Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Odds and Ends from the South SF Bay Area

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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Jun 15, 2014 5:01 PM CST
I guess I will join in on the thread, with a few odds and ends garden pictures taken within the past week.

We have a creek running smack through the middle of our property, and have Gaura lindheimeri hedges above the west creek banks. (At the south end of the bridge, the hedge is actually above a small patio we call "The Pit", which steps down to/sits above the creek bank.) These pictures were taken mid-morning. (Please ignore all of the flags in these photos; we are having some irrigation work re-done.)

Gaura north (with volunteer Buddleia smack in the middle, and also various bearded irises, including in pots)
Thumb of 2014-06-15/Polymerous/1b80d0

Gaura south (the reddish flowering thing is a 'Flower Carpet Pink Supreme' shrub which I put in last year)
Thumb of 2014-06-15/Polymerous/bcd738

I have a Moon Garden, of sorts. This photo was taken late afternoon, from the outskirts of the Moon Garden. Hemerocallis 'Pink Fanfare' is in the foreground, with 'Newberry White Dove' and 'Tuscawilla Tranquility' in the midground. (The red maple is at the top right edge, with 'Beautiful Edgings' to the left of it.)

Thumb of 2014-06-15/Polymerous/3fba13

My side yard is the only part of the property which is 100% fenced-gated-protected against deer. I have several daylilies in there (in raised beds, pots, and in the ground), and also (despite the shade) have my veggie and herb garden there. Shown is a clump of Hemerocallis 'Osterized' in early to mid morning, before the sun hits it.



Late Friday night or early Saturday morning we lost an oak tree. (It was in a long slow decline despite our arborist's best efforts (phytophora), and the main trunk came crashing down.) We were resigned to losing the oak tree, but what is galling is that it took out a beautiful Japanese maple (I believe it was 'Ichigyogi') with it!

Our arborist is returning with a crew tomorrow to take out the fallen trunk, and I get to go visit the Tree Nazis at city hall to get a permit to remove the still living (but not for long) part of the tree. We are going to wait and see if the Japanese maple sends out shoots from what is left of the trunk.

(The Japanese maple on the creek bank, behind what is left of the oak, is a 'Beni Kawa'. Its foliage is already frying (we lost a shading corkscrew willow a year ago), and the loss of this oak tree is not going to help it any.)

Thumb of 2014-06-15/Polymerous/deb2a8

About a month ago, we replaced (for the 2nd time) a red Japanese maple that was originally on the property when we bought it. (The original maple had been shaded by a ginormous oak which developed rot (thanks to previous owners burning the root collar and irrigating right on top of it) and had to be removed. Once the shade was gone, the original maple got fried and kept dying back each year, and so it had to be removed too.)

The current replacement maple (the first one died due to irrigation issues), an "Emperor I", is thus far doing fine. The picture below was taken this morning and shows foliage, along with a pair of blooms on Hemerocallis 'Raspberry Banana Cheesecake'. (That, and other daylilies, were planted around the original maple, and were chosen to color coordinate.)



The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 16, 2014 6:56 PM CST
Lovely gardens! Especially the Moon Garden. That photo made me relax and drift into it as if I could smell it. There are so many different plants in it that it would make a great "multi-plant photo".

Sorry to see the old oak go. Is Phytophora root rot due to soggy conditions? I've always been paranoid about drainage, but that reinforces my paranoia.

South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 16, 2014 7:37 PM CST
Thanks for the compliment. I do have multi-plant photos of the Moon Garden in the database, but not this one. (I really don't want to submit anything with those dratted landscaping flags in there!)

Re the root rot, I don't think the soil was soggy, so much. While there *was* irrigation in the area (both by previous owners and by us), the oak was sitting at the top of a creek bank (so it had drainage) and we tried to avoid spraying water on the oak. The tree did have some sort of beetle infestation in the past (for all I know, still did/does, as a woodpecker went after it earlier this year) and that may have contributed to the ruin as well.

We live on almost one acre, and there are many old oak trees on the property, and most of them are in decline. (When we bought the property, there was already one large, old dead oak that we had to remove ($$$ Grumbling ), and another that shortly succumbed to root rot.) Partly (if I understand our arborist right) it is a matter of age, partly it is a matter of changing environment over the years. Apart from different owners and different irrigation situations, the city of San Jose did some flood abatement work several years ago which (we hypothesize; we do not live near where that work was done) somehow resulted in a net lowering of the water level in *our* "creek" (actually, officially, a drainage ditch, though one that is natural looking (no concrete) and functioning (lots of little critters live there - crayfish, small fish, frogs)). Once that happened, the oaks along the creek really started heading into a decline, so our arborist thinks that lack of (relative) seasonal flooding may have something to do with it. (There is also the question of what chemicals might be in this "drainage ditch"; we think that people upstream are, at a minimum, washing their swimming pool water into it (from sporadic rises in the water during the drought season), and there is always the question of fertilizer and pesticide/herbicide runoff.)

Last fall we planted out several oak seedlings (we have lots of volunteers, from both the oaks and a Japanese maple grove) on the lower creek banks, to start a succession. We will do that again this fall.

It does seem like the rot is in the soil, though. (That is what got our beautiful corkscrew willow a couple of years ago.) That makes me question the wisdom of replanting trees that are susceptible to it (the willow was replaced with a native maple), but our city is oak crazy and I won't be surprised if they demand that we replant with one or more larger (than the seedlings) oaks. (Been there, done that.)

We *do* have some healthy oaks on the property, just not along the creek banks. (Well, we have a deciduous oak there that was thus far doing okay, though I noticed some die back on one limb the other day.) We have a nice blue oak in one corner of the property, but I fear for that tree - not because of root rot, but because on the hillside above it is a large eucalyptus. That monster just dropped a huge limb a couple of weeks ago (the owners have left it lying there), and I fear if the rest of that thing goes, it is poised to come crashing down on top of our fence and the blue oak.

Before owning this property, I would never have believed all of the trials and tribulations (and arborist costs!) that having several trees could mean.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jun 16, 2014 8:11 PM CST
>> some sort of beetle infestation in the past (for all I know, still did/does, as a woodpecker went after it earlier this year)

Ouch! Being perforated is not good for trees and other living things!

>> flood abatement work several years ago which (we hypothesize; we do not live near where that work was done) somehow resulted in a net lowering of the water level in *our* "creek"

Hmm! I imagine that everything in the soil and around it went through flux while adapting to that.

I would have thought that "trees" were the lowest-maintenance things one could have on a property. I guess not!

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jun 17, 2014 9:32 AM CST
Lovely garden. I have visited SF, Walnut Creek, Oakland, Corte Madera, and, um one other that has a college. It is so hot though after 60 years in Alaska that I could never live there. Was born in Oakland. But you have managed to have a wonderful varied garden despite the heat. My mother lived in the places mentioned (GG grandmother, G grandmother, grandmother, and mom and I all were born or lived in Oakland) and loved roses. She lived in Modesto for a while up in the hills and had great gardens there also. Makes what I can grow here look pretty paltry. Thank You! Hurray!
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 17, 2014 6:45 PM CST
I am amazed that anyone can grow any kind of garden up in AK! How cold are the nights there during summer? I am really curious to know if *any* daylilies would survive up there, and if the summer nights would be warm enough for the flowers to open.

I would love to grow more roses, but the raiding deer are problematic. The only roses that can be safely grown are in the side yard, but thanks to the shade (and my incompetence with roses) they are surviving, but not necessarily thriving - with the exception of three 'Carefree Wonder' shrubs which were rescued from the property when we were landscaping it several years ago (after we bought it). Those three are the centerpieces of 3 raised beds in the side yard, where they look fantabulous in bloom. (They are a pain to deadhead though, and (in my inexpert opinion) the flowers don't seem to look good as long as those on hybrid tea roses do.)

Last year my husband finally grudgingly agreed to fence the creek banks (both to keep deer out of the garden and our new dog out of the creek), and in anticipation I bought several 'Flower Carpet' roses and a 'Lady Emma Hamilton'. Then he decided not to fence the creek banks, because it would "ruin the view" and "look ugly". (Well, yes.)

The most we could do was to put up a deer fence along part of the back hillside (where it was pretty much "out of sight, out of mind") and partly hidden by oaks. Deer still sometimes get into the garden (they got almost all of the daylily buds in the "Back 40" 3-4 weeks ago, and hit the roses and daylilies in the "Near 40" (nearer the house) last week), but the damage is not quite so bad as in the several previous years. The deer fencing helps, and maybe our dog helps.

(Our dog, however, delights in going down to the creek to both fish (muzzle in the water, going after small fish and crayfish) and hunt (the creek banks). Mud is a constant here. He also escapes out the creek to go hunt the neighbors' yards, much to their (and our) annoyance.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jun 19, 2014 9:09 AM CST
It runs in the upper 40's to 50's at night up here, and around 60's to 70's during the day. And remember we have 19 hours of daylight right now. That includes dawn and dusk. On June 21st it will start going the other way and we will lose 2-7 minutes a day on our way to December 21st, the shortest day of the year with maybe 5 1/2 half hours of daylight.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 19, 2014 10:20 AM CST
Ah, at upper 40s to 50s most daylilies would have trouble opening properly (even if they could survive the winter), and the color might not develop properly (at least, that is how they look here at the extremes of the bloom season). Spiders, some unusual forms, and generally CMOs (cold morning openers) would open down to the lower 50s, but I don't know if they could handle a string of such nights. Pity.

So what DO you grow there? Annuals?
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jun 19, 2014 10:59 AM CST
I do have daylilies, just a few that have survived for several years. I say 50's but with the sun out it gets to the 70's often. Depends on the overcaste situation. I think also that the dormants do better (in fact DO survive) rather than the evergreens. I didn't know the difference when I first ordered them but then finally READ the catalog. lol. I don't get tons of blooms but enough to make it worth a small patch. I think I am supposed to divide them every few years? Yes?? I hate to do it as it seems to set them back on blooms. I guess if they stop blooming I can dig them then. Not sure what I will do with all the extras though.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 19, 2014 1:22 PM CST
You divide the daylilies if the clump has gotten so large that the number of blooms diminish. Some daylilies need dividing every few years, some can go longer. You can give the extras away as freebies (give them to your garden club, pot them and put them out on the curbside, whatever - I obviously don't know your living situation up there).

I have an acquaintance in Montana who I am going to give some daylilies to, and I've been searching out info from other people on this forum in similar climates (Canada, for example) so I can make some informed choices for him. What I have learned (thus far) is to choose dormants and maybe some semi-evergreens, and for bloom season choose EE, E, and EM (extra early, early, and early midseason). You can throw some M (midseason) daylilies in there, but if you get an early frost you will lose the buds. (I wouldn't expect rebloom... unless it was a cultivar with "instant" rebloom, such that the rebloom scape is coming up pretty much the same time as the first bloom scape.) Considering that the nights would be cooler, CMOs sound wise, too. (Thus far, among what I have, I only have a few daylilies that I think would be worth him trying, and one of them (the only CMO in the bunch) is too new a plant here (with slow increase) for me to divide it.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jun 20, 2014 10:55 AM CST
Sounds like you have a good plan. Those are the ones that I would choose also. When I receive the Oakes Daylily catalog I always look for the dormants and EE or E ones as the most likely to be successful. And plant in full sun. How about water. I know it would depend on my soil, rainfall and such, but do they prefer consistent dampness or perhaps a little dry once in a while.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 20, 2014 12:26 PM CST
We are very dry here, and if anything the challenge is getting the daylilies enough water to bloom well (reasonable scape height and branching, appropriate bloom size, buds not drying and falling off, blooms opening properly). This year I was neglectful of some pots, with the result that most of the nascent flower buds just dried up. Sad

As a test-of-concept, one thing that I did for my seedlings this past year was to pot them in 8" tree pots, then put those pots into one of those under-the-bed plastic storage bins. The bin always had water in it, usually almost to the brim of the storage box (which was at least a couple inches below where the plant crowns would be). All of the seedlings bloomed with what appeared to be appropriate bloom sizes and scape heights (expected for the cross), and the flowers opened well (again, depending on genetics). It worked well enough that I think I am going to grow all of my seedlings that way now - the pots are large enough for the plants to get to bloom, and the bin keeps all of the plants hydrated (and for all I know, cools the black pots down some). The challenge there is appropriate fertilizing; I have had to switch to liquid fertilizer over the whole bin. (When first planted I put time-release fertilizer into each pot, but as they grow, those pots are so close together that getting down into the foliage to renew the time-release fertilizer is just a hassle.) That, plus I have to treat for mosquitoes. Rolling my eyes.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jun 20, 2014 12:50 PM CST
I have wondered if the black pots don't cook roots. I planted a number of dahlias in black pots and they just died one by one. Your idea of double potting them with water in the outer pot sounds like a great idea. Plus I guess I didn't catch on that you were growing from seed. I could never do that here. Well, I don't have the patience and knowledge for it, plus the return on 'investment' doesn't seem to warrant it. Stella d'Oro does wonderfully well here but it is a pretty tough plant and not one of the more delicate hybrids. Do love the colors and blooms on those hybrids though. Well, can't have it all. Rolling my eyes.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 20, 2014 1:03 PM CST
Not all of my daylilies are seedlings; most of them are registered cultivars. The pollen dabbing is just an interest of mine; I am interested particularly in near-white, polymerous, and polychrome daylilies (though I also like yellows, lavenders, saturated pinks, and large sunfast reds). I have hopes... Whistling , and if nothing else, it is interesting to anticipate what might (or might not) show up in the seedling patch each year.

I am having problems with my dahlias. A couple in pots (one black, one blue plastic inside of a ceramic pot) in a lot of sun have either cooked or rotted (I have been trying not to over water). Three other dahlias all in black pots (all the same purple leaf cultivar) which get more shade are doing fine. Confused Who'd have thought that dahlias needed some shade??? (I also have some dahlias in the ground (under irrigation), but that is an iffy proposition with our heavy soil. I lost one last summer to rot.)

I have been refreshing the ATP main page so I can see random tips, and one person uses large bubble wrap (has 1" or so bubbles) to line her pots - it cools them down some. When all else fails, it is probably worth a shot.

There are also those fabric grow bag planters, which are said to be cooler than plastic or ceramic pots. (A link to some: http://www.gardeners.com/buy/outdoor-planters/grow-bags/ ) I bought a few of those at the local nursery (thinking to use them for veggies, but didn't); I haven't tried them with any ornamentals. Yet. (If the dahlias keep failing on me, I might try one in a bag.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jun 23, 2014 7:36 PM CST
I really do think that the black pots cook the dahlia roots. They like sun but I think like their roots cool like clematis. That would explain the ones you have in shade doing okay. Cool roots.

I use the fabric bags for potatoes. I have 8 now, three are 20 gallon bags. Need to hill them up very soon. I just unroll the bag as they grow and add straw and soil mix to cut down on the cost of soil alone. Never thought to try to grow flowers in them.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Jun 24, 2014 10:20 AM CST
I never considered that dahlias might need their roots cool!!!!!!!! THANKS for that tip! I'll have to go juggle and move things around. (Actually, I'll also have to go buy a new dahlia, as one that was in a one gallon pot died.)

Thank You!
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jun 25, 2014 6:48 PM CST
Hope it works for you. Mine are going gangbusters and our soil is cold and with our rain, drenched.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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