Saturday, November 20, 2010

Container Water Gardens talk

I was pleased to be able to give a talk recently at the Montelindo Garden Club. The topic was container water gardening and it was spurred by an article I'd had published in the SF Chronicle on that topic back in June of this year. For those of you who missed the article the first time, or who might want to look at some of the photos that appeared with the article (more online than in the paper itself), here is the link to the container water gardens story.
I also mentioned to those at the meeting that I'd post some plants that those looking to construct a water feature could use. Here's that list:

Upright (vertical) Plants
Acorus calamus
Cyperus alternifolius (Papyrus)
Equisetum (Horsetail)
Irises -- ensata, fulva, Siberian, pseudacorus
Juncus (Rush)
Lobelia cardinalis
Sagittaria (Arrowhead)
Sarracenia (Pitcher plant)

Marginals (broader-leaved usually)
Caltha (Marsh marigold)
Carex elata or C. aquatilis
Colocasia/alocasia (Elephant ears/taro)
Mimulus (water loving species)

Cascading plants
Houttuynia (especially the variegated variety)
Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny)
Ranunculus repens (Creeping buttercup)

Floating plants
Azolla (Mosaic plant)
Parrot's Feather
Water hyacinth
Water lettuce

Egeria (Anacharis)
Parrot's Feather

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back in the flow

Some of you may have noticed a recent absence in my posting. I've been recovering from oral surgery and busy with other non-gardening issues (ahh, life) and am just now getting back to my favorite routines. I'm afraid my garden has suffered a bit as well though it's still showing off some late summer color. I still however have been enjoying the variety of birds that have been visiting my garden and today I spotted my first Common red-shafted flicker, a very exciting event for bird watchers. My two jays are still coming to the kitchen window to retrieve the whole peanuts I leave for them each morning. And the new suction cup feeder, containing hulled sunflower seeds and peanut pieces, is proving very popular with a variety of finches and the occasional oaktit.
Gardening wise, this is a good time for clean-up and saying goodbye to the annuals that provided so much color during the spring and summer. Fall is the best time to plant pansies, violas, snapdragons and delphiniums for sunny areas. And there's no lack of choices for shade either. Cyclamen and primroses are excellent choices for a splash of color. Perennial wise, think about adding one or more varieities of plectranthus for those of you in zones 10 or 11. Then there's hardy fuchsia species, hellebores (Lenten rose), Japanese anemones, a variety of ferns, asarums and shade loving campanulas. Fall and winter is the time to plant shrubs, whether sun loving (azaleas, correas, coprosmas, ceanothus etc.) or part shade (rhodies, camellias, hydrangeas, mahonias, sarcococcas). And of course it's time to plant spring blooming bulbs. Don't forget to make note of where you buried these bulbs!
So get out there you lazy bums. Gardening is a year round pleasure (job?) here in the Bay Area and planning ahead yields great rewards. This is also an excellent time to plant perennials and ground covers, getting them established for the spring.
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