Ceanothus “Blue Jeans” has whorls of deep lavender flowers. Does deep lavender mean it’s purple? I wonder about these things. Anyway, this is one of the deer-resistant holly-leaf ceanothuses. Forms a dense shrub that is just coming into a full flush of bloom.
Pt. Reyes Lupines threatened by invasive beach grass, with the help of a cute little native mouse.
It’s a battle between an invasive plant and a native plant, but with a new twist. The two plants, European beachgrass and Tidestrom’s lupine, are not in direct competition, and yet the beachgrass is helping to drive the lupine over the cliff.
European beachgrass provides cover that allows a timid deer mouse to get close enough to the lupine to snip off stalks of lupine fruits without being nabbed by overflying birds.
It’s been 7 years since we’ve featured this plant at the Cactus Jungle. You can see the older photo from 2005 if you click the link above. So much has changed in 7 years. Including my name. You can now call me Bob.
These are a smaller ribes than the blooming ribes I posted a couple days ago. It only gets 2 to 3 feet tall, but will grow wide. You can let it go wild to about 8 ft. if you choose.
Prefers some shade, can survive well in our local clay soils with no watering through the summer drought.
The edible fruits are a tangy currant. I don’t really know that, I just thought I should write something about the fruits, since they are edible, although the plant is really grown for the flowers. The book says they don’t fruit further inland, but we’re coastal so we’ve seen the fruit. And the birds will eat them right up.
…that the short post I posted last week could use a little more filling out.
Mexican Palo Verde Tree
Now I can understand if you liked the original “Short Post” as it was, but you know, it was inevitable that I would photograph the tree when it came into bloom, and then I would be forced to type a full post about it.
It’s spiny, small-leafed, and very low-water too.
It’s the Mexican version, because, you know, the California native Palo Verde doesn’t grow in N. Cal. We’ve killed about a dozen babies trying to get them to grow, but please don’t tell the woman who sold them to us, because she was very protective of them and didn’t want to sell them to someone who would kill them and we convinced her we would take good care of her babies, and then BAM! we go and kill them anyway, so now it’s Mexican Palo Verde or bust.
The California desert can come alive with cactus flowers late in the summer when the rain is just right.
The nipple cactus blooms in response to summer rains in the deserts of California. James Cornett/Special to The Desert Sun
Recently, I was hiking over a remote desert mountain range in eastern Riverside County. I was looking for one of California’s rarest species of cactus, Graham’s nipple cactus, Mammillaria grahamii. To find it one doesn’t actually look for the cactus but rather its flower. This is the state’s only cactus species that predictably blooms in response to summer rains and it has rained a lot this summer in the deserts of California.
Read on for the tale of California’s three Mammillaria species.
I see we have more native wildflower perennials in bloom. I see that the photos keep coming, no matter.
This one smells really nice – the fragrant leaves make a nice tea. The lavender flower whorls make this a Bay Area garden favorite. Not to mention that it’s deer resistant and attracts butterflies. This plant has everything. But wait! Don’t make your wildflower decisions yet! Did I mention it makes an herbal tea? I did? What was that, kid? I can’t hear you, speak up a bit. Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!
OK, so it’s not really called lavender sage. It’s Official Common Name is Musk Sage, but that’s just nasty.
Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gilman’
Aromatic grey green leaves are topped with whorls of lavender blooms. The shrub will get to about 3 ft., and not an inch more.
It’s history is all Bay Area. First found in a Strybing Arboretum sale, later found growing in a Berkeley garden, and introduced into the nursery trade in 1990. This is considered by many to be a hybrid, unlike other more common varieties like “Allen Chickering”. On the other hand, “Allen Chickering” smells delicious.
Lewisia cotyledon “Regenbogen” has these weirdly vibrant flowers. They supposedly come in a variety of colors and striping too, but all of our babies we’ve been growing have bloomed in this color, so far.
It’s definitely been Lewisia season for the past 6 weeks or so. The rains the last couple days have stopped the show, but I presume when we get sun again, soon enough, they’ll be bursting out again.
This is one of the more attractive dudleyas we’re growing. Fat green leaves with bright red edges, and these spectacular bloom displays – as much for the red color of the bloom stalks as for the pale yellow flowers.
Dudleyas were named for famed Stanford forester (and botanist) William Russell Dudley.
Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn” is a really nice, deeply-red-barked, twisted-branched medium-height California-native manzanita that has a large showing of pink-tinged bell-shaped blooms this time of year.
They are not to be used as a border plant, as they are only to be used as a centerpiece for a small garden. OK, you can also use them as a feature plant in a larger garden. And they can occasionally be brought indoors in colder areas to be a houseplant sitting in a very bright window, but never in a green pot. Mustard and Burnt Umber are the preferred pot colors.
They can also be bonsai’ed, but that will take a lot of work to reestablish and maintain.
Arctostaphylos “Austin Griffiths” is a really nice hybrid with gorgeous large leaves that gets 10 to 12 ft. tall – the perfect size for a Berkeley yard. Full bloom on these is a lot of flowers for a long time – 6 weeks or more. If you don’t like manzanitas in general, then this is not the plant for you. Hah! Everyone loves manzanitas!
Arctostaphylos “Sunset” has normal Manzanita flower clusters and pretty red berries in spring, if we ever get a real winter around these parts. I wonder what will happen berry-wise without rain. The birds will be hungry.