Friday, October 25, 2013

Show Me the Green

Continuing on with my series on interesting plant names, grouped by subject, here's one that many might never think to reflect on -- money (thus the title of the post). Sneaking in food related plant names seems like a natural. Even choosing rock names, intentionally or subconsciously, still seems (and is) plausible. But variety or common names about money? Who knew? But your humble correspondent has done some digging and ... (the envelope please)

We'll start with a few obvious choices, the first being the houseplant Pachira, known as the Money Tree. Lore has it that a poor man prayed for money, found this "odd" plant, took it home as an omen, and made money selling plants grown from its seeds.
Curiously there's an outdoor plant also called Money Plant. It's Lunaria annua and its other common name, Silver Dollar plant, refers to its thin, round silvery seedpods.
Speaking of silver coin, how about Eucalyptus cordata, known as Silver dollar eucalyptus for its striking, round, silver leaves. And this tree self-seeds, meaning it's about as close to being a money machine as we gardeners are likely to see.
But wait, the silver coins don't end there. Helleborus x sternii is known as Silver Dollar lenten rose. Who can't use a bit of extra coin around the holidays?
But what about gold you say? Got you covered with Asteriscus 'Gold Coin.' This hardy ground cover produces masses of golden yellow flowers, enough to easily fill a pirate's chest.
Speaking of pirates, don't ye be forgettin' Bidens 'Pirates Treasure.' It produces such an abundance of gold 'coins' that it might make a pirate guard it with his life.
But don't ye be fighting over this plant because there's treasure aplenty in your local nursery. How about Gazania linearis, known as Treasure flower. It's from South Africa and rumor has it that pirates sailing around the Cape discovered it.
Or how about Hosta 'Little Treasure,' a striking steel blue and white variety that is worth coveting. And when it goes dormant, I guess that would qualify it as 'hidden treasure.'
Sometimes money is hard to come by and one has to take a few chances to acquire it. If you're willing to take a few risks, you might gamble on Coreopsis 'Roulette.' With a little luck, the wheel might just come your way.
Perhaps it's something more precious than money that you seek. You might travel far and wide to finally find the fabled and much coveted 'Jewels of Opar.' That would be Talinum paniculatum.
Don't have your passport in order? Don't worry, you can find something valuable closer at hand: Impatiens capensis, better known by treasure seekers as Jewelweed. One look at it's sun kissed golden-orange flowers and there's little doubt how it got his name.

Now for the pretty pictures ...

Begonia 'Escargot.' Bad joke alert. Don't read further if unwilling to groan. What did the Frenchman say to the motorist whose car had broken down by the side of the road? "Es car go?"

Here's the backside of the same Begonia Escargot. Really, it's almost as pretty from the reverse side and a bit of surprise as there's no suggestion of the red markings when viewed from the front.

Begonia 'Calypso.' Here's a shot of my much delayed newest begonia. Worth the wait, wouldn't you say?

Also delayed, my Fuchsia denticulata is finally beginning to put on a show. And for those not in the know (as I wasn't), fuchsia berries are edible. The ones on my F. boliviana taste like kiwi fruit.

Speaking of late, here's the counterbalance. My "I'll do whatever I please" Rhododendron 'Sappho' has decided to bloom in October, rather than wait for spring. This shot is sort of interesting given that the leaves are geometrically arranged  behind the flower.

And then there's my Agastache 'Grapefruit Nectar' which solves the problem of whether to bloom early or late by blooming all the friggin' time. Love its colors and of course its fruity scent.

I know that Arctotis are supposed to be the easiest thing to grow but I've had a little trouble lately. So I'm happy as a clam to have this A. 'Sunspot' doing so well.

This Luculia pinceana photo is a bit washed out, making it hard to appreciate the delicate pink-blushed white flowers. I include it mainly to say a few words about this amazing plant. It has to be the most intensely fragrant plant on earth! Really, almost overpowering. But wonderful. Native to southern Asia, it can be grown here in our milder zones. Mine began blooming a month after I brought it home, despite it still being a small specimen.

Aviation fans take note. My Crassula falcata is getting ready to bloom for the first time. Known as Propeller plant for its uniquely-shaped leaves, it's about to put on a colorful show!

Speaking of plants with odd names, say hello to Congo Cockatoo (Impatiens niamniamensis). It gets its common name from the waxy tri-colored flowers that resemble parrot beaks.It has a neat trick, producing its flowers directly off the stems, not at the tips of leafy branches as is usually the case.

Unexpected surprise of 2013 in my garden goes to this Gomphrena 'Fireworks.'  I was warned it was slow to develop which turned out not to be the case. It keeps pumping out fuchsia-colored flowers, each with a gold stamen, making for a fun addition to my central walkway.

Everyone needs a little wow in their garden and one of my main contributors is this Echinacea 'Hot Papaya.' Talk about red! And bursting with overlapping florets. It was very spindly in the beginning, almost died, but it now is getting its sea legs. As they say about real life vs fiction, if E. 'Hot Papaya' didn't exist someone would have to make it up.

Fall isn't only about flowers and nowhere is that more true than in these next two photos. Here, I've caught a milkweed (Asclepius curassavica) ready to disperse its seed. Fabulous.

Though our West coast can't rival the Northeast for fall color, we do have dogwoods. This Cornus florida is showing some great color these days and I had to catch it at its showiest.

Finally, a new addition this week. Setaria palmifolia, otherwise known as Palm grass for its lovely striated leaves. Mine is the dwarf form called 'Little Geno.' Now it just needs to survive our winter ...

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