October planting: my nursery haul

galvezia speciosa island bush snapdragon tended.wordpress.com

So I did end up with a few plants that were not on my list, but they are really good ones! The Annie’s Annuals section at Half Moon Bay nursery is a dangerous place for anyone with a plant addiction and apparently for anyone who wants to buy a salvia. While shopping, I had an encounter with a hummingbird who was getting a little territorial over ‘his’ salvias.

Galvezia speciosa ‘Island Bush Snapdragon’ (pictured above) I’ve never grown this one but it sounds perfect: hummingbirds love it, it can take dry conditions, shade, and clay soil. 3′ high by 5′ wide, blooms late spring through fall, and can work as a mounding groundcover, which is how I will be using it, or a vining shrub. It’s native to the Channel Islands. (photo by Annie’s Annuals)

salvia apiana white sage tended.wordpress.com

Salvia apiana ‘White Sage’ I love, love, love silver plants. This one loves heat and drought and doesn’t want any summer water. Bees and hummingbirds love its white flowers that bloom in the spring on 3′ FLOWER SPIKES! Another California native, this one is endangered from illegal harvesting to make smudge sticks. We’ll see if it can take my heavy clay soil. (photo by Annie’s Annuals)

Abutilon megapotamicum 'Halo' tended.wordpress.com

Abutilon megapotamicum ‘Halo’ These are so pretty and they attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I always admire them and I couldn’t resist the apricot flowers on this one. I’ll put this in part shade near my Japanese Maple. At 4′ it should fill the spot perfectly.

woolly thyme tended.wordpress.com

Wolly thyme Look how cute it is! I couldn’t just leave it there. I’m going to put it in a crack along my raised bed and see if it makes enough to divide later on.

October planting list

coreopsis mango punch

Fall is the one time of year I can plant things in my garden and they won’t die of neglect. New plants get the entire winter rainy season to get established so they can withstand heat, drought. This time around I am going to tackle my garden in chunks and get one area looking good before tackling the next area. And I’ll be going to my favorite nursery with a plant list (I’m sure I’ll still come home with a bunch of randoms).

In the spirit of picking my battles, I’m ceding part of the back garden bed to my dog for her dirt baths (for now). I’m also going with low maintenance, proven, plants I can’t kill. Here’s my list – I’d love to hear what others are planting!

Brass band rose (pictured below in my garden) This one might have to wait until the bare root roses come in. This is a big healthy rose covered with long lasting orange-peach blooms. It’s past its peak now, but will keep blooming through November. I’ll replace a couple of sub par roses with one of these.

Proven plants that I can’t kill:

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) I’ve got one now. It’s easy, it’s stunning, and it’s a fall bloomer. The leaves smell like pineapples and there’s always a hummingbird in there somewhere.

Bog Salvia (Salvia uliginosa) to weave into the Pineapple Sage. I love this combination so why not repeat it?

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) I have several varieties but this one smells the best and honeybees love it. I wish it reseeded like my Spanish Lavender but it doesn’t so I guess I’ll have to buy more.

New ones to try:

Corepsis ‘Mango Punch‘ (pictured above) I like these simple, graphic flowers and you can never have too much orange. I’m going to try this one under my roses. It’s supposed to be tough, so I’ll plunk a few in other parts of the yard and see how they do.

Geum chiloense Small hot colored flowers on tall spikes are striking and see-through to add some depth. I’ll try these in a couple of places as well.

Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa) I’m planning this one as an alternative to Helichrysum petiolare which I love but is invasive so it’s off the list. I want a tough, silver-leafed, low water plant to fill in some difficult areas. According to the Marin Master Gardeners, it attracts beneficial insects, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

brass band rose tended.wordpress.com

Indoor herbs

indoor herbs tended.wordpress.com

I can grow fresh herbs year round in my garden. But there is something about herbs growing in the kitchen. They’re right there, ready to use, they look pretty, and they smell amazing. Most herbs will grow quite happily next to a window. They will need more water than your houseplants – probably twice a week. Small leaved herbs (lavender, rosemary, thyme) won’t need any special care. Basil and mint will want their leaves washed occasionally or they will get spider mites. That’s about it.

The other thing you can do is think of them as cut flowers and just replace them with new plants when they start to look ratty. It’s still less expensive than buying cut fresh herbs for cooking. You can get potted herbs most of the year at Trader Joe’s.

Two handled vase from Wisteria. Small bowl made my my mother.

A tale of two salvias

salvia elegans and salvia uliginosa tended.wordpress.com

One of my favorite things about this time of year is for a few short weeks, my Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) and Bog Salvia (Salvia uliginosa) are in bloom at the same time.

Pineapple sage can pretty much deal. Drought tolerant, heat tolerant, grows in clay soil… And it gets nice and big: 5’x’5. The leaves smell like pineapples. The red flowers start at the very end of summer and last all fall.

Bog salvia likes a lot of water (and Pineapple sage happily adapts). It can get to be 6′ tall but probably not more than 3′ wide. The cool thing that I’ve discovered is that it will flow in around your other plants and you get this beautiful effect of the blue flowers weaving in through other flowers or foliage.

These are growing in a raised bed where they have completely filled in around a lemon tree, a rosebush, and a columnar apple tree. I cut them both down almost to the ground the first week of the year when I prune my roses and don’t touch them the rest of the year. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them both.

salvia elegans and salvia uliginosa tended.wordpress.com

salvia elegans and salvia uliginosa tended.wordpress.com