friday grab bag

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How ironic is it, that picking out the negative spaces in our window silhouettes is called “weeding”? Looks like I can never escape this chore.

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Here’s a sneak peek at what our latest product is apt to look like (from the outside, looking in).


What a difference a few sunny days makes. Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ is in full bloom.


It comes along quite a bit earlier than C. impressus ‘Victoria’ and is a duskier blue (like denim) to Vicki’s clear blue.


In the “delightful surprise” category are these Epimediums, NOID from one of our bloggers’ swaps.


All surprises are not necessarily delightful. The Alliums I planted in the fall are coming up nicely and look almost ready to flower, but all of the leaf tips have browned in a rather unsightly fashion.


Plagued by gophers, our “lawn” looks like a war zone. Taking Amy’s (Plan-it-Earth Design) advice, I’m starting to plant it with things that will disguise the damage, need little to no mowing and quit pretending to be lawn.

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This is the first little patch, using a nice big clump of Carex I got from Anna (Flutter and Hum), which I divided and spread out over a fairly large area. The clumps of Prunella vulgaris were left in place (I’m choosing to view them as wildflowers rather than weeds). The Alliums were tucked into open spaces and I’m thinking Camassia next. At this rate, it’s a project that could become my life’s work, but I’ll show those gophers who’s boss.

22 thoughts on “friday grab bag

  1. Yes…the Allium foliage is unique in that it starts to look bad even BEFORE it blooms! I usually tuck them around grasses and other plants that hide the foliage…and usually it’s almost completely disintegrated by the time they really bloom.

  2. Your plan sounds great. I’ll look forward to seeing the progress over time. The Ceanothus and Epimedium flowers are lovely. My Epimediums are hidden under mulch until the brutal temps depart for good. Your photo of the Epimediums is stunning!

    • Epimediums are devoted to playing hide-and-seek. This one stands out because of the light color but Lilafree all but disappears in its purpleness.

  3. My allium leaves are looking crummy too. I like your strategy of disguising the holes. Smart girl – work *with*, not against.

    • We’ve been working against for too long. Time to send up the white flag and take a different approach. Thanks again for the Carex. It plays a pivotal role in this new direction.

    • See Evan’s comment above for more on the lawn approach. I think I’ll follow Scott’s advice and move the Alliums into an area where taller grasses can mask the ratty foliage problem.

    • We have both. The moles, I can live with. They are insectavores and dainty tunnelers. The gophers, on the other hand, will decimate bulbs, and even destroy good-sized trees by gnawing away the root system. their tunnels are huge, creating sink-holes all over the yard. I have known gentle pacifist souls to resort to full-on warfare when faced with the gopher brigade.

  4. I love the owl stencil! I made the decision last year to view Prunella as a useful wildflower instead of a weed. So far I’m loving my decision. I’ll let you know if I regret it. I’ve read of Prunella being used as a lawn substitute, even, because you can mow it to any height, and it forms an evergreen clump or mat in winter. I’m planning to order plugs of a few different drought-tolerant carex to plant this fall in my oak woodland-to-be as a simple green groundcover.

    • Thanks, Evan! I’d be interested in your choices and supplier for the carex. I like the little purple flowers on the Prunella. The only downside would be if it chokes out other things. Now, how do you feel about buttercups?

      • Buttercups are the devil! Lol. Pretty much an arbitrary decision on whether to treat a plant as a weed or not, but at least the Prunella is native. The creeping buttercup, which I assume is the one you meant, is not. Though, there is a native buttercup that looks a lot like it. Pretty sure mine is the invasive alien, though. I’m thinking of ordering Carex pansa, Carex praegracilis, and Carex tumulicola from Suncrest Nurseries. They’re a wholesale nursery, but they have a meadow program where you can order plugs through a nursery like Cistus.

        • I am constantly fighting back buttercups which seek to invade every bed. I was hoping you would have something good to say about them, but should have known better. I looked up those Carex and liked the C. tumulicola best. There are other, less wavy ones I prefer but I’m thinking you must have a good reason for your choices. Please keep me posted.

  5. I like your Ceanothus, something I’m not really familiar with. I’ve heard the same thing about allium foliage, that it dies early before the flower show. Your gophers sound like a terrible pest.

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