Filling the Soil

To me, the landscape is an extension of a home, and seasonally, particularly Spring, my mind starts overflowing with dreams and hopes for my garden.  My thumb is far from green, but the architecture of plants, foliage, and blooms, and the added challenge of their response to seasons and time, interests and has been known to completely consume me.  At this point in time, with the extended drought moving into its third year in the Bay Area, I feel guilty to desire more that requires water, but that guilt is somewhat assuaged by my intent to be mindful of water use, exchanging interior use (longer showers, running water during dishes) for pointed watering of new plants, permitting established plants to endure the drought (we stopped our irrigation months ago), and planning to produce more food along with beauty.  UPDATE: The morning after my shopping spree, the rain began to pour.  This is the longest soak we’ve had in a few months!  I’ll take this as a sign.  😉

Justifications aside, I am filled with renewed peace and joy for our new yard additions:

Lenten rose…. We have a few lenten roses, and over time, I dream of a small woodland garden of lentens, heucheras, bleeding hearts, astilbes, and hostas, shaded by japanese maples and our black acacia, joined eventually by boulders and a bench…


My latest addition, Helleborus lividue ‘Pink Marble’ has dusty pink, petite blooms, that gracefully stand on thin stems, with humble nods, blooming through winter’s dreary (ahem, unfortunately gorgeous and sunny of late) days.  The ‘Pink Marble’ cultivar I’ve added to the garden has smooth, oval leaves, in an unusual blue-green tone with lovely gray veining.

Helleborus lividue ‘Pink Marble’

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Plant


An evergreen, with cute, waxy green foliage, that can slowly grow to 5-7′, it blooms summer through winter, with small, pansy-like blooms that continually flower and change color from purple to lavender, and then white, hence the common name ‘yesterday, today, and tomorrow’.  They like partial shade, so I think I’ll site mine at a spot along the eastern side of my home… it will tie in nicely with an adjacent lotus crassifolius (smaller native california shrub with soft grey foliage and smaller, purple-pink pea flowers) and ‘sharks bay’ boronias.  Although it’s a tropical, it’s supposed to be drought tolerant once established, and tolerates nighttime temps into the 20s.

Sweet Pea Shrub

Sweet Pea Shrub

Polygala x dalmaisiana, or sweet pea shrub, is a South African evergreen shrub, that quickly reaches 3-5′ height, 4-6′ spread, and has year-round, sweet-pea shaped blooms (long-lasting in arrangements), is frost-tolerant, with low water needs.  It’s relatively uncommon around here, enjoys sun and part-shade, and will probably be happy breaking up my poppy patch, and tying into the lavender hues of the summer-flowering buddleia and alliums by the sidewalk, and purples of the spring-flowering, ground-covering ceanothus.

Blue Hibiscus

Alyogyne huegelii 

This is my second attempt planting Alyogyne huegelii, or blue hibiscus, and I’m hoping the last. I love its effervescence, its lacy, growth to 6-10 feet tall and wide, with year-round flowers, deeply lobed foliage, and is super drought, soil, and frost tolerant to top.  I can’t quite recall how I did the last one in, but again, I have a talent for pushing the envelope on plant survival.  Notice a pattern on the bloom colors?  I seem to be endlessly drawn to the lavender-purple spectrum of flowers,  but plan to site this beside native grasses, yarrows, and a golden breath of heaven plant, and across the walkway from a similarly-sized buddleia that flowers, of course, in purples.