Saturday, June 23, 2018

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part One

My Paso Robles Neighborhood is Bursting into  Color in June


A lot of flowers that were not yet blooming in May popped out as June began. I was going to squeeze everything blooming in my neighborhood in June into one post, but that post kept getting longer. So this post will show you what's happening in my front flower bed closest to the house. I hope you will meet at least one new flower or herb before you finish reading.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Clary Sage Flower Spikes Next to Gazanias, © B. Radisavljevic

Clary Sage Spikes Appear


Among these new arrivals are the flower spikes of clary sage that bring shades of lavender, orchid, and plum to the garden. Above they are pictured in my side flower bed with the almost ever present cheerful orange and yellow of my gazanias. These clary sage plants all were just seedlings last year, children of their mother in a pot in the front flower bed. Now these seedlings are popping into bloom in many places in my garden. Learn more about The Growth of Clary Sage.

Here's a clary sage bud that appeared the first week of June. Notice the ladybug on the left side of the plant.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Clary Sage Bud and Ladybug, © B. Radisavljevic



Here's a closer look at a bud. Its leaf also has a bug visitor.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Clary Sage Bud with Insect Visitor on Leaf © B. Radisavljevic



This was taken a week later. I got in closer to show you the details of its delicate colors. Clary sage is a plant I appreciate more when I'm not too close. It has a strong odor that I don't particularly like.


What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Clary Sage Flower in Bloom, June 2018, © B. Radisavljevic




Lily-of-the-Nile (Agapanthus) Blooms and Chard Bolts


The buds of this flower that appears each June appeared during the second  week. They pushed their way up through the Lamb's Ears, still in bloom, that surrounded them. By this time the chard was bolting. I'll give you a closer look at the seeds later.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Bolting Chard, Lamb's Ears in Bloom and Agapanthus Buds, © B. Radisavljevic



By June 21, the lily is blooming. The chard isn't as tall as it appears, since I was shooting the photo looking up at the lily. You can see more clary sage in the background.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Bolting Chard, Agapanthus Beginning to Bloom, and Clary Sage Flowers in Background, © B. Radisavljevic



Here's a closer look at the seeds of the bolting chard nuzzling up to the irises which are almost completely gone. As you see, I've trimmed a dead one off.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Bolting Chard Invading Iris Leaves,  © B. Radisavljevic



Here are some of the fading irises and the last of the pale ones to bloom.


What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Blooming and Fading Irises,  © B. Radisavljevic



More from the Front Flower Bed



The borage flowers are on the extreme right, slightly above their large leaves. It's probably obvious that the garden has been doing its own thing since the winter rains. I haven't had time to get rid of the grassy weeds or the burr clover (small yellow flowers) that want to smother everything else.

The catmint, which should bloom any day now, has escaped from its pot and seems to be holding its own, as is the borage which reseeded prolifically this year. A tiny scarlet pimpernel flower peeks out in the middle left between the burr clover and the borage leaves, even with the angel's wing.

On the upper left a single blue scabiosa (pincushion flower) pokes its head into the mix. I'll give you a better look at the individual plants below.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Garden Angel Dreams of Waking up to a Flower Bed without Burr Clover,  © B. Radisavljevic



Borage and Friends


What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Borage in Bloom,  © B. Radisavljevic



Above is a close-up of a borage flower and many buds. We are in a heat wave, and judging from the color of the leaves,  I think the borage plants are beginning to die for the year unless some more seedlings appear. That's too bad. I love throwing the flowers in my salads.


Capture June Blooms in Your Correspondence


I've put some of my borage and calendula on blank cards to share with your friends. Adorn your envelopes with roses.


Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)


What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Scabiosa at All Stages of Growth,  © B. Radisavljevic


Above is a more complete scabiosa plant than you saw above. It is a faithful bloomer during much of the year and contrasts nicely with the yellow and orange flowers like calendula and gazania which are its neighbors. In the photo you see all stages of the flower from bud to bloom to seed head. You also see a busy bee foraging on the top right.

Scarlet Pimpernel and Borage


Scarlet pimpernel can be a weed to get rid of or a flower to keep -- whichever you choose. I choose to keep it, since it's more pleasant than most weeds and helps cover the ground. I happen to like its tiny brick-red flower, though the color of those that grow in my yard seem to be more coral than red. Its leaves resemble those of chickweed. In the photo below its tiny flowers surround a borage leaf. Its own leaves are almost invisible in this photo, but you can see a flower popping out from its leaf cluster dangling over the left side of the borage leaf. It's almost the only pimpernel leaf cluster you can see not covered by the burr clover.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Scarlet Pimpernel with Borage Leaf and Burr Clover,  © B. Radisavljevic



Below, the scarlet pimpernel flowers are surrounded with budding borage and the burr clover I'm in the process of removing.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Scarlet Pimpernel with Borage Buds and Burr Clover,  © B. Radisavljevic


Have you noticed in these photos how fuzzy the borage leaves and buds are? They taste like cucumber  raw, but I only eat the flowers that aren't so fuzzy. Leaves, flowers, and stems are edible. Leaves and stems can be steamed or put into soups. Borage also has medicinal uses I haven't explored yet.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Scarlet Pimpernel with Fuzzy Borage Buds and Burr Clover,  © B. Radisavljevic


Nigella and Hyssop


Nigella is a delicate flower I discovered at Fat Cat Farm, an herb farm that later went out of business. I really miss Fat Cat Farm, since it was my go-to place to buy herbs for years. I'm glad I wrote about its history and captured its highlights with video and photos in this blog post. Read about how I discovered Nigella there in Nigella: A Wonderful Garden Surprise. The first ones I saw were blue. The ones I now grow are rose color. You will see both if you follow the link above.

My nigella is going to seed now. In the photo below you can see the large seed capsule on the left in the midst of its thread-like leaves. You can barely see its rose flower behind it. You can also see the yellow flower of the ever-present burr clover hear the top and the purple hyssop flower on the right. They are all fighting for space with the iris leaves which it's almost time to cut off. I will trim the irises when all the iris flowers finally have faded and died. I expect now that the heat of summer has arrived, the nigella will finish reseeding by popping its seed capsules and then also die.


What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Nigella Capsule Hiding Nigella Flower and Blooming Hyssop, © B. Radisavljevic

It was really hard to photograph the hyssop around the iris leaves. I cut it back last year so there's not as much to make the purple cluster so large this year. The flowers are very small, but the bees love them anyway. Hyssop usually blooms until August, and sometimes a few of the flowers linger longer.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Nigella Capsule and Blooming Hyssop and Burr Clover, © B. Radisavljevic

Hyssop can be used medicinally and in cooking. I have so far used it only ornamentally and to attract and provide forage for bees. As a member of the mint family, hyssop can be used to flavor salads and chicken soup, lamb stew, and poultry dressing. It can also be dried and used as a tea. I have not tried any of these uses yet.

Below you see my rose nigella, also called Love-in-a-Mist. Those thready leaves do make it seem somewhat ethereal. As you look at the top of the flower you can see the beginning of that large seed capsule that will soon form. There is one in the bottom right corner.

 Nigella seeds have traditionally been used to flavor foods, since their taste is said to resemble nutmeg. I have never tried them. Some scientists think they may be slightly toxic. According to Conrad Richter in Safety of Nigella Damascena Seeds, no one has presented conclusive evidence that it is or isn't safe, but he tends to believe that people would not have continued to keep using it through the generations if it had harmed them. He suggests you make up your own mind.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Nigella  Flower, © B. Radisavljevic


Carnations are in Bloom


I'm afraid my carnation plants have not done well for me here. Strangely enough, the one that still survives and blooms came from a  plant over fifty years old. You can read its history in "C" is for Carnations, an earlier post on this blog. This plant is in my front flower bed, but it has almost been smothered by its aggressive neighbors. Its siblings in the side flower bed have been smothered by the gazanias. So this is the only flower I can show you from it this year.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Light Pink Carnation in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic

Calendula


I started growing calendula (pot marigold) in Templeton about twenty years ago. I've been saving seeds every year since then, and started my plants here in Paso Robles with those seeds I collected in Templeton. I now can't imagine a garden without calendula. It blooms almost all year -- even in winter when it's almost the only color in the garden. Here's why I love it so much. If you follow the link you will see lots of photos from my garden and of how I use this plant in the kitchen. I don't want to duplicate that here, so I will just leave you with this photo to show you one of the flowers. It is surrounded by Lamb's Ears.

What Blooms in Paso Robles in June? Part 1
Calendula Flower Surrounded by Lamb's Ears, © B. Radisavljevic


I hope to finish sharing the June blooms in my garden and in my Paso Robles neighborhood with you before the end of the month. Stay tuned.

What do you have blooming in June? Do you grow anything I've shown you here? Any comments on your experiences with them?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them

What Do Plants Need to Thrive?


In order to thrive, plants need just the right conditions. As gardeners, we try to provide them. We prepare the ground, add nutrients to the soil, and plant seeds or transplants, and wait for growth. Yet more and more I'm finding God is much better than I at putting plants where they will grow when he choses. Take this gazania plant, for example.


Although I have beds containing gazanias all around my lawn, none of the individual plants are as big and beautiful as this one. God planted it in my lawn. Normally the plants spread  by runners. But this plant had to have sprouted from a seed carried by the wind. This plant has been thriving in the middle of my lawn for over a year now, and two others have appeared in other parts of the lawn since then.

Gazanias are drought resistant and almost nothing kills them. When I still had a gardener, I made him mow around this plant because I thought it was beautiful. It also inspired me because it bloomed and thrived where there were no others of its kind around it. The ground had not been irrigated for over a year and depended completely on rain most of the time. I sometimes help it a bit now if it's especially hot and dry. The soil got no extra nutrients or cultivating, and there were weedy grasses all around this gazania. Yet it continued to bloom and make beautiful flowers. What God plants, he also seems to take care of.

This gazania inspires me so much I made a greeting card out of it. The inside reads "Bloom where God planted you." We don't all get planted in the best surroundings or get the nurturing we need from those who are supposed to care for or mentor us, but that doesn't mean we can't thrive if God put us there.

g

The Kale and Lamb's Ears God Planted




God has planted a lot of kale and Lamb's Ears in my yard, but not always in my gardens. The kale plant you see above had a lot of children and grandchildren. Many turned up around the garage as second or third generation plants. They were children of the plants that landed across the driveway. This post tells the story of some of this plant's progeny.

Lamb's Ears are even more prolific than kale, if that's possible. If you have one Lamb's Ears plant, you will soon have a yard full. It multiplies faster than rabbits. You can see one clump of Lamb's Ears at the bottom of the photo above. But I didn't plant it. I only planted one of these -- in the corner by the walkway near the porch. Now the plant is everywhere. It jumped the walkway and took over in the flowerbed by the garage. It landed in this corner below. In fact I planted nothing in this section that isn't in a pot. God planted it all.

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them

In the photo above, from left to right, you see Lamb's Ears, a pink grapefruit yarrow in the pot, lemon balm in a pot and some which escaped from the pot, two tall clary sage that God planted, some small euphorbia transplants I brought over from Templeton (in the tiny pot), some iris leaves from some rhizomes I threw in a shallow cardboard box I covered with dirt and forgot about, and more Lamb's Ears sneaking around between the pots at the right end. Those irises I forgot about and never watered or fed, bloom every year. Below, I have a photo of one  in bloom. It was taken two months earlier than the photo above.

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them


Now Lamb's Ears occupies every flower bed.  It's now even beginning to take up residence in what used to be my lawn. 

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them
Lamb's Ears at Other End of Flower Bed in Photo Above. Irises are to the left and you can see a few tiny red buds of newly transplanted red valerian hiding between the Lamb's Ears and the iris leaves. 


More Unexpected Garden Volunteers


In 2013 I planted one mullein I thought was a clary sage because it was mislabeled. ( Borage, mullein, and clary sage look very much alike when young. See my post with their photos.) It grew in the front flower bed. It was the only one I ever planted. I planted one clary sage in a pot not far from it. I planted borage seeds at the other end of the bed and got a plant or two.

This year I was delighted after the rains to find that I not only had numerous clary sage babies, but I also had more mullein plants. One even sprouted in an empty pot and another in front of it. I had thrown the seeds around when the original plant died a couple of years ago. I guess some things take time. I also had my largest borage plant ever spout and thrive and it now has some babies.  I love the way it reseeds. You can see part of it below, with some of its babies at the very bottom of the photo. The bees love it. If you look carefully, you will see one foraging. That pot in front of the borage contains catmint. Some of it has escaped.



The cards below show off some of the plants God has provided for me. Most cards are blank but may have a title identifying the plant inside. You can customize them any way you want and add your own text.



I Love Having God Increase my Plants

I have not been able to spend the time I wanted to in my garden this year. The abundance of Lamb's Ears helps smoother the weeds that would otherwise take their place. Although I had hoped to plant some annuals this year, it's just not going to happen. I have too many health issues to solve and my biggest job is to keep the weeds down since my gardener quit. Because God provided so many new plant babies to fill my flower beds,  I'm going to have plenty of color during the spring and summer. 

How do you feel about volunteer plants? I've been sharing my plant babies with neighbors since I have more than I can use. I can always pull the surplus plants when I have time to replace them. I still need to plant some thyme I've rooted and some root divisions from some plants in Templeton I brought to the Paso house. So my work is cut out for me. 

Do you have any garden goals for this year?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection

It Will be Frosty Tonight


I'm so glad we found my floating row covers while we were decluttering the garage today. I've been covering plants in danger with old tee shirts for the past three nights in desperation. I've been most concerned about some root divisions of Jupiter's Beard I received just before the frosty nights started. I put some in a big  bowl of water and the little individual plants in a large pot because I didn't have any beds prepared for them yet.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection


 Floating Row Covers to the Rescue


Although I've covered the Jupiter's Beard with shirts at night, they don't look happy. It's also been a pain to cover them because I like to sleep late and my plants need the sun as soon as possible, whether I'm up or not. I'm delighted that I found my floating row covers that let the heat and light through and raise the temperature under what they cover. If it rains, they will also let the water through. Best of all, I can sleep in without worrying about uncovering my plants.

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I spread them over the bed with the potted Jupiter's Beard (Red Valerian) just before dark tonight. I weighed them down with anything heavy I had handy, including a small statue, a flower pot, and a heavy can I was about to throw out. I used clothespins to pin them to the shrubs and pot edges where handy. I won't have to get up early to remove the cover since it can stay on all day and night during this cold spell.


Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection
Floating Row Covers Protecting Plants, © B. Radisavljevic



These covers have worked for me over my raised beds in Templeton for years, but this is the first time I've used them here in Paso Robles. I like that you can choose a weight that is appropriate for the lowest temperature you expect to encounter. Since the daytime temperatures are also lower than usual, it's OK for me to leave the covers on day and night until it's warmer. I left these blooming daffodils out to look pretty, since they don't mind the cold.


I am hoping the floating row covers do the trick as they have in the past since I've weighted them down so they won't blow away. But one thing does worry me. See the neighbor kitty? He's doing more than supervising. He was also scratching around the back corner, now behind him. If he gets too curious, he could tear the edges or dislodge the weights. I wasn't counting on his presence. Fortunately the plants I most want to protect are in the middle and least likely to be uncovered.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection
Cat Supervising Placement of Floating Row Covers Protecting Plants, © B. Radisavljevic

Since I wasn't expecting to find these today, I didn't have my usual weights with me that I use in Templeton -- the abundant large rocks found all over that property. Gravel doesn't really do the trick.

When I still lived in Templeton, these floating row covers also helped me extend my growing season for my tomatoes so they could survive early frosts. See My Tomatoes Were Hit by a Late Frost in April. Remember that these covers come in different weights appropriate for different low temperatures. Be sure to pick the one that's right for your area.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection

Monday, January 15, 2018

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden

My First Daffodil of 2018


Normally my bright January colors in the garden come from calendula, but this year frost killed them all. That's why I'm so glad this daffodil decided to show up and brighten my garden a bit.

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden

As you can see, the recent rain brought the snails out, and they've got a head start on me. I was slow getting the bait out for them because I'm only now almost over the flu that had me down since mid-December. I need to get that snail bait out before they eat everything I've got.  This is what I normally use and it works well for me  when I spread it in my flowers when the ground is wet. If I'd done it right after the rain, those holes wouldn't be in my leaves now.




My Garden Is Mostly Green and Light Purple Now


The light purple flowers in bloom are rosemary, scabiosa (Pincushion Flower), and borage. Of course, two of those are herbs.

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
Rosemary in January

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
Scabiosa in January with Gazania Leaves in Background


First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
Borage Flowers in January

I don't usually see borage in bloom this early, but it reseeded last year. I'm afraid my plants have been fending for themselves since last year because I haven't had time or strength to do much for them. They have helped immensely by their reseeding. I'm hoping I'll be seeing new kale and chard plants soon. Meanwhile, I'm seeing lots of new clary sage and mullein plants. That's a reseeded mullein, one of many, in that pot above the borage in the photo above. It will be months before it blooms.

You can see below left how the mullein plant will look when it does bloom. This plant grew about six feet tall and this praying mantis pair found a home on it.



The card on the above right shows how beautiful the borage can be when it keeps its head up and is next to an orange or yellow plant like the calendula in the photo.

The image on the card below comes from my Templeton garden that has no snails because it rarely gets irrigation.



What I'm wondering now is where all those other daffodils I planted along with this the one now blooming are. This afternoon I cleared away some of the Lamb's Ears that might be obstructing them so the light can get to them, but maybe they are just taking more time than this one. I do hope more will come up and bloom by February. That's when I usually see them.

Are you growing daffodils this year? Are any of your normal January or February plants blooming earlier or later than usual this year?

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