Changeable, volatile, sunny, rainy, hail for 5 minutes, sunny again, pouring buckets an hour later — this slice of temperate rain forest is all the weather I never got in LA…in one day! I used to perceive LA’s skies as being in stasis, chronically blue and bright. Now my garden is the thing seemingly in stasis the past couple months, which brings fresh insights into so much of the classic garden literature. For example, I get the tribe of galanthophiles now — hungry for any signs of green piercing the brown plane as early in the season as possible.
I haven’t gone the snowdrop route yet, but I do compulsively count evidence of emerging bulbs. These are narcissus, but really who cares what they are? Twelve green nubbins is what they are! Allium are up too, and countable.
Something else I’ll be counting will no doubt be plant losses. Iffy plants, like this beschorneria, should ideally be planted early to have all summer to make size. Even though it is rated to 10-15F, I wish I had planted it in spring, not fall. Established plants have much better odds of making it through their first winter, just as established plants handle drought better in zone 10.
And I will grow a euphorbia, some euphorbia, in whatever garden I make, that’s nothing new. Seeing them stirring into bloom in frosty February brings a whole new level of appreciation. Like seeing new attributes in a dear friend.
And now biennials make sense too. They made no sense in LA. I mean why go through the bother of sowing them in August, growing them on for a year, etc, when there’s so many other choices? Well, I’ll tell you why. They’re hardy, for one thing, and Sweet Rocket keeps its leaves all winter and will be in bloom early in spring when a lot of the garden is just waking up. I know because I saw it in bloom in a local garden last year. Will I like the way it looks in the garden? Not sure, but I know I will appreciate the effort when it happens.
I wasn’t sure my enthusiasm for phlomis would jive with all this rain, but so far they’re looking fine. Also growing Phlomis aurea and Phlomis anatolica ‘Lloyd’s Variety’ and always on the hunt for more…No new phlomis coming in a couple plant orders pending, but we’ll see how eremurus finds life here at the Oregon coast.