01 May 2007

Some of my favorite things

The timeline was like this: I read Atul Gawande's article on geriatrics on Saturday, gardened all day Sunday, and woke up immobilized with neck pain on Monday (this may have been caused by sleeping in a bad position and not programmed cell death, but still: shaving the other day I could practically see the collagen disintegrating before my eyes, and especially around them). I should also be in a foul mood because my favorite plant sale was so crowded on Friday that I had to bail completely.

But it turns out that I have enough plants at the moment to keep me busy, and more importantly, entertained. The beschorneria flowers, of course, started to open as soon as I took my mom to the airport, but at least she got to enjoy the spike (or more likely, stare at it and wonder why anyone would plant such a thing next to a Euphorbia).

The kangaroo paw hasn't opened yet, but I'm sure it was still weird enough to freak her out. I took advantage of the visiting labor to get the new Agave planted in the exact spot where I killed the old one; it wasn't root bound, thank god, but (speaking of paws) it still managed to inflict a kind of Oedipal stigmata on me (not that, you freak, the foot wounds).

Although I still call this the Protea bed, that plant is now outnumbered by all the other stuff I've put in, including, on the day of neck armageddon, this "buckwheat" in the middle, which is intended to spread out between the more statuesque plants. It is, as far as I know, a real Eriogonum grande var. rubescens -- unless it's the E. latifolium I bought at the same time... now I'm confusing myself. The leaves are really cool looking right now, but I can see how they might cross the line without sufficient water. It will be interesting to see how these plants do in the absence of phosphorus, which is poisonous to the Proteas. I expect the Anigozanthos will be fine, but I'm a little concerned about the others.

Meanwhile, in the bulb bed, it's becoming clear that the California fuchsia [Epilobium/Zauschneria 'catalina'] I had wanted to serve a similar function to the buckwheat is not going to work. I wanted something to look at after the bulbs die down, but this plant finally decided that it is going to get big -- only after I moved it of course. I got a 'Select Mattole' from the penultimate plant sale, which might stay low enough to do the trick, although I'm not sure how it will like summers completely devoid of supplemental water.

One thing I've finally figured out is that Monardella macrantha does like a fair amount of water. I also put one of these on the edge of the bulb bed last fall, hoping it would play well with the bulbs. The jury is still out on that, but I don't care -- I'm going to put it everywhere, I love it so much.


Christ it takes a long time to write this crap and I just reminded myself I have to get out of jury duty. If I have time I'll have to tell you about the tomatoes and Asteraceae later.

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Blogger chuck b. said...

I love Monardella macrantha. It's really thirsty tho'. I lost it last year when I went to the east coast for a week in September.

(Funny thing tho', I thought it came back and I was carefully watering and cooing over this plant that turned out to be a ligustrum volunteer. Gack! A friend set me straight, but the foliage was sure a close resemblance.)

5/01/2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger chuck b. said...

Your buckwheat looks more like E. grande 'Rubescens' than latifolium to me. The latifolium foliage is usually more compact.

5/01/2007 11:33 PM  
Blogger mmw said...

Chuck, that's funny -- both of the monardellas I got last year had some serious volunteers in their pots -- and one was such a good leaf mimic I almost let the monardella die before pulling it out.

I'm pretty sure you're right about the buckwheat, but I forgot to check the tags again.

5/02/2007 11:26 AM  
Blogger mmw said...

Yes, it's E. grande, according to the tags -- but the leaves are smaller than the one labeled E. latifolium.

5/04/2007 12:45 PM  

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