Friday, September 28, 2012

Lepechinia hastata

There are times when I might like to write about a certain plant for my Pick of the Week column but it's not widely enough available to qualify. Such is the case for Lepechinia hastata, a salvia relative hailing from of all places, Hawaii. It's a vigorous, evergreen perennial that can reach three feet high and wide. It features large, silvery, felty aromatic leaves that alone make this plant worth adding to your dry garden. The flowers are equally noteworthy, a rich burgundy maroon color that appear both along the stem and in clusters above the foliage. Like many salvias, it blooms in the fall period. My 4" plant grew quickly and has produced its first flowers this week. Annie's Annuals says it's hardy to 0 degrees so no problem for Bay Area gardeners. Hard to describe the aroma but it's very pleasant. Fast growing, drought tolerant and beautiful. Three words that are music to gardeners' ears. Here's a photo of my plant plus a few other photos from my late September garden. In order they are:

Lepechinia. The true plant ID is from its flowers and from this we see the salvia connection here.
Hebe Paul Evans. My favorite hebe, with its deep maroon new growth and pretty flowers.
Echinacea Summer Sky. Bees love this plant for its nectar rich flowers.
Swainsona. This evergreen shrub has been the star of my Aussie natives plot and a bee favorite to boot!
Salvia azurea. Light blue flowers are a personal fave and I guess this moth would agree.
Echium fastuosum. I think this stage, when the silvery rosette is at its most perfect form, is the height of its beauty.
Isoplexis. A Canary Islands native, this short lived perennial offers lovely hooded rusty tones.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lingering Summer

For those of us lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, September through early November often provides the nicest weather, extending our gardening season. Lately, when I take my weekly stroll through my garden to see what might be new,I keep thinking it's going to slow down. And each week there's so many flowers that are blooming for the first time, or as is the case right now with my Clematis niobe, reblooming. And that observation makes me appreciate two fundamental things about gardens (and nature). Rain (or we humans watering) can prolong the blooming period of both perennials and annuals. And the amount of sun and/or heat can play a similar role. Our cool summer has, in my garden at least, delayed the initial flowering of certain plants. One of my dahlias has just this week put out its first flower.Certain of my vines are getting a late start as well. These occasional delayed results used to worry me but I've learned to be more patient. Two examples this wee. My lovely Bessera elegans, a fabulous S. African bulb that bloomed last year in July has just now put up blooming spikes. And my Passiflora Linda Escobar has finally produced its first brilliant orange-red flower, after a three year wait.
So, a tip of the cap to Mother Nature, who has her own schedule! Here is a bit more of her handiwork:

Salvia patens. One word: wow!
Crassula falcata. I call this the "propeller plant."
Apricot verbena. It may be a common plant but I love these colors.
Linanthus grandiflorus. Very sweet and simple.
Mandevilla (red). This is the year of vines for me. Love 'em.
Hibiscus stamen. Sometimes close up shots give us a new perspective.
Blue Butterfly delphinium. So, so, blue.
Echinacea flower about to open. Another interesting close up perspective.
Rain lily. Love the pure white simplicity of this bulb's flowers.
Callibrachoa. Geometry can be a beautiful thing.
Tricyrtis with stand. The photo's a little fuzzy but loved the composition.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Garden Quickie

More late summer photos. This is a quickie post as I have to run out the door. Hope everyone is enjoying the fruits of their gardening labors!
Salvia vanhouttei. Is this color fab or what? Easy and vigorous!
Clematis niobe. Wait, a second blooming of this spring bloomer? Quelle surprise!
Oxalis carnosa. Love the big "balls" that this pretty oxalis produces.
Scabiosa ochroleuca. A pretty, soft yellow pincushion plant.
Clematis tangutica seedhead. Still my favorite seedhead for clematis varieties.
Agastache Grapefruit. I'm on an agastache roll and this is one of the more fragrant ones. Love the mixed colors too.
Protea cynaroides. King Proteas. One of a kind and surprisingly easy to grow.
Kalanchoe Chocolate Soldier. A lot of people's favorite kalanchoe. But really, chocolate soldier? Do we really need to bring the military into this? How about Kalanchoe 'Brunette'?

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