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  • Writer's pictureConejo Valley Botanic Garden

Activities for 13 Jun 2023

This was a day of weeding, cleanup and maintenance; maintenance on the compost operation by Bill Dobner, weeding and cleanup by Nancy Taylor Walker, Monica Barton, Beverly Kemmerling and myself. Nancy recorded Beverly, me and Monica loading debris from last-week’s Desert Garden cleanup into 15-gallon pots for Jim Cyr to haul away. At first, we thought we could spread this out and use it as mulch, but upon closer inspection, it was so full of sticks, dead cactus pads (full of thorns) and dead agave leaves, that it was clear it all had to be hauled off site. This activity will continue next week and weekly thereafter until all the debris is removed.

The weeding activity continued in the lower section of the new area of the S. African garden. One of the main “weeds" (def.: any plant growing where you don’t want it!) we focused on was CA fuchsia. I’ve learned from personal experience that fuchsia which spreads both by seed and rhizome can quickly overtake a suitable area and smother whatever is in its path. Our philosophy is generally to allow self-sowing desirable natives (of which CA fuchsia is one) to remain where they pop up even in themed gardens as long as they don’t become a dominant element in those gardens. In the more natural settings in the garden, fuchsia is encouraged to spread creating large drifts of red flowers in late summer/fall. Below, Nancy, Beverly and Monica are tackling fuchsia, euphorbia and other invasives.

Note the large stand of fuchsia just next to Beverly. It was covering 4 planted S. African plants. By the end of the morning, that was removed and the 4 plants will have a chance. In the foreground is a chocolate geranium which is also showing signs of encroaching on its neighbors. That will be handled by the strategic collection of cuttings from this unusual geranium allowing for additional plants to be sold and/or planted.

A plant-of-note this week is the chaparral bush mallow or just bush mallow (the one with whitish blooms is labeled the former and with pink blooms, the latter — but I think they are both Malacothamnus fasciculatus) which is a CA native. These are along the path between the 1st 4 corners and entrance B to the Nature Trail.

Finally, this is also the season for Hesperoyucca whippei to bloom. Below is looking from entrance B of the Nature Trail toward Sage Hill.

Enjoy the garden! KMM

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