After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back with a new list of plants with musical references. In some cases the plant's variety name is identical to the song title (or album) and in other cases I've indulged in some artistic license. Okay, without further adieu, here are the nominees (you get to vote on your favorites):
Pansy 'Sangria.' Sangria Wine by Jerry Jeff Walker. If you haven't heard of this Texas singer/songwriter, check him out. He's a one of a kind talent, part folk, part rock but 100% storyteller. He's most well known for his song Mr Bojangles but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Jolly Joker Pansy. I'm a Steve Miller fan so I'm going with his later persona 'The Joker.' That was after he was the Space Cowboy and the Gangster of Love.
1st Kiss Blueberry vinca. Could go anywhere with the Blueberry reference but I'll jump in the way back machine, all the way back to the 50s for Fats Domino's 'Blueberry Hill.'
Asarina 'Snow White.' Going to go with one of my favorite blues-rock guitarists, Snowy White. A Brit who got his start playing with Pink Floyd, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) and Thin Lizzy, White went solo and fashioned a superb body of work. For a good intro, check out Live Flames, a live album with his backing group, The White Flames.
Papaver 'Summer Breeze.' No stretch required for linking this yellow poppy with an artist. That would be Seals & Crofts and one of their biggest hits, Summer Breeze.
Leek 'King Richard.' First off, why the heck would you name a leek after a king? Silly. So, I'll extend the silliness and throw in Little Richard who, next to Elvis, was the king of 1950s rock.
Stevia (the plant from which the natural sweetener is extracted). I'll let fans of Little Stevie Wonder and Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac) duke it out for honors.
Hibiscus 'Haight Ashbury.' This is not a typo; there really is an Hibiscus variety named after the most famous hippie cross-street in America. So this is a musical reference not of an artist or a song but of the whole of psychedelic music symbolized by this location.
Dianthus 'Witch Doctor.' Could certainly have gone with the voodoo of Dr. John but instead going to show my early white blues roots by going with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (featuring Eric Clapton) and their "I'm Your Witch Doctor."
Yarrow 'Moonshine.' Got to go with Van the Man (Morrison, natch) and his classic "Moonshine Whiskey." Damn, now that makes me want to pop that CD in the stereo.
Geranium 'Sugar Plum.' I think you know where this is going and that's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker. Think Duke Ellington's version.
Salvia 'Hot Lips.' This well known salvia (white flowers with red 'lips') brings to mind Hot Lips Hoolihan from MASH but our musical link goes to the Django Reinhardt song.
Penstemon 'Thorn.' Since we're starting to stray a bit from the Rocking in the title, let's bring it back with the hard rocking "Thorn in my Side" by the Eurythmics, featuring Annie Lennox (who has one of the greatest voices in the history of rock).
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue.' Here's where we sort out your allegiances as this name is either a famous Louis Armstrong song, a Rolling Stones album or a Black Sabbath album.
Salvia mexicana 'Limelight.' Staying with the hard rock stuff, we veer north into Canada to grab the power trio Rush. Though they have a devoted following in the U.S., still sell out arenas after 30 years and just got voted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, they are superstars in their home land. The song Limelight is from their most famous and million selling album Moving Pictures, which contained the hit Tom Sawyer.
Juncus effusus spiralis. This Corkscrew rush reminds me of the song Corkscrew by the famous band Yes.
Echinacea 'Harvest Moon.' Speaking of Canada, no question who this song goes to -- Neil Young. Perhaps his finest album, past his first solo record.
Speaking of Echinaceas, another one in my garden is the lovely E. 'Sunrise.' And that makes me think of the pop chanteuse Norah Jones. Here's a pop quiz. What do Ms. Jones and ex Beatle George Harrison have in common? Ravi Shankar of course, he being Norah's father and one of Harrison's greatest musical and spiritual influences.
Finally, Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen.' Many may not know but the incomparable Carole King recorded a song of the same name on her "Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King" album.
And now that we've dispensed with the words, let's proceed to the pictures.
One last shot of my Mimulus Jelly Bean Orange. Mine has exceeded my expectations. After blooming, I deadheaded it and two weeks later it burst into bloom again.
A final shot of my King protea, seen in its open phase. I just love the geometry of the red bracts and white flowers. A magnet for bees and butterflies.
Speaking of butterflies, here's what I think is a Fritillary, sunning itself on a dogwood leaf, though my Passiflora is close by and that might provide more interest.
Always lots of bees in my garden. Here a honeybee is busy collecting nectar from my Caryopteris incana. His gold body makes for such a nice complement to the purple flowers.
Here's an experiment, shooting the lovely Begonia 'Irene Nuss,' already with panicles of flowers resting on the ground. I call this Still Life with Apples, showing how decomposing apples feed the soil.
In the same bed, my Fuchsia denticulata is producing a late crop of flowers. Here they are, still unopened 'tubes.'
Speaking of begonias, my Angelwings begonia has a nice crop of pink blooms, offset by the spotted leaves.
Tricyrtis species. I'm starting to warm to the charms of this "milky" toad lily flower. It's been prolific this year, producing stem after stem filled with these wondrous little flowers (worthy of a Monet brush).
Here's my new rave, the hard to find Bouvardia ternifolia. Native to Texas and Mexico, this shrub features one-of-a-kind scarlet tubular flowers. The fact that they appear in dense clusters only magnifies the wow factor.
Bouvardia ternifolia. Here's a closeup of the flowers, such a saturated red that the cluster kind of overwhelmed my camera's pixels.
Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' This has been a terrific year for plants with that wow factor, including this guy. Here's a closeup of the sunny, textured gold foliage.
Here's an "art" shot of honeysuckle vines,creating interesting shadow patterns against the gray stucco wall.
One more shot of my silver Dyckia. It has three things I love: an interesting architectural shape (opposing recurved petals), curious toothed margins and a beautiful silvery color. Plus, it's not as thorny as some dyckias, which are notorious for giving barbed wire a run for its money.