Great news, the winter rains are over. Now we are having spring rains. This is when it’s necessary to closely monitor your phone weather app which shows the day’s weather by the hour and then you can pretty much plan your life around the window of opportunity for rainless gardening due to arrive between say 4:00 pm and 5:15 pm. If this means missing a dental appointment or leaving your child waiting to be picked up after band practice just remember it is not your fault.
So between rain showers I’ve been moving a few plants, something I do every year, kind of like a bird migration only slower and more random. Lately I’ve been bringing ferns closer in, to beds by the house.
More and more I rely on graceful western sword ferns in these beds. They are important for their complex textures, their airy shade and for the way they can grow pretty much anywhere even in rock-hard dried up clay soil alongside the highway in utterly neglected ditches under masses of blackberry vines and poison oak.
So anyway they do okay in my garden.
In the next image is a little fern that I love and I may not have mentioned before or with luck if I did you’ve forgotten.
It’s called an oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) another Pacific Northwest native. It gets about six inches tall and it spreads by underground rhizomes so it can form a lovely woodland carpet but in my garden I only have it in a few small scatter rugs so far.
Then of course the native deer ferns (Blechnum spicant) are unfurling their new deciduous parts. Deer ferns are both deciduous and evergreen, they can’t decide, so they shed the central vertical fronds and grow that part new each spring but they keep the outside fronds on hand all year just in case there is some kind of frond emergency I guess or maybe they just forget to toss them I don’t know.
Clematis Update–I recently planted out two of the dazzlingly successful clematis plants that I grew from cuttings. (Here is a photo of one of them.)
I planted the two vines together, one on each side of an expanding bamboo structure I set up last year to support some cup and saucer vines. (Then I over-watered those vines so while they did immediately engulf the trellis they only produced maybe two blooms among sixty pounds of vines and leaves. It took about an hour and a half to get them all off the bamboo in January after they died at which time they looked like some kind of rustic wall hanging made of dehydrated snakes.)
Now the problem with the new clematis vines is that the identifying tags were kind of not carefully tracked (very unusual for me, any confusion of this sort) so I am not 100% certain what color blooms these plants will produce. I have this idea that they are both big reddish flowers but what would gardening be without a few surprises now and then anyway so really we shouldn’t be such control freaks about it.
Which nicely brings us to the ever-popular Mystery Plant feature or what I suppose could also be called the Clueless Gardener feature but personally I’d rather blame the plant.
It’s a volunteer something that is growing ridiculously crowded at the edge of one of my Big Orange Pots where I believe it intends to produce blooms at its top. It doesn’t look like any weed I know and the only thing I can guess (based upon the bad planning this plant has shown together with its pathetic response to Oregon rain) is that it’s a California poppy. (I used to know some people in SoCal who just shared so many characteristics with this plant really I can’t begin to tell you.)
Let me say that I quite admire California poppies (also many California people) and I have tried to sow the seed for these poppies many times in places like by the driveway or in the orchard because they grow as wildflowers along the road edge everywhere where I live, but never at any time have any of my efforts produced a single California poppy plant. So there is a bitter irony here, and I can only assume that I have in the past insulted the plant by relegating the seed to the outlying unkempt areas outside the fed and watered domestic flower beds and now it’s turned up in a bed in a pot and this is its way of marching around in protest.