Friday, April 5, 2013

After the flood ...

OK, not a flood, but the generous amount of rain we received Wednesday night and Thursday morning certainly gave our gardens a much needed soak, as well as freshening the air! It made for a bit of soggy gardening Thursday afternoon so I concentrated on some cleanup jobs (if Nature gives you lemons, make lemonade). Today, I was back to planting some 4" treasures brought home during the last week. I think I'm like many gardeners, if I see a plant I really love I think "I'll find a place for it." But more and more, as I refashion beds with a scheme in mind, I'm at least sticking to that design, if not actually buying for it. Hey, who knew I was capable of such discipline? Mind you that has meant that my unused paved driveway has become home to potted plants that fall into the former buying category (I'll find a place ...). That's okay. That's one of the great things about gardening (at least for people are plant collectors to some degree or other); you can enjoy the work you've put into creating a certain design, including the care in choosing just the right plants. Or you can hover lovingly over acquisitions that provide their own singular pleasure. That bit of rumination aside, here are a few more photos taken on this mixed sun & clouds day of April 5th. Top to bottom:

Phacelia viscida. Still the showiest of the CA bluebells, with their intricate centers. Curiously, the Phacelia genus is part of the Hydrophyllaceae family, which contains Nemophila (Baby Blue Eyes among others) and the lesser known Romanzoffia.
Arisaema nepenthoides. I'm becoming a real fan of arums and one of the most exciting genera are the Arisaemas. They are a little hard to find, and expensive, but they possess a singular beauty. This recent arrival had already produced a leaf spike and within a week it began opening, first producing as is often the case, a hooded spathe. Here are two shots, a closeup of the hood and a second showing the mottled stem and beginnings of leaves. Their common name, Jack-in-the-Pulpit refers I assume to the hooded spathe. I find the plants both surreal and beautiful.
Athyrium niponicum. Another shot of my more purple Japanese painted fern. Gorgeous and surprisingly tough.
Azalea Mangetsu. A variety I bought many years ago from Moraga Garden Center, this tough customer has survived repeated thrips attacks, being in too small a pot, losing nearly all its leaves and somehow now is flourishing.
Choisya ternata. Mexican mock orange is one of my favorite plants. Attractive glossy leaves when not in bloom but then a huge show of fragrant flowers in spring. I sometimes get a second flowering in autumn too. A favorite of bees.
Rhododendron 'Sappho.' Another successful revival after surviving an unfriendly location for two years, then the transplant, thrips, more thrips and finally some happiness. Saw it first at Sonoma Horticultural Nursery, where the mature specimen was spectacular. White flowers splashed with deep burgandy spotting.
Dicentra scandens. Finally in the ground after five years in a pot, it is going to town. Here there was a nice shadow play. Soon bright yellow 'bleeding hearts' will decorate the wall.
Lupinus pilosus. I broke my rule about never growing any more lupines (snail food supreme) when I saw the photo of this new lupine. With deep purplish-blue flowers that are hard to believe, and a lovely silver edging to the leaves, I couldn't resist. Sluggo went down the second after planting. So far so good.
Iris Bronze Beauty. More of these have come up. They unfurl with a bronze tone on the falls that gradually matures to a purplish amber. One of my favorite irises.
Cornus florida. I bought this so long ago, I've forgotten which variety. I've been waiting for it to flower ever since. This year I finally got a few meager flowers (okay, bracts) and I took this photo as a kind of "see, it did actually flower!" revenge. That said, the flower IS lovely.
Allium napolitanum. This cute ornamental onion has tiny, simple flowers but I like them anyway.
Gelsemium sempervirens. Better known as Carolina jessamine, this jasmine relative has much larger, bright yellow flowers and a subtle sweet fragrance.

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