I had a productive Saturday in the garden, did you?

My day began with a trip out to UC Davis for their plant sale: I returned home with five plants I wasn't planning to buy (but should substitute well for what I wanted): Nepeta tuberosa, Lepechinia chamaedryoides, Achillea ageratifolia, Artemisia ludoviciana 'Valerie Finnis', Salvia pratensis 'Swan Lake').

I planted all five, plus five scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' I ordered online for $1.98/plant that arrived today. Then a tree service delivered a giant pile of "free" woodchips (DH tipped them generously) so, after I put my son to bed, I spent the rest of the day spreading woodchips. We hardly made a dent in the pile so have a lot more work ahead of us tomorrow.

Comments (38)

  • jenn

    Lucky you!

    Mind if I vent? I began Saturday full of inspiration, but first I needed to go out and buy a birthday gift for someone. I returned home and then had to go out looking for gravel to plant succulents. Never found what I was looking for but I bought a few plants I didn't need (Gerbera Daisy, Gaura, and Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'). Returned home and got started but by then the temps had warmed up and I was hot and tired -- and, the new gardening clogs that I wore to the store had begun to form blisters on my feet. Planted one new pelargonium in a pot, and dumped two barrels of chopped yard clippings in a pile to disperse as mulch in the garden. Helped Hubby trim two juniper trees that were casting some shade on a few roses, then sat down to rest -- hot, tired, and defeated because I got NOTHING done that I intended to do.

    Today, I'm sore, my feet hurt, and the sun is already shining and the temps are too warm to get much done. I am losing the inspiration, and today is the goal date by which I planned to have all the planting done. Today is Sunday and I don't want to work, I want to rest.

    I don't know when I'm going to get these plants planted, I work full time. The weather is staying warm and drying out the soil which will turn to hard clay by the time I am ready and able to plant. I think I am a bit over my head in this pasttime, as I don't have time to maintain it as I'd like.

    Anyone want some free plants??? :-(


  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/


    Don't give up!!! I work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and I know how awful it feels to go to work and spend all day thinking about plants that are dying on the porch cause I couldn't get to them over the weekend.

    Even though Saturday didn't go your way, you can try to at least get your plants in the ground today. If the spots you want to dig are already rock-hard, soak them during the hot hours and plant in the evening. Get the gaura, scabiosa, and gerberas into the ground. The sooner they get adjusted and start growing the sooner you'll be able to enjoy them, guilt-free! Can't speak for gerberas but scabiosa and gaura are doing great in my yard :-)

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  • jenn

    Thank you for the pep talk.... and I'm sorry about my rant. I've decided to devote the rest of the day to getting them planted. I will be glad I did next weekend when I can just look and admire them! :-)

    Have you grown Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' before? I had a few and then decided to remove them because I thought they were a dead-heading nightmare. You can't just grab a bunch of stems and cut them off, beause some of them are blooming, some have buds, and only some have the faded blooms you want to cut off. But, I decided to get two more because I love their color and form and they make GREAT cut flowers for the vase. Also, they bloom a long, long time here, all year actually, and are quite drought-tolerant.

    I'll report back tonight. :-)

    Who's next?


  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/

    Taking a break from hauling wood chips! The pile we got was huge, about 5 1/2 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.

    I have dark purple Scabiosa atropupurea growing currently (since spring 2005) and it stayed green all winter so perhaps is a perennial here. I bought the BB because I wanted something that is definitely a perennial that I could plant out by the street with my 'Peter Pan' agapanthus. I'm always looking for something tough and water-wise for near the street. I'm not going to worry about deadheading (had the same issue with atropurpurea, at one point I just sheared the plants back about 6-8 inches).

    Let's here what others are up to this weekend!


  • catkim

    Saturday I made a drive east to a stone and gravel yard, what fun! They had demonstration gardens with a waterfall, a pond, a palapa and stone bar, examples of pavers intergrown with thymes and sedums, an aloe garden filled with riverstone, several kinds of constructed stone benches and low walls, you name it.

    My objective was a quantity of lava cinders for planting palms to ensure good drainage. I also decided to try a hunk of "featherstone". It must be some kind of pumice, very light and pourous. You can carve out a space in the stone for planting an orchid or bromeliad, which I plan to try.

    Back home, I removed an overgrown limonium perezii and planted my 1-year-old coccothrinax argentea, a delicate-looking fan palm. I used the lava beneath it, and planted it high, mounding up more lava rock and infilling with fast-draining soil, and finishing with a mulch of black lava on top. I also planted a Hyophorbe verschaffeltii/spindle palm using the same method. To fill in a bit, I snuggled some potted bromeliads into the black lava gravel.

    Then I sat back in my garden throne with a cold drink and commanded them to *grow*!

    Today was just some quick watering and an 8-mile hike out in the back country to a very high rock butte for lunch and a good view. So I am too tired to dig any holes today.

  • CA Kate z9

    Oh Jenn, I totally forgot that our target date is/was ;^( May 1st. With all the rain we've been having the gardens are a MESS! I spent yesterday and today hand-pulling grass and some tangly clover-vine from about 2/3s of the Back Hill Garden. AND, I still have plants to put in the ground... I bought 12 English Thymes to line the far path (Herb-ish Garden area), and another Grapefruit.

    Might we make it by June 1st?

    Oh! I did clean-out and replant the veggie tanks with an Early Girl tomato, 6 Jalapino plants, and 4 of Basil.

  • jenn

    Westelle, so did I! What was I thinking when I bought these plants yesterday and last weekend!!!! I totally forgot about our goal of finishing by April 30. Thanks to the rain, I kept having to put things off.

    I got a late start, but I did get quite a bit done today after all.

    * 5 new daylilies ('Elizabeth Salter') that I bought at the Green Scene last weekend.
    * 3 Dianthus deltoides 'Fanal', a low mat of basal foliage with dime-size blood-red blooms at the end of skinny stems. Several people eyed them in our wagon at the Green Scene and asked what they were.
    * 1 Gaura 'My Melody' (hoping it doesn't mind the spot at the edge of the lawn where it will get some sprinkler spray)
    * 2 Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'

    Moved to better spots:
    * 1 Daylily 'Happy Returns'
    * 1 Salvia seedling
    * 1 Agastache aurantiaca 'Just Peachy', hoping it will grow faster in a sunnier/warmer spot.
    * 1 Agastache seedling (2nd year), either A. cana or 'Desert Sunrise', will know when it blooms

    * Weeds!

    Still left to do, hopefully most of it after work this week:
    * Plant 2 Salvias and 2 Gerbera Daisy
    * Plant 2 Unusual pelargoniums
    * Re-pot a couple of succulents into better drainage in pots
    * Mulch the whole yard
    * Feed a few roses

    My body feels like I was run over a few times by a semi truck, but it feels good to know that the worst is behind me.


  • nanelle_gw (usda 9/Sunset 14)

    I spent five hours at a car dealership an Saturday, but on Sunday I cut back rampant honeysuckle and cotoneaster, fed some Meyer lemons, watered My garlic and favas, and prepared holes for some pepper plants. I spent a LOT of time admiring my pepper and tomato seedlings, and potted some of the tomatoes up to larger pots.

  • triplel

    Yesterday was a gorgeous day and turned out warmer than forecasted. As usual, I genuinely intended to get some serious work done but ended up mostly doing the stuff I love (puttering, playing, picking and potting).

    Well, I was not as productive as some because I kept getting distracted by the fun stuff (picking snow peas, cutting shell ginger, callas, heliconia, roses and other flowers) then pulled some of the mother lode of weeds that the rain brought, back started aching (mainly I got bored), so I pruned the macadamia nut tree, repotted the birdnest fern that got huge from the rain. Mentally, I was reviewing my big "To Do" list, but as usual, I was easily distracted.

    Watched a butterfly flirt with the mist from the sprinkler, marvelled how lucky I am to be able to garden (or should I say putter?) 365 days a year. You'd think I would have my workload managed better, but I don't.

    Decided I better get back to work and was throwing mulch under the plumerias when I saw the passion fruit vine that nearly consumed the back yard. Hacked that poor thing to about 15 feet and had a big pile of vines. Dog came over and wanted some lovin' so I sat and scratched him and stripped the vines of the leaves and wound them around into a few gigantic wreaths. Wow, they are pretty cool - bonus by product of the yard.

    Remounted a few staghorn ferns, moved a couple banana trees to a less windy spot, pulled out a bunch of canna that would take over the yard if I let them, watered the sugar cane and stephanotis and spread it across the fence in a more attractive manner.

    Did the embarrassing "dance of the flailing arms" when I got the "cool" scared out of me by the biggest orange/gold, very hairy bee (the size of a large black carpenter bee)ever.
    SIDENOTE: It is the only one I have seen like that and each year it returns (or one just like it) to my pineapple guava tree when it begins flowering. It is very aggressive and will fly right up into my face and hover there ominously ever time we are both by the tree at the same time. I love and value bees, but this porker is a different breed. It dive bombs me each time I get too close to the tree and it decides I need to leave. Anybody familiar with this big bullying bee?

    Decided to go over to the compost pile in the corner, turn it over a few times and was repulsed at the fat grubs keeping warm in there. Dug them out, then noticed that it was now late afternoon and I didn't even get to divide some of the perennials that I set out to do. Just a typical day in my yard.

  • angelcub

    Hey, Jen, I know how you feel. We're finally warming up and that always means impulsive plant buying for me. A corner of the deck now holds quite a few of those gerbera daisies (love them - can't resist them), two salvia 'Anthony Parker' and various other perennials. Oh, and a lonicera tatarica which I have no idea where it's going. I did get a few roses in the ground, as well as a ceanothus 'Frosty Blue.' And DH moved two crepe myrtles that weren't happy in their old homes.

    I hope I can get a few more things in the ground today. My problem isn't the heat but total distraction due to planning a kitchen remodel. I am spending WAY too much time on the kitchen and appliance forums. And we picked up our wood floors from the flooring place near you. 52 boxes of Garrison 'Time Inspired' hand scraped hickory sitting in my dining room. We can't start on the floors for another week or so because my brother is coming for a visit. It's driving me to distraction not being able to rip the old carpet out NOW! lol!

    Hang in there and try and do what you can in the evenings. Early mornings are good, too, just don't forget to change your shoes before you leave for work. ; )


  • calpat

    I've been trying to "downsize" the back gardens, I got so carried away that I also made a promise to myself that I wouldn't visit any nurseries, plant sales, etc.. till I got a grip on what I have. It's not working well at all! Since I can't and won't be working out during daytime heat, I'm trying to get this house in order, so consequently I not only have a mess outside, but a great one started inside. This is not a fun thing..changing the order of "things" doesn't work for me! Pat

  • wanda

    I spent Saturday sprucing up the garden for the "Going Native" garden tour on Sunday and fininshing the gazillion signs to stick in the plants for ID. I bought 200, I could have used about 30 more. (SHEESH! How'd I get so many plants???!!!) Went shopping to get food to feed my loyal friends who agreed to be docents and help me out. 5 Clematis arrived in the time to plant them. One of my very best friends came over in the late afternoon to help me place all those signs in the plants and prepare the food for Sunday. One glass of wine led to the second bottle and there we were at midnight making stuffed zucchini boats, potato salad and dancing to Aerosmith. LOL

    Anyway, the tour went great. Things weren't perfect (are they ever?), but it was a very enjoyable day sharing my garden with well over 150 people. Lots of fun and I met some interesting people.
    After the tour was over, my loyal docents and I kicked back with a bottle of wine and some great food.


  • eloise_ca

    I am exhausted just reading what you all did. Glad to know I am not the only one who buys more plants than I have time to plant. I am also behind on flower seeds I wanted to sow. My back went out last week from lifting the lawn mower to take to the shop. I am much, much better today and can't wait to get out there and start gardening again, especially since my overgrown lawn is making my home look like an abandon house :-( Wanda, I got a big kick out of your remark, "One glass of wine led to the second bottle" -- too funny!

  • BettyN

    The weekend was great for gardening. I got the jobs done that are not my favorites - adjustng the sprinkler system, fertilizing the roses and their neighbors, and mulched about 2/3 of the garden.

    I still need to move a rose, drive to Healdsburg for some clematis and get them in the ground. I also need to spray for blackspot - last year was the first year it has ever been in my garden and with the wet spring - here it is again...

    Of course, I need to take time to bury my nose in any blooming rose - Evelyn is divine!

  • mmedici

    I purchased some of my favorite plants: nicotiana (in red) and abutilon (in orange and yellow).

  • ljrmiller

    My saturday wasn't that productive--I'd originally planned to get up at 6 AM, hit the road by 6:30 to be there at the Redbud chapter CNPS native plant sale in Rocklin, CA. The cat went off at 5:45, the alarm went off at 6:00, and a little voice in my head told me not to go. I'd been kind of nervous about the drive even though I've done it hundreds of times before, and it's just as well I didn't--there was a bad accident involving a semi truck on I-80 about an hour before I would have been driving through that stretch.

    Instead, I grabbed the AlarmCat and went back to sleep for a few more hours, then got up and went local nursery-browsing. There just wasn't that much to buy! I came home with a few things in addition to the handful of plants I'd picked up Thursday on the way home from work. At any rate, I DID tour all the local nurseries but one, and spent the rest of the afternoon deadheading and tidying.

    SUNDAY I got everything planted, and got more deadheading and tidying done. There is/was, of course, lots more I could have done, but I didn't do it.


  • bahia

    First, I would like to say that Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' needs regular grooming and fertilizing to keep blooming well the second year, and in my opinion is better as an annual than a perennial, becuase it never looks as good the second and third years. I prefer Scabiosa 'Fama' for the larger blooms and better year round foliage.

    I am glad to hear that Wanda had a good time with her garden tour. I also had a client's garden on tour in the East Bay, only a 100 people on Saturday, but over a thousand on Sunday. I wished I had thought to put up signs on some key plants, especially after answering the same questions at least 300 times on Sunday! Naively, I had thought the plant list handout and the docents on-hand would avoid this, no such luck. Sunday was actually the more fun of the two days, with a more enthusiastic crowd, perhaps due to the perfect sunny weather. It was also fun having Annie of Annie's Annuals show up at the garden to drop off copies of her latest catalogue for the visitors, (The Linaria reticulata from Annie's and the Ageratum corymbosum which I had introduced to her were both some of the hot plants for visitors. The other plants that comanded a million questions were the Begonia 'Paul Hernandez', Kalanchoe pumila, Salvia 'Van Houttii' in full, hot gorgeous red bloom behind a Dicksonia mexicana, and the Lotus bertholotii in full bloom, draping 4 feet down the raised planters. It did seem as if only the showiest things in full bloom really got noticed, but I guess I tend to be the same way when I go nursery shopping... The Strelitzia juncea, Leucospermum scoparium, Delostoma rosea tree and Passiflora membranacea were not quite in bloom for the tour, but should all be gorgeous in the next few weeks. I am hoping that the garden influenced a few people to consider using more succulents and bromeliads in the garden, we'll see if this gooses the sales at the upcoming Strybing/San Francisco Botanic Garden spring sale this weekend and the upcoming cactus and succulent society and bromeliad society sale, also at the Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park on June 17/18th. I am trying to convert Bay Area gardeners into planting more of both!

  • catkim

    bahia, so how does a garden look after 1,100 people have visited? That's incredible! Sounds exhausting, too! Sure would like to see photos of the garden with the bromeliads.

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/

    bahia: I wish I had known BB wasn't so wonderful, I thought it won perennial of the year a while ago and I read nice things about it on the internet, plus I don't want to constantly bomb GW with questions about every plant I'm considering buying. Oh well, experience is often the best educator. I'm glad you're trying to promote succulents, many of my favorite plants are succulents.

  • soggy6_2006


    Scabiosa "butterfly blue" is a new plant for me, and I went a little overboard with it in the last few months. I planted probably 48 plants (8-6 packs).

    Do you have any suggestions to keep them blooming well next year?

    Also, I have considered shearing some back now, will that prolong the bloom this year?

    Thanks for any advice,


  • jenn

    When I previously grew Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue', it grew for at least 2 years before I finally got tired of the frequent deadheading required because it bloomed ALL YEAR LONG, 365 days (366 in leap year, :-) It was a tireless, neverending bloomer. It did grow into a larger clump and produced one seedling.

    I moved the tiny seedling and it just sat there and did nothing. Barely grew, never bloomed. It didn't die but I finally took it out. I read that this plant takes a very long time to grow from seedling into a plant that blooms.


  • lusty

    Wanda, my neighbor and I made it to your garden as the last stop on our tour on Sunday, and we loved it. Thank you so much for all the work you do to make it available for us to explore.

  • bahia

    I didn't men to be overly discouraging on the Scabiosa, but in my opinion, it does need regular heavy fertilizing or compost amendment added to keep blooming heavily, and the dead heading does get old after awhile. I prefer other things that don't need deadheading for mass color, such as Calandrinia grandiflora or Alstroemeria.

    The garden actually held up pretty well, except for some impatient guests who just couldn't wait for clear passage and stepped onto some of the succulent groundcover. My client caught the women in the act, who did not even have the decency to act contrite, I know I would have said something to her if I had seen it happen. Other than various succulents being a bit trampled along the edges of paths, and the lawn looking abit worse for the wear, the garden did hold up rather well to all the traffic, and people seemed to enjoy themselves. A few friends/local garden designers also stopped by, and I wished I could have gotten all their opinions as well. The garden wouldn't appeal to everyone, however, as it has almost no roses(just one Rosa mutabilis chinensis), and no relation to more traditional English perennial or cottage gardens. I did get a chance to see some of the other gardens on the tour, and they were all very different from each other.

    I must admit, I still don't know how to post pictures on the computer, although I do have lots of photos of the garden as it looks now. It will probably be published in the coming year in either Sunset or Garden Design, and will also be featured in a book on water features to be released soon.

  • jenn

    Bahia, I store my photos on ShutterFly and then link to them from there. If you want more detailed instructions, one of us can help you with that too.

    Our soil is very rich and plants spread or get so large that I can't keep up with them. That may explain why our BB bloomed non-stop without any feeding other than keeping the soil mulched, and adding a good amendment when they were planted. I love the color of the blooms, it is unusual and they are beautiful as cut flowers in a vase. That memory actually overrides the bad memory of the non-stop dead-heading (since the blooms just keep coming and coming), so that's why I bought more this year. They are planted closer to the patio and will get a little less sun so I hope they like it there.

    Congratulations to you and Wanda for your successful garden tours (in spite of the plant trampling.... sheeh... I wonder if she was a "real" gardener).


  • youreit

    I just can't help but comment on the BB controversy! :)

    I've had mine for at least 4 years, and it's actually bloomed MORE with each season. I have hard, clay soil; I had to soak the area overnight where I planted it just to get a shovel going. I only fertilize once in early spring every year, and I water it deeply every 3 weeks during the dry months.

    As far as deadheading goes, it does require patience more frequently than most of my other plants, but, as I realized this morning, I only wish the freeway daisy (Osteospermum) were as easy! :)

    Oh, and I live just north of Sacramento, so maybe it's a zonal thing.


  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/

    I am STILL hauling wood chips to the bacyard, I hope I don't have to mulch for another few years at this rate! :o/


    My BBs sound like they're in a similar spot to yours, with pretty much the same climate, so I hope they'll behave more like yours. I view gardening as a lifetime learning experience and I enjoy all of it!


    Sorry to hear about the "casualties"; hopefully they will behave in true succulent fashion and grow back as happy as ever.

  • deedlemusic

    You guys are great -- I'm a newbie in my first year of real gardening and my husband looks at me like I'm nuts when I want to spend the whole weekend weeding, mulching, planting... It's exhausting but I love it! It's such a thrill watching flowers and veggies grow, blossom and thrive, and having a gorgeous habitat for the birds, butterflies, bees and lizards. I feel like I should belong to "Gardeners Anonymous" - now I have a plant nursery addiction! Truth is, I'd rather be in my garden working my buns off than at any office job any day.

  • jenn

    Deedlemusic - The link below is from the Perennials forum. You'll see how normal(??) you are as you read it. :-)


    Here is a link that might be useful: You know you're a gardener when...

  • chaud111

    melle_sacto, how did you get the "free" wood chips, and have it delivered to your house? I would like to get some for my yard.

  • lusty

    I don't know about melle_sacto, but I got a load of free wood chips by asking the tree trimmer down the street what he does with his chips. He dumped them in my driveway rather than taking them to the dump.

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/

    I saw an ad in the local Pennysaver: Free Wood Chips. After several phone calls and sending an email, I got added to whatever list this particular tree service referred to for people who wanted free wood chips. One Saturday, about a month after I requested chips, they showed up with a nice truckload.

    lusty is right, many tree services will happily dump the chips in your driveway (or other easily accessible part of your yard) if you ask. I asked some guys shortly before responding to the Pennysaver ad; they mostly had tree stumps though.

    One thing is that they'll only give you the chips if you're willing to take the entire truckload. I think my pile was 10 cubic yards and that is a LOT of woodchips, I've filled up my whole front yard (we don't have lawn) and most of the backyard (small lawn).

  • chaud111

    Thanks for the info. I'll definitely check out my local Pennysaver tonight.

  • CA Kate z9

    I way over-worked last weekend and determined that I WAS GOING TO FINISH THAT HILLSIDE! which I did on Monday. After a celebratory late lunch I went out to put the equipment away and water.

    And here is where my body gets even with me: I slipped off a bed and twisted my ankle. I don't -think- I broke anything, but here it is Thursday and I still can't do much but sit around and read. I tried driving yesterday and my ankle swelled-up like a squash.

    This week was to be dedicated to clearing the front beds of grasses and weeds with the weed-wacker.... but that's not to be. sigh ;^[

  • jenn

    Westelle: What happened to our deadline! hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? :-) Maybe your twisted ankle is a blessing. Take care of it and enjoy the rest. :-)

  • CA Kate z9

    "Deadline" hmmmmmmmmmm I just can't leave all this mess from all the rains. I'm hoping I can get DH to leave-off mowing the firelines and get him to use his monster weed-wacker on some of the worst areas in the big gardens. I'm honestly to the point where I don't care what plant he "takes-out" as long as the grasses and weeds disappear..... and I don't have to do it..... I'll even rake-up the leavings if he'll just zip thru' with the big equipment.

    Do I sound desperate? I AM!

  • youreit

    Wait! I thought the deadline was for buying plants! Ok, I slipped and went to a plant sale on the 6th with my mom, who comes down every year for that purpose. So, I was being a good daughter. :D

    Westelle, I hope it's "just" a sprain/strain you have there, and nothing's broken! Ice and elevation work wonders. I've done the same thing more times than I can count. :(


  • CA Kate z9

    Thank you, Brenda. I've had broken bones before, so I'm pretty sure nothing's broken.... it doesn't even hurt, just swells-up if I'm on it too much OR try to drive the car..... go figger'.

    And, gee, I was hoping the cut-off date was for everything..... so much for "California Dreamin."

  • ljrmiller

    westelle, if the ankle continues to give you grief, spend the 50 bucks for one of those velcro-plastic aircasts (you can order them online). I was given one for a severe sprain, and I was hobbling within hours, walking within the week and healed so well I can't remember which ankle I ruined (grade 2-3 sprain) because there is NO residual weakness or pain.


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