Thursday, July 18, 2013


The above numbers aren't some obscure code but in fact what our Bay Area temperatures have jumped to in the space of two weeks. The weather poses certain challenges for gardens, especially watering. As if we gardeners didn't have enough challenges.
Here are a few more photos from my mid-July garden. Mid-July? Wasn't it just May last week? How time flies by when you're weeding, pruning, re-planting and fertilizing non-stop, n'est-ce pas? Don't forget to stop and smell the ... well, in my case that would be fragrant herbs, which I've been adding to my garden. There's the wonderful citrus aroma of lemon verbena and the sweet smells of the cascading Yerba Buena. I have those in a pot with a non-herb that is curiously referred to as Cuban oregano. Then there's the 7-Up plant, Stachys albotomentosa. And yes, damn if it doesn't smell like 7-Up. I keep these all at the base of my stairs so I can smell them every day if I choose.

Ensete 'Maurelii.' This ornamental red banana is a great way to add foliage to a tropical area (as I've done). I though this backlit shot showed off the beauty of its foliage rather well.

Ladybug on leucospermum. Okay, I love ladybugs but this IS a cute shot. In England they're called Ladybirds.

Lilium citronelle. A yellow tiger lily! Love it!

Abelmoschus. Another shot of this hibiscus relative. Love that butter yellow and the burgundy eye.

The silver and yellow plant is Chrysocephalum (Sweet Everlasting) and the reddish-purple flowering one beside it is my oh-so-happy Cuphea Vienco. Great color combo.

Hydrangea quercifolia. This photo shows the newer white sterile flowers, which age to pink. Everything about this plant is just so fabulous and it's very happy in its new home.

Another shot of my colorful and exuberant Lonicera sempervirens, an East coast honeysuckle. It's being trained over a metal arch, to meet up with my Clematis viorna on the other side.

I can't ever quite get a good shot of this vigorous orchid. It's has four flowering stems  out now and that's the most it's ever done. I'm not a big 'white' fan but love it here.

Here's a bee hard at work harvesting nectar on my Dracocephalum argunense. It's a mystery to me why this plant isn't more readily available in the trade as it's too lovely for words. Plus, hooded flowers are too cool.

"I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Mayer." This Scabiosa ochroleuca looks particularly dramatic against the black background caused by the extreme closeup.

Speaking of bees, they're all over my Eriogonum grande rubescens, a native CA buckwheat. It's nice knowing that this plant is super nutritious for our pollinator friends.

Mandevilla 'Giant Crimson.' These flowers are so intensely red that it actually throws off the camera settings, making it hard to get a good photo. This'll give you an idea.

Again with the bees ... There's no keeping them off my floriferous Helenium Mardi Gras. They are rich in nectar so there's always a small swarm on them on sunny days.

Trachymene caerulea. This blue lace flower has been popular with bees too. Not sure what what this little guy is.

I've had this ceramic fish for some time, tried planting things in it but it simply doesn't hold enough soil. Then I had an 'aha' moment. So now its home to a tillandsia.

Roscoea. This charming shade-loving bulb hailing from the Himalayas is not well known. I got mine at a UCBG sale. It comes up faithfully every summer.

Though the sun sort of washed out this shot, here's my exuberant Dicentra scandens, with a Salvia patens to the left and a red salpiglossis to the right.

Another shot of my Helenium Mardi Gras and behind it a stand of Tiger lilies getting ready to unfurl.

I thought the silvery foliage of Centaurea gymnocarpa looked nice as a foreground to the big flowerheads of Eriogonum giganteum. 

How many golfers have a lily named after them? Well, I guess someone was a big Tiger Woods fan cause s(he) named this fragrant beauty after Tiger.

Crocosmia Emily MacKenzie. One of the showiest of all crocosmias, this burnt orange variety has of course self-seeded in this median strip. It provides a nice splash of color amongst the green foliage.

Although this shot is a bit overexposed, and the red mandevilla isn't in sharp focus, I was focusing on the immature form of the Grevillea Moonlight flower cone. Still, you can almost imagine that the mandevilla is calling to the grevillea flower.

My front walkway strip. It's in full riotous color mode, with a number of fragrant agastache, the eriogonum, lilies and finally the helenium.

Red painted tongue. No words necessary ...

I love Pineapple lilies (Eucomis) and here's one with deep wine-colored flowers. There's something primeval about them. 

Fuchsia Autumnale. A very pretty variety, as shown here. But the fuchsia mite always eventually gets it ...

Felicia amelloides variegata. A very pretty 'Blue daisy,' in this case the variegated form. Despite its delicate appearance it's tough and long blooming.

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