- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
- Author: Sharon L. Rico
I get excited whenever a friend knows I am a Master Gardener and wants to share plants from their garden. Our friend, Melody, has an older home that is filled with “old garden” plants. She did not know the name of this plant, just that they were taking over her yard and she wanted to thin them out.
Not sure what they were, I planted two under shade cloth across from our potting table. The first year the leaves looked pretty droopy, but now after three years in our garden they are performing. I researched and discovered they are Crinum, a perennial grown from bulbs. The blossoms look like Amaryllis belladonna on steroids.
Crinum are native to tropical parts of the world. Belonging to the Liliaceae family, they bloom in the spring or summer here, whereas they bloom year round in Hawaii. Having very large lush foliage the thick four foot stems rise from the foliage, bearing nodding clusters of trumpet shaped blossoms. Many are very fragrant. The flowers range in color from white, pink, dark pink to red and often are striped.
They like sun, but prefer some shade in Vacaville. If you can locate a retailer selling Crinum bulbs, look for pink ruffled ‘Emma Jones' or nearly red ‘Ellen Bosanquet' or ‘Carnival', which is pink with stripes of white.
If you are growing Crinum in your garden and need to divide them due to crowding, remember the Master Gardeners are having a plant exchange on September 27th, at the Cooperative Extension. I know others would love the experience of growing them in their gardens!
- Author: Betty Victor
A trip to the Mendocino coast recently was a chance to visit the Mendocino Botanical Garden.
This garden covers 47 acres with paths from each garden some down to the ocean, some that can be a challenge because of the terrain. Most of the garden is easy to manuever from path to path. The botanical garden has several gardens within it, perennial, rose, succulent, dahlia and so many more to enjoy. In one garden you will see a large metal sculpture of a honeycomb with metal bees.
There are rhododendrons that are classified as tender species in this garden. The Fort Bragg rhododendrons growing in this garden are hybridized. 'Noyo Chief' has large red blossoms and is Fort Bragg official flower. In this garden there is a 40 foot rhododendron that can have leaves up to 3 feet long in the wild.
In the camellia garden, most are mature plants and some as large as trees and rarely found in any commercial nursery.
All the gardens were wonderful to see, but maybe because here in our climate Heaths and Heathers do not grow as well as they do in the cooler, foggy areas. I thought this garden with its vibrant colored plants might be my favorite garden.
As you look at this garden you will see a metal sculpture of a tree surrounded by heaths and heathers in a variety of color.
Three of the many plants that caught my eye are:
Calluna vulgaris 'Pat's Gold', this heather has colors of pale lavender, bright gold and green through it and it is a ground cover.
Calluna vularis 'Humpty Dumpty', grows only about 1 inch tall, it is Scotch heather with bright green foliage and small white flowers.
Last but not least is Daboecia cantabrica 'St. Daboc' this is a bi-colored dwarf low growing Irish heath. It spreads to 25 inches wide about 16 inches tall with 3/8 inch flowers.
They don't just have shrubs, trees and flower at the botanical garden, they also have a vegetable garden, to protect the vegetables from deer, and this garden is surrounded by deer resistant plants.
For the hearty and adventurous, you can go through the deer gate follow a steep path through the natural area and down towards the ocean.
- Author: Jenni Dodini
1. Your garden can make you every bit as late to work as a crying child, maybe later.
2. If the thought runs through your mind that you should go change clothes before you do that one thing in the garden, you better run right then and change clothes. The garden doesn't care that what you have on may not like dirt or some other stain on it.
3. An underground creature will find a way into a pot if given enough time to think and chew on it. If said creature can not find a way in, it will probably tell some other creature about a tasty morsel that is in the pot. However, if it is a weed, NO creature will EVER touch it.
4. Treat it like a weed, and maybe it will grow like one. If you really like it, and treat it as such, it very well may die on you. Especially if you want to share it with someone. If it is a bulb that you are planning to dig up and share, some creature probably will want it too.
5. Birds and creatures will probably get too the tasty morsel the day before you do.
6. If you are not sure that a plant will like the very hot place you have decided to put it, put it in a pot. It is much easier to move when you have decided it is too darn hot, or it shows you that it doesn't like it there. Or just go sit there for a while. You know what I mean.
7. You can always see a plant that needs attention when you are trying to go somewhere. The later you are, the more attention it needs. If you are with a child, tell said child that the plant is crying and they will immediately want to take care of it, especially if it wants water. This works even when on the way to the pool or the park. However, you must be careful of being there too long or you risk getting sprayed with the hose.
8. If you stay outside long enough, your mind will wander...
- Author: Cheryl A Potts
My husband and I just completed a month long trip through five US states and two provinces of Canada. Driving with our Australian Cattle Dog, Katie, for thousands of miles in our 24 foot RV, we saw just about every kind of scenery there is. The majestic Canadian Rockies, icy formations of Glacier National Park, forests of Montana, plains of Wyoming, congregations of teepees on the Blackfoot reservation, the Pacific Ocean from the Oregon coast line, the small towns and hamlets of Everystate, large metropolitan cities booming near extensive waterways, formerly booming, now unadaptable towns dying due to changes in the economy, thousand-acred fields of brilliant yellow flowers of the canola plant in bloom in Alberta, lakes so large one cannot see the other side, and the mighty redwood trees of our own state.
Oh, yes, and the desert. Miles and miles of ancient desert, changing only occasionally through the eons, by a fence post falling or a speed zone sign acquiring new bullet holes. Browns and greys. Dust. Unnamed dark brown and grey mountains on the far horizon (or is that a mirage?). Straight, oh so very straight highways leading only to the mirage and beyond. Trucks, And more dust.
But wait! What was that? A flash of incredible color there by the side of the road. Bright red. It is a flower, a living plant actually growing, here in the heat, and dust, and no water and only trucks. "Go back, Richard! I need a picture." My good husband granted my wish, stopped the RV, backed up and took pictures of a blooming paintbrush. Sadly, the picture did not turn out well, but I became aware of a very important factor of nature. What made that plant so special to me, special enough to request stopping and asking my mate to go out in over 109 degree weather for a snapshot?.
Admittedly, were I to see that plant in any one of my Master Gardener friend's beautiful flower gardens, I would not give it a second look. I would not ask questions or request a cutting. But out in the middle of the hot, dusty, truck infested Nevada dessert, I relished the beauty and wonder of this glorious plant. It was nature tricking me by using contrast. Opposite of the seemingly lifeless grey arid dust, was this luscious living green and red example of growth, change, newness. life.
As we ventured further into this vast seemingly wasteland, the wild flowers performed perfectly. Even though it was late in the season, (July), the flowers were prolific. We saw Hooker's balsamroot, yellow ephedra, pink and red wildroses, rayless daisies, and monument plant, to name a few.
My ride through the desert branch of our trip went from secretly asking "will this ever end?" to wonderment and awe, and a new appreciation for the use of the element of contrast in my own garden.
How beautiful is a plant that grows in the desert? I do not have its courage...