queerbychoice: (marble)
queerbychoice ([personal profile] queerbychoice) wrote2015-09-26 09:21 pm

Native Plant Sale!

I bought plants today!

I arrived before the doors even opened. I've never done that before. It was interesting to stand around for five minutes with 30 to 40 native plant enthusiasts. I noticed that I was far from the only one carrying a shopping list. Usually I do seem to be the only one carrying a shopping list, but I guess the crowd that arrives before the doors open is more obsessive than the crowd that arrives later.

As I was leaving, one of the cashiers asked me whether I would have any help planting everything I bought. I said no. She said, "Remember to pace yourself!"

That isn't something I need to remember; it's inevitable. Since I never know ahead of time what will be available at the plant sales, I can't plan ahead of time where each plant ought to go, so I have to take time to decide that as I plant each plant.

nativeplants.jpg

These are all the native plants I need to plant. The seed packets on the top step are ones I already owned before the plant sale, mostly leftovers from a year ago. The items on the next step down are ones I bought at the plant sale - three seed packets in tiny manila envelopes, two ziplock bags containing three plugs each (potless plants with tiny rootballs holding a bit of soil between the roots), and six ziplock bags containing three bulbs each. And then, of course, all the potted plants.

The bulbs I bought are crown cluster-lily, harvest cluster-lily, yellow mariposa lily, blue dicks, forktooth ookow, and roundtooth ookow. The plugs are deergrass and dwarf silver bush lupine. The seeds are yellow-ray goldfields, miniature lupine, and sky lupine.

The potted plants are common deerweed, yerba mansa, mugwort, woolly Indian paintbrush (potted with a bush monkeyflower), 'Joyce Coulter' California lilac, sticky cinquefoil, canyon liveforever, rubber rabbitbrush, yerba santa, Eastern Mojave buckwheat, Wright's buckwheat, spider yarrow, Great Valley gumplant, twinberry honeysuckle, silver bush lupine, scarlet bugler beardtongue, hollyleaf redberry, skunkbush sumac, white sage, blue elderberry, California skullcap, alkali sacaton, and common snowberry.

I'm most excited about the Indian paintbrush. I would so much like to have Indian paintbrush in my yard, but it's an incredibly difficult plant to establish. It's hemiparasitic; to grow well, it needs to get its parasitic roots into an appropriate host plant. That's why the one I bought is potted with a bush monkeyflower: it's parasitizing the bush monkeyflower. (It doesn't seriously damage the host plant.) In the past I've only been able to find seeds of Indian paintbrush, and I haven't been able to get any of the seeds to sprout. It's not clear what all the potential host plants are or which host plants are its favorites, so although I tried to put the seeds next to appropriate host plants, I may not have picked the best possible hosts. Or maybe I just didn't get the seeds close enough to major roots. Or something. I don't know. But now I have Indian paintbrush! Now I just have to manage to keep it alive.

There are two more nearby fall plant sales left: one next weekend, and one the weekend after that. I want to get the majority of today's haul planted before I bring home the second haul next weekend. And then repeat the process for the weekend after that. And then plant that third batch and whatever unplanted backlog I have from the first and second batches. I'll be busy for a while!