spring, and thank you

My friend in a Facebook plant group posted yesterday, saying, “Show us your buds” and while I didn’t manage to post on her thread, I did go out and take some pictures on that beautiful, if frightening, first day of spring. Without further ado:

Ribes sanguineum ‘Xera’s Lime Punch’
Do not not grow this plant, mkay?
Ceanothus ‘Italian Skies’ buds about to burst. I can’t wait!
Oh how beautuful is this. Citrus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ seedling. It’s in a pot.
Phygelius ‘Magenta’ from Annie’s Annuals – I can’t wait for it and neither can the hummingbirds.
On a warm day (above say 55F) it smells like honey and it wafts. Grevillea australis.
Euphorbia something and I just love it. These are immune to dog pee, by the way.
There are many flower buds coming up on this Aquilegia longississima. Beautiful leaf color, too. This blue/purple coloration just happened this past week.
Grevillea ‘Ivanhoe’ looking like he might give me some flowers this year!

That’s all, just a little record of what’s looking particularly interesting today, March 19, 2020.

Stay sanitized, stay physically distanced, and keep gardening, my friends.

A Collection of Currants

Welcome to my new Area of Interest: Ribes, the currants. I won’t call it an obsession yet, because I while I do have several species, I don’t really intend to acquire any more. That could change, of course, but for now I feel like I have a really good collection, so here it is.

My first currant was something I got back in 2015 when I wanted everything to be a food-for-humans-producing plant. It’s a White Imperial currant (Ribes rubrum ‘White Imperial’?) and it’s awesome. I moved it last fall because it needed less scorching afternoon sun. Yeah, that’s a theme.

It’s not doing anything yet so here’s a pic from June 2018. These fruits are delicious and delicate and they stay on the plant for weeks – you don’t have to pick them all at once.

White Imperial currant.

I also had, until the other day, a Jostaberry which is a complex hybrid of Ribes nigrum, R. divaricatum, and R. uva-crispa, the gooseberry.

Jostaberry. Fruits ripen one by one!

I also managed to plant it in a location where it got blasting afternoon sun (GOD why did I do so much of that?!). No one liked the berries. Well, I did, but I didn’t like the little flower end that you have to remove unless you want to chew on a little piece of cardboard every time you eat one. And they ripen one by one so there’s no way to ever harvest enough to make jam or anything unless you have 16 plants. I threw in the towel and removed it. Great plant for a LARGE permaculture garden or for people who enjoy working too hard for marginal edibles.

With those two out of the way, now for more interesting Ribes species.

The first of which is, of all specific epithets, Ribes speciosum. Speciosum means beautiful or showy – this one is also called “Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry” and apparently the hummingbirds totally fall for it. Mine is forming buds:

Ribes speciosum ‘Rana Creek’

I was completely blind to this plant until I visited GardenRiots several weeks ago with my girlfriend who pointed out the flowers and asked me what it was. I knew it was a Ribes but I didn’t think much beyond until Lance made a post on Facebook about it on February 14. What timing! He said something about liking it because it upsets our aesthetic by responding to our climate directly (losing leaves midsummer) and of course I was immediately intrigued: Drought-deciduous?! Sold!

Dog pee protection unit

I ended up planting this pretty near where the Jostaberry was. I think it’ll be a fine spot given that R. speciosum can just go deciduous if it’s too much midsummer afternoon sun. I’d rather have that, than a bunch of scorched leaves. In time, it might get a little shade from the Eucalyptus but that’s a ways off.

Next up is a wee little Ribes malvaceum ‘Dancing Tassels’ from Xera.

From Paul’s description: ” Really excellent form of Chaparral Currant with 3″ soft pink flowers that appear at any point during winter well into spring. An evergreen shrub” AND WE’RE DONE. I mean he had me at “Chaparral” but then there’s all this icing on the cake with the midwinter flowering and being evergreen. It is so cute right now!

Another one from Xera: Ribes sanguineum ‘Xera’s Lime Punch’ is just about to begin its spectacular show.

Ribes sanguineum ‘Xera’s Lime Punch’

This is a spectacular plant that I really, really like. I mean, I love our plain native R. sanguineum and this is just a more interesting form of it. Very worth growing and perfectly climate-adapted. As you can see, I’m not afraid of pink.

The last is another species somewhat new to me: Ribes viburnifolium. Acquired on a whim when my friend August offered to bring me one on a recent trip to Portland. I looked it up: Evergreen, native to Catalina and Baja, dry shade ground cover, smells like wine?! Ok, so I asked him to bring three.

And look, it’s cute. Ribes viburnifolium.

I’m giving the other two to friends who have mature firs in their gardens. Guess which tree I planted mine under…

Yep. Catalina ironwood and Catalina currant. I’m a genius.

Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius, the Catalina ironwood, of course. How could I not plant them together?!

R. viburnifolium also flowers in midwinter, and the flowers are tiny and really cute. I wonder if hummingbirds will find this – or if they will feel safe that close to the ground (and cats). Perhaps when it’s bigger.

Overall I find this a really interesting group of plants: two are winter deciduous, one is (or can be) summer deciduous, one flowers midwinter and two late winter, then the other two in early to mid-spring. One gives me fruit and the rest all give hummingbirds food. And they’re all perfectly climate-adapted and cool-looking. What’s not to like about Ribes? I guess one could complain about thorns, but I don’t care. They even tolerate dog pee better than many other plants.

Thanks for reading 🙂

April sprouts, blooms, buds, and a couple new plants

This is a post I started at the beginning of April and forgot to post.  Mostly recordkeeping…

 

Super early! First blooms on Eccremocarpus came out March 25. And a bit washed-out, color-wise. They will deepen.

Also from March 25, Pulsatilla is still flowering a month later.

Magnolia ‘Genie’ is now making leaves. A gift from a friend, I’m not sure where to site this yet. Possibly a large pot while I mull it over.

Unflippingbelievable Hellebore started blooming January 15, and on April 25 it still looks like this.

Purple sprouting broccoli knocks my socks off. It’s now in flower.

Raspberries looking great, but this will be their last year with me.

Came-with-the-house Clematis is 10′ tall now. Mild winter, no pruning.

New plant! Chamaerops humilis var cerifera or var. argentea. This will be a focal point in the backyard.

Geranium ‘Bill Wallis’ just got this from Annie’s.

G. macrorrhizum (cv unknown if it is one). All Geraniums seem very successful under my dogwood tree.

This poor thing. I hope it grows out of this as it gets taller. It’s Arctostaphylos mewukka ‘Mottley Crue’ and it sure is looking “mottley”. A month later it’s now showing new growth.  I got this at Cistus last year.

Imperial white currant starting to bloom much later than the natives.

Geum rivale is incredibly cute and I’m going to have to move it now that I know it wants more water than it’ll ever get here. Very floriferous.

Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius ‘Silver Jubilee’ – got this from Xera Plants last spring and it’s doubled in size (at least) now about to flower. YEY

Can you see how far this tiny start of Zauschneria has spread just over the winter? I planted this one here last fall.

This is Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Howard McMinn’, also from Xera, planted last year (forgot when) and you can really see why people say it’s an easier one for the garden. No mold, lots of new growth already.

My neighbor’s cherry. Brief, but so glorious. I like that some branches visit my side of the fence.

And lastly, Grevillea victoriae is making new growth! This is yet another I got from Xera last May. This is right in front of my house.

That’s it for this very belated April update.  Funny, everything’s different now, especially now that we’re having some actual HOT weather (80F right now at 2pm April 25).  Excellent excuse for a new post!