March 19, 2012

A Coastal California Garden in Boston? Maybe.

I'm a risk-taker. So I can't help myself with all of the unseasonably warm and record-breaking weather in the eastern US, I've been moved to plant a Californian garden in what was my alpine garden - might as well lean into whole global warming thing! I've been addicted to Annie's Annuals ( try ordering from them....their plants are impressive), and with two orders arriving this week complete with hard-to-grow annuals for those of in the North East, I am cheating a bit, and planting some already started plants of Schizanthus, Nemophila, Clarkia's, Alonsoa and more, hoping that since we have not has a frost in two weeks, that maybe it will stay cool and frost free until mid-June.

A Schizanthus grahamii from Annie's Annuals, grown in California, it arrives in a 4" pot, as if I started it in November. A little bit of luxury  for my raised rock bed.

Linaria reticulata and a few species of Clarkia are protected on the coldest nights with cloches. With weather this mild, I will not need these protective domes for long. But here is the risk, it the weather turns cold and snowy again, all might be lost ( we've had over a foot of snow on April 1st), but if the weather turn hot sooner than normal, I too can lose all of these Californian plants, for they love a long, cool spring - most are grown as winter annuals in the San Francisco area and they dislike hot, humid weather. A hot dry summer, might be OK for some of these, as they can be drought tolerant, but it will be the humidity that will do them in. My hopes? That this weather will just stay as it has been. 65 deg. f and 48 deg. at night until the end of May.......rrrrrright. Hey, you won't be laughing at me if this garden takes off - especially with all of the annual poppy seed, and other annual  seed such as Eschscolzia, and Agrostemma that's I have also sown in here. Dude....get my surf shorts.

Mathiola seedlings ( Fragrant Stock) have been moved outdoors to take advantage of the fresh breezes and the mild weather.

In the foreground, a Primula auricula peeks through a new layer of pea gravel, that I used to top-dress the alpine bed. Every few years, the bed needs a new "mulch' of stone, this year, about 3 inches worth was needed. Many alpines are scree plants, and they develop long necks unless they get a new layer of rock - they are designed that way. The screes are tight valleys in the mountains, and stones naturally crumble and fall down, collecting in the scree bed, which is essentially a gravel and rock garden. Daphne shrubs and many alpine primula benefit from the extra stone mulch rather than re-setting the plants higher.Stones are placed right up to where the bare stems start to form leaves, allowing the plants to stay 'in character'.

A South African bulbs ( corm) plant in bloom - Melaspharulea ramosa. Only one species in the genus, it is in the iris family.

A gladiolus species, G. viridescens blooms in a pot in the greenhouse. It is one of the last of the winter blooming species to bloom.

A Kalanchoe pumilla in a clay pot, blooming, it's pink blossoms look nice against the white powdery foliage. After blooming, it will be cut back to cuttings so that I can plant a large, hanging moss basket with it.This was a rescue plant that I got last year. Already, one of my Cyclamen seedlings as made a home in it!

1 comment :

  1. I think the heat will be worse than the cold (as long as the cold isn't too bad and isn't for long periods of time). Can't wait to see how your experiment turns out. I'll be really mad if your California annuals look better than mine though!


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