Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall photos

As we tumble and stumble into Fall, in a season when our gardens aren't sure if it's spring, summer or fall, here's a few photos of recent or continuing flowerings. As I've mentioned, my garden features a diverse collection of plants -- some natives, many Bay Friendly plants but also some that push the envelope. A few of the latter are shown here: the tropical loveliness of Crossandra, with its creamy orange flowers and the weird, malodorous but fascinating flowers of aristolochia grandiflora. One nice surprise is the Ptilotus (or Joey) that has produced long lasting furry flowers and keeps on blooming. We're in the beginning of the vine season and one of my favorites is shown here, the simple but charming Asarina 'Sky Blue.' Also we have the fall Helenium 'Red Shades,' the fragrant Salvia clevelandii, a striking orange canna and one of my favorite fuchsias, F. 'Autumnale,' with its fiery red and gold foliage.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plant of the Month

Perhaps we should rename the common phrase 'Indian Summer' -- "Bay Area Summer" as our heat doesn't reliably arrive until after Labor Day it seems. Much work to do in our gardens still and yet, we really can't be thinking of fall quite yet, despite the arrival this last week of the first of the fall annual plants: primulas, Iceland poppies, pansies & violas. I'm still enjoying late summer bloomers like heleniums, heliotropium, agastaches, gooseneck strife and dicentra scandens but already some fall favorites like porcelain berry vine, ginger species and passion flower vines are making themselves known.
Speaking of Dicentra scandens, this vining perennial member of the bleeding hearts genus is a spectacular addition to any garden. Most people are familiar with the pink & white species D. spectabilis and so visitors to my garden do a bit of a double take when they see the canary yellow flowers. More like schools of seahorses than hearts, and with the most fabulous pearl-shaped light green foliage, this plant makes a great woodland garden addition. I have mine in a large pot on the shady side of a fence. It's scrambling up and sideways, happy as a clam. D. scandens has to be one of the most cheerful plants in all of the plant world, one of the reasons I wanted it along my walkway. Delicate looking but very hardy!
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