Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nature or Nurture?

It occurred to me this morning as I was taking stock of what was new in my garden, a garden that includes natives as well as many colorful non-natives, that whether we think about it or not, we gardeners are faced with our own "nature or nurture" dilemma. On the nature side is a group of plants that includes natives and Bay Friendly plants. That is, they are "natural" to our region. On the nurture side are plants imported from other regions that we "nurture" to do well in our gardens. For those of us near the Bay, that is in mild zones, we are blessed with the opportunity to grow a lot of 'nurture' plants, even for some of us, tropical plants. There is of course vigorous debate as which is the best course to take. I don't hold a strict view on that issue. I like having lots of natives in my garden but wouldn't want to restrict myself to just that group. In that light, here are more photos of my garden, taken today. Is it really almost June?


Begonia Escargot. Yes it flowers but you want this beauty for its largish, snail-shaped leaves. We can never keep it in stock at Ace and it always draws an exclamation -- "Escargot!"


This shot of my vigorous Incarvillea arguta caught a nice bit of filtered sun lighting. Sometimes you "see" the shot and sometimes you just get lucky.


Marrubium species. File this lovely horehound under the "never heard of it but it's darn pretty" category. Is it just me or does it remind you of a purple flowering phlomis (textured & felty leaves, flowers appearing in whorls)?


Calceolaria paralia. A new 'Pocketbook' that Annie's Annuals is growing. Lovely & vigorous, with rounder slightly larger flowers than the common C. mexicana. Rather than multi-branching, it sends up several tall flowering spikes.


Platycodon grandiflorus. I love Balloon flowers and one of my favorite things about them is that when they're in their pre-open form they look like little aliens from the X-Files (the 'dimples' are the alien's eyes). Then poof they open into these beautiful veined purple flowers.


Helenium Mardi Gras + Clarkia Aurora + Petunia Papaya. This is a great angle to see the lovely Papaya petunia framed by the exuberant  colors of the clarkia and helenium.


Dianthus 'Chomley Farran.' I have no idea who or what Chomley Farran is but this older variety is one of the so-called "Bizarres," carnations with vivid striping. Chomley is actually more purple than what the photo shows here, as the sun somewhat faded the purple background.


Sphaeralcea grossularifolia. Globe mallows really should be better known, they're so lovely. This is one of the upright types; I've previously posted photos of my prostrate S. munroana. I love the sherbert orange color of this species.


Cerinthe major. I know, I know, experts warn you against planting this vigorously self-seeding plant but I did anyway this year. Lovely glaucous foliage and one-of-a-kind flowers.


Lilium trebbiano. The picture showed a green flower and both years it's come up this yellow color so I'm just trying to go with the flow and enjoy its beauty.


Echinacea Summer Sky + day lilies. I don't know how I managed to have trouble growing echinaea in the past but this specimen has been blooming nonstop since August. I have a E. Hot Papaya and E. Primadonna Deep Rose beside it that are coming along.


Agastache Red Fortune. I've become a bit of an agastache junkie (is there a 12 step program for that?) but the fragrances, which vary from fruity to those that have a hint of anise, are only one good reason to grow them. I have five in this bed and they are proving to be vigorous.


Cuphea ignea.The "cigar" cuphea is a favorite for many gardeners, proving that good things do come in small packages. I have it growing up through a honeysuckle bush and it's holding its own.


Begonia rex 'Salsa.' Hard to resist rex begonias, even though they're not the hardiest of begonias. 


Asarum maximum. This unique wild ginger, known in the trade as Panda-face ginger, has one of the truly odd flowers in the floral kingdom. Sort of rubbery, with the background being a deep maroon that can look almost black in the shade, and then the pinkish-cream blotches, it's unlike anything else I can think of.

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