Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Garden Snapshot

Our gardens are in constant flux, most notably from season to season though this notion disguises the reality that these changes are more of a continuum, month to month, week to week, sometimes even day to day. I record in my journal what is new in my garden every week or two and in a way these provide a snapshot of the garden at a given point in time. There's no need to do this of course, one can simply enjoy the garden as it changes but for some people taking note of the details of this change provides its own pleasure. I also photograph my garden, in this case a visual moment. I find keeping a journal, which for me starts with walking through the garden with pen and paper noting new developments, to be a peaceful way to appreciate the fruits of my labors.
In this light, here is a snapshot in time, what is blooming or new in my garden during the week of 10/15/11.
* My Mahonia lomariifolia has a cluster of stubby flower spikes which will soon grow to sprays of bright yellow flowers.
* The Mina lobata vine is concluding a season of spectacular blooming, having climbed a metal arch.
* The Plectranthus Mona Lavender is finally getting its first flowers. Kind of late this year.
* The Angelwing begonia (a cane type) is in full bloom and much happier this year.
* The red & purple Justicia seems to be recovering and is in bloom.
* The red flowering mandevilla is still blooming its head off.
* The first of my S. African bulbs are up -- one lachenalia, two homoglads and some babianas. This seems to be especially early for them to appear.
* My lavender double form calibrachoa (Million bells) is still blooming away.
* The new Oenothera from Annie's Annuals, Endless Orange, has settled in nicely and is producing the loveliest peachy-orange flowers.
* My helichrysum species from UC Botanical Garden is blooming its heart out, the yellow flowers contrasting nicely with the silver foliage.
* The 7-Up stachys (foliage smells like 7-Up) continues to bloom.
* The Lysimachia atropurpurea has lovely bluish foliage but where are the flowers?
* The Itea virginica is showing off fabulous red fall colors
* This has been the best showing yet for flowers on the Shell ginger (Alpinia Zerumbet). They're supposed to be fragrant but I get very little aroma from them.
* The first flowers have appeared on the new variety of dew flower (Drosanthemum 'Pele'). Telltale red centers but this variety is fringed with purple.
* The Clematis niobe is putting out a second set of flowers. Very odd. Also, the C. Belle of Woking, which never did anything this spring, is suddenly putting out lots of new growth. Is this a result of the cold wet weather this spring? I doubt it'll bloom this much out of season but who knows.

So, this is a snapshot of some of the things going on in my garden this week. Just one man's garden. On one week. A moment in time. And yet, a record for posterity in case I want to refer to it for any reason.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Garden photos

From the top the photos are:
Top: Adenanthos sericea (Wooly bush)
2nd line left: Penstemon Tubular Bells Rose
2nd line right: Hedychium greenii (Red ginger)
3rd line left: Haworthia venosa
3rd line right: Orange sedum
4th line left: Protea eximia (King protea)
4th line right: Alpinia Zerumbet flower
5th line left: Glechoma
5th line right: Tricyrtis (Toad lily)
6th line left: Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi (Angel's Trumpet)
6th line right: Lily Schezerade
Bottom line: Schizostylis

Friday, October 7, 2011

What to Plant for Fall

We are lucky enough (most of us) in the Bay Area to be able to garden for most of the year and that means that the Fall is a good time to both add seasonal color and to engage in a little P&P (prepping & planting) in advance of spring. For some Fall planting suggestions follow this blue link to my article in the San Francisco Chronicle. There are a wide range of plants available to add color for the season plus for those in milder zones, plants such as gaillardias, wall flowers, heliotropes and abutilons will bloom nearly year round. Now is a great time for adding a fall-blooming vine or two, with plants such as thunbergia blooming well into winter.
Fall is also an excellent time to plant shrubs. On top of the usual suspects, late fall is an excellent time to find and plant Australian shrubs such as grevilleas, leptospermums and correas and also South African plants such as Protea family members (proteas, leucospermums, leucodendrons, banksias). We may sometimes think of Fall as a time to rest but for those willing to roll up their sleeves there are rewards aplenty to be found in local nurseries.
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