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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