Tag Archives: Mexican Evening Primrose

Xerophytes

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manzanita

 

Xerophytes are plants that are xerophilous, which means they have special features that enable them to survive in very dry environments. One of my favorite xerophytes is the Bristlecone Pine, which I wrote about some years ago, calling them Gnarly Patriarchs.

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gnarly patriarch

Some of the plants in my home landscape are considered to be xerophilous, though to maintain a xeriscape such as I have it is not necessary to have nothing but xerophytes. A xeriscape, in addition to featuring drought-tolerant plants, uses deep mulches and other means of conserving water besides those that are built into the plants themselves.

In a patch by my driveway, enclosed on all sides by concrete, Mexican Evening Primrose blooms and thrives all summer with a little water once a month or so. It thrives so well that such an enclosed space as it lives in here is usually the best spot for this plant, unless you are okay with it taking over the whole garden.

Mexican Evening Primrose
Mexican Evening Primrose
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toadflax – Linaria vulgaris, with warrigal

The picture at right is of warrigal or New Zealand Spinach, an edible green, growing alongside a yellow mystery flower [since discovered to be toadflax], both of which I consider quite xerophilous, as they lived in my back yard for months last summer with no water, and never so much as wilted.

That root xeros comes from the Greek, for dry. My current project is to incorporate more of these unthirsty friends into a plan for my front yard, and I hope to have them planted by the fall.

 

 

Friends and Gifts

The garden is so appealing at this time of year. It’s satisfying to clean things up and trim bushes. I bought some chrysanthemums and snapdragons so I’ll be ready when the zinnias fade…but until then, I don’t know what to do with them. Maybe I was too hasty.

I spent quite a mantis 9-11-14while in the hot sun on Friday and Saturday, enjoying the pungent smell of the santolina that I was shearing down to stubs. It reminds me of the sagebrush of the desert or the bushes that grow at the beach. I met this mantis there. After I studied him and followed him for a while I had to get back to work, and I couldn’t notice if he went into the lavender or the rosemary, both of which had more hiding places remaining. I wonder which herby scent he likes best?

Mexican Evening Primrose

I cleaned up the bed where the Mexican Evening Primrose grows, hoping that it will look like this again next spring. It’s a great plant for dry California summers, only needing water a couple of times all summer long.

My friends and relations have been so good to me lately. I recently told you about Garden P1110326Doll who was a gift from my goddaughter. Last month another good friend went to South Carolina and brought me back an Appalachian story-telling doll, who is Little Red Riding Hood, the grandmother and the wolf all in one doll, if you just turn it upside down or switch the bonnet around. I can’t wait to show her/them to the little grandchildren.

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My Dear Pennsylvania Cousin and I had been talking about Rumer Godden’s books, when she discovered this copy of The Mousewife on her shelf, and promptly mailed it to me. I read the story last night and — what a blessing! I may never have read that one otherwise, because the blurb I saw about the story made me think ill of the mousewife. Instead, I found her to be nothing less than a kindred spirit and an inspiring example.

Dolls and books, friends and flowers — sounds pretty typical for me, maybe. But no, each encounter has been a unique anP1110327d new treat. I guess I couldn’t tell you about all of the things I’m thankful for recently, or I’d be writing all day to do them justice. And I like to take some time to browse the good things in other blogs, too.

Which reminds me: I’m pretty sure there are people reading my blog who never comment, and maybe some of you have your own blogs that I don’t know about? If so, please tell me sometime! And to everyone: May your week be full of pleasant encounters with unique gifts.

Beauty in Time of Drought

This map drought May 2014 usdm_2014126shows how severe our current drought is, affecting half the nation. The darker areas are the worst, named “Exceptional Drought,” and my part of California is down a notch from that, at “Extreme Drought.” You can see this and  four other instructive maps more clearly here: Five Maps of America’s Massive Drought.

We began several months ago in our household to collect water in buckets in the shower, to use for flushing the toilets. We are also letting our lawn die. I didn’t want a lawn anyway; I’d rather have flowers like these below, which I snapped at the library this morning.

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They are Matilija Poppies (Romneya), and if you have a big space they can be a good fit – so dramatic and graceful. I tried them once but didn’t really have room. They prefer dry soil.

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love-in-a-mist

 

I don’t remember what these fun blue flowers are, but they were also decorating the parking lot at the library, obviously part of a planned xeriscape. [Thanks to Jeannette for enlightening me in a comment below.]

Over the years we Glads have emphasized drought-tolerant ornamentals in our landscaping and have collected quite a few. Sweet alyssum and Lamb’s Ears are always ready to sprout up and fill spots where thirstier plants languish, so much so that we are constantly cutting them back so that other less invasive plants like this salvia and California poppies can also thrive. California poppies grow all over the bare golden-brown hills in the summer, where where not a drop of rain falls.

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As I went looking through my pictures for examples of plants that are good choices for the arid West, I discovered more than I remembered, like aloes, rosemary and lavender.

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Even the ground morning glory that grew beneath the manzanita for years required little water. The orange-topped succulent is an Aloe Saponaria.

In the front yard my favorite of these plants that thrive in drought is the pink Mexican Evening Primrose. In the middle of summer it doesn’t need water more than once a month, and it never stops blooming from spring through fall.IMG_5255

And in the back, the prize goes to the Mexican Bush Sage (do you notice a theme here?). It likewise has its long spikes of purple for half the year, and makes me happy by the hummingbirds that love to visit it and that I can watch through the window.

I don’t know what lesson to take from all this beauty. So I guess I’ll just take the beauty. And pray for that sake of all the plants that next winter will bring lots of rain.

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Ascensiontide Showers of Blessing

This short season between Ascension and Pentecost — it just seems natural to call it Ascensiontide, even though, until we get to Pentecost, we are still in Eastertide. These ten days are a subset, maybe. All this is The World According to GJ, and probably not kosher — oops, I’m getting more faith traditions mixed up in there.

That I am confused is not surprising, considering how wild and unusual my last two weeks have been, with a heavy amount of visiting with several friends and great busyness leading to brain fatigue. Thank God He gave me the strength to enjoy all the extra love and liveliness in the house. So much has been going on, I wanted to give a brief report of highlights.

plants still waiting to go into the ground….

Rain. It kept us from going on the walks I had anticipated, and also relieved everyone of irrigation duties.

blue lake pole beans

Very odd to get so much rain here in California the first week of June. Most plants don’t mind it, but the basil looks nigh unto death, waiting for summer. Here are the happy beans instead.

flannel bush

Hard as it is to believe, it appears that the rain has finally ceased. No one dared complain about last week’s lack of blue skies, here where an excess of water can can only be counted a blessing, and where tornadoes are rare.

My friend May and I drove over the mountain several times to see our elderly friend Jerry.

close-up of bush

Hail battered my car on one of our trips to his house, but on the way home later on we saw a bush we didn’t recognize by the side of the road and stopped to get its picture. Can anyone identify it right off? [I since have learned it is flannel bush.]

Jerry’s walnut tree and vineyard

Jerry and his late wife lived all over the world before settling in wine country to try their hand at being vintners, and they brought seeds and plants from many countries to plant here. It’s sad, though, to see the garden in disarray, lacking the care of Mrs. Jerry.

Some flowers and trees keep going in spite of neglect, like these orchids, which grow outdoors through the winter.

toasted sesame seeds

I had fun cooking for extra people. We ate Lemon Pudding Cake with Raspberry Sauce, and some Sticky Rice with Mango. Also fresh oatmeal bread, and Duk Guk, a soup whose name does not make you think nice things, but Guk is the word for the odd Korean rice cake ingredient that I like a lot — so much that I probably should not keep it in the house.

I toasted sesame seeds to make Lemon Sesame Dressing for the piles of green salad everyone consumed. Maybe after Pentecost I can post some recipes.

through the monastery gate
koi pond at monastery

In the evening of the Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost, I went to the Holy Assumption Monastery for a Family and Friends event.

First there was a lecture on “The Power of Bones,” referring to all the Bible references to the health that can be in our bones, and to the proper and reverential treatment of human bones. It was a prompting for us to consider in light of Holy Tradition our often irreverent modern funeral practices; I’m sure that in the future I’ll have more to say on this general topic that pertains to all of us.

Not long ago Gumbo Lily posted a blog about where her blog name comes from — it’s actually the name of a flower that grows on the prairie. For her I am putting up this picture of the cousin to her gumbo lily, our Mexican Evening Primrose that grows happily in a rocky spot between our driveway and the neighbor’s. It gets by in the dry summer with only a couple of waterings, but it didn’t mind the good Spring soaking.

Mexican Evening Primrose

I can’t tell about Ascensiontide without mention of the rejoicing to my spirit from having the festal hymns playing in my mind ever since last Thursday. In our daily prayers we have left off beginning with, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death…,” and we aren’t yet returning to, “O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth…,” because we are still looking forward, liturgically, to the descent of the Holy Spirit.

So we are singing, during these ten days, about the event described in this way: “And it came to pass, while He blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” (Matthew 17) The troparion hymn goes like this (now imagine me waking to it and falling asleep in the same joy!):

Thou hast ascended in glory, O Christ our God,
Having gladdened Thy disciples 
with the promise of the Holy Spirit;
And they were assured by the blessing
That Thou art the Son of God,
the Redeemer of the world!