Last Sunday I hosted a garden party at my humble abode and though the weather was on the cool side it seemed to come off very well. The lead up to the event meant a furious round of weeding, trimming, deadheading and planting (whew!!) but all that work was worth it. I now have that rare event for ambitious gardeners: a moment of rest when the garden is looking its best. And of course there are long term benefits, as the looming event forced me to work on neglected areas and retire certain plants that I'd been procrastinating about. Here are a few photos of the mid-June garden.
This 'fragrance bowl' was done for the party. In the back is lemon verbena, spilling over the front is Yerba Buena and off to the right is Plectranthus amboinicus, known as Cuban oregano for its heady fragrance.
Platycodon grandiflorus. I love these 'balloon flowers,' as they're known. They make these little 'alien' heads then pop open to produce lovely purplish-blue flowers. They are still used to this day in Chinese herbal remedies.
Calceolaria paralia. This little known 'pocketbooks' or 'ladyslipper,' as the genus is known by, produces tall spikes of fantastic creamy yellow flowers that are a bit rounder than the common C. mexicana.
Scyphanthus elegans. Here's another shot of one of my favorite flowers. It's a great plant if you want a small climber. It'll latch onto nearly anything close at hand and with delicate foliage you hardly notice, it allows the flowers to really shine.
Calibrachoa 'Lemon Slice.' Just a sweet, cheerful flower!
Chrysocephalum 'Silver Fox.' This lovely plant is known as Common Everlasting for its long bloom season. Once classified as Helichrysum apiculatum, it's the latest addition to silver foliage plants I'm slowly adding to my garden.
Agastache 'Red Fortune.' My new favorite agastache, sturdy, pretty & fragrant.
Buddleja 'Ellen's Blue.' I don't have room for a full-sized butterfly bush so added this dwarf variety. Same large cones of fragrant flowers, still popular with butterflies and bees but it only gets 3-4' tall.
Nigella. This shot of Love-in-a-Mist turned out sort of interesting, as if one were looking through a forest of underwater kelp or a small tree-filled forest.
Cotinus 'Royal Purple.' Also intriguing is this shot of my smoke bush. It's a wonderful plant to photograph when backlit (or in this case front lit) as you get such interesting textures.
Cuphea ignea. Love this little 'cigar plant.' Tough little guy too.
String of bananas + Sedum 'Jelly Beans.' This was a new addition for the party. I had both succulents but finally decided to make a cascading hanger out of them.
Hebe speciosa. Although I hadn't intended this design (stop me if you've ever heard a gardener say this before!), the way the hebe has grown up and around the mailbox turned out rather well.
Eryngium planum. I swear, I cut this back nearly to the ground only a month ago and it's already blooming again! This variety has soft flowers, not the prickly ones we're used to with other 'Sea Holly.'
Adenanthos sericeus. My wooly bush has grown much faster than I anticipated and not only did I have to trim it, I had to trim other plants around it in my Australian native shrubs bed.
Goddess statue. Thanks to Sylvia for gifting me this wonderful statuary. She's nestled next to the ornamental quince and just to the front and left of the wooly bush.
Japanese dwarf conifer bed. This bed required a massive weeding to get it cleaned up before the party and now it looks pristine. Well, okay 'too' pristine. I think I may just use the leaf bits falling from the fir tree above to serve as the carpet for this bed, in place of planting ground cover. I'm going for the natural look here.
Hollyhock 'Halo Cerise.' Love the color on this variety and even though it's supposed to get 5-6' tall, it's begun blooming at 18."
Puya. This was another massive pre-party weeding effort and a tricky one given how incredibly thorny this plant is. I'm now eight years in and waiting for it to bloom for the first time.
Front walkway. A quick look at the unusually clean walkway leading to the back yard. Lots of work has gone into the left side especially, pulling out old shrubs and planting with a certain scheme in mind.
Brodiaea 'Blue Mix.'I love this simple little California native bulb. It's part of my Shady Lane bed.
Amorphophallus rivieri. Can't believe I actually worried that this plant would not return. It's already huge. The question is: will it flower this year?
Round ceramic ball + Australian violets. I finally found a good location for this new addition to my collection of garden art. I think it looks right at home amongst the lush Australian violets.