Was walking in the garden today and noticed that the remaining branch of Mr. Happy wasn’t looking so happy.

Upon closer examination the thick branch attaching it to the main trunk had snapped.  This was pretty common in the lower branches of this plant. They were just too heavy to support their weight.

And thus ends the two-year saga of Mr. Happy.  His remains are now in the green waste bin. Better for it to happen now then when the plant was about to bloom.

Now I have a big empty space. Maybe I’ll fill it up with some more Echiums or perhaps something new.



Finally Rain!

We have had a really awful winter here in California. Only 3 days of rain (if that) in the fall. No rain at all in January. Unusually cold freezes in early December followed by unusually hot weather in late December and January (it got into the upper 80’s here in Los Osos and at one point in January San Luis Obispo was clocking the warmest weather in the entire country at 91 degrees!).

So I am definitely celebrating the inch or so of rain on Sunday and the rain again today. Of course it would probably have to rain like this every day until April to help us out with the three years of drought we have had since I moved here but I’ll take whatever I can get.

Aside from the fact that my video shows you what the front of your house looks like in a rain storm when you don’t have gutters you can also make out the blooms of Cuphea ‘Minnie Mouse’, Chrysanthemum paludosum, Salvia confertiflora, Clarkia rubicunda ssp. blasdalei, and Fuchsia galveziana in the background. And beyond the white fence there is a newly planted California native garden that still needs to be mulched but is very appreciative of this rain.

Goodbye Mr. Happy.

After almost a year of blooming my fasciated Echium ‘Mr. Happy’ was starting to look a bit sad. Our much-needed rains on Sunday did a number on him.

It was still blooming and being visited by bees but the overall look was not pretty so it was time to go.

I had to use loppers and a pruning saw to chop the beast down. It is definitely something to consider when you put a large but short-lived plant in your garden. Eventually you are going to have to dispose of the body and it might be a lot of work. I had to wear a sweatshirt and gloves too because the cystoliths (hairs as sharp as razors!) are impossible to avoid and are extremely painful.

One of the lower branches is in really good shape so I left it and hopefully it will bloom this year (and hopefully it won’t be fasciated!).

The diameter of the trunk where I cut it was six inches. It looks like a damned tree!

From this angle the remaining trunk looks good as new. You would never know that there was a llama shaped beast attached to it earlier.

The ecosystem on this plant was amazing. Aside from the many happy honeybees and hummingbirds visiting the flowers for the past year it was also home to ladybugs (and presumably aphids for them to feast on though I didn’t see any), several different types of spiders, earwigs, cucumber beetles and all sorts of other little creepy crawlies living on the plant and the leaf litter. I almost felt a little guilty throwing it in my green waste bin.

But it was time for it to go, and hopefully a new generation is making a new home on the remaining stem, which is already three feet tall and three feet wide.


I haven’t ever uploaded any videos on my site. My newest iPhone shoots decent video so maybe I should from time to time.  With the new blog name it is time to try something new.

Here are some honeybees enjoying California native annual, Mentzelia lindleyi, in my garden recently. The warmer it is the more honeybees there are (sometimes it seems there are over a hundred of them). Be sure to watch the video in HD with the volume turned up.

New Blog Name

I finally went ahead and made a slight change to the name of my blog. About a year and a half after I created Plant Propaganda, some jerk stole the name for her blog and (smartly) registered the domain name, something I had been too lazy to do. Anyone searching for my blog likely found hers instead which is frustrating.

I’m not sure why it made me as angry as it did but it felt deliberate, a theft of intellectual property. Like she had happened upon my blog, liked the name, saw that I hadn’t registered the domain and thought “Ooh I am going to snatch that up!”. Maybe it didn’t happen that way at all and the words “Plant Propaganda” just popped into her head a year and a half after they had popped into mine. I do know that I did a careful search before I created my blog and could find no evidence of the words being used together on any official websites or products. If I had I would have thought up a different name. 

I might also be annoyed at the fact that the impostor isn’t even an interesting blog. It is basically just some foo foo marketing blog, advertising random art products, with only a minimal relationship to actual horticulture and apparently no discussions of gardening or the writers experiences (though it seems she did attend the Garden Bloggers Fling so she must be a real person and not a robot).

Anyway enough about that. I’ve changed the name, registered the domain name this time, and the purpose of this post is actually to see if I have dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s correctly and everyone is still getting notifications when I post an update. So please do comment below so I know that you are still following along!

Also here is a picture of a big fat bumblebee sleeping on a Scabiosa flower as an apology for all the whining I did in this post.