Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day and Summer Solstice

Though I'm not a father, I was reflecting this morning how much parenting has changed today from what it was 50 years ago. That's a reflection of more modern times but also, hopefully, of men being more willing and keen on sharing the parenting duties. Men are much more a part of their children's lives these days and that's a good thing. Of course it's a lso a good thing that we have embraced non-nuclear models of parenting, be that gay and lesbian, single parent or multi-generational arrangements.
Next weekend is the Summer Solstice and thinking about that part of the yearly cycle is a reminder, as human beings and gardeners that we are still very much a part of Nature. We live according to her rhythms, no matter the dates on our calendars. The long days now are welcome to just about everyone and our level of activity picks up in tandem with this basic fact. For gardeners, it means we can putter in our gardens much later if we choose. Now if these long days could only last a little longer ...
Here are a few more photos from my early summer garden. It is definitely transitioning from spring to summer -- I've yanked out most of my short liven spring annuals and replaced them with summer plants -- but there are constants in the garden that lend a welcome feeling of continuity.

Neomarica caerulea.  This iris relative is sometimes called the "walking iris" due to the tendency of its tall flower stems to eventually lay flat on the ground and tip root. This photo is from a clump I broke off the mother plant and stuck in the ground. It quickly formed a nice big clump and has produced a nice crop of flowers this mid-month. One of my favorite irises!

Here's my Calceolaria 'Kentish Hero' co-mingling with a lovely variegated Philadelphus (P. cornonarius). A nice contrast, even though I couldn't get both flower and leaf in perfect focus.

Nope, not a Campanula but the lovely CA native bulb Brodiaea. In this case, B. Blue Ocean Blend. There aren't many CA native bulbs but this is one of the easiest to grow.

To Asarum or not to Asarum, that is the question. The shiny leaves are a give away that this is not A. caudatum (B.C. or wild ginger) but Asarum maximum, otherwise known as Panda-Faced ginger. That's on account of the strange waxy two-tone flowers that to some resemble pandas.

IT came from the nursery!! This Hebe speciosa is gradually taking over the mailbox, like the swamp thing. I like how it looks though.

Mimulus cardinalis 'Santa Cruz Gold.' While cardinalis varieties are thirsty little guys, they do put on quite the show! In front is an orange Diascia, which I've had trouble in the past keeping happy. This guy seems to love his location however.

Teucrium 'Summer Sunshine.' Though the flowers are small, their burgundy colors really offset the chartreuse foliage quite wonderfully.

It's hard to get a good photo of my Luculia but I keep trying. Though not an especially beautiful flower, it is one of the most intensely sweet flowers you will ever smell. Heavenly.

It's almost a cliche, a honey bee on a Gaillardia flower but I couldn't resist.

My new favorite plant -- Ozothamnus  rosmarinifolius 'Silver Jubilee.' This Aussie native's main feature is its silvery foliage, though it does produce small red flowers at the tips of each branch. I just love its look.

Here's a moth foraging for nectar on my Buddleja 'Cran Razz.' Okay all you Pink Panther fans. Give us your best Inspector Clouseau impersonation. "I just noticed this mooth' on the butterfly bush."

Love the way the sun illuminated the flower on my Monardella villosa plant. I've found a home for it in the ground so hopefully it will be happy there and go forth and prosper.

Though one Lilium regale stem is obscuring the flower on another plant, I thought the shot was interesting. Regal lilies are to die for. Well, okay not actually die for but worth the labor and encouragement when they do eventually bloom.

Sometimes a simple plant can be quite striking. This New Guinea impatiens will make a colorful addition to an otherwise sedate shady bed.

One last shot of my Neomarica. I'm not quite sure why this iris relative isn't in everyone's garden. The flowers are large and showy and you get lots of them; it's much more reliable than other irises, returning faithfully each year and its height (to ~ 3 feet) makes for a striking vertical addition to the garden.

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