Friday, May 2, 2014

In the Moment

As an avid nature photographer, I like to have my camera with me to capture special moments as they happen, or simply to preserve the beauty of a flower. That desire can sometimes interfere with being in the moment, of enjoying the nature around us, city or country, free from the thought "I must get this on film." So I try to remind myself to, in the words of the 60s spiritual teacher Ram Dass, "be here now." Of course I fail but it is worth keeping in mind, if only for the pleasure such 'moments' bring. This thought was spurred by another batch of photos, shared below. One nice thing about taking photos is that it not only provides a timeless record but it captures every iota of detail. You may already know that the physical apparatus of our eyes only captures 40% of the visual data for whatever we're seeing. Our brains fill in the rest from past experiences. The camera records all 100% and without subjective interpretation.
So here are a few more treasures from my early May garden.

Pittosporum crassifolium. I love the lime green foliage and the thread-thin silver edging. This is the compact form, which stays at 4-5'. Who says a Pittosporum can't be pretty?

Cotinus 'Royal Purple.' Deeper watering has really helped my specimen, which is planted as a street tree. Not huge but it blooms prolifically every year. Not sure about the variety name; I'd go for Royal Eggplant or maybe Eggplant Ecstasy!

A new addition to my dwarf conifer bed, now re-imagined as a Japanese garden.This is a Cryptomaria 'Knaptonensis.' I love the whitish new growth.

It's a mystery while deciduous Azaleas aren't in everyone's garden. The Exbury hybrids especially showcase the richest reds, oranges, peaches and golds. This is a King Red x Orange. 

Speaking of red, this Salpiglossis sailed through the winter and is now blooming again. They earn their common name 'Painted Tongue,' especially when you see the flower up close.

Bonus points for those who recognize this flower. 5 points if you recognize it as an Ixia (Corn lily) and the other 5 if you get I. viridiflora. This picture doesn't do the flower justice and you don't really see the dark purple centers. Otherworldly.

It may look like the purple Campanula punctata flowers are emerging from the velvety foliage but the latter is Salvia elegans (Pineapple sage). Still, a nice contrast.

People often ask, when seeing Clematis niobe for the first time, "Wow, is that its real color?" Which is funny, given they're looking right at one of its flowers. But yes, that velvety burgundy is this species's true color and the yellow anthers really pop against that backdrop.

Eccremocarpus 'Pink Lemonade.' A new and cool Chilean Glory flower variety. I can't believe that the first time I grew an eccremocarpus I failed. It's extremely vigorous, though being a smaller vine it won't overwhelm. Here's a thought -- google Pink Lemonade plant and see how many plants pop up (besides Pink Lemonade lemon).

Okay, I'll admit it, I have become infatuated with my Calluna 'Firefly.' It was very red in winter but now in spring it's turned a sparkling gold. Everything is fabulous about it and I haven't even seen it bloom yet.

There's pink and then there's pink! This Agastache 'Red Fortune' is making a claim for the pinkest pink. It seems to almost ignite in the sun. Effervescent! 

I've shared closeup photos of my Marmalade bush before but this full bush shot gives you an idea of just how smothered in flowers it can often be. The branches arch down, providing an almost ground to ceiling display. Not for the faint of heart!

Mignonette odorata. Also known as Reseda, this annual comes by its species name honestly. Very sweet smelling, almost heady, and the erect flowering stems are a treat too.

Not sure who this little grasshopper-like bug is but he was very interested in my Luculia flower.

Here's a better shot of my Digiplexis. When I wrote about this, Ace sold so many gallon sizes of the plant that, along with other nurseries, we exhausted Fredricks' supply. And they had hundreds. When I first saw their available quantity I laughed and thought "They'll never sell that many." Au contraire.

For those who know their horticulture, it's the flower that provides the final determination of a plant's true identity. That said, sometimes a plant's seedpod gives away a piece of its history. Looking at this Nicandra seedpod, it's immediately apparent that it's part of the Solanum family. I love the chocolate spotting on its outside.

I almost lost this Aeonium species (some animal completely uprooted it) but I stuck it back in the ground, gave it a little water and six months later it rewarded my attentions by putting on this amazing display. I love the "exploding star" look of the flower head.

Aloe deltoidesdonta 'Sparkler.' A top down view of this cool aloe.

This is a SW facing bed, under the protection of a fir tree. There's enough sun to keep a bunch of things happy, including a bunch of Lilium regales, which are indeed regal, two other red lilies and a spotted yellow variety, not to mention the variegated plectranthus, a Campanula incurva, a bamboo and pallida iris and the lovely annual known as Tidytips.

I've posted photos of my amazing Helenium 'Mardi Gras' before (easy to do as it blooms nearly all year). Today I caught what I think is a Green Sweat bee collecting nectar. There's so much nectar on these flowers that he was there for a full 60 seconds!

Begonia 'Irene Nuss.' I can't believe that I used to think only of bedding types when I heard the word 'begonia.' As the saying goes "My eyes have seen the light." I now have ten different unique, showy ones in my garden and Irene Nuss is right up there among my favorites.

Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba.' This tall fuchsia is a secret no longer. Very fast to get established and one of the most profilic bloomers of all fuchsias, its calling card is the milky tubes, ending in flared cerise sepals.

It's no great secret that you can train nasturtiums to climb -- they are a vine after all -- and here I have one climbing a Porcelain berry vine (Ampelopsis). There's going to be bees aplenty soon.

My so-called "Shady Lane." The variegated plant with the bluish flowers is Plectranthus 'Sapphire Dream.' The little lavender flowers are Campanula muralis, a great little ground cover. In the extreme foreground is a Japanese Painted fern and shooting up the bamboo stakes is a Clematis viorna.

One last shot of my Agapetes serpens. As I've mentioned, I brought it back from the dead -- twice -- and to have it thriving now and blooming is so sweet.

This Impatiens used to go by I. congolense and now is called I. niamniamensis. I still prefer the former name, especially since one of this plant's common names is  Congo Cockatoo. Hard to find but worth the hunt for its waxy red and yellow flowers.

Philadelphus coronarius. Even given its difficulty in flowering, this variegated mock orange is so, so lovely.

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