Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August garden photos

Here are photos of my garden shot during the week of August 19th. The focus as always is on the individual flowers but I'm about to shoot photos of beds in progress for the curious. The flowers are as follows:
Top left: Cynoglossum. I love true blue flowers and wanted to shoot this plant to include flower buds, not just opened flowers.
Top right: Mandevilla. You just don't get any redder than this saturated red mandevilla vine. It's just now kicking into blooming, having waited out our cool summer to date.
2nd line left: Tiger Woods lily. Well, at least something with Tiger's name is doing great!
2nd line right: Angelwing begonia. This cane-type begonia took a little time to rebound this year but is now flowering again. It's one of the spotted types but there are many, many other larger-leaved cane begonias out on the market.
3rd line left: Begonia sutherlandii. This smaller, cascading begonia is a real cutie and I love its coral-orange flowers.
3rd line right: Purple and white hanging type fuchsia. A classic!
4th line left: Tradescantia 'Concord Grape.' A lovely spiderwort, with a vivid purple flower.
4th line right: Dianthus. This peach colored carnation is a real show stopper, even if the flowers are small. Fabulous coloring.
Bottom line left: Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia. Big name for such a small flower but the color is lovely, especially when it's backlit by the sun here.
Bottom line right: Neomarica caerulea. My absolute favorite member of the iris family. The flowers appear on three foot tall stalks and as you can see showcase the most vivid colors and patterns.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shade Plants Article

Most of us have shady spots in our garden and are on the outlook for interesting plants for those spots. In an attempt to address that need, I recently wrote an article for the Oakland Tribune/San Jose Mercury News/ CC Times. The article covers the different kinds of shade and the plants that do well for each of those environments. So check out this Made in the Shade article and hopefully you'll find one or two plants that capture your fancy or help to solve a need.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Plant of the Month

As has been mentioned I have a large garden filled with quite a variety of plants. The selection covers the entire spectrum but I have a fondness for bulbs. One bulb I had been meaning to grow and just never got around to it was the cormous perennial Bessera, known as Coral Drops. This Mexican native is proof that good things do indeed come in small packages. Reaching only a foot tall (though RHS says it will get to 24") and having inconspicuous foliage, the plant is wholly unimpressive until it flowers. Tiny little 'drops' open to the most gorgeous pendent, umbrella-like flowers. The color is out of this world -- a rich orangish-coral -- and creamy yellow ribs on the inner sides of the petals only add to the allure. The package is given an explanation point with turquise-green stamens. I am often disappointed between the real world flower and the photo on that plant's sign or package but in this case the real flower exceeded expectations!
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