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Author Topic: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise  (Read 4298 times)

Hoy

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2023, 02:05:08 PM »
I enjoy seeing your colorful garden! Doesn't look too dry either :)

Here it is very dry and warm (warm by our standards is above 20C/68F). No rain for about a month and a hose ban. doesn't make it easier to keep the plants alive.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2023, 07:22:56 PM »
Hi Trond,

It is great to hear from you via e-mail or here on the Forum. Jasmin deserves all the credit for the two most recent garden tour postings on this thread. She is responsible for both the text and the photographs. I will have a few things to add when a few new plants in our garden come into bloom.

I always enjoy current weather reports from other parts of the world. Here temperatures have remained cool, which translates into average. (The 30-year average vs. a 20-year average for some of the Sierra Nevada data sets I keep) There has been a great deal of thunderstorm activity in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At times the storms have held together and drifted over the Sacramento Valley. Here in Sacramento we have received traces of precipitation from these storms on several occasions. Our Placerville property and the Northern end of the Sacramento Valley have received much more precipitation from these storms.

Restrictions in water usage in coastal Norway? It indeed must be very dry. How is your garden and specific plants holding up with the dry conditions? How plants and plant communities react to climatic variables is one of my primary horticultural interests. Developing resilient plants varieties and methodologies to cope with the rapid environmental changes taking place is another primary horticultural interest of mine. I have a great deal of data that very strongly suggests that unless fundamental changes are made in the way we cultivate and view our gardens, a significant segment of the diversity of the plants we enjoy and cultivate will be lost.

I am in a position to follow the climatic changes taking place on the planet from a scientific perspective. The rapid change from La Niña to El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean has raised a great deal of attention. Currently, most of the oceans of the world are steaming hot and satellite data indicates global temperatures are in anomalously high territory. All the recent peaks in global temperatures have occurred during El Niño events. I recently updated my histogram for peak summertime high temperatures for the last 40 years at our Placerville property. The 110 F (43.3 C) high temperatures that were a once every 30-year occurrences are now once every 15-year occurrences. The 115 F (46.1 C) high temperatures which might have been a once every 10,000 year occurrences have now arrived at our Placerville property. (I still need to do the math to have an exact statistical number). The speed in which climatic change is taking place is alarming. Much of my efforts are toward creating a genetically diverse and stable garden and agricultural ecosystem at our Sacramento home and Placerville property. This is certainly a challenge that needs to be addressed immediately.

I hope to visit Sonora Pass during the peak wildflower season this year. The deep snow has yet to melt. Reports on my outings are probably best addressed as articles for Journals. Currently, I am working on a detailed article about Rocky Basin, which will appear in the IRG Journal.

Once again, I am pleased to hear from you whatever the means, the Forum or e-mail.

[Jasmin]:  Right now it is 19 C, with a cool marine breeze flowing in.  It is stunning to think that coastal Norway experiences such warm dry weather; yet, this is the reality on our planet.  In some ways, it is a blessing my gardening experience is in north central California where drought has consistently impacted every aspect.

California developed an entire system of reservoirs, irrigation, water restrictions, and watering timetables here over many decades.  Yes, some areas and individuals have always been oblivious to the reality of an arid environment; however, Robert and I have lived here for decades with “water mindfulness” as a way of life.  There are incongruences:  population and development levels come to mind.  These keep expanding as if the water will magically appear.

Sadly, in the process of accommodating the above for money, we have lost both wilderness and water:  The forests, wetlands, natural artesian springs, aquifers, and creeks we grew up with have been removed, diverted, and dried.  This was once a major migratory bird stopover.  The number of birds and the number of species have precipitously declined.  The same is true of insects, and plants that supported and formed the ecosystem at all levels.

While our garden seems a haven—a goal we strive for—the reality is more stark:  Yes, I can water once a week, and things have done amazingly well under my ruthless hand, no amount of water can be added to replace the moisture lost from the atmosphere and the soil through consistent desertification of the larger environment.  We are the few in our area tending and cultivating a habitat.  Yet, we cannot stop the soil from drying due to the larger impacts.  All the rain of this past spring still did not replenish the moisture that has been and continues to be lost.

The garden had a beautiful display this spring, and I still have yet to post the last photos I took.  We just have to enjoy each moment, because we no longer can count on such displays because of the desertification.

[Robert again]

Trond,

I am quantifying most of Jasmin’s statements with data. For example, the vapor pressure deficit is one method used in science to quantify aridity. I have been calculating and recording this data for many local sites on a daily basis for years. It is very interesting how used as a dependent variable this data can be used to predict the outcome for plant species and plant communities, especially when winter snow cover decreases in mountain ecosystems. Changes in the Arctic Oscillation Index over the last 70 years are alarming and impact all of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Stay tuned. Dramatic fluctuations and anomalous weather events are here now and are likely to intensify in magnitude into the near future. It seems wise to take appropriate action now. Many practices that worked in the past are not working now and/or will not work in the near future.
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 #17 on: June 23, 2023, 07:54:37 PM »


Dramatic climatic changes have been impacting our Sacramento garden for many years now. Over the last 2 to 3 years the climatic impacts have been increasing both in frequency and magnitude. Incorporating resiliency into our plants and garden design is an urgent necessity. Many gardening concepts and methodologies are now outdated and no longer work or are faltering quickly.

The rapid shift from La Niña to El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean has us extremely concerned. Note the extreme magnitude in the current world SSTs in the chart above. To quote scientists at NOAA, “We are in uncharted territory”. Every peak in global temperatures over the last few decades has coincided with El Niño events (See chart below).





These seedlings of Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei are an example of how we are working to develop resiliency in our plants and garden. Rather than growing a single specimen of a species, we grow populations. Detailed documentation and records are kept for each plant accession. Frequently, we grow multiple accessions of a given species from very distinct habitats giving us vastly more genetic diversity than if we grew a single specimen of a species. This approach is paying off. As an example, in the past we have not had success cultivating Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei in our Sacramento garden. Now, not only are we having success, but we also have a population to work with to achieve even greater degrees of resiliency with this species.

Another important factor in our gardening scheme is that we keep things simple and work with plants that are readily available. Our attitude is one of stewardship, a relational interaction with our plants. Our plants are not possessions, but living entities that deserve our deepest respect and care. For us, working with these plants with this attitude has opened a floodgate of creativity. A whole new world with plants has opened up with infinite possibilities into an infinite future. Not only do positive solutions to the challenges of climate change seem obtainable, but also new currently unseen frontiers with plants seem possible even with simple and very common plant species.

[Jasmin]:  Right now it is 19 C, with a strong marine layer obscuring and filtering the sun.  This is such a strange experience.  Technically, it is summer.  While the marine layer clouds could stream by in the very early hours of the day in the past, they never lingered.  By this hour (11:00 a.m.), they would have been long gone, and the marine layer would be stopped at the coast range.  The distinctive temperature difference between the coast and the much hotter and dryer interior of central California would be extreme:  Our area would normally be well over 30 C, with spikes close to 38 C.  Now extremes of above 40 C are becoming regular occurrences.  As noted on this Forum, our most extreme was a whole period over 46 C.

When I was a teenager, we would escape the central interior heat by going to the coast.  The weather there is just as unpredictable now it seems.  I understand the marine layer fog has in the past couple years been absent at times, and one risks sunstroke and sunburn.

Recently the birds and I listened to Mr. Ian Young’s video supplement.  This is something we all enjoy very much.  While it is terrible to hear temperatures have been in the 22-24 C range, and dry conditions, the sounds of bees and birds is such a delight in addition to the opportunity to visit another garden.  I wish I could say we still had trees alive with the buzzing bees, and a garden full of birdsong.  As much as we strive to provide habitat for food and nest sites, we cannot overcome the lack of area and the impact of humanity, lingering damage from wildfires, and climate changes on the larger environment.   The goldfinches and hummingbirds are our most dependable visitors.  Mr. and Mrs. Dove are out there, but not the numbers we once had.  Our bee populations are completely changed.  Mostly, we see these cute little bees, and a sweat bee now and then, sometimes a European honeybee.  Other pollinators are at work.



The native Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia, is one plant that seems to attract a variety of pollinators.  Mostly I notice the ants.  I am not sure if what I smell is what the ants smell and are attracted to:  The flowers of this plant smell like a mild, soft-ripened dessert cheese—the good kind America will not import because it is not pasteurized and irradiated to death.

Our Moreas are long since done, but I noticed that one in particular was always overloaded with flies.  I did not detect an odor; however, the central markings are “fly”-colored:  copper-metallic.

Other visitors reveal themselves to our delight:  lady beetles, hummingbirds, and butterflies.



Robert just moved my pictures over to this computer, so it will not be too terribly long before I can bring you around on another garden tour.
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 #18 on: June 26, 2023, 09:38:26 PM »
As of 25 June 2023 the average temperature for the month is running -2.29 F (-1.27 C) below the 30-year average. Now that El Niño conditions prevail in the equatorial Pacific Ocean (+1.0 C in Zone 3.4 as of 26 June) it is not unusual for troughy conditions, low pressure, and below average temperatures to prevail in Northern California in May and June.

This winter the average temperature was 45.43 F (7.46 C), -1.98 F (-1.10 C) below average and the second coldest winter in the last 40 years. Generally cold winters are followed by below average temperatures the following summer. I recently did a statistical analysis of this hypothesis and found that it does indeed appear to hold true in our region, but since 2000 this trend is starting to change and become a weaker signal of cool summer temperatures. Thus, I would generally expect temperatures to run below average to average this summer, however the quickly evolving El Niño and record high global Surface Sea Temperatures raises considerable doubts about my expectations for temperatures this summer.

Currently, 100 F plus (37.7 C +) high temperatures are being forecasted for our area over the next 4 to 14 days. Some nearby areas are forecasted to reach 110 F (43.3 C). With the cool weather this spring and much of June our garden is looking good and holding up well. The change to extremely hot weather is likely to change this situation dramatically. Creating a garden resilient to dramatic swings in the weather and climate, as well as resistant to extremes of heat is a challenging and slow process. Progress is being made, however resourcefulness is also a necessity. With our garden, we do our best to make the best in any given situation. We are very open to attempting novel, new ideas and methods.

We are prepared the best we can for the coming heat wave and extreme high summertime temperatures. We will continue to select the best-of-the-best from the genetic diversity we endeavor to maintain in our garden.



Coming into bloom is a group of F2 Monardella breweri ssp. lanceolata seedlings. These F2 seedlings were derived from a genetically diverse set of F1 plants in our garden last year. The past wet winter revealed their susceptibility to root disease organisms. The surviving plants are strong, bloom profusely, and likely carry some genetic resistance to root diseases. If we would have grown a group of plants derived from a single, highly inbred line, we would have likely lost all the plants and would need to start over again with this species.

In addition, other local Monardella that we have conducted trials with have also shown vulnerability to root rotting organisms. With the knowledge we gained from our experience with Monardella breweri ssp. laceolata thus far, we are likely to have greater success with other Monardella species in future trials.



Last year I was able to get a single seedling of Trifolium longipes ssp. atrorubens to germinate and grow. The single seedling died during the 115 F (46.1 C) heat wave last September. Luckily I made another seed accession last year from a meadow at 6,657 feet (2,029 meters) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Germination this spring was excellent and I now have 20 + strong seedlings growing. The forecasted heat wave will be the first true test for these seedlings.



I am very excited with this group of Trifolium monathum ssp. monathum seedlings. They are growing extremely well. I made this seed accession from the Ebbetts Pass region at 8,825 feet (2,690 meters) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This tiny leaf mat-forming perennial clover is such a jewel. As pictured, they are blooming now and will hopefully set seed. It will be a great success if the plants survive the coming heat of summer and set seed.

For us this is building resilience and being resourceful with what we have – in action!


[Jasmin]:  So far today is 19 C.  I have been enjoying my vicarious Meconopsis garden—I very much appreciate, as Ms. Macrelle does, the opportunity to delight in other’s gardens through this Forum.  I remain astounded at the hot dry conditions found in Leena’s garden in southern Finland.  When it is hotter and drier in Finland and Scotland than California, who can possibly deny the planet is suffering.  Yet, so it is.

So far we have been spared the extreme heat of the entire region around and within Texas.  Out in the ocean appears to be an area of high pressure, and we are nervous whether it will come in and join with the existing heat dome over Texas.  We shall see.

Thinking back to our late spring explosion of color, I can continue with the next succession in our front yard.  At some point I will catch up!
Since we pack in as much as we can (and keep striving to fit in yet more), the garden does appear to be some wild explosion of colors:






The recently planted Aristolochea is growing really well, and can be seen here exuberantly sharing space with the sweet peas, azaleas, and an Abutilon.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2023, 02:24:56 AM 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 #19 on: June 26, 2023, 09:41:27 PM »


“Sandra Marie has a faint blush of pink on the pale golden yellow flowers.



This yellow is the sport to the pink that blooms a month earlier, and was in the earlier front garden tour.



Until we planted the Aristolochia, this red abutilon has been lingering in our garden for ages without doing much.  Now suddenly, it has perked up and seems to be much happier.  Until you experiment, you never know what combinations will encourage a plant to thrive.  We always think about the water, soil mixture, and lighting.  How often do we think about companionship?  Usually, I think in terms of colors, textures, and shapes, but that a plant might be lonely in the garden?  Abutilon is not hemiparasitic like Castilleja, and is definitely not native here; yet, clearly this plant was pining for something until now. 

At one time we had an egg-yolk yellow Abutilon along the back fence the hummingbirds loved.  We removed it when the rodents turned it into their luxury hotel.  I still miss the flowers; however, we now have even more nectar and habitat plants for hummingbirds, butterflies, and other creatures.

I shall close now with these “super common” Shasta Daisies.  They were my mörmör’s favorite flower.  They are situated along the driveway, right where I see them every time I step out front.  She lived to be 90, and there are so many skills I “inherited” from her.



A garden for us is not just some showcase, or even a labor of love, it is a place of love:  Robert has had his phases of collection.  I aimed to remember people, and places.  My mother loved the cottage garden, and the regular bounty of vases brimming with flowers, especially once she was in a wheelchair and not able to venture out into the garden.  I liked fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits.

Over time, we get older--and maybe wiser--accept climate changes, and our interests change too.  We have long been inspired by Monet’s garden, and his garden-inspired paintings.  We continue to be influenced by Mr. Ian Young’s Bulb Logs and video garden visits.  All these facets are combining, and evolving.  Gardening, like life, is truly a journey.
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 #20 on: July 08, 2023, 08:15:05 PM »
Hi Lois,



As stated earlier Monardella breweri ssp. laceolata is looking especially nice in our garden right now.



Our Flavor King Pluot is loaded with fruit this year. This Pluot variety has been a very reliable and consistent producer every season for many years. I am growing it as a dwarf tree on a Krymsk rootstock (Prunus tomentosa x cerasifera). This has proven to be a very reliable rootstock for Japanese type Plums (Prunus salicina) and pluots. ([Jasmin]:  The birds have already sampled one!)

Flavor Queen Pluot has been a very inconsistent producer. I strongly believe this is a pollination issue. I am still looking for a better pollinator for this variety. Flavor Queen shares the same rootstock with the Flavor King Pluot.

We are still working on revitalizing our orchard in Placerville. Currently we have a Santa Rosa Plum and Satsuma Plum on Citation rootstock. I would prefer dwarf trees on Krymsk rootstock, and will rework the trees as I can propagate more Krymsk rootstock.



I continually strive to create superior fruits and vegetables for our garden. These are F1 and F2 generation strawberry hybrids. Modern commercial strawberries taste terrible and have an unacceptable texture. Here I am bringing back the old-fashion flavor, texture and aroma of heirloom strawberries. Commercial handling of the fruit is unnecessary, as the fruit will go directly from plant to mouth.



Here is part of this year’s container trials of upland rice varieties.



Now that we are finally getting some heat the heirloom Sea Island Cotton, Gossypium barbadense is starting to grow well.
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 #21 on: July 08, 2023, 08:18:15 PM »


Benne Sesame, Sesamum indicum, is a brown seed Sesame with a lower fat content and higher protein content.



We bred Elena’s Scherzo Tomato over 10 years ago. The grape-like clusters of fruit are delicious and sweet. During tomato season, Elena’s Scherzo and Freya’s Tears, also bred by us, sold out before the Farmers’ Market even started. This was one good indication that they were good varieties. Although we no longer grow for the Farmers’ Market or other venues, we grow these varieties for our own pleasure.



Breeding fruits and vegetables continue. The 115 F (46.1 C) temperatures last September underscore the need to keep ahead of the rapid environmental changes taking place. Catastrophic crop losses and catastrophic losses in ornamental plant collections are increasing in frequency and magnitude. As the U.N. recently stated, “At current levels of warming (global) food production is starting to come under strain”. This is a very conservative statement that minimizes the seriousness of the current situation. I have been involved in agriculture in California for my whole adult life, close to 50 years now. Agricultural regions in California such as western Kern and the whole west side of the San Joaquin Valley are rapidly losing productivity and will eventually revert to desert. In light of the rapid environmental and climatic changes taking place, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and resiliency are all strategies we will continue to incorporate into our ornamental as well as food production gardening projects.

[Jasmin]:  Currently it is 20 C, but last week we had a couple of days in the 39-40 C range.  The sea breeze is strong, giving us what Robert’s dad called “resort weather”.  I now continue our garden tour catching us up with some of the back garden colors we have enjoyed this season.


Because we have had so much (for us) cool weather, many flowers graced our garden for longer, and the lighting was soft enough to capture the whites and yellows that usually challenge us.



This yellow Eriogonum bloomed profusely again this year, and this year’s lighting allows the photo to do it some justice.  It has been in our garden about 15 years now, part of an area in the garden for the re-creation of natural habitat.  The longer it is established, the better it looks—and maybe my fondness for this plant encourages it along.  I pass this plant many times a day, so it is a regular cheer up.



This is a trumpet hybrid whose lineage is long forgotten, but its cream-white flowers with a hint of yellow, and the scent more than compensate for lost labels.
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 #22 on: July 08, 2023, 08:22:10 PM »


In the shadier part of the garden, a deep pink Nicotiana sprung up in one of the Acer palmatum containers.



Nearby, my favorite Heuchera was blooming for quite some time.



Just across from the Heuchera, this purple Gladiolus is a stunning delight.



Robert continues his Dahlia hybridizing.  The various flowers provide late season color, and nectar for hummingbirds and other insects.



This Lillium henryi x Louis is just between our side door and the garden gate.  Another one grows prominently at the front.  It is one of my favorites, and the flowers always cheer me.

I finally finished digging up some of the tulip and other bulbs we had scattered in front, to be relocated to more prominent garden spots later this autumn.  After, I finally could clean up all the spent spring bulb leaves. 

There are a couple of Hydrangeas blooming out front, and a couple different ones blooming out back, along with the various lilies.  The native lilies always perform best in our garden.  As much as I enjoy other type of lilies, eventually all the care in the world does not help them survive, let alone thrive.  We suspect xenobiotics.  This year so many did not even come back, and we wonder how much the wet season after so much drought contributed to their loss.

Developing resilient plants is fortunately one of Robert’s passions, and will keep both of us busy for decades to come.

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 #23 on: July 09, 2023, 08:15:31 PM »
4 July 2023 was Independence Day in the U.S.A. I went to bed early for a good night’s sleep; however, my thoughts are filled with deep concern for our precious planet.

We--the whole planet--are not independent of the impacts and consequences of the climatic changes taking place and our continued disregard of life-sustaining ecosystems on the planet. I agree with the bumper sticker I saw recently: There is no plan(et) B!

With regard to global governmental efforts to enact change, the U.N. recently declared, “The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change.”

4 July 2023 was the warmest day for the whole planet since satellite temperature monitoring became available: 17.18 C (62.92F). The previous record was on 3 July 2023:  17.01 C. The third highest was 14 August 2016: 16.92 C (62.46 F).

The 2016 record was set during an El Niño teleconnection event, and the current records are also occurring during the beginning of an El Niño teleconnection event. Concerning the recent record setting temperatures, scientists say “the impacts of catastrophic heat waves, flooding, drought, crop failures and species extinction (including many of the rare ornamental species we grow or wish to grow in our gardens) become significantly harder for humanity to handle as we fail to take the necessary action to solve the climatic and ecological problems the planet faces.”

I feel impelled and called as an individual to make, continue and sustain appropriate action: increasing the scope of our self-sufficiency and resiliency, and endeavoring to create balanced sustainable garden ecosystems at our Sacramento home and Placerville farm.

My diary of this journey--especially as it pertains to ornamental plants--seems appropriate for this Forum. If this diary only interests and helps a handful of like-minded gardeners, then it is a tremendous success. I am not looking to change anyone, just “preach to the choir” (those that are already interested).

Currently I am very busy writing an article for one of the journals; however more postings on our gardening journey will be forthcoming.

[Jasmin]:  Right now at 11:10 a.m. it is 18 C.  This morning it was 10 C.  There has been a steady cool breeze for the past several days.  This weather is definitely not our normal interior California July weather!  Normally, we would have weather in the 30s C! 
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 #24 on: July 29, 2023, 05:34:22 PM »


A few days ago I visited Rocky Basin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



Despite an above average snow pack and below average springtime temperatures through June, the snow did not linger late into the summer season as it did in the past. By the end of July conditions were very dry.



The site I visited is at or near the low elevation limit for many plant species in this region. Pictured is Sierra Juniper, Juniperus grandis, a species that is much more common at much higher elevations.



The reddish-brown bark of Juniperus grandis is quite striking and attractive.



Hechera rubescens is also near its low elevation limit in this area. This species performs well in our Sacramento garden, however adding genetic diversity to our Sacramento gene pool is also an important objective. Stewardship of plants in a garden environment through the preservation of their genetic diversity can be very enjoyable as well as bring mindfulness to the importance of the conservation of plants and their natural ecosystems.
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 #25 on: July 29, 2023, 05:36:05 PM »


A number of years ago I discovered a unique population of Eriogonum ursinum var. ursinum at this site. This mat-forming species is very attractive.

A full detailed report on Rocky Basin will be presented in an upcoming article for the IRG Journal.
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 #26 on: July 30, 2023, 07:27:21 PM »
For decades obtaining high quality non-native seeds for ornamental species has been a persistent challenge for me. Increasingly stringent and restrictive import/export regulations only exasperate the situation. While I could lament the situation, but this does not solve anything. My solution has been to find the opportunities within the challenges, i.e. find the silver lining!

One huge blessing of limited access to seed is not taking on more than I can manage and care for. Quality over quantity has been a blessing. Having fewer projects also helps me maintain focus, and see the very important finer details that can be easily missed when overwhelmed. Prioritizing the plants and projects aids me to concentrate on what is truly meaningful to our garden and me.



Habranthus and Zephyranthes species grow extremely well in our interior California climate. A number of years ago I made a number of interspecific and intraspecific hybrids using Habranthus robustus as the seed parent.

My Habranthus robustus stock provided little in the way of genetic variability; however I did proceed with a number of intraspecific crosses to see if there might be desirable recessive traits that breeding might reveal. This year many of the hybrids began to bloom. The results were about as expected: There was a bit more variability than I anticipated, but nothing exceptional in this F1 generation. Seed has been saved from these plants. In specific cases the F2 generation of seedlings can be extremely variable. In a few more years I will know.

I did one cross with Habranthus robustus x Zephyranthes treatiae. I lucked out with this cross. I somehow avoided incompatibility, chromosome non-homogony, and apomixes, as this cross definitely shows hybrid attributes between the two parents. For example, many of the hybrid progeny exhibit nearly upright flowers, a characteristic from Zephyranthes treatiae the pollen parent. Selfed F2 seed has been saved and, if viable, the progeny will likely be extremely variable. I will know next year if the seed is viable and then it will be a few more years before I see results.

Other Zephyranthes hybrids were also created, so in the coming years I will have many interesting plants to evaluate during the late summer growing season.

I certainly do not have a huge collection of Zephyranthes/Habranthes species and hybrids. While I am not expecting spectacular results, it is very stimulating and satisfying to be creative with the few species I do have to work with. For me it is about the process and learning.



As Bob Ross would have said, there are “happy accidents” occurring in our garden all the time. Pictured is a F2 Vitis labrusca x vinifera hybrid. I grew on these hybrids with fruit production in mind; however I find the texture and coppery color of the new growth attractive. Who knows, I might get excellent quality table grapes and an attractive ornamental vine all in one plant. I am always looking outside the box to find new ornamental plants for our garden.

With creative thinking, limited access to seeds can be great fun and very satisfying.
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

hamparstum

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2023, 01:09:49 PM »
Hello Robert and Jasmin, I'll write a PM giving you my  update. We are just recuperating from a three year long very severe drought that took its toll on fully grown trees ( some native natural (like Maytenus boaria) and others introduced although originated in Mediterranean climate.( Abies pinsapo). So climate extremes are already everywhere.
Your grape vine immediately watered by mouth... The leaf looks temptingly tender ideal for stuffing grape leaf dolma. I even grow a vine for that purpose. It never sets fruit, but the leaves are something!

Arturo
Arturo Tarak

Robert

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Re: Robert's and Jasmin's Garden Paradise
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2023, 03:50:00 PM »
Arturo,

Jasmin and I certainly hope you and your farm are doing okay. We are very concerned. We are very painfully aware of the impacts of drought and climatic change on agriculture. Rebuilding the farm in Placerville has been a slow process. This past winter was wet and cold, however persistent drought and at times extreme drought have been the prevailing pattern over the last 20+ years. In addition, extreme high temperatures both during the summer and the winter, have had dramatic impacts on both our food crops as well as our ornamentals. A huge priority has been to too keep ahead of the exponential climatic changes that are now occurring in our region of California. Incorporating resiliency into very aspect of our gardening program is the top priority. The grape pictured is just one part of this gigantic project. I have been breeding new citrus fruits, apples, stone fruits, small fruits, vegetables, grains, ornamentals, just about everything in an effort to stay ahead of the climatic changes taking place. Most likely this is just foolishness on my part, but I am not interested in sitting around and just do nothing.

I just finished reading a book by Jack Lalanne about maintaining health and fitness into old age. Mr. Lalanne was 95 when he wrote the book and was still happy, healthy and productive. His ideas were very similar to those of Helen and Scott Nearing. Scott was strong, productive and healthy until 95 too and died at age 100. The Nearings built a stone house by hand when he was in his 90’s and Helen was in her 70’s. There are no guarantees but a sensible plan seems to increase the odds of success. There is a great deal I wish to accomplish with ornamental plants and food crops in the next 30 years.

Jasmin and I both look forward to hearing from you and get an update on your farm and ornamental plant projects.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2023, 04:41:26 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 #29 on: August 04, 2023, 03:59:52 PM »
Views of the house Helen and Scott Nearing built when they were in their 90's and 70's.



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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