Friday, April 25, 2014

Wildflower meadows

April always makes me think of the Bay Area wildflowers season. Though it is short, mainly late March through early May, and reliant on spring rains which we know can be in short supply at times, it's really the best season to be out hiking. Whether at sea level or on any number of low hills, this is the season when such natives as blue-eyed grass, lupines, checkermallow, California buttercups, Cow parsley, native columbines, gilias and baby blue eyes are to be found adding color to local grasses. Some, like the California buttercups, can clothe entire meadows, making for a spectacular show. So, find a friend and get out on your favorite trail or hilly park.
Here are a few photos taken of my garden yesterday. A word about the photos I post on this blog. I try not to repeat photos of the same species from post to post. To get an idea of what's in bloom in my nursery, umm garden, you may want to scroll back several posts (that is if you aren't a regular reader). And of course don't forget to click on the thumbnails to view photos in full screen mode. Enjoy.

It's not much of an exaggeration that you can stand in front of Iochromas and watch them grow. This I. Burgundy has the prettiest deep red flowers which, like other iochromas, appear in nodding clusters.

Sarracenia sp. This flower is just beginning to open, but already its sun-dappled lime color is a beautiful thing to behold. Not a Little Shop of Horrors but a little garden of wonders.

Clematis Belle of Woking. The double, large flowered clematis types are particularly intriguing and the lavender color of Belle offers a subtle hue. It may surprise some to know that there are ten flowering types for Clematis: Single large, double large, Montana, Viticella, saucer-shaped, star-shaped, open bell-shaped, bell-shaped, tulip-shaped and tubular. Ahh, Virgin's Bower, we thought we knew ye ...

Speaking of vines, here's the charming (and still relatively unknown) Eccremocarpus. Nicknamed Chilean Glory Flower, this vigorous vine with delicate leaves is tougher than it looks. This one here is a new variety called "Pink Lemonade." 

Sometimes it's the leaf not the flower and that might be the case with Cerinthe major. No this is not a diseased leaf. The raised, almost puckered, white spots are a natural occurrence.Though the cerinthe everyone knows has purple flowers, this Yellow Delight has a pure yellow flower.

If you looked up the word 'extravagant' in the Gardening dictionary you might well find a photo of Peony style breadseed poppies. This one is Flemish Antique and, well, someone has a good imagination to give it such a name. Mind you I don't watch Antiques Roadshow ...

One more shot of the charming Tweedia caerulea. To quote myself "Beautiful, tough, deer resistant, what's not to like?"

Though this shot isn't going to win any photography awards, it does give you an inkling of the persuasive beauty of the "it" plant this year -- Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame.'

To paraphrase that famous movie quote "Show me the monellii!" In this case, it's Anagallis monellii, a lovely annual with striking gentian-blue flowers. Blue Pimpernel? I have no idea where that common name is from.

True, this top down photo is a bit strange but I had to get as much of this Papaver Orange Chiffon's blinding orange color into the shot as possible. If I had a dollar for every time an Ace customer came in and said "What is that fabulous orange poppy you have planted out front?" well, I could probably retire.

Speaking of fabulous, it's hard not to go gaga (no not with the Lady) over the huge, nectar-rich flowers of Grevillea 'Moonlight.' It's been in bloom nonstop for four months, with more on the way.

Tidytips with variegated Plectranthus and Lilium regale shoots. A triptych worthy of a canvas.

I have my own little Phoenix collection of plants, ones that were all but dead and somehow made it back. This Penstemon 'Raven' is one of them and so to now see it blooming and happy is very satisfying. 

Louisiana iris species. Though not as striking as my Iris pseudacorus Holden Clough, this sweet little iris has gradually multiplied and blooms faithfully every year.

Though still tiny, this Rhodochiton vine has already produced its first flowers. The burgundy calyxes yield dark purple flowers.  Can't wait for it to really get going!

Nasturtiums may be common but they are nonetheless lovely. I like the soft hues of this one, offset by the bright red markings.

Rhododendron CA Blue. Another of my Phoenix plants and along with the Agapetes one of the most satisfying rescue projects. The lovely flowers explain why.

Veteran gardeners will recognize this plant as Alyogyne hakeafolia. So, yes a species mate of Alyogyne huegelii (Blue hibiscus) though it does seem like an entirely different genus until you see the flowers open.

This photo isn't mine (it's borrowed from the Annie's Annuals website) but it's such a beautiful photo of this sweet pea that has started to bloom in my garden. It's Lathyrus 'Blue Vein' and its veins look all the world like blood vessels in the human body.

One last shot of my Scabiosa, which took a couple years off before returning to full splendor this year. And what's not to like about Pincushion flowers? Floriferous, tough and pollinators love them.

Begonia sutherlandii. Subtle, especially compared to showier begonias, but that simple red veining and the charming orange flowers make it one of my favorites.

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