Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Garden's Wildscape: Outside the Blue Wall


Mid-March and all sorts of signs of life in the garden are calling to me.
Outside the blue masonry wall is an area of the garden dubbed the 'wildscape.'
Ribes viburnifolium - aka Evergreen or Catalina currant is blooming there; its tiny star-like flowers opening in clusters atop the branches.
Little did I realize how very appropriate these native plants were to the site I chose for them, alongside the driveway, outside the stucco wall surrounding our front patio.
The fact that they have thrived is evidence of 'the right plant for the right spot.'
Each is totally carefree, growing in a ground-covering form with no summer water, and of little interest to any deer that might approach.
In fact, the rich garden soil in my garden would not suit these species at all.


Mahonia aquifolium - Oregon grape blooms next to its native evergreen companion. The cheery yellow flowerheads will turn to purple berries, thus the common name.

This Mahonia can grow tall and spread vigorously. The leathery leaves are extremely spiny, and if I'm careless when tidying up beneath or around the plants, my hands and arms suffer the effects. Both these natives grow in shade cast at various times of the day by the garage, a fence on the property line, and the blue wall; more or less protected from the sun, which can be sweltering in the height of summer and into the fall.





14 comments:

  1. Alice:
    Both are wonderful plants. I am not familiar with the Ribes, but its placement couldn't be better - a wonderfully eye appealing contrast to the fabulous blue wall! The Mahonia I have tried before, but have decided I need to 'go big' or go home..... I have a placement ready for this year! It is the fruit and the foliage that I am looking forward to.

    Hope Spring is treating you well - we have had the warmest first half of March in years...... no snow at the moment, but a scattering in the forecast for the weekend, but things can change inside of 48 hours.... lets hope so!

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  2. I love the color of your wall. The catalina currant is perfect against the blue. I have native mahonia blooming in my woodland garden now. It is one of my year round favorites.

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  3. Alice, that Ribes has me breathless! Can't wait to do my research and learn all about it! Must. Have. Now!

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  4. Alice, what a great wall colour, the plants really "pop" against it. I do love mahonia.

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  5. I bet they smell as wonderful as they are beautiful!Great photoing! keep on posting :)

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  6. both are very tough plants here. Mahonia is a winter bloomer here in my city but nobody grows it here. i am enchanted by the color of catalina currant, very pretty indeed.

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  7. I'm not familiar with either plant, but they are both beautiful. Your wall is awesome..reminds me a bit of Greece.

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  8. just had to put the first photo up as my new desktop wallpaper - just gorgeous!! xx

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  9. Alice, I have two Catalina currant in the gardens here, and I love them! They bloomed their little hearts out this year, quite early too, as they're just about done now. So glad to see someone else has them. I think they're a rather overlooked plant. Mine seems to root freely anyway the stems touch bare soil, so I expect propagating it will be a breeze. Lovely Mahonia too!

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  10. I planted a mahonia at my parent's house many years back, but I've been having a hard time finding a spot for it in my current garden. Its foliage seems to speak a different visual language than most of the other natives, but maybe I should stop over-aestheticizing and just put some in the ground!

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  11. Enjoying your comments and reactions! Sorry if I do not reply to each:
    I've been asked lately about maintaining 2 blogs, and the answer? I'm stretched to a state of being disorganized, with too little time.

    James, I did have to laugh at your over-aestheticizing... I hear you!

    Hugs to all... btw, spring has fully sprung here so the garden is now DEMANDING attention on top of everything else. Do I sound like I'm losing it;~)))

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  12. I really like how you chose alongside the driveway for those plants. My personal choice would be alongside my doorway. Anyways those are beautiful plants. Well done!

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  13. Native plants are such a blessing! I am intrigued by the blue wall. Lovely post.

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