Sunday, October 24, 2010

Unexpected Visitors

Before I began the courtyard renovations, I bought a little fountain. The rumbling air conditioner, the weakly flowering gardenias, and root bound plants still in their black containers looked even more pathetic once I got my husband to drag it in. So I got motivated and tidied up my neglected courtyard. After trying my best to artfully arrange the best of the remaining potted plants around the fountain, I sat and enjoyed the gurgling.

Gurgle. Gurgle.

In the meantime, I had spied some American goldfinches hanging around my birch tree just on the other side of the fence. I would see a flash of olive green and pale yellow out of the corner of my eye or I would hear them peeling the bark off of the birch just for fun. And then they were in my fountain!

Why, hello there!

Check that out. Habitat! I thought I would need some interesting plants for them, but the birch provides the perches and hidy places they like. I have since put out a little feeder for them. Just thistle seed as I don’t want those bully sparrows coming in and hogging all the food. 

I swore I wasn’t going to put out another birdfeeder. They are such a mess. But the goldfinches are cute, so I put up with their sloppy ways.

Yes. I'm very cute. And I'm going to poop everywhere. But you won't care. Because I'm cute.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Plant Sale Booty

All I have is a moved AC unit and a new fence. I’m not ready for plants - not even close - but I couldn’t help myself last Saturday. It was a plant sale!! I was looking for hummingbird and beneficial insect plants as well as plants that would go into the soon-to-be-purchased pots that I am coveting at Pottery World.  I hope they live long enough so I can be a part of the California Native Plant Society (Sacramento Valley Chapter) ‘Gardens Gone Native’ plant tour next spring. 

Check it out:

The Booty
(2) Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’/bush anemone. This compact form of bush anemone is only supposed to get about 6’ tall at the most. I hope so, because they are going into the pair of large pots that will flank the gate of my courtyard.

(4) Scrophularia californica/bee plant. These are so cute. They are supposed to attract bees (go figure!) and will go in the pots with the bush anemone.

(2) Monardella odoratissima/mountain pennyroyal. A native bee was actually on the cute puffy flowers at the plant sale. How could I resist? Well, I didn’t, so I bought two. These are supposed to be shade or sun plants and will also go into the bush anemone pots.

(2) Monardella villosa/coyote mint. Another native mint that can handle some shade. This will go in the ground and I hope it will bring some butterflies to my courtyard.

(4) Fragaria vesca/wood strawberry. These are supposed to handle shade as well and will go in another pair of pots that will flank the house entry door into the courtyard. Who knows, maybe I’ll get enough strawberries to put in a salad once in a while.

 (2) Satureja douglasii/yerba buena. This likes shade and moisture, has wonderfully fragrant leaves, will look really cool draping out of pot and guess what? It will go in the shade pots.

(1) Lonicera hispidula/pink wild honeysuckle. This deciduous honeysuckle works in sun to shade and has pink tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The berries attract birds. This will go in the ground and I need to get a trellis so it will climb up the fence.

(4) Lilium pardalinum/leopard lily. These will go in the shady part of my garden and their bright orange color will really pop against the dark terra cotta walls of the house.

(1) Mahonia aquifolium ‘Compacta’/compact Oregon grape. I was going to put this next to my relocated AC condenser as a screen. But after just a week, it’s already dead!

So that's what I have to get started. Once I get the courtyard paving done, I'll continue the planting. In the meantime, I’ll just move the containers around the courtyard and imagine them in the ground and in pots.