Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Solstice!

Whether as a gardener you believe in the "old ways" or just follow the natural rhythms, the seasons, the winter solstice is a time to celebrate. It is the season of the holly and of many festivals celebrated all over the world. For those of us who spend as much time outdoors as possible, the solstice is also the turning point, when the days now starting getting longer. Hooray!
Though our gardens are in a certain repose, some of us have planted enough diversity to be able to enjoy a "winter tale." So, here are a few photos taken on the eve of the solstice.

My latest treasure, this Aechmea 'Little Harv' isn't all that little, reaching two feet. It's the colors of the flowers, sort of an orangy-apricot, that are the real show, though the silvery leaves provide a nice bed that the spear kind of explodes from.

Speaking of orange, there's nothing quite like Ranunculus Mache Orange to celebrate that color. I know, I know. Ranunculus in December? Hey, it was there! (in the nursery)

Here's my vigorous Arctotis Sunspot along my Felicia amelloides. Blue & gold go together and they're Cal colors (Go Bears).

I keep expecting my Phylica plumosa to just keel over. It's supposed to be extremely difficult to grow but mine keeps flourishing in its pot. There's nothing quite like the downy foliage on this S. African plant.

My dwarf conifer bed, now taking on the identity of a Japanese garden, is settling in rather nicely. I'm watching to see which plants will grow more quickly than others, which is really like watching snails race each other.

I finally got my Hemizygia in the ground and it looks good next to the Echeveria species.

Speaking of winter survivors, this one flower on my Justicia has been hanging in there and bathed in sunlight, I couldn't resist capturing it on film.

Believe it or not I didn't place this spent Camellia Winner's Circle bloom in the pot. It fell off the plant and landed neatly on the rim. I took that as a sign to photograph it.

Proving that Mother Nature can sometimes be a showoff, I give you Exhibit A, my Camellia reticulata 'Frank Hauser.' If these flamboyantly ruffled blooms didn't exist, someone would have to invent them.

No one told this little blue lobelia that it's winter. So, it decided to start blooming. Which is nice, because one can never have too much blue in winter.

Holding down the front of my walkway is my Grevillea rosmarinifolia and a gold ice plant. They have somehow made themselves at home in a pretty tight space.

Though there wasn't a big turnout for this recent Pick of the Week entry, Pittosporum crassifolium is to me an exceptionally lovely plant. Love the silver backsides and the delicate silver rim to the leaves. And it's supposed to have the showiest flowers of all pittosporums.

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