Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Summer Cornucopia

After all the hard work of the spring, it's time to sit back and appreciate the fruits of all those labors. Working in the garden is very satisfying but it's easy to just keep plugging away and not take the time to savor.
A word about watering. This may be politically incorrect in this time of drought but giving your plants regular water makes a huge difference in how happy they are. That's also true when it comes to dry garden plants like Aloes, Agaves and palms. They can survive dry periods but they will look their best with a little deep watering once in awhile. You can also extend the life of your annuals with a bit of regular water. I try to find that happy middle ground by mulching nearly every bed, by hand watering or by using a fast trickle for trees, to make sure as little of the water as possible evaporates before getting to the roots. Abandon sprinklers all ye faithful!
Speaking of bounty, here are more photos from my garden.

For all you Arum fans, here's my Amorphophallus kiusianus beginning to open its sheaf of leaves. Arums are a most peculiar group of plants but those of us who like them, they are indeed beautiful and unique.

This Ampelopsis, which I'm training on my morning sun back yard fence, is one of my "Phoenix" plants. That is, they were once in danger of dying but have recovered and are prospering. They can be the sweetest "victories."

Red banana. I love shooting my red banana, especially the translucent qualities of its leaves. 

Elegia capensis. One of the more popular members of the Restios family, this rush looking Elegia will get taller and bushier. I couldn't for the life of me figure out where to put it so it sat in its gallon container, somehow surviving there for a whole year! It'll be much happier now.

Nicotiana Crimson Bedder and Rhodochiton. The nicotiana has gone crazy in its second year, taking over the spot it's in. Meanwhile the rhodochiton in the hanging basket is off and running.

It's not the ideal shot but my Thalictrum rochebrunianum is so pretty I wanted to include it. The most delicate of the Meadow rues, it seems to have a nobility about it.

War of the pollinator plants!!! Each of the three colorful plants here are valued destination points for pollinators. Hummingbirds and bees love the Agastache Tango on the left; bees, birds and butterflies are very fond of Eriogonum grande rubescens in the middle and bees and butterflies love the large heads of tiny purple flowers that the long blooming Trachelium caeruleum puts out. Along with the equally popular Helenium, I call this long slender bed Pollinator Alley.

This sunny bed is a favorite spot for a mix of annual and perennial color. 

Sometimes it's the unfurling of a flower that is the most captivating moment. Here an Arctotis 'Sunspot' is caught in the midst of opening, showing off a more intense color in its petals.

My Digiplexis threw up a towering spike which would have kept flowering for at least another month but since it was already producing smaller branches I pruned it off. Already I have seven new flowering branches. A force of nature.

Two Primadonnas. That would be the Orange Chiffon poppy on the left and the unopened Datura Blackcurrant Swirl on the right. I knew there'd be "trouble" planting those two divas together!

Salvia sclarea. This little known salvia has low-growing, rough textured foliage and long sprays of purple and white flowers. Tough and it self seeds.

The newest addition to my little Japanese Garden bed, this Cryptomeria 'Knaptonensis' has the most exquisite white foliage overlaying the bright green inner growth. It's a dwarf specimen, as are all the other conifers in this bed.

It's hard not to fall head over heels in love with Lilium regale. The flowers are huge, a sparkling white with yellow throats and they're fragrant! Case closed.

Speaking of falling in love, a yellow tiger lily? Yep. This Lilium citronelle is a member of the Tiger lily group. Love it!

I thought it might be interesting to take a photo of the "inside" of a Cotinus flower "head." Here you see the fine hairs lining the little pathways, with the dark dots being the actual seed capsules.

Look up red in the Gardener's dictionary and they may well be a photo of Mandevilla 'Giant Crimson.' It's such a saturated red that the camera has a bit of difficulty capturing it. 

Though this isn't the best picture of my Sphaeralcea incana, this Globe mallow has such pretty orange flowers that I simply couldn't resist.

If this flower looks familiar but you can't quite put your finger on it it's because you don't often see the white-flowering form of Catananche caerulea. Delicate and subtle but very cool.

Speaking of similar but different, this is a Salpiglossis 'Wild Grape.' It being a species salpiglossis explains the smaller and less showy flower. It will likely be more vigorous than its highly hybridized cousins.

No mystery what this is but honeysuckle still has a very pretty flower, its heavenly scent notwithstanding.

The flowers here almost look good enough to eat! They're Iochroma burgundy and the way they catch the sunlight really brings out the color.

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