I’m supposed to be working on my “girl and her dog” novel. I can’t say it’s been going badly, but I haven’t made as much progress as I’d like in the new year. I’ve been distracted by my garden.
One of the things I love about living in San Diego is that I can work in the garden year round. That’s also one of the most frustrating things. There are always a lot of chores to do. I’ve got two big projects going on right now, a fun one and an overwhelming one.
The bad news is that I have an invasive vine. I don’t know what it is but I’ve been told that I can take a cutting to my local Master Gardeners and they can identify it. Will identification help with eradication?
It has pretty yellow flowers right now, but soon, the fluffy seed pods will fly. This vine also seems to spread by putting down roots whenever it comes in contact with the soil, which is almost everywhere. Its long shoots climb the sumac and toyon bushes, tangling in their branches and smothering them as it spreads.
I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever get rid of it. I go out to pull the vines for an hour or so, fill two or three trash cans with the stuff and realize that I’ve barely made a dent in my problem. It’s a long, slow task that I might finish in the distant future with no guarantee of success. A little bit like writing a novel, isn’t it?
My fun project is to replant some of my back yard flower beds with drought tolerant plants, mostly mediterranean and native varieties with a few favorite wildflowers. What I really want to plant, though, has been a bit of a mystery. I have a pretty flowering shrub growing naturally in the wild part of my yard and I’ve also seen it as I walk in my neighborhood. A friend told me it was called monkey flower, but when I searched online for that, I didn’t see any pictures that looked right so I had no idea what to ask for at my local nursery.
I decided to try taking cuttings to see if they’ll grow roots. My five little cuttings are still green, but it will take some time before I discover if I’ll be able to use them in my garden. Meanwhile, though, I searched a little harder and I might have found my plant online at Las Pilitas Nursery. I think it’s called Diplacus puniceus x clevelandii, San Diego Sunrise monkey flower. If my cuttings don’t take, it will be worth the drive up to Escondido to have these beautiful flowers right outside my back door. Perhaps they’ll give me the inspiration I need to sit down and write.