Playing in California

This is the time of year when I venture to California to visit with my mother.  While yet another snowstorm covers up the snowdrops again I visited my mother last week and checked up on the plants that are growing vigorously almost any time of year.  The outstanding elements in January are always the pair of Camellias that dominate the side of the house.

Camellia blooms dripping off the bush

Camellia wall

They grow so easily and flower so vigorously that it seems almost criminal.

Another spot that gets my every couple of months check is the back bed.  The back of the yard was once a lovely flower garden that my Dad planted but it got overrun with nut grass.  My cure was to build up the bed and put in pots with a drip irrigation system that waters only the pots not the surrounding earth.  This I did quite a few years ago and by and large it works pretty well if the irrigation tubes don’t get knocked off or the timer reset.

The back garden

There are now three dwarf citrus trees along the back wall and numerous perennials.  My mother pointed out last trip the value of pinning down the drip irrigation tubes and that has proved to be a very valuable step.  The citrus are yielding less than last year, but everyone is still pretty much alive back there and that’s a major plus.  That’s Cape Honeysuckle with the orange flowers hanging down from the porch.

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)

This is a vigorous plant with attractive flowers the year round.

It’s a little bit early for the plants in the back bed to be flourishing, but I did notice that because of the heavy rains last month the part of the garden outside of the pots that does not get watered by irrigation was covered withs seedling Calendulas, a number of which were already up to flowering size.

Calendulas self-seeding

One could do worse than having Calendulas go wild.

I added a few plants this trip, as is my common practice.  This time I found a really nice tall Pink Coral Pea.  It fit in very nicely where the Dahlia had been eaten by snails and next to where the Bougainvillea has not made up its mind whether to grow or not.

New Pink Coral Pea (Hardenbergia violacea)

The large vine provides instant color to the bed.  However the joke was on me.  As my mother pointed out we already had two very large specimens of this big shrubby vine at the side of the house.

Existing Pink Cora Pea

Because the nursery plant was well ahead in flowering I didn’t realize that the same plants were already in the yard.  Credit one to the supervisor.

The Supervisor

I also put in a Peacock flower and an Anemone Coronaria, but the final step as an investment for the future was to add a little tomato plant.

Tomato seedling (Celebrity)

This one is surrounded by diatomaceous earth to provide an ancient drying spell against snails which run rampant in California gardens.  We’ll see if it makes a difference to the slimy sort…

3 comments on “Playing in California

  1. joco

    Hiya John,
    Thank you for taking us on your trip to the warmth and away from our own coolth.(Just learnt this was an actual word 🙂
    What a jolly lady, your mum, smiling at us in such a friendly manner. You can tell her how much I envy her those wonderful camellias. And so many buds still to come.
    Enjoy the rest of your time together.

  2. Noelle/azplantlady

    Growing up in California, I enjoyed gardening there very much. It is amazing how easy it is to grow plants there. I love the hardenbergia. My six are blooming and provide welcome winter color to the garden.

  3. Dirty Girl Gardening

    That hardenbergia is going to go nuts on that fence! They grow so fast.