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Stargazer Rising, 2002/02/25:12:13

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Persistent, isn't it? This Stargazer lily has re-emerged and bloomed heavily without fail for five years. Persistent, and almost invisible at first, so dark against the ground in the shade where impatiens sprouts are their bright company. I keep a small loop of wire on the ground after I cut it down in late winter, so that I don't forget where it is. I was so impressed with the bulb's performance that, two years ago, I got more bulbs and put them in a 5-gallon pot so that I can move the fragrance around the patio and into the house. They aren't up yet, but they will be.
now in bloom on my patio

Patio specimens I forgot to mention last time:

Voodoo has opened the first of its 6 very long buds. It was mad at me all last year for giving it fertilizer, and I think it only put out maybe 3 blossoms. Since I've been good, it's giving me another chance.

Single mixed and varigated Impatiens, sprouting from seed absolutely everywhere. Hence the name.

Camellia, in semi-double pink. It's tag said merely "Sport" in handwriting. I don't know whether that's supposed to be a named cultivar, or they just mean that it was a sport. So I've made that its given name. It makes a ton of buds, more than it can open. Just now opening its first bud. It's good to have some late camellias as well as early ones.

Indoor Experiments

Brunfelsia, blooming in the livingroom, with just a brief touch of late afternoon sun.

Saintpaulia (African violet), blooming on my desk, with about 2 hours of late afternoon sun through the plate glass; in bloom, and making new buds.

Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia), blooming and growing in the upstairs conservatory (aka the bedroom), with about 3 hours of afternoon sun.

Dietes iridiodes (Forthnight Lily), blooming
in the conservatory

Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine), in full, fragrant bloom in the conservatory, with about 4 hours of afternoon sun. Note Well: In a brief chat with one of the certified nurserymen at Home Depot, I announced what I planned to do with my then-budding jasmine and he said it wouldn't work. "It's an outdoor plant," he said, by way of explanation. Well, what plant isn't an outdoor plant? It's not like the plants that are typically used indoors evolved indoors. The only relevant questions are, What does the plant need? and Can I provide what the plant needs indoors? Clearly, I can provide what a pink jasmine needs indoors. QED. This is the difference between a mere certified nurseryman, and a horticultural stylist. I bet my bedroom smells a lot better than his.

Bougainvillea spectabilis "Royal Purple", just finishing a luxurious bloom, in the conservatory, with about 4 hours of afternoon sun. (I didn't bother mentioning to the nurseryman that I planned to put a bougainvillea in the bedroom along with the pink jasmine. I'm sure he would have told me it wouldn't work.

Hibiscus rosa-sinesis, in sunshine yellow, blooming with about 2.5 hours of sun in the conservatory. This is the rescue plant that the manager had given me about 3 years ago, just a dry, gray stump with some branches as brittle as dry spaghetti, and no rootball. I lopped the stump to 4 inches. Now it is 7 feet tall. Contrary to lore, not all hibiscuses love heat, sunshine, and draught; this one hates all three. Once there was no room for it on the patio anymore, I moved it to the bedroom where it could luxuriate in the cool shade. Lovely to wake up to those big bright yellow blooms.

Apparently rooting:

Beaumontia, in little pots with plastic bags over them.

Fuchsias (Southgate, Nicci's Findling), outside in the cold, with no covers.

Cestrum nocturnum (Nightblooming jasmine), outside, no covers.

Roses, species undetermined. Gaile went to the annual rose pruning extravaganza at Balboa Park, where they instructed her to take a handful of sticks and put them in soil to root. She gave me a couple. Roses are difficult to grow on this patio, and "Tropicana" takes enough of my energy as it is. I didn't feel like dealing with baby roses, especially unborn baby roses, but I took the sticks. Since I was going away for the week, I stuck them in water. I resisted putting them into soil for another week. I broke down when it was clear that they were making leaves whether I was ready or not. I dipped them in root hormone, but that was as far as I planned to go. Having learned from various fuchsia experiments that fuchsias, at least in La Jolla, don't root in a warm room, I put the rose cuttings out in the cold with the rest of the experiments. They're growing happily.

Hibicus rosa-sinensis "White Wings". Some are rooting in The Rooting Pot (a one gallon pot into which I stick various things when I prune, to see what will happen), and some are in with other plants around the patio, to see who will do best. So far, they are rooting under every condition. The only place they don't root is in the house, where the twigs succumb to gray mold no matter what I do.

Also in The Rooting Pot, apparently doing well, are bougainvillea, fuchsia, jasminum azoricum, and ternstroemia.
Spent the afternoon yesterday reorganizing my Constant Flux garden. The last thing I did was rinse the birdbath and refill it. Then I came in to read my mail. I wasn't sitting here 10 minutes before a bather appeared. The song sparrow took a quick bath, then sat in the pineapple guava tree to flutter himself dry.

Song sparrows are good little things to attract. While most finches chirp prettily, the song sparrow will sit around for hours fluting complicated songs. Given how sparse the grounds of these condominiums are kept, it's rare for one to find its way into my garden. But there's so much to do in here--drink, eat bugs, bathe, scratch in the dirt, gather nesting materials, sit on scenic perches. Once they manage to discover it, they come back every day.

The Say's pheobes have been long-time daily visitors, going on about 3 years now. They announce themselves with loud shrieks and clumsy landings. They seem to be here chiefly for the bath too, and every water bath is followed by a dust bath in one of my potted plants. Then the muddy birds snooze in the sun on top of the fence to dry off. They still come in the open patio door occasionally, wander around in the living room until I remind them of what happened the last time they ventured up the stairs to the conservatory.
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