Thursday, October 9, 2014

Just bulb baby, bulb

The title is a bad humorous reference to the Oakland Raiders' legendary owner Al Davis, whose motto was "Just win baby." And yes, it is already the season to be buying and planting bulbs. With the exception of the bulbs that need to go in the fridge for those of us in mild zones (tulips, crocus, hyacinths), pretty much everything else but daffodils can be planted now. That would include iris of various kinds (bearded, Dutch, Louisiana types), Freesia, Sparaxis, Ixia, Scilla, Anemones and the like. This group doesn't need a winter experience and fall is a great time to plant them.
Speaking of bulbs, we're on the cusp of the season for South African bulbs. Many of you know that this area has the richest concentration of bulbs found anywhere in the world. The breadth and variety is dazzling. Many of the hybridized Gladiolas have as their parentage S. African (SAF) species. South Africa is also home to Freesias, Amaryllis, Ixias, Sparaxis, Babianas, Crocosmias, Lachenalias, Moraeas and Watsonias, just to name the common ones.
Often, the first ones to pop up are the Lachenalias, known as Cowslips. I noticed that my L. tricolor has just sent up shoots.That's my cue to take the various SAF bulbs that I still have in 4" pots and move them from their summer-dry location out to the display stand and begin watering them again. SAF bulbs can be a source of winter joy, flowering as they do from early November through end of April. It's one of the few things that I look forward to about winter.
But fall it is still and there are many plants blooming in my garden. Here are a few new things that are showing off their true colors.

Although mums are a common fall plant I happen to really like this color so tucked one in a  sunny bed along a pathway. Good fall colors and so cheerful.

Fall and winter is a great time for succulents, as many of them bloom in the cooler months. Here's a little Cotyledon 'Elisae' with its simple red and green flowers. I like the nodding form and reflexed petals.

Pelargonium sidoides. This delicate geranium has brilliant, tiny magenta flowers but distinctive and attractive leaves even when not in bloom.

Speaking of Pels as they're known to lovers of this genus, here's a hybrid called 'Raspberry Twizzle.' 

Silene uniflorus. This commonly used ground cover is nonetheless very attractive, especially the variegated leaf form and sports these curious "bladder" flowers. 

There are the drought tolerant mimulus types and then the water loving ones. This red variety is one of the latter but I only give it a little at a time so I don't feel too bad. 

Silene 'Starfish.' Couldn't resist another photo of my starfish silene. I think it gets its name from the five "arms" and the markings on each of them.

Felicia amelloides. If ever a genus was aptly named it's Felicia, meaning happy or blessed. Indeed this tough little shrub puts out an almost endless supply of cheerful blue flowers and is drought tolerant too.

I thought my Datura Blackcurrant Swirl was done blooming for the year but nope, it was merely a momentary pause. On top of the fabulous color of this double datura, it features the blackest stems you'll ever see on a plant.

My Aussie native Ozothamnus 'Silver Jubilee' has put its first tiny cream-colored flowers. Not showy but it looks fab with the silvery foliage.

Here's a botanical quiz. Name a honeysuckle whose flowers offer no fragrance. Pictured above is Lonicera sempervirens, an East coast honeysuckle that indeed is not fragrant. That's okay, it offers such fabulous colors that it is easily forgiven for its olfactory shortcomings.

This be a simple Mother fern but since it's come back from the dead and they're so beautiful anyway, I thought it worth a photo. My little feline friend in the background thinks so too.

Here's a closer look at my Mosaic tile kitty. She's a beauty and she's always on the prowl.

Though I wasn't fast enough to photograph the first flower this year on my Camellia 'Winner's Circle' I couldn't resist snapping it anyway. This is a preview for what looks to be a fabulous show on this brand new variety. It's so new I couldn't find any photos of it on the web last year. It's acquiring more of the promised coral shades this year and this first flower was huge.

Here's another shot of my Porcelain berry vine, doing better than I expected it to do this year. Dig the speckles on the blue berries especially, which gives it its common name.

Though this isn't my photograph I just had to grab a photo off the web of my Parochetus africana. It's a deciduous ground cover that reappears this time of year, offering the sweetest little blue flowers.

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