Friday, June 1, 2012


June has arrived in Bootjack with more than its usual drama. 
Shall we take a little safari? 

Looking in from the driveway, a leafy mass of Toyon, Redbud, Oak, and Maple obscure the house. This is the leading edge of what will someday be a mostly native plant garden on the hillside above the house. This year's lush growth and small successes  have really encouraged me to keep pursuing this project. It's not going to be easy finding things that will thrive on this terrible hillside, and my shoestring budget demands that I propagate most of the plants myself. Definitely a giant learning experience. 

As you walk in the front gate, little white shrub roses are busting out of their enclosure. 
These are my first success with cuttings.

Here we are inside the gate. Columbine has gone to seed and Bee Balm is taking over. 
Soon the front garden will be filled with round, purple flowers 
and the buzzing of a thousand bees.

Look up! 
The little maple is following the roof line and snaking around the corner and up the front of the house. What an odd little tree. It's almost as if its stem is sentient.

 Directly across from the bench Salvia 'Hot Lips', Coreopsis and Deer Grass are growing together with such a wild attitude. 
'Hot Lips' is a stupid name. I love this plant. 
It deserves more respect. 
So does the maid who actually discovered it.

Here we are looking at the front border from the other direction.
 See what I mean about these guys?  They are just as unruly as they can be.
 Popping up anywhere and everywhere. 
Not even bothering to stay in the flower beds.

Possibly the tidiest spot on the whole garden. This is under the front window. 
Alpine strawberries smell wonderful. The fruit that you miss just kind of dries on the plants and gives off a subtle strawberry potpourri fragrance. Very nice under an open window.

Here in the front garden, orderly tufts of Dianthus are giving way to the much wilder looking Agastache. 
Grass and clover are running up and over the rock border. 
You can't tell where the lawn ends and the flower bed begins anymore. 
Let's hike on around to the jungle in the back now.

Looking down the hill from the back patio, more Bee Balm on the left 
and Blackberries shooting up every which way.
Just to the right, here are Peggy's Iris in full bloom. 
This was actually a few weeks ago. My friend dug up her garden and moved away a while back. 
I miss her so very much. 
Cher named them for me. They are 'So Grand'.

I half expect Blackberry vines to bust up through the floor, circle my ankles, and drag me down.
 Just look at them! I've never seen so many little berries. 
Can you see the Buckeye in the background?

Everything seems to be in the background. 
That's because you're always looking through something tall.  
Here we are in the vegetable garden, looking through cabbage and potatoes and one gigantic chamomile into the rose garden.

We never get Spring roses. I hope you will indulge me a bit here...

And back again at the vegetables from the roses. The garden beds are buried!

Out through the garage door, the plants are shutting off all exits.

Just in case you're getting claustrophobic, let's pull back a little. 
Here you see our shade trees fully leafed out and the biggest Catalpa in bloom. Blooming in the back border right now are Parsley, Maltese Cross, Yarrow, and Weeds. Maltese Cross with its bright red color is a wonderful plant for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.

From behind the back border to the house. Those roses are disturbingly large and the last of the Columbine are flopping out over the walkway. There is a point in every garden year when the plants reach critical mass and just kind of explode.

Turning a little to the right, it's mayhem out there!

I like mayhem. I like it a lot.

What do you suppose they're running from?
I hope it's not the monkeys.


  1. Everything looks so beautiful. So full of life and color and your Roses are glorious. What a pleasure to look through all this today. And don't you love having the memory of your friend in your mind each time you look at her Iris. Can't wait until mine gets a little fuller and looks as pretty. And you may have mayhem there as you call it, but I see lots of pretty blooms. Hope you have a nice weekend.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    1. Thanks Cher! I always get a big smile when I look at your garden too. I do like having things from friends gardens to remember them by. Plants are even more special when they have a story behind them.

  2. What a gorgeous garden you have, thanks for the tour, love the white shrub roses.

  3. I really enjoyed this tour of your garden...wonderful! I try to propagate some things but not everything. I particularly like the various colors of your a rainbow.

    1. Thanks! I know hybrid teas are becoming passe, but I will always love them.

  4. What a fun garden. I like mayhem too. I got to your blog through your link on Town Mouse and Country Mouse but it linked to your April First View post. I thought you must live in Alaska until I caught on. Ha ha. I love the photo of the rose peeking in the garage door almost daring you to leave it open and look away so it can come in.

    1. Oops! I always do something wrong. Yeah, that rose is definitely going to do me harm one day.

  5. What a perfect first view! Very enjoyable how everything is coming together and getting colorful. And that maple is unbelievable!

    1. I'm having the best time watching the maple. At this point, I would really not be surprised if it grew down to my bench and held my tea cup for me.

  6. AnonymousJune 05, 2012

    Such a beautiful and colorful garden! Thank you for inviting us inside...

  7. AnonymousJune 06, 2012

    Ha Ha sis! That's pretty funny...I planted a Hot Lips salvia just because I loved the name! Your garden is awesome as always. Thank you for sharing your pictures! xoxo S

    1. Glad you enjoyed my dorky tour. Here's the story of 'Hot Lips': The editor of Pacific Horticulture magazine was having a swanky party at his house. His maid did the flower arrangements. She included a lovely salvia from her hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico. The party guests had never seen such an unusual salvia. It was taken, propagated, and "introduced" at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco with no credit given to the maid. The maid's name was Altagracia. Don't you think that's the name it really should have?

  8. Your garden looks awesome. I love that wild patch with the flecks of color from the salvia and coreopsis... And indeed, Altagracia is the name it should have had! Also love the view through the garage door.

    1. Thanks Zoe!
      I'm just going to start calling Hot Lips Altagracia's Sage instead. I hope it catches on.

  9. I have enjoyed hiking around your house. Your multicolored roses are really lovely,and the Maltese Crosses are also pretty.I actually liked red Maltese Crosses a lot.I would like to add it soon. I wonder if it can use as a cut flower. "Hot lips" is really funny name,isn't it? I do love it too, I've been growing it for 5 or so years.But I didn't know the name until now, But I for the first time learned on your blog that the plants are called Hot Lips.Thank you so much for information.

    1. I bet Maltese Cross would make a great cut flower. I can send you seed if you have trouble finding it. I'm glad you have a name for your salvia now, even if it is a really dumb one!

  10. What a great tour...June is certainly fickle here but the roses do seem to just break through and bloom no matter the weather in June...fabulous lush gardens and those roses are to die for!

    1. Thank you! And thanks for kindly stopping by.

  11. I like your alpine strawberry patch idea. I must grow a lot of them and put them closer to the window too.You must have many alpine strawberry volunteer each year. Love the wild flower!

    1. Lots of alpine strawberries come up every year in the strangest places. I wonder if the mice and birds are helping them? I'm always happy for more, though. We all can't get enough of them, even the dogs!

  12. Your gardens are beautiful and natural looking. Aren't the native plants just the best? We could probably both do without blackberry canes though-- I swear they can grow six feet overnight...

    1. Thanks Linnie!
      The blackberries are a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse. In my innocence several years ago, I planted one little berry plant there on the back hill. I thought I would train it up on some wire for pie berries. As you can see, the blackberry had other ideas.

  13. I agree with you 100% about the name Hot Lips for the plant - very silly indeed. You have a very beautiful garden.


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