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Author Topic: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise  (Read 4300 times)

Robert

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Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« on: December 10, 2022, 08:53:24 PM »
In Northern California, the pattern of unsettled and rainy weather with much below average temperatures is continuing into December. As I write, strong winds and rain are pummeling our garden. [Jasmin]:  The rain and chilling hours are very much welcome—it is like in ‘olden times’—however, the blustery winds leave much to be desired:  When the large limbs of our neighbors’ large and neglected Sycamore tree sway vigorously, I am nervous and pray we and our household will be alright.



Between storms I had an opportunity to photograph a few plants in their autumn prime. Acer rubescens ‘Silver Cardinal’ was looking particularly nice. This species gets a bit too large for our small garden, however I have been using Niwaki techniques to groom and shape the tree to fit properly to the scale of our garden. Year after year, this tree is slowly taking shape. Eventually, I hope to develop the structure and branching pattern so that the winter silhouette takes on a dramatic character.



In our garden the leaves of Acer rubescens ‘Silver Cardinal’ turn an intense golden yellow during the autumn – providing we actually get cool autumn weather, more of a rarity these days. During the summer months the leaves show a creamy white variegation. For me the variegation does not add much – I find the non-variegated deep green leaves very pleasing.  [Jasmin]:  I love this tree:  the shapely foliage with subtle white markings, the bright crimson new branches, and the striated bark.



The creamy striated bark of this species is very attractive. This is my last remaining “Striped Bark Maple”. At one time I had a number of different Striped Bark Maple species growing at our Placerville property. Persistent drought and the scarcity of irrigation water have taken its toll on the garden in Placerville. Most of the mature plants in the Placerville ornamental garden are now gone without a trace.  [Jasmin]:  The largest garden area of ornamentals there is completely gone.  Although it is just how it is, and now is a blank slate for other possibilities that are more appropriate to our climate now, I still am adjusting to the change.  It takes me longer, since I rarely go up there now, and the garden that was held many fond memories and dreams—I always viewed the garden from our windows there.  Loss of the garden really represents other losses, making my rare visits there feel alien and hostile, that I am just a stranger not welcome.  This is a sorrow for my meditations and contemplations, to heal.



Our garden in Sacramento is much smaller than the ornamental garden in Placerville, a bit less than one-quarter acre. For me this is the perfect size, as I prefer to focus my attention on accentuating the details.

Pictured above is the newly emerging foliage of one of my new Ranunculus occidentalis hybrids. Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis is not tolerant of moist soil conditions during its dormant summer rest, however these hybrids are quite tolerant of summer moisture. We have a number of local California native Ranunculus species, so there are many creative breeding possibilities.



I sowed about 25 different species to seed pans this autumn. The majority are miniature Narcissus hybrids, however I have a keen interest in a number of our local California native species. The seed of Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei have already started to germinate and grow despite the freezing temperatures at night. This is a high elevation species in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and I often find them germinating in the mountains when freezing nighttime temperatures are still common. Getting this species established in our garden might be very challenging. We have experienced 110 to 115 F (43.3 to 46.1 C) temperatures each summer for the last two years. Before this, 110 F temperatures occurred once every 30 years. The impacts of climate change have been brutal in our part of Northern California creating many gardening challenges, however I enjoy turning the adversity into assets.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2022, 09:02:47 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2022, 08:55:07 PM »


I also enjoy cultivating our local California native Viola species. Pictured is Viola macloskeyi as seen in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this past August. This species is common and widespread throughout North America – maybe beyond. Common or rare is irrelevant in my approach to gardening; if I like a plant and it fits well with my scheme I grow it.



Salvia semiatrata is a winter flowering Salvia species that thrives in our garden. I enjoy the texture of the foliage of this species and, of course, the flowers are a delight to see in the wintertime. Currently, our specimen is taking a pause in its blooming cycle due to the cold weather. We also grow other winter blooming Salvia species. They too are taking a pause in their blooming cycle.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

ian mcdonald

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2022, 10:30:42 PM »
A shame that many of the plants you knew and cherished have gone. A time of sadness can also be a time of opportunity. Maybe you can both plan for other species that are more capable of withstanding changes. Best wishes for the future.

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2022, 03:40:57 AM »
I did not know about winter flowering salvias.  I will try some, as our Anna's hummingbirds will be appreciative.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2022, 05:42:11 PM »
Hi Ian,

I already have plans for the Placerville property and have already started to implement them. In the past, part of the property was a working farm. I have already started to bring some of the fallowed land back into production. The general idea is to create a mostly closed system, sustainable, subsistence agricultural system, different, but much like the ideas expressed by the folk at Ecology Action in Willits, California. The plan is to feed my brother, Jasmin, myself.

The remaining land is now part of a habitat restoration project. The plan is to recreate a functioning ecosystem that resembles the original Native Blue Oak, Bunch Grass Savannah. Based on some of the native plants that have already recolonized the property some areas will likely become a sub-system chaparral ecosystem. Our hope is that this restoration project will also provide habitat for the native and transit wildlife. For example, our native and migratory bird populations have been decimated by human activities. I have not seen a Cedar Waxwing in decades. 50 years ago every winter I encounters hundreds of Waxwings. Bullock’s Orioles and Western Tanagers were once common springtime visitors. Now I rarely see them. There is a lot of work to be done; however it is also very exciting and meaningful.

Hi Diane,

Salvia chiapensis, S. gesneriiflora, and S. semiatrata are some of the winter blooming Salvia species that we grow in our Sacramento garden. I do not think that these species would be cold hardy for you in Victoria, B.C. ??? Our Placerville property is colder during the winter than our Sacramento garden site. I conducted trials with many Meso-American – South American Salvia species in Placerville over many years. I was rarely, more like never, successful bringing unprotected plants through the winter months – I always kept backup plants in a greenhouse. Maybe there are other cold hardy Salvia species that will bloom all winter in Victoria. I do not know. I am certainly not a Salvia expert. If you have outdoor success with winter blooming Salvia species, many others, and I would like to know the results. Keep us informed.

In our part of California our resident Anna’s Hummingbirds feed on Manzanita nectar during the winter months. Our local California native Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida can start blooming as early December. Plants can be found blooming into March, when many other plant nectar sources start to bloom. My understanding is that Arctostaphylos columbiana is native to your area. Might this native species be a good source of nectar for your resident Anna’s Hummingbirds? This might be an idea worth looking into.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

MarcR

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2022, 06:29:47 PM »
......
Hi Diane,

Salvia chiapensis, S. gesneriiflora, and S. semiatrata are some of the winter blooming Salvia species that we grow in our Sacramento garden. I do not think that these species would be cold hardy for you in Victoria, B.C. ??? ......

Robert,
Actually, Victoria is not very much colder than Sacramento. It is substantially warmer than Western Oregon even though it is further north.
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F -9.4C.  Rainfall 50" 110 cm + but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight. Soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus. 
Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2022, 11:53:19 PM »
The only salvia I have that blooms in late fall and winter is the pineapple sage - Salvia elegans.  It does not like frost so lives in my unheated greenhouse.

I always break off the flower stems when it finishes flowering, but maybe I should let it set seed and grow out lots of seedlings to see if one will be able to grow outside.

Hmm.  New project in mind - a bit of hybridizing now that I've stopped crossing rhododendrons.

Betsy Clebsch lists a dozen species that flower in the winter.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2022, 01:45:55 AM »
Hi Diane,

If Salvia elegans is tender to the cold in your garden, then species such as Salvia chiapensis, S. gesneriiflora, and S. semiatrata will be impossible to maintain without greenhouse protection during the winter. With a great deal of effort I could keep Salvia elegans, alive through the winter at the Placerville property. I grew both the dwarf so-called Honeydew Melon Sage as well as the regular Pineapple Sage.

The Meso-American and South American Salvia species are still worth growing as container plants in regions where they are not hardy outside during the wintertime. Mariette is growing a fine specimen of Salvia confertiflora as a container plant in Germany. She keeps it in a greenhouse during the winter and as a patio plant outside during warmer weather. Her photographs of this species looked splendid. There are some fine smaller growing species such as Salvia discolor and Salvia sinaloensis that are easy to maintain in containers. These plants are widely available at nurseries in Coast California and seem to be available in the UK as well as in continental Europe. I bet you can find them, in season, at nurseries in coastal BC.

Good luck growing these fine plants. As I stated, I am not an expert with these species, however I have grow many species and hybrids over the decades and continue to grow and breed my own hybrids. I certainly get excited growing and sharing my experiences with these plants.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2022, 01:56:50 AM »
Well, elegans might survive outside, but wouldn't flower in the winter. I read that it often gets knocked back to the ground in the Bay area.  Maybe I should open the door and let the hummers in for a sip. 

 We've already had a couple of frosts - the dahlias are no longer flowering.

I just picked the last remaining salvia flower in the garden, an unnamed species from Peru with brilliant blue flowers.  I'll use its pollen on my pineapple sage.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2023, 07:07:41 PM »
[Jasmin]:  After some days at 33 C, we dropped down into the 9-16 C range. Today started around 8 C, and the sun warmed things up to 16 C, but the wind out of the arctic kept the air cool, while the sun felt hot and burning.  The cumulus clouds are phenomenal, billowing, and some quite dark.  It is very unpredictable.

The garden parade continues, with one flamboyant display after another.  This is so riotous, it deserves its own thread.  All the pictures I took in my visually challenged aim and press fashion.  I am always amazed when anything turns out. However, it was a perfect 11 C and high overcast, ideal for even the most challenged photographer to get at least something.  Welcome to our garden!



The first scene is the newly reconfigured strip.  We are looking from the house toward the street.



Some color combinations have turned out surprising.  Here are Acer palmatum “Shaina” and Aquilegia seedling with the newly planted Salvia gesneriiflora and Mimulus/Erythranthe guttata.



Looking back toward the house on the garage side, we have Acer palmatum “Pixie” with Rhododendron serpyllifolium with our fence in the background.

Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2023, 07:11:07 PM »


On the opposite side of the driveway, the colors are even more abundant.
Pentanthera azaleas wrap around the front.





Two are from Robert’s hybrid grex, the “Tatiana” series.  Every plant in the grex was exceptional, so we just enjoy the various color forms.



This seedling is from Robert’s hybridizing, but it has not received any name or credit beyond our appreciation.  At this time, there is another pink that has a yellow sport that blooms later in spring.



For now, we close our front garden tour with Azalea “Gibraltar”, a stunning orange bred by Edmund de Rothschild.

Please come again!  Next time, we will tour the back garden.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2023, 06:11:18 PM »
Welcome back to our garden!

Today is now 17 C and quite breezy with high clouds.  The breeze is a cool one, making it necessary for me to leave the birds in the bird room with heat, something unheard of in my lifetime!  By now it is usually closer to 30 C and rising.

Thanks to photography, we can jump back in time to our floriferous spring display.





After coming through the gate, these two azaleas welcome us into the back garden.  A little hidden at the base of some espalier fruit trees, we have Bletilla striata, and some Aquelegia blue.  Robert has been playing with the blues, and they are turning out quite lovely.





Directly opposite, growing among the native Artostaphylous, is Triteleia laxa.  This is how one finds these jewels growing in nature, and is our preferred combination, as inspired by Mr. Ian Young’s directive to look to nature for the perfect displays.


Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2023, 06:14:42 PM »
Looping along the main path toward the far back, we have the “ordinary” pleasures of Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’, and the lovely flowers of Tragopogon porrifolius.  To maintain this delicious root, we save the seed.  This too is amazing to watch, as it transforms into a very large dandelion-type seed head.  I know we missed a few when gathering the seeds, and either we will be surprised and delighted by where the flowers appear, or—like dandelion—we will eat the intruders.





Along the far back fence, we find Azalea “Golden Lakota” with common Rosmarinus in the background.  The purple and orange combination is very alluring—especially for the bees!



Our next pleasure is an island of Cornus florida with a number of azaleas.  Amazingly, the hues and shapes of the whites give them their individual character.  It was accidental that they ended up planted next to each other, but it works, and we think of two very dear people.




Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2023, 06:18:28 PM »
At the base of the Cornus florida and white “Night Life”, we have a smaller orange azalea.



In the far corner by a very ancient peach, we have Rhododendron luteum “Golden Comet” and a pink azalea with “Mount St. Helen’s” in its genes.





Walking along, we have our favorite, “Iđi’s Laugh”.  Nearby grow some orange Sparaxis.




Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2023, 06:21:57 PM »
Following a side path, there is a nice display of West Coast Iris, a pink peppermint streaked azalea with Rhododendron occidentale in its parentage, and a little lovely evergreen azalea, “Sweet Sixteen”







We shall leave the garden with Mr. Rothchild’s Azalea “Orangeade”.
Thank you for visiting!  Next time I will show some of the flowers that followed this parade.


Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

 


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