Monday, July 29, 2013

Class III Weekend

This weekend, I took some time off to raft the South Fork of the American River.

In past summers, I volunteered as a white water guide for a non-profit that educates people about water use in California.  I was 'on river' most weekends.  This was the first time I've been on river this summer.  Of course, I didn't tell my friends that their guide was rusty.

We met another fellow from Austria the night before so there were six people in the boat.  Another friend had two people in his boat.  We made it through Satan's Cesspool and Hospitable Bar [names of rapids] without flipping or losing anyone.  We did pick up one person at Satan's Cesspool that fell out of another boat...

It was a blast to go rafting again.  I had to buy an Aloe Vera plant for my sunburn on Sunday evening though.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Trees, Happy Customers

In April, a San Mateo gardener made the trek up to Wildwood to pick out a tree.

She had a list of trees she wanted to look at.  One of them was a Katsura tree.  There are several different types of Katsura trees - upright, pendulous, reddish cast...  She picked out an eight foot weeping Katsura for a spot in the front yard.

We recently received pictures of the Katsura in its new location.  Here's a sample.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Red Hot Kniphofia

The hummingbird's out of the bag; Red Hot Pokers are now great for summer gardens.

The name, Red Hot Poker, might lead one to believe all varieties bloom in the summer months.  Au contraire. The hot red flower spires always seem a bit out of place when they appear in the dead of winter.

We recently stumbled upon a hybrid called Echo Rojo - brilliant orange red flower spires from summer to fall. Wow!  Paired with Shining Sceptre - brilliant yellow gold flower spires - or alone, these hybrids add punch to any garden.

The foliage looks like grasses [except it never needs any cutting back] so it pairs well with ones like Autumn Moor Grass.  We can't wait to get Echo Rojo out in the Wildwood Farm gardens. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Haircut

Everyone needs a new 'look' for summer right?

Japanese Maples are no exception.  In the spring, they get all excited and send out long shoots of new growth.  These shoots look great when the tree is leafing out.  Bright, shiny leaves are a welcome sight after a bare winter.

In the summer, these shoots look too leggy, floppy and tangled.  Sometimes, maples look sad because all their branches are hanging down.

Cutting them back is the answer.  Suddenly, the structure and layers reappear.  The maple is ready for entertaining guests and backyard barbeques.  Plus, new growth in the fall will look much better.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New to the area --- first visit to Wildwood

New to the area, I noticed the sign for Wildwood on Highway 12.  I was intrigued but I had a destination in mind.  The second time I wanted to stop but my husband was in the car and again there was a destination. The third time I took a friend and Wildwood was the destination!  

Words cannot really describe what I encountered (images either) -- but I do know that Wildwood is a magical place full of living and breathing colors and shapes - all lovingly card for and artfully placed.  Actually I think any where the trees are placed becomes artful!  I don't know much about trees.  I was once fond of a Japanese maple that I inherited when we bought a home. I had a big yard I can envision planting it full of the amazing colorful varieties I found there.  I do know I will be back and hope to start my own modest artful collection.  Here are a few modest shots I took with my iPhone.  I am eager to go back with my DSLR!  

BTW, there is actually ART there as well!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

First Sundays

Wildwood Farm has a new schedule starting this month. 

On the first Sunday of every month, there will be refreshments for shoppers and a gardening talk during the afternoon.  The nursery will be open by appointment on all other Sundays.

Today, Sara Monte will be giving the gardening talk and short tour.  The focus will be 'Gardening in the Shade'.  The Shade Section in the Nursery has many of the plants that are growing in shady spots in our gardens so there will be plenty of opportunities to see shade plants!

Bring your dogs [on a leash] and kids for a family outing.  There are plenty of squirrels to bark at and tons of lizards to catch...

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Bark Beckons

The gardens at Wildwood Farm invite visitors to enter with a glimpse of a winding path or a showy display of foliage.  These elements pique people's interest and draw attention inwards.  The evergreens and large trees are generally architectural features that anchor various parts of the garden.

Sometimes, other features catch our attention.  The bark on a madrone tree [CA native] is one of those.  The rich brown bark peals away to reveal a fresh green layer this time of year.  This contrast evolves over many weeks as the tree grows into summer.  A native dogwood behind this madrone has a collage of white, grey, and brown colors on it trunk.  Not quite as showy, but it's a fixture on the tree. 

Hybrids of the native dogwood have the same bark and showier flowers.  Cousins of the madrone have more red tones in the bark and are a bit more reserved when they exfoliate.  The roots are smaller and respond better during transplanting so they are more prevalent in the trade.

Note: Any perceived connection between studying shade trees and the West Coast Heat Wave is purely coincidental.