Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blue Eyed Grass, and other wildflowers


It's planting season in Northern California.

Despite the fact that I was still feeling achy and crummy, I went to two different native plant sales today.

The first plant sale I attended was hosted by the Landscape Horticulture department of Merritt College.

They also offered tours of their gardens. I particularly enjoyed seeing their mushroom growing operations, which are located on a beautiful ridge in the Oakland hills, under oak and manzanita trees. Somehow, they connected with a nursery who gets their ceramic pots wrapped in excelsior (incredibly long, thin, spaghetti-like shavings of oak), instead of packing peanuts. The mushroom growers at Merritt College cover their "crops" with donated excelsior, which makes so much sense, since many mushrooms have a growing-relationship with oak.

The other plant sale was hosted by the Friends of Sausal Creek. I'm interested in the work that this group is doing to preserve an important Bay Area watershed.

I've been buying native plants that will provide food for insects and birds, or that will be easy to grow, and cheerful. I bought several gallon-sized pots of blue-eyed grass, which, as you can see from all my photographs, is a plant I'm very fond of. It's in the iris family, and always makes me smile.

Even when I'm feeling really ill, I still enjoy working with plants. Sure beats laying in bed and being miserable.


Gina said...

That blue-eyed grass is GORGEOUS! I don't suppose it could grow here, huh? Also, any idea if it's COMPLETELY idiotic to consider starting a compost pile in the winter and how I might go about doing that? Did you have one in Baltimore? (I never even CONSIDERED trying one until living in this place , which doesn't back up against RATLAND like every other place in Baltimore I've lived.)

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the Blue-eyed Grass, my Yellow-eyed Grass didn't make it. Though the Blue Flax, Yellow Wallflower and Coral Bells planted at the same time(not during planting season) are doing alright.

Hopefully the fall rain will help revive my meager garden.


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Our seasons are inside-out of yours, Gina, so I think that blue eyed grass would croak in Baltimore.

We composted on St. Paul St, and I won't lie to you: I saw rats doing in and out of our bin. My neighbors HATED us, but they also spent all their free time yelling at each other, so they were pretty riled up to begin with.

There's plenty of info on composting online. You need to augment the kitchen scraps with yard trimmings, or else you'll just create rotting garbage, which isn't exactly the same as compost.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Greg, does blue eyed grass go dormant?

greg said...

I'll let you know in a few months...

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Uh, I saw rats GOING in and out of our compost in Baltimore.

wooberry said...

Lisa, is the blue-eyed grass the same as spiderwort?

It is one of my favorites-my father calls it blue grass.
It is open in the mornings, and the buds close once the day get hot. It is a wildflower (aka weed) here in Massachusetts. It would think it would grow in Baltimore in the early spring.

Anonymous said...

It's plant therapy, baby! It's going to be time to put in flower bulbs here in PA soon. I'm just going to kiss our front yard grass goodbye and cover it in flowering plants in the fall. Of course, the cold weather has to go away first! Our neighbors 1 hour away from us got snowfall this week already. Thats EARLY Hon, even in Michigan! But now it means our English walnuts are ready to shell and eat.

For your friend who wants to compost but is concerned about the rats in Baltimore (once we found a healthy-looking but very dead rat in our alley/backyard across from the Walters Art measured OVER 2 feet in length, tail included... gack) It is possible to take whatever you WANT to compost and to run it thru a blender, then to pour the product onto the base of the plant. The only problem is that rats may chew at the plant itself. I never had a rat problem when I put down elephant poop I got for free from the circus, or for a fee from Baltimore's spectatcular Zoo-Doo program. I also used to put compost and water (compost tea) in a big plastic bucket I got from construction sites, let it sit (1 month) and THEN use it as compost on the plants. That worked alright in the city.

I would consider putting in berries Lisa, our raspberries did fabo in 2 years- I was going to plant more but am now glad I didnt. They spread like crazy, and make a great fence between you and the neighbors. Also, they love lots of water.

Next year I want to plant climbing wisteria to climb over our barn. Too bad they take 7 years to make flowers! You know, even if I had 100 acres, I don't think I would have enough land to grow all the stuf I want!


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Similar colors to Spiderwort (which I love) but no the same plant.

Good question, though!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Spiderwort is an interesting plant.

If I remember corectly, it always has three petals, which strikes me as unusual. Also, the blooms only last for one day, and (again, if I remember this correctly) auto-digest themselves.

Martha said...

I'm so happy to see native plants going in!! Yippee. The wildlife will love your garden best.


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