Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 08 Jul 2002 16:28:39 PDT
Dear All,

I know many of you from other lists, but there were names of people I 
didn't know as well so here is my introduction.

I live with my husband and "designer" dog Honey in coastal Northern 
California. We are about a mile and a half away from the Pacific Ocean but 
at 800 feet where we have a filtered blue water view of the ocean through 
the forest. We consider ourselves in a Mediterranean climate as we have 
mild wet winters (it gets down to freezing but most years the ground does 
not freeze hard) and dry summers, but being on the first ridge and this far 
north of the equator we get a lot of rain during the rainy season (average 
around 50-60 inches). My soil is acidic, nutrient deprived, decomposed 
sandstone and rock. We have a lot of trees including redwoods and gardening 
is a challenge. We are blessed with comfortable temperatures in summer, but 
nights are almost always cool. It can get hot here on the ridge when it may 
be 15 to 20 degrees cooler down below. If this happens for more than a day 
or two, the fog rolls in. It is what we call nature's air conditioning.

Since I love to grow things from seed and experiment I have found some 
plants that work: shrubs native to this area, Australian and South African 
plants, and other Mediterranean basin plants like teucrium, lavandula, and 
origanum. Ericaeous plants do well so I grow them too. I have been trying 
to grow South African ericas from seed and it is a lot harder than growing 
bulbs, but I am getting better at it thanks to some tips from Rod Saunders.

I heard Wayne Roderick say one day that he gave up trying to garden in the 
redwoods and started planting bulbs. His theme is year round bloom without 
extra water. I was already in love with bulbs, but that got my attention. I 
started with South African and California bulbs. As I have made friends 
with other bulb fanatics who have shared seed, bulbs, or enthusiasm for all 
manner of geophytes I have gotten way out of control. I am trying to switch 
myself over to learning how to grow what I grow well and not keep seeking 
more, but it is a struggle. Like others have said my favorites are the ones 
blooming, but I love Calochortus, Leucocoryne, Romuleas, Oxalis, Brodiaeas, 
Dichelostemmas, Geissorhizas, Moraeas, Triteleias, Lachenalias, 
Veltheimias, my native Alliums, Cyclamen... You get the picture. I could go 
on. I have far too many pots, but also bulbs planted in the ground and 
raised beds. I have a greenhouse which is measuring 104 at the moment, but 
it measured in the 50ties last night and we can get 40ties in the summer at 
night so tropical plants are never happy.

I also love looking for plants growing in the wild and am a part of two 
hiking groups. One I do the planning for and make sure we go to all the 
good flower places in spring and early summer. My area is very rural and we 
have many places to walk. This past weekend we spied Lilium pardalinum just 
opening (in a place the deer couldn't get it) and earlier in the week there 
was a whole rocky bank covered with Allium dichlamydeum overlooking the 
ocean to delight me. Lucky for me even though my husband does not like to 
garden, he likes to go with me looking for plants in nature as does the 
dog. And he has enjoyed meeting other bulb fanatics which is something else 
I like to do.

I hope more of you will introduce yourselves. Like Paul I am learning more 
about some people I thought I already knew as they describe their broader 
garden interests.

Mary Sue 

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