17 January 2008


OMTFG, how can you feel so overwhelmed with work when you haven't been in the garden in weeks? I haven't even looked at the new Pacific Horticulture (except to ascertain that I've already killed one of the choicest hellebore hybrids noted therein); the latest Silverhill catalog looms over me threatening financial ruin (only after hours of painstaking research); not to mention a new source (courtesy fin de fichier) for the massive and heretofore neglected category of Ericaceae that I fear may shortly obsess me and the 5 lbs. of elemental sulphur languishing in the garage. Then there are the seeds I've already started, which are germinating as we speak, pots for which I have to locate and clean before I can even plant them out.

I think I last turned the compost in October?

Our last burst of rain brought us to around 10 inches for the year, which is pretty good, but still less than half of the "average" we'd like to get. One of the obvious ways to supplement the water supply is is to capture the runoff from your lot. More than half of the rain that I "get" washes out immediately to the street, storm drains and the bay. It would be nice to divert all of this into a massive cistern under the garage and water the garden with it all summer, but that is very, very far down the list of things I can't afford to do. So instead, I run the garage downspout into this 5 gallon bucket, which I empty into my unmortared brick patio whenever I'm not too lazy. Plus, it's so attractive.

I've been congratulating myself on this homespun groundwater recharge technique for a few years, but I decided to run the numbers (because I don't have enough to do), and every 20x I empty the bucket seems to equal an additional .1608 inches when spread over the whole garden. Revolutionary!

Of course, my math is probably wrong anyway.

Great, that photo just reminded me I need to prune the Fuchsia.

PS: California nativists might want to note the impending closure of Henry W. Coe state park, which displays its impressive collection of flora on an excellent website.

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07 January 2008


Calochortus bruneaunis
It's not really spring yet -- you can tell by the insane raking light in this early afternoon photo. But I celebrated our first real winter rain with a long night of rendering lard, preserving lemons, and starting this year's seed. I'm trying "the paper towel method" for stratification for the first time; it just seemed easier than trying to sterilize peat. Also, I had kind of a lot of seeds.

The "storm" was negligible here, but we got a nice accumulation of ~3.5 inches, which I figured out no thanks to the NWS, which has apparently abandoned its bay area weather stations. I also learned that we've had 400+ chill hours already this year, twice normal, which explains why my @#*! gas bill is so ridiculous, but not why the 'Double Delight' rose is still blooming when I should be doing its dormant pruning.


Anyway, although html tables aren't the best place to keep track of my germination rates, I'm too lazy/stupid to use Excel, so you can stop reading now. Unless you too are a huge dork. All from Northwest Native Seed.

Calochortus bruneaunisNNS 05-1211/61/7-2/52/3
C. dunniiNNS 04-651/61/7-2/162/15
C. howelliiNNS 05-1361/61/7-3/8y***
C. invenustusNNS 05-1371/61/7-3/8y
C. simulansNNS 05-1551/61/7-1/27~1/26
C. striatusNNS 05-157 (2)1/61/7-1/20~1/18
C. venustusNNS 05-1711/61/7-2/52/3
Dicentra formosa ssp. oregana D*NNS 07-1591/61/7-3/8almost?! 3/8: seed coat split and radicle visible, though not yet emerged
Dicentra formosa ssp. oregana W*NNS 07-159
n/a[potted up 1/20 because of apparent mold on elaisosomes]
Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum**NNS 06-1201/71/8-3/8y
Dodecatheon poeticum**NNS 07-1691/71/8-3/8? (too small)
Fritillaria bifloraNNS 05-345 (2)1/71/8-3/8?1
F. eastwoodiaeNNS 07-2501/71/8-3/8 y
Ipomopsis aggregata var. aggregataNNS 07-2771/71/8-3/8 y
Lilium rubescens x L. bolanderiNNS 06-3381/71/8- n
Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorusNNS 03-4051/71/8-1/17 ~1/14
Penstmon labrosusNNS 05-5481/71/8-2/5 2/3
* half the seeds stored dry, the other half moist and refrigerated (W). W moved to wet paper towel on porch for bright indirect light & diurnal temp var. 1/7

** damp sand in ziplocs; too small for paper towel.

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