Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Breaking News! Blow-out Plant Sale of the Year!

 Alright, Fall planters get ready!  This weekend I received the following email from Pete at East Bay Wilds (via the EBCNPS google group):

Due to the sale of the property where my nursery is, I'm going to close my castro valley location in September.

I will have a big sale - 50% off everything on saturday and 75% off everything left on sunday until 3 pm on sept 25th and 26th.  most everything left at 3 pm on sunday, I'll sell for absolute minimal - $1-$3 or free!  I have moved plants, although many of my best ones are at my nursery in oakland - all the manzanitas, many ceanothus, dendromecons, pickeringias, etc..will stay in oakland

There are loads of others including many unusual plants at the castro valley location - many different coffeeberries, most buckwheats, mock oranges, penstemons, yucca whippleii and baccata, lots of native cacti, madrones, rhamnus illicifolias, many oaks, buckeyes, styrax, bay laurels, bayberries, mountain mahoganies, california walnuts, many ribes species, zauschnerias, eryngiums, goldenrods, asters, succulents, many, many grasses and many more plants of all kinds. 

If someone would like to know whether I have something in particular, I can answer people individually but I prefer email to telephone if possible.  I won't be able to reserve anything for pickup on that weekend or afterwards - just beforehand and not at the 50%/75% discounts. However, I will give 25% discounts on everything at the Castro Valley location until then.  in addition to the plants, I have lots of interesting garden props - pottery, antiques [old stuff is probably a better term], some fencing, gates, interesting rocks and wood for sale at the same big discounts.

In order to express my thanks for so many of you who have been wonderful customers over the years, I will be giving away one plant to everyone who comes [mostly soaproot lilies, but something similar, if I run out of those].

I'm going to keep my oakland nursery going and I'm still looking for a good location closer to my home in east oakland or alameda for a larger one - in case anyone knows of something.  it seems like w/ all these empty lots and warehouses everywhere around here I should have found something by now, but I haven't found the right place yet.  I just need lots of sun and water and if possible, a little office space.

Please help spread the word about the sale if you could.  Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.



Saturday, September 25 from 10 am until 4 pm

50% off entire inventory

Sunday, September 26 from 10 am until 3pm - AFTER 3pm, prices will be slashed down to next to nothing.

75% off entire inventory

Directions will be posted at www.eastbaywilds.com on September 22nd.

I'd like to thank Bob and Caroline Sparks for so generously sharing their land in Castro Valley with us for the past four years.  They've been amazingly great  'neighbors' for all of us at East Bay Wilds and we will miss seeing them regularly.

Pete Veilleux
East Bay Wilds

photo botanical guide of California Native Plants: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastbaywilds/sets/
to see some photos of the spring bloom, 2010: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastbaywilds/sets/72157623927299047/
to see photos of our new work, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastbaywilds/collections/72157600017422082/

Ok, me again.  Who's carpooling with me?  I've got a whole truck to fill and my honey will be very mad if I fill it all myself...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Next, Please!

 Brodeaia found at Castle Rock (Mt. Diablo)

I wouldn't be a fanatical gardener if I didn't almost totally neglect the fabulous late show of Zauschnerias and Eriogonums currently dazzling the garden to ponder the age old conundrum, "What's next?"  The answer?  Why, bulbs of course!  Bulb purchasing always whips me up into a frenzy while turning the pages of my catalog or comparing bloom times in online forums. 

 'Jenny' Daffodil

They're so beautiful, the photos seem unreal- the abundance of flowers and bright colors.  It reminds me of the touch-ups and Photoshopping that takes place on models in magazines.  Can that really happen in my garden?!  Well, yes!  Allow me to offer a few tips:

Brodeaia ida-maia

I'm usually swayed by the pricing, so I tend to under-order.  Doesn't 100 bulbs sound like a lot?  Sometimes it's actually not enough!  However, I do know other folks who over-order, so my best advice would be to ask another gardener (one who will have no role in helping you plant the bulbs) if it sounds like too little or too much if you're unsure.  Close spacing can really make an impact, but not so close that the bulbs touch each other- it can lead to rot.

'Thalia' Daffodil after a rain shower

Mix in large and small bulbs together, but keep an eye out for bloom times and plant height. California native bulbs tend to bloom later, so a carpet of low-growing annuals such as Meadowfoam or Baby Blue eyes can help bridge the time between when the Manzanitas bloom and the Salvias bloom.

Calochortus superbus

If you're worried that some of the Tulips or Daffodils will not be California dreamin', catalogs usually mention if the varieties work well in the South (ie, grow in warmer climates).  Here's a few links to some online shops:

John Scheepers has selection and pretty good pricing.  They carry many natives under the "Best of the Rest" category if you're not finicky about hybrids or getting California natives from Connecticut by way of Holland.

I've never purchased from them, but Far West Bulb Farm carries the more unusual native varieties (plus they're sourced locally and ethically).

I also googled my way to Telos Rare Bulbs, who sells native, S. African and S. American varieties.  They have a blog, too to help facilitate my obsession!

I've never had luck with Tulips around here, so I haven't grown any in quite some time.  Anyone have advice to share?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happiness Is...

Happiness is Clematis ligusticifolia sweetly blooming in honor of your birthday.  So lovely!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Relax! It's Time For Arnold Palmers

Ah, the official beverage of hot weather!  Make half a pitcher of sun tea (I use Earl Grey and this time tossed in a pinch of dried lavender flowers) and combine with half a pitcher of lemonade.  Ice well and drink throughout the afternoon.

I couldn't detect the lavender; perhaps next time I'll go to the trouble of constructing a cheesecloth bundle and adding more in. 

The weather on my phone claims it will be 101 degrees today- keeping in mind that it is 90 percent of the time wrong, I'm still giddy with delight by the idea.  The fog has slinked off to somewhere else!  Hooray! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Harvest Year In Review

Harvest time has come upon us and what a strange season it has been!  While peppers and tomatoes have suffered our el Nino year, I've received a big bag of green beans from one neighbor (ah, the taste of summer!), a big bag of apples from another (which I made into apple pie last night and have eaten two slices so far today!) and this incredible jar of homemade pickles from homegrown cucumbers from another.  So the season wasn't quite a crap-shoot after all!  I'm using this post to record my season, but please feel free to chime in about your experience in the veggie garden this year.

Tomatoes:  I finally gleaned a colander full of Sunsweet tomatoes yesterday, but most seasons I run out of people to give them to after I've been exhausted by making sauces, jams, and throwing them in the oven to sun-dry.  The Thessaloniki tomatoes were planted later in the season and are just turning now.  Hope they're tasty!

Cippolini Onions:  these did great!  I'll sow more for the winter to see what happens.

Scarlet Runner Beans:  Funny, I don't remember the beans being fluorescent pink in past years...  These really didn't thrive, perhaps were shaded by the sunflowers? 

Peppers:  Wow, these sucked.  I had glass cloches on these for most of May to keep them warm and between the sweet pepper and Habanero, no flowers, no peppers, no growth and sickly yellow leaves.  And this is after a top dressing of worm compost.  In my world this treatment is above and beyond 5-star hotel-spa vacation so I'm pretty disappointed these freeloaders didn't pay their bill.

Sunflowers:  the success story of the year!  These made the rest of the garden look at least a little more respectable.  Growing 12' high, the flowers gave us sun on foggy days and as the picture shows, some little birdie is eating very well.

Misc.:  Red-heart radishes and lettuces are reseeding in time for the Winter (hooray!) and the Patty-Pan Squash really outdid itself with giant yellow flying saucers making their way into soups, the frying pan and over the fence to grateful neighbors.

What happened in your garden this season?  Anything contrary to what I experienced?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coming Soon To A Garden Near You...

It's the Idora-mobile newly decked out in fancy decals so handily done by Leslie of Hamilton Broadway Signs!  The only problem is that now I'll have to curb the road rage and perhaps stop singing to the radio so loud (and bad).  Wish me luck with that!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Painterly Landscape

I'm doing a drive-by blogging here, but just wanted to share this photo I took at the Berkeley Botanical Garden.  I love the wide field of wind-swept grasses paired with the geometric Monkey Puzzle Tree- it's like standing in a painting where the artist swipes mounding swashes of thick paint over the canvas.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Plant of the Week: California Fuchsia

Folks in other parts of the country may not believe me, but I'm typing with cold hands, wearing a scarf at the moment.  The hood on my hoodie is firmly planted over my head and I'm giving dirty looks to the thermostat, which calmly continues to tell me it's 66 degrees in the house.  What happened to August?!  It's a good thing the Zauschnerias are adding some heat with their spicy blooms as they head into their prime season.

Technically, some would call these Epilobiums, but honestly I think everyone still calls them Zauschnerias since it's a way more fun word to say.  Either way, this gray to green-foliaged plant can be range from sub-shrub to groundcover, from shocking red-orange to white displays of flowers and blooms exactly when us native folks have given up coaxing the Buckwheats to continue blooming for just one week longer.  The bright color contrasts so well against neutral grasses, too such as Blue Fescues, Deer Grasses, or even the dried stalks of Purple Needle Grass. 

Not sure which variety this one goes by, but it's a groundcover with green leaves, blooming voraciously for the last month with no end in sight.  Note the fuzzy seedheads in the top corner of the photo- cool!  Thanks, neighbor Frank for letting me borrow one of your supermodels.

Mine, however I believe are 'Catalina', a taller variety with silver leaves and red-purple stems.  The Eriogonum 'St. Catherine's Lace' is stealing the show at the moment, but hopefully as the blossoms begin to open on the Fuchsia, the flowers of the Eriogonum will create a contrasting backdrop.  They've had less time in the ground than Frank's lovely specimen, but I've already noticed how interested these are in heading towards the sky.  After blooming, I think I'll prune the tallest stems back to help maintain a bushy shape.  I selected it for the foliage and that's the part that's year round.  Yippee!

Wait, did I mention that these give hummingbirds the vapors?  Yeah, turns out they do. 

Sun:  Full sun to part shade (hint:  the gray or fuzzy-foliaged ones will take more sun than the green-leaved varieties for the most part)
Soil:  Something between total sand and thick clay.  It's pretty adaptable.
Plant:  Ideally in the Spring or Fall, but I realize it's one of those plants you see in the nursery and never noticed before until it started blooming.  Go for it, especially since we have had no scorching days to speak of this season anyway.
Buy it:  Your local nursery should be tuned into this fella- ask them to recommend a cool variety for you, like 'Sierra Salmon' which has salmon-colored flowers.  Just remember that some folks call this Epilobium and that might cause confusion.
Good for:  gray gardens, hummingbird wars, late season color, a festive shot of contrast, sidewalk strips

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost and Many Other Things Found

It all started when I couldn't find my French curve that I needed to complete a drawing.  Oh crap, that means I have to enter the black hole that is my office to look for it.  What a complete mess!  On the grand journey of finding the French curve, I had the fortunate experience of uncovering archaeological discoveries from my recent history.  Enjoy!

Visualingual's Seed Bombs are made by talented friends of ours and coincidentally purchased for me by another friend of mine.  We're so excited that these are available at Anthropologie and cutesy boutiques around the country!  Cool blog, too!

These mini florist buckets would be so springtime adorable with little tufts of green moss and an extra large pearl or two resting on top!  Scored these at the last White Elephant Sale.   

This was a wood burning test for a project I helped a friend out with.  More to come in the months ahead about this one...

Sorry to pop in and out, but I'm in hummingbird mode of late.  Which of course means that a flood of happy happy things are coming this way!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting Us Through the Gloom

This has got to be one of the gloomiest summers, but how can anyone let that bring them down when the sunflowers are so exuberantly making up for the lack of sunshine?!  This Titan sunflower is stretching to grow so big, it's shape has become curved!  I'm looking forward to finding little birds munching on the seeds later in the season, too.  Happy foggy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Plant List: Dreamy Cottage Gardens

 English-style cottage gardens seem to be a popular style amongst many gardeners and who can blame them?  The British transcend garden geeky-ness to a level not seen elsewhere.  However, many of the plants that thrive across the pond take way too much water and fertilizer in these parts.  But us Californians are in luck- we've got an army of gorgeous flowery natives that not only run rampant in our meager garden conditions, but provide just as much flower power as the old garden standbys.  In fact for the last few centuries, many of our natives have gone abroad to fulfill the envies of British plant geeks.  A list for your amusement:

Penstemon palmeri (above) sends a rocket of soft pink, fragrant flowers into the mix.  The shape of the flowers look like a snapdragon that takes its vitamins, yet still creates a romantic ambiance in the garden.  What a wonderful contrast it would make with Monardella villosa!

Instead of surrounding the garden with the traditional yew hedge, consider a Calycanthus occidentalis.  The broad leaves provide a contrasting backdrop to the water lily-like crimson flowers, which smell like a barrel of red wine.  It goes deciduous in the winter and typically will require more water than the more drought-tolerant natives.  Takes shade! 

Platystemon californicus is a tiny-flowered annual that creates a pool of cream-colored flowers, puddled amongst the bases of larger flowering plants.  Pair with annual Phacelia or perrenial Penstemon heterophyllus for a shot of blue/white contrast.

Ceanothus became popular in the English garden in the mid 1800s and has become a staple for British gardeners.  A Ceanothus going from the dry, arid Californian landscape to the cold, drizzly British one attests to its stiff upper lip of adaptability.  Just remember, however that they're not overly fond of water.  Prune one into a small tree as a focal point or have a shrub in the background, waiting for the bevy of bees to visit in early Spring.

We can't neglect the old British garden favorite lavender, right?  While not native, lavender adapts well to our Mediterranean climate and does give the bees a run for their money.  Have you considered, however replacing the lavender with Salvia clevelandii?  The photo was the best I could do- I'm enjoying the scent so much whenever I run into her that I forget to snap a decent picture!  She's in the upper portion of the photo, floating above the Eriogonum grande rubescens, Erigeron karvinskianus and a lovely pink Echevaria (note:  last of these two not native).  The hummingbirds flip out over this one, but I plant this one for me more than anything else.  Yum!