Gardening for nature, walks with my dogs and the books I’m reading.

That could well be but often named varieties are grown on the roots of a different rose and I’ve had one come up with red roses from down low with enough vigor to overwhelm the grafted on variety.
Huh, well, that's interesting.

I took a couple of short videos in the newer, less settled side garden. But I'm out of practice for loading them to YouTube so I just copied them to Flickr. Hopefully they play okay.

The first starts in the lower side garden, moving along the side fence above the creek toward the front corner.
Some flowers seen along the way: Two large umbels of white flowers about waist high belonging to Geranium maderense. A couple of Echium 'Mr Happy', the first not yet in bloom the other in bloom but both of them younger, smaller ones. Above this these on a trellis is an Iceberg rose just beginning to come on. In a wall sconce pot a purple flowered pelargonium. Below that at ground level some Bilbergia 'Queen's Tears'. Beyond that the corner is festooned in a tall growing, pink flowering pelargonium. From there we pan up to the older, larger more developed Echium 'Mr Happy'seen over the fence in the front garden. Then we turn toward the house/building to the only other older, larger Mr Happy in the side garden below the fig tree.

The second starts low down in a center island bed in front of those seen in the other video which starts with some Alstomeria flowers, moves on to a beautiful blue flowered low growing Echium and then to a very low growing, white S. African Freesia bulb - one of the most fragrant. Then the pink flowering spires of a Teucrium, the orange flowers of an Aloe near the nearly yellow foliage of a Santolina cultivar known as 'Lemon Fizz'. Then we move past some blue flowering Borage flowers along the path to the upper side garden beside the gazebo deck, sticking to the plants on the right side of the path after pausing to admire the orange pincushion flowers of 'Tango'. The low growing yellow flowers with the silver foliage is something unusual I picked up at a bot garden sale with the cultivar name 'Silver and Gold', the we look briefly toward to pink Rock Rose before settling down to a lower growing Cuphia called Vermilion Millions growing above a mounding Aeonium, then we get a look at the Rock Rose before darting back to see the white Echevaria flowers in the large pot. To finish we see the fancy little Aeonium cultivar 'Mardi Gras' and a fairly low growing yellow flowering Yarrow until we get to the small flowering bold flowers of the Rose 'Incendia'.
Our usual walk, and where we’ll be off to after breakfast is called Point Isabel regional park, primarily a dog park (but officially mixed use) built on a former landfill along the bay in Richmond, California. Other users include windsurfers and birdwatchers along with bikers and runners along the bay trail that runs along the side of the park.

This may not play so well on your cell phone. It doesn’t reliably work on mine but it is fine on my laptop. Just a video of Ember and Smokey and their buddy Netty. Ember has just retrieved the ball and would normally return it to me for Smokey’s turn. But when Netty shows up there is nothing she enjoys more than waving it in the air and leading poor Netty all over the field. Smokey waits patiently. He was such a good boy.


border collies are SO SMART!!

The first border collie was a tri colour BC (from a rescue). From one of your links, I realize she was a Melbec. Now I have a black/white BAD BOY who makes me walk 2 to 3 miles/day and think of new "mind games" !!
border collies are SO SMART!!

The first border collie was a tri colour BC (from a rescue). From one of your links, I realize she was a Melbec. Now I have a black/white BAD BOY who makes me walk 2 to 3 miles/day and think of new "mind games" !!

She is a Northern California Border Collie derivative known as a McNab, sometimes called a flat coat BC. She’ll be 2 years old in a couple more weeks. She has been more high maintenance than any other dog I’ve had but she is so sweet and locked into me that I don’t begrudge it. But I sure miss Smokies reliable and low maintenance presence.

Is a Malbec a flat coat border?
Here is a plant I sorely miss, a passion vine P. Membranacea seen here growing over my garden shed hanging from the fig tree


This is a vine capable of covering a tree 150 feet tall, as it does at the San Francisco Bot garden. I had to haul away a truck load of vine every couple years as it covered this fig, a nearby aspen and a couple trees nearer to the creek reaching high into my redwood. But from a distance or great height you can’t appreciate its real charms.

The leaves seen in the first photo are green on top but purple below. When backlit they glowed a coppery color and the bracts which accompanies the chartreuse flowers were purple circles which also glowed.


It was very floriferous as many passion vines are. The flowers would descend flacid from the bracts at first.


But when they opened they didn’t refract as flat as most do forming more of a bell.



I have a young replacement vine started. Maybe one day …
My wife at 80 is less a nymph but still makes a fine garden gnome. Here seen at the Regional Parks bot garden in Tilden park. She is taking a rest beside a bed of Five Finger Fern having come most of the way up the canyon we went down. Also known as Adiantum aleuticum, I was so taken by this Maiden fern relative that I have killed it at least the three times necessary to get me to give up something I want to grow.


Detail taken with her newer phone.

In our northeast corner, twenty odd years ago, the tall old fence blew over in a storm one winter. It is covered in blue morning glory in this old picture of a picture


A photo taken from our roof toward the new deck and fence we built to replace the fence that fell. We liked having the deck here as it overlooks the creek below and the park behind where a pedestrian bridge crosses it. The redwood we planted below hadn’t yet asserted itself.



Early on I planted a couple ‘Especially For You’ roses and I liked the look. But eventually one got crowded out.


Today one of that rose remains and plays well with the crab apple, Marmalade bush and Cantua.

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This year it was tough to get the garden back after so many storms going so late beyond our normal wet season. The water of course was welcome but the winds were destructive but while it has been consistently colder than usual that hasn’t done any damage. I brought out an arborist and his crew to bring down damaged trees I can no longer reach and a garden design friend let me hire his crew one Saturday which went a long way toward clearing out rampant weed growth. Now I’m just finishing it off before we have friends to tea this coming Saturday.

Here are photos starting just inside the back garden and then moving southeast down the near path behind our building.





Amazing garden Mark! Stunning! Are those "AT LAST" roses growing on your gazebo?
I've never seen a more appreciative hummingbird. What a nice oasis to relax in when the world gets crazy. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous.
Amazing garden Mark! Stunning! Are those "AT LAST" roses growing on your gazebo?
I've never seen a more appreciative hummingbird. What a nice oasis to relax in when the world gets crazy. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous.

The last surviving Especially For You is growing in front of the half rise corner deck out back. It surprised me when they grew to just the right height. Then I crowded them out, darn it. But I also love the Marmalade bush and Cantua so fortunately one of that rose was able to compete.

The climber on the side of the gazebo is called ‘Royal Sunset’ in the US.
Took an old favorite walk I haven’t done in a while yesterday with my young dog Ember up at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills. It is a route that goes over a ridge, descends a ways into canyon on the other side. From there it is about a mile along French trail following the contours of the hills at that height above the canyon floor for about a mile until we hit Fern trail to climb back up to the ridge which we follow back to the trails we came in on.

One of the trees I love here are the Madrones. Here is a large one we passed as we descended into the canyon with 36 pound Ember for scale.


But the namesake tree in the park are the redwoods. These are along French trail and beneath them are many ferns.


There are a couple kinds of ferns here. I think the one in the last photo and the next is a Sword fern. They can look a lot rougher in less moist locations but redwoods tend to scrape moisture out of the fog and funnel it to its base where the ferns and other plants benefit.


Another beneficiary of the redwood’s talent for providing moisture in the absence of rainfall is our local blueberry relative, the Huckleberry.


The one you want to watch out for is the Poison Oak which can take many forms. Here it was growing on another Madrone vine like, toward the top of Fern trail in such good light I had to shoot it.

Got up to the Mendocino Coast Botanical garden last Sunday. The heath and heather garden wasn't too colorful, though always beautiful. But their dahlia garden, while a little early for it, was blooming big. Some favorites:






I won’t grow them myself because I’m a foliage snob and most of these have leaves that might be found in a produce section. But what I like most enjoy about flowers are their sculptural shapes and these have it in spades.
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Heidi with Smokey

Well it has been a while since I posted in this diary thread but I just came across this video I took at our favorite place to walk the dogs, Fort Funston. This beach park is at the south most point of land along the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, near the zoo. It is far from pristine wilderness but the skies, ocean and scrubby plants are beautiful to my eyes.

And here is one more taken there at the place where the hang gliders take off which is just beyond the cones visible at the start of this. These were my last two deceased dogs, the larger one Heidi Rose was a heeler cross German shepherd and the smaller one, Smokey, was a heeler cross Australian shepherd. Heidi was more powerful until near the end and this was taken within a year of her death. They played hard but loved each other too. Everywhere else Smokey was respectful toward her but here in the open field he would be emboldened to show her what he could do.

Here was the day they met in my garden.

And here he was still a pup and she was indulging him but also maintaining a clear line regarding who was top dog. Smokey was okay with that.

And here are some photos of them at Fort Funston:

IMG_3060 by

IMG_3384 by

Good thing there is a photo limit when I get in a nostalgic mood like this.
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Fletcher with Heidi

A little soon for another post here but I started looking for what photos and videos I have of Heidi with the dog that preceded her, Fletcher the blue merle Australian shepherd. Here is what I found. First video is early on when although she was always a more powerful animal than he was, she was submissive. I'm very sure she was happiest being second in command to him because he was always so confident in every situation and that made her more comfortable. Here is the beat up circle of grass which preceded the flagstone patio we have back there now.

I don't think we ever took Fletcher to Fort Funston but we frequently to Point Isabel on SF bay right across from the GG bridge and the city.

Another place we used to go to was the Point Reyes peninsula North of Tomales state park where my wife Lia's parents retired. This was taken on walk above Duck Cove where their house was located with a friend and his big Newfy.

Here is another of the dogs on the private road to Lia's parent's house.

This one will likely only be playable on a computer since it is hosted by Flickr. The two of them sacked out after a walk.





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It touches and warms my heart to see your precious dogs. I very much miss our boys,
and your videos fill that void for me.