21 December 2007

Solstice

Not to be an asshole about it, but I just can't deal with these "blogging" "meme"/chainmail things. I've been doing this for a long time, and if I have something to say, I'll say it. So I have to apologize to Eurica for dropping her ball, but I do want to say this: it is easy to forget that there is anything good about the internet, but I am very thankful for the ability to learn about people on the the other side of the planet, and their amazing plants. Check out Eurica's awesome pictures of Aloe marlothii and her husband Rudi in a Namibian copper mine at the link above.

I also avoid the garden blog bloom day thing because this entire blog is about what's blooming in my garden. I don't need a special day for it.

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Anyway, when you live somewhere buried under a couple feet of ice this time of year, you imagine that all you want is a little bit of winter color. And the lemon tree does fulfill that role admirably. But when you live here, you still want flowers, because you're an unsophisticated philistine who can't be content with the timeless grace of foliage when there's shiny sex organs to display. Those of you in colder climes might not be familiar with the flowers of the Jade tree, which looked like this in my neighbor's yard this morning. Yeah, I said tree: it's about 8 feet tall.

Anyway, when I was poking around this morning, I have to admit it suddenly hit me how amazing it is to have so many things blooming on the shortest day of the year: Abutilon, Bougainvillea, Brugmansia x candida, Fatsia japonica, Fuchsia, Gardenia [!!11!], Impatiens niamniamensis (ok, that finally dropped its floweres and looks pretty sad, but I swear it was blooming last week), the lemon tree, Passiflora manicata, a bunch of Salvias and the awesome Satureja mexicana that never stops flowering, Silene, Zinnias (still, though they look like crap now)... How lucky am I?

Not lucky enough, it turns out, to have a Protea flower yet. I got a little carried away by what is actually a bunch of leaves (though in my defense their hirsute emergent leaf margins look a lot more like nascent bracts than the glabrous mature leaves):

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12 December 2007

Hello world

Oh hi. You're still here?

Have you noticed that it's cold? Hella cold, actually. Not, of course, the oh-shit-I-might-die-if-I-go-outside cold of the rest of the country (much less the the oh-shit-I-might-die-anyway-if-they-don't-turn- the-power-on icestorm cold that I hope you'll survive to waste more time on the internets), but still, lows in the 30s, which is totally uncool. Dude.

If you can't have sun, at least enjoy the palm trees. Here we have Washingtonia filifera, the only palm native to Alta California, which I used to think strikingly ugly, as I am fond of neither palmate leaves nor persistent ones. This one is kind of cute though -- it reminds me of an ice cream cone. Check out palm canyon to enjoy this species in all its splendor, such as it is.

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Right around the corner from that tree is its cousin W. robusta, the Mexican fan palm. This one's at least 80 feet tall (behold the power lines in the lower right), growing out of a small cut in the sidewalk. Again, not my favorite, but at least admirable for the sheer height. They can hit 120 feet.

I've been too busy/cold/lazy to do much in the garden except follow the progress of my S. African seed. Freesia refracta was the first to germinate, followed by the Babiana and at least 3 of the Romuleas. I'm still waiting for 4 or 5 species, with a surprising amount of patience: a few weeks ago I pulled an unruly epazote from the herb bed to discover a diminutive oregano that turned out to be the za'atar I'd broadcast and given up on at least a year ago. yay!

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