Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zinfandel Photos in Templeton

I live in Highway 46 West Wine Country in the Heart of the Templeton Gap. It seems conditions here are perfect for growing Zinfandel grapes. That's why so many wineries in this area make outstanding  Zinfandel wines. Many of them are my neighbors. One of those neighbors is Castoro Cellars. Below are some of their Zinfandel grapes awaiting harvest.

Zinfandel Photos in Templeton
Photo of  Zinfandel Grapes in Vineyard at Castoro Cellars, © B. Radisavljevic


Another neighbor, Peachy Canyon Winery, is also known for its Zinfandel wines. It had at once time a small demonstration vineyard across from the tasting room that grew some Zinfandel grapes. See it below.

Zinfandel Photos in Templeton
Photo of  Zinfandel Grapes in Small Vineyard at Peachy Canyon Winery, © B. Radisavljevic

The last photos I will feature of Zinfandel grapes are from another close neighbor, Rotta Winery. I can climb their hill and look down and see my house. Unlike the other vines I showed you from Castoro and Peachy Canyon, the Rotta vines are head-trained. They can look a bit wild when they are at their leafiest, but I like them. Here is a vine I photographed as grapes were fairly ripe.

Zinfandel Photos in Templeton
Photo of Head-Trained Zinfandel Grapes from Rotta Vineyard, © B. Radisavljevic

Below is a close-up of the leaves and fruit.

Zinfandel Photos in Templeton
Photos of Almost Ripe Zinfandel Grapes from Rotta Vineyard, © B. Radisavljevic


If you found this post interesting, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of the post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning. All photos in the collage were taken at Peachy Canyon Winery.

Zinfandel Photos in Templeton

This is my last post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy
E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers
G is for Gazania
Hollyhocks are Edible
Irises Are Garden Survivors
Jupiter's Beard: A Mystery Finally Solved
Kale for Lunch
Lion's Tail - A Perennial Summer Burst of Orange
Miner's Lettuce is Tasty and Free"Naked Ladies" Bloom in August
Oleander through the Year
Plant Pests and their Predators: Aphids and Ladybugs
Quince Fruit from Blossom to Table
Roses Are Not Just Red
Sages Add Color and Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Tansy and Fruity Teucrium Can be Garden Friends
Urushiol Will Make You Itch
Vetch Runs Wild
Weeds I Love to Hate
Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping

Yarrow is an Ideal Xeriscaping Plant


Yesterday I wrote about xeriscaping  and showed you some examples. Although I didn't recognize yarrow in any of them, I wasn't able to go onto private property for a closer look. Still, yarrow is ideal for xeriscaping because it is drought tolerant, spreads to fill available space, and adds color to the garden in season.  What you see below is along the Charolais Corridor Trail in Paso Robles

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Insects on Yellow Yarrow, © B. Radisavljevic



Yarrow in Paso Robles Xeriscapes


If you are on the lookout for it, you will see a lot of yarrow in Paso Robles and the rest of the North County. Both the shot above and the one directly below were taken on the Charolais Corridor Trail between South River Road and Riverbank Lane, ending just across from an entrance to Larry Moore Park. The photo below was taken at the entrance to the trail on Riverbank Lane. On most of the trail, yarrow is mixed with cistus (the pink, purple flowers), rosemary, and cotoneaster. Between them, there is color in almost every season.

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping with  Yarrow, © B. Radisavljevic

In autumn, the yarrow flowers dry well and can be used in dry flower arrangements. They are still adding interest even when dry along this trail and at Larry Moore Park, where, as I recall, they have also planted yarrow. I didn't have time to check today to see if it's still there.

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Dried Yarrow on Trail, © B. Radisavljevic

Another place I've noticed seeing yarrow in the city is on South Vine Street east to of the Marriott Hotel, in the landscaping of the recently built dental building with the solar panels on the roof. This photo was taken there.


Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping with  Yarrow on South Vine, © B. Radisavljevic


Insects Are Attracted to Yarrow


In the top photo taken along the trail, you saw at least one fly and another insect which may also be a type of fly. Below is another shot from the xeriscape at the dental  building on South Vine. There you see a very content bee on the yellow yarrow.

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Bee on Yellow Yarrow, © B. Radisavljevic


Yarrow Comes in Many Colors


The most common color I see is the yellow, as in the photos above. Common yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) often grows wild with a white flower. The Sunset Western Garden Problem Solver lists it as a weed because it grows wild and is often invasive. I haven't seen it growing wild and white yet. My own yarrow plant, which I currently have confined to a container, is red. It's called a grapefruit yarrow. It is just starting to bloom this week.

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Grapefruit Yarrow, © B. Radisavljevic


I've also seen beautiful yarrow plantings at some wineries. I honestly don't remember at which one I took the picture below. The yarrow appears to be next to some sage and lavender, judging just from their leaves.

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping
Yarrow in Mixed Colors, © B. Radisavljevic


Cultivation and Uses of Yarrow

Yarrow likes to grow in the sun. It needs some irrigation until it is established, but then it can usually get along with rain water. It likes a moderately rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.1. It is hardy to Zone 2. Yarrow can adapt to a variety of soils, as long as you don't let its feet get too wet.

Yarrow grows easily from seed, but I started with a nursery plant from a local organic grower. You can divide yarrow plants in spring and fall. I will probably divide mine and put some into a flower bed next fall.

According to Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, people have used yarrow for over 60,000 years. Archaeologists discovered it in fossils in Neanderthal burial caves. Since then people have found many uses for it medicinally, and cosmetically. It has been used for crafts and to make dye. It is said that when planted near other herbs, it will increase the essential oils they produce. This has not been proved.

If you'd like to try growing yarrow, why not look through Amazon's amazing variety of seed choices. I may even get some seed myself, just to try some new colors. Maybe I'll redo my lawn with yarrow, sage, lavender, euphorbia, and rosemary. I'll leave that decision for another day.

If you found this post useful, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of the post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning. The yarrow photos in the collage were all taken along the Charolais Corridor Trail. 

Yarrow is Ideal for Xeriscaping

This is my twenty-fifth post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy
E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers
G is for Gazania
Hollyhocks are Edible
Irises Are Garden Survivors
Jupiter's Beard: A Mystery Finally Solved
Kale for Lunch
Lion's Tail - A Perennial Summer Burst of Orange
Miner's Lettuce is Tasty and Free"Naked Ladies" Bloom in August
Oleander through the Year
Plant Pests and their Predators: Aphids and Ladybugs
Quince Fruit from Blossom to Table
Roses Are Not Just Red
Sages Add Color and Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Tansy and Fruity Teucrium Can be Garden Friends
Urushiol Will Make You Itch
Vetch Runs Wild

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas

Many homeowners in California are discovering xeriscaping -- landscaping that does not depend heavily on irrigation. Ideally it should be able to exist on rainfall once it becomes established. Until then, it usually utilizes drip irrigation. Xeriscapes are normally heavily mulched to conserve the water in the soil. I'd like to show you how some of my neighbors have used xeriscaping to replace part or all of their lawns. Xeriscaping is essential in dry areas like Paso Robles where watering restricted.  


Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas

That's why I'm moving in that direction in my own yard. So far I've only gotten as far as no longer watering the lawns and adding only drought-resistant flowers and shrubs. Many of my neighbors have already removed their lawns and replaced them. The yard above even looked bright in December. Below is a February xeriscape of a side yard that runs between a homeowner fence and the street.

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas


Keep in mind that most of these xeriscapes are less than two years old. The herbs which are most often used have not had time to grow and fill their allotted spaces yet.

Another neighbor terraced what was his lawn area and is planting drought resistant flowers, shrubs, and herbs. He's just getting started here on February 25, 2016.

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas


Here's the view today, April 28, 2016. There's been a lot of growth in just two months.

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas


My favorite neighborhood xeriscape is in full bloom. I won't show you the February photo, even though that also looks good. I'd rather give you more views of how it looks on this end of April day. Here's the first view from the front of the house.

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas


After taking the shot above, I walked to the corner to take this diagonal shot that shows more of the plants.

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas

Then I turned the corner and took this side view shot from Riverbank Lane. It gives you the best view of the olive tree in the corner near the garage. You see the olive tree in every photo.

Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas


Now I'm looking back diagonally toward the cross street. It doesn't matter from which direction you look, the view is colorful. In February the garden was quite empty in comparison. I think many of these yards are works in progress, and I can hardly wait to see them next year when the shrubs and groundcovers fill out more.


Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas

As you see, drought-resistant planting can be beautiful. I personally like this much better than  a lawn. I hope my lawn looks a bit more like it in a couple of years.

Have you started xeriscaping yet?  These books provide some great help in showing you how to xeriscape your yard and replace your lawn with native and drought resistant plants.







If you found this post useful, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of the post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning.
Xeriscaping is Essential in Dry Areas

This is my twenty-fourth post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy
E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers
G is for Gazania
Hollyhocks are Edible
Irises Are Garden Survivors
Jupiter's Beard: A Mystery Finally Solved
Kale for Lunch
Lion's Tail - A Perennial Summer Burst of Orange
Miner's Lettuce is Tasty and Free"Naked Ladies" Bloom in August
Oleander through the Year
Plant Pests and their Predators: Aphids and Ladybugs
Quince Fruit from Blossom to Table
Roses Are Not Just Red
Sages Add Color and Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Tansy and Fruity Teucrium Can be Garden Friends
Urushiol Will Make You Itch Weeds I Love to Hate

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Weeds I Love to Hate

I have written several posts about weeds I appreciate. I was going to sum them up here, but there were just too many of them and time is short tonight. Instead I will show you the weeds I love to hate. Two of them are beautiful in their season but too poisonous for me to want close to the house or in the garden and orchard areas.  The third is not poisonous -- but ugly and hard to pull. These are the weeds I love to hate. We'll start with poison oak, pictured below.


I have written extensively about poison oak and how to identify it and deal with it, so I won't repeat that here. Some of those articles are in the related links below.

It's hard to get rid of poison oak once it has made its home on your property. We have too much to get it all out, so we tolerate what grows far from the house in places humans rarely go. We do have a couple of plants that like to come back every year and live under this pyracantha shrub, right near the trunk. We had gotten rid of them when this picture was taken, but they have come back again this year and will have to be sprayed. Poison oak  is the one plant I will spray if it's growing where people are likely to be.

Weeds I Love to Hate
Pyracantha Shrub Poison Oak Likes to Grow Under, © B. Radisavljevic


The second plant I would like to get off my property is poison hemlock, another plant I've written a lot about in other places. (See Poison Hemlock: Lovely and Lethal.) It is lovely, but it is also very deadly if ingested. It's what killed Socrates.

The individual plants aren't too hard to pull, but one should wear gloves. The problem is that the plants don't come alone. They come in multiples and make a forest if they grow up. They resemble some vegetables and herbs, so one has to be careful. Poison hemlock has a sickening smell, unlike wild carrots or parsley, which it resembles.  It is pictured here intermingling with the weed I hate the most -- a grassy weed.

Weeds I Love to Hate
Poison Hemlock Growing with Grassy Weeds, © B. Radisavljevic


 Why do I hate the grassy weeds? Unlike poison hemlock, which has a long tap root like a carrot, the grasses have a root system that doesn't want to budge. Once they get a few inches tall they are a real pain.

When I started to redo my front yard in Paso Robles, these grassy weeds had made a home there and intermingled with the roots of the juniper bush and calendula. You can see it in the photo below.

In  photo #1, top left, you see the grass coming from under the juniper bush.

In photo #2, top right, you see the grass close up, stubbornly staying put while I'm trying to pull it. I actually broke my weeding tool trying to get it out.

In photo #3, bottom left, after I finally dug it out, you  can see the root system. Each root clings to its own bit of ground and resists any effort to remove it.

In photo #4, bottom right, is a grassy weed I almost had cleaned out, but it is intertwined with the roots of my calendula and I could not pull the weed without pulling the flower out.

I should also mention that I tried to pull the weeds without gardening gloves that would protect my arms above the wrists. Juniper bushes are sharper than I had realized. I have since gotten better gloves for when I need to work around the juniper and the roses.  I also purchased and now use a garden kneeler so I can be more comfortable weeding on my knees. I have arthritis, and this helps. Here's my review of the garden kneeler I use. 



Weeds I Love to Hate
Pulling a Grassy Weed, © B. Radisavljevic

This is why I hate the grassy weeds the most. I usually have several species of them competing for space. I try to put them when they are small, but while I had restricted activities after all my surgeries the past two years, the weeds got a head start. The gardener here at least trims the tops of those that grow apart from the plants I want. I believe I will smother them with black  plastic next autumn, or even before that. I've pretty much given up gardening in Templeton.


Which weeds do you most love to hate? 

If you found this post useful, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of the post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning. You see the poison hemlock and grassy weeds growing together in our orchard in Templeton. 

Weeds I Love to Hate

This is my twenty-third post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy
E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers
G is for Gazania
Hollyhocks are Edible
Irises Are Garden Survivors
Jupiter's Beard: A Mystery Finally Solved
Kale for Lunch
Lion's Tail - A Perennial Summer Burst of Orange
Miner's Lettuce is Tasty and Free"Naked Ladies" Bloom in August
Oleander through the Year
Plant Pests and their Predators: Aphids and Ladybugs
Quince Fruit from Blossom to Table
Roses Are Not Just Red
Sages Add Color and Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Tansy and Fruity Teucrium Can be Garden Friends
Urushiol Will Make You Itch

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vetch Runs Wild

Vetch is considered a weed by most, or a wild flower. There are several varieties. I believe what grows here is common vetch, as opposed to hairy vetch, although as I look at more of my photos I think we have both. Some farmers cultivate vetch as a cover crop because it adds nitrogen to the soil. Most of what we see in vacant places has escaped this cultivation, and this vetch runs wild wherever conditions are right for its growth. It blooms in spring.

Vetch Runs Wild
Vetch Along Trail in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
.
The many vetches are all in the pea family and their flowers look like tiny sweet peas. They mix well with their  relatives, clover and lupine and other wildflowers in the spring for an attractive display. If I find them intruding on my garden, I usually let them live, since beneficial insects love them. Below you see vetch playing with its clover cousin.

Vetch Runs Wild
Vetch with Clover, © B. Radisavljevic


In the next  photo, vetch, clover, and lupine mingle. As you can see, lupine tends to steal the show when it appears. The wild grasses try to diminish them all by hiding them.

Vetch Runs Wild
Vetch with Clover and Lupine, © B. Radisavljevic

I think vetch looks best when accompanied by other members of its family. Alone, it is undisciplined and just runs wild, as you see below.

Vetch Runs Wild
Vetch Running Wild and Free, © B. Radisavljevic


If you found this post useful, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of the post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning.

Vetch Runs Wild

Do you have vetch on your property? Is it welcome? Or do you consider it an intruder? Do you enjoy seeing it mixed with wildflowers in open spaces?

This is my twenty-second post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy
E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers
G is for Gazania
Hollyhocks are Edible
Irises Are Garden Survivors
Jupiter's Beard: A Mystery Finally Solved
Kale for Lunch
Lion's Tail - A Perennial Summer Burst of Orange
Miner's Lettuce is Tasty and Free"Naked Ladies" Bloom in August
Oleander through the Year
Plant Pests and their Predators: Aphids and Ladybugs
Quince Fruit from Blossom to Table
Roses Are Not Just Red
Sages Add Color and Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Tansy and Fruity Teucrium Can be Garden Friends