For succulent lovers, there is no such thing as an uninteresting succulent and as we head into the heat of our summer/fall season, may cacti and succulents are at their best. Find a few photos in the collection below of my favorite succulents. The downturn in the economy has driven more people to growing their own vegetables -- a good thing -- while the drought has opened more people's eyes to the charms of succulents.
On another note, an unusual plant that I've been anxiously waiting to flower, Scorzonera hispanica, did finally produce its first yellow, dandelion-like flower yesterday. Why the big deal? It's the scent. It has the most intense chocolate smell of any flower I've come across. Amazing. It seems to be a tough plant too so it all seems good.
Here are more photos from my almost-September garden. Lots of photos of succulents, including a couple of the always interesting Propeller plant in bloom.
Begonia 'Angelwings.' This spotted begonia has been doing well in its container, getting morning sun. I learned not to cut it back completely, as that slowed its re-sprouting last year.
Here's another shot of my intense fuchsia-colored Ipomoea 'Sunrise Serenade.' Hard to believe this is a morning glory at first glance. Photographed against the lush foliage of Asarina erubescens.
Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue' -- the old and the new. I thought this made an interesting contrast -- the clean blues of the new flower alongside an aging, spotted one.
Hedychium gardnerianum. This is the spike that first appears, from which the yellow flowers will soon unfurl. It sports an interesting architectural look at this stage.
Two shots of my Crassula falcata, better known to some as the Propeller plant. Those are the blue "blades" in back of the flowers.
Another shot, this time of the whole plant, of my weird little Portulaca 'Fairytales Cinderella.' Fab flowers.Oh, the tales they could tell ...
Keeping with the succulents theme of this post, here's my Crassula alba var. parvisepala. One of its attractive features is the red spotting on the leaves.
My mostly succulents table. It's sort of a holding area before they find homes in the ground or in another mixed succulent bowl.
Look up "white" in the Gardener's Dictionary and you may see a picture of Mandevilla laxa. It really is blindingly white, though of course its main calling card is the heavenly fragrance.
Though this Lampranthus 'Fire Spinner' flower is pretty, and I would include it anyway, it represents a kind of triumph. I've been waiting for this Ice plant to bloom for two years and it's just now yielding its first flowers.
I'm crazy mad about my new Pavonia missionum and, well, here's visual proof why. Love that color!
Back to succulents for a second, here's my Aloe striata, better known as Coral aloe. I love the opposing leaves and the red rims. Its common name owes to the color of its flowers.
My amazing Grevillea Moonlight just keeps on blooming. There's nothing quite like the flowers on this variety, being both large (8-10" long) and sporting that otherworldly color.
Potentilla 'Melton Fire.' Tough, beautiful and long blooming. Next ...
Staghorn fern. It seems to like its move to the crevice of a fir tree, which seems fitting for an epiphyte.
People are usually puzzled at first in seeing a flower that seems vaguely familiar. It's a Passion flower vine called Passiflora citrina and it's a bit of a mystery to me why it's not more widely available.
One of my favorite plants of 2013: Gomphrena 'Fireworks.' It's supposed to be an annual but it's back and already beginning to bloom again.
Sphaeralcea munroana. One of my favorite plants, this prostrate globe mallow has THE prettiest rose-colored flowers.And its spilling over a low rock wall right next to the sidewalk, so passersby get to enjoy its charms.
Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' More than a 'hint' actually, this showy variety showcases rich golden textured leaves and then at the leaf axils soft lavender flowers. So lovely.