Friday, May 9, 2014

To Plan or Not to Plan

One of the things I love about gardening is that it accommodates all manner of temperaments. One can plan out one's garden in great detail or one can just as easily take a more spontaneous approach. Given the right care, the flowers will respond just as enthusiastically and the end result will be pleasing to that gardener's eyes (and to many others I'm sure). And sometimes a garden can have both, as does a friend's garden, where the front has a well orchestrated Mediterranean look and the sloping back yard is filled with plants that have to make their own way, giving it a wild charm.
So I raise a glass to all gardens, both simple and complex, to intricately planned or left to find their own nature.
Here are more photos from the bounty of my early May garden.

Phacelia grandiflora. Not as well known as P. viscida or P. campanularia but oh so pretty.

Laurentia axillaris. Better known as 'Blue Stars,' though of course the flowers are a lovely lavender hue not blue. A tough little deciduous perennial, it produces masses of star-shaped flowers over a long period in spring and summer.

Stachys albotomentosa. A big name for a plant that everyone calls the 7-Up plant because it smells sweetly of that soft drink. That delicious fragrance is reason enough to add it to your garden but it also sports these lovely coral flowers.

Another shot of my Salpiglossis, this time of the clusters they are famous for producing. Though they act mostly as annuals this one stayed evergreen and is back to blooming.

Centaurea 'Black Sprite.' Just the craziest and deepest burgundy flower. I like to call it Black Spider because it sort of looks like a spider to me.

This shot of my Eccremocarpus 'Pink Lemonade' has, thanks to the way the wood frames it, the appearance of looking out a window! Fun.

We don't necessarily think of CA buckwheats as being showy but this Eriogonum 'Shasta Sulphur' is putting on quite the show.

I planted this Echium 'Blue Bedder' with the Agrostemma 'Ocean Pearls' to get the lovely contrast of blue, green and white. Sometimes things work out!

I never realized that the flowers on Clarkia 'Salmon Princess' resembled those of C. concinna (the shade loving Clarkia) but in fact they do (both very different than the usual cup-shaped flowers).

Forever Red daylily. Although I didn't intend it, the way the sun kind of super-saturated this photo created an interesting look.

Dorycnium hirsutum. In full bloom now and looking simply sensational. A bee magnet as well.

Sometimes you have to return to the classics. This Papaver 'Lauren's Grape' was one of the first breadseeds that Annie propagated. Here's why it remains one of the best sellers. Love that rich, well, grape color.

Here's another view of the Lauren's Grape poppy. I love the way the light creates both dark and bright fields on the same flower.

That play of light is even more evident here, on the fabulous Papaver Orange Chiffon. It's almost as if Mother Nature kept pouring orange paint into the flower, past what she did on any other orange flower, to the point of super saturation.

I previously posted a closeup of my Scyphanthus flower. Here's a photo of how it scrambles, showing how much the flowers dominate the plant.

Here's my walkway strip, which is only two feet wide. It goes to show much you can fill in a spot, here emphasizing the plot's length.

Whoa! Somebody gave this Cotinus too much of the good stuff! It's gone crazy with blooms this year.

Though not the best photo, this shot of my unfolding Scabiosa 'Fama White' gives some idea of the wow it packs.

Veronica penduncularis 'Waterperry Blue.' A lovely little ground cover that will establish nearly everywhere. Very sweet.

I held off buying a Rhodochiton vine until I saw one of our nursery specimens in a 4" pot survive the winter. When it did I went ahead and put one in a hanging basket. It's now headed upwards into a Brugmansia tree.

Though not the showiest begonia, this B. sutherlandii has charm in spades. Start with the delicate red veining on the leaves and add one of a kind orange flowers and you've got a keeper.

Though this Eastern honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) isn't fragrant, it more than makes up for that absence by having the most beautiful flowers of just about any honeysuckle.

Asarina erubescens 'Bridal Wreath.' So many asarinas, so little time. This super vigorous vine offers felty-soft leaves and for this genus, surprisingly large pure white flowers. 

No, it's not a red Silene but rather a Ruellia elegans. This part shade loving deciduous perennial is a prolific bloomer and has the reddest of red flowers.

Everyone will recognize this Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica). Mine has not encountered any of the dreaded winter powdery mildew and is now beginning to bloom. Simple but lovely.

I love photographing my variegated Ampelopsis. Here there's a bit of light and shadow play. I hope to get a better crop of Porcelain berries this year. This vine can be slow to get established but mine seems to have finally taken a liking to its location.

Canary Creeper. I grow this annual nasturtium on this lattice every year. I just like the look.

With this Plectranthus, known as Cuban Oregano, it's not so much the look as it is the smell that is the attraction. And what a fragrance. Unlike anything else.

Hebe speciosa. This is one tough hebe and now that it's gotten a toehold, it's off to the races. I have it planted under our wooden mailboxes, giving this area kind of a 'country' look.

Diascia and Mimulus cardinalis. I like the color scheme. Robin's egg blue pot; orangish diascia; green foliage and soon golden flowers on the mimulus.

Speaking of golden, here's another shot of one of my new faves, Teucrium 'Summer Sunshine.' I still can't get over that this is a teucrium, it being so pretty.

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