Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Splendor

What's that old saying? Fall would be my favorite season if it wasn't followed by winter. We are lucky in the Bay Area, getting to enjoy a lengthy fall season and especially for those of us near the coast a mild winter. Right now, in the middle of a three day heat wave, I'd gladly take some cooler weather. And rain. Somehow our gardens march on, able to survive our crazy weather.
Speaking of tough plants, this is the time of year for salvias. There are so many great ones, it's hard to keep up. I have a dozen different ones in my garden, the latest (yet to be planted) is the exquisite S. splendens 'Sao Borja.' First you have the rich burgundy colored flowers and then, surprise, this salvia likes some shade. It's native to the higher elevations of Brazil and so likes cooler temps. It's a bit frost tender so will need to be protected. It grows quickly, getting to 6' in a single season.

This little glass bird is a new addition to my garden. He's keeping a lookout in the back yard that is also my bird sanctuary. I'm curious to see if any real birds will take an interest. "No answer?" they tweet. "Ahh, you must be the strong, silent type."

Azalea 'Mangetsu.' It's just now coming into its blooming season. I bought this variety many moons ago at Moraga Garden Center and now I'm not sure anyone is selling it anymore.

One last shop of my trippy Sunrise Serenade morning glory. Talk about hot pink ...

My Begonia 'Calypso' was a late starter but it's in full bloom mode now. Calling it a showoff only encourages it.

What's that expression? "A weed is only a plant you don't want in your garden." I did indeed plant this purple form of Campanula punctata a few years back and now it's self seeded throughout the entire bed. What you don't see from this angle is the spotting inside the throat, a pattern I once described as a dusting of confectioner's sugar.

Finally a good shot of these colorful guys, a Portulaca mix. 

Here's a shot of my neighbor's Black and Brown Boar tomato plant that I've been caring for. Great color and yummy too.

Although it's still in the foliage stage, my new Protea neriifolia 'Pink Ice' is already showing the characteristic pink spines on the leaves. The flowers on most neriifolias are spectacular and Pink Ice is no exception. Can't wait.

What's more exciting -- watching paint dry or waiting for one's Puya to bloom? Hmm, let me think about it. Gimme a minute. Nope, can't say which sends more shivers down my spine. This Puya is in year eight with nary a bloom. I'm going to have to eat more health foods so I can live long enough to see it bloom.

My Tecoma x smithii keeps pumping out the gorgeous peachy-orange blooms. Fabulous.We have a specimen of the yellow-flowered Tecoma stans at the entrance to our Grand Lake Ace nursery and it's been in continuous bloom since early July.

Plectranthus coleoides. This lovely, ground cover type plectranthus has made itself happily at home under a fir tree, where not a whole lot else has prospered.

It may be just a New Guinea impatiens but this one has the loveliest rose-pink flower and it's doing a good job of bringing interest to a somewhat dark & shady bed.

Still a great many people's favorite salvia, S. patens has the richest blue flowers of just about any plant. If once upon a time, a single rare tulip in Holland was worth enough to single-handedly buy you a house (it was), then this exquisite blue flower must be worth something special.

Reason number 27 why people love Haworthias. This H. obtusa has translucent tips that sparkle in the sun. Fab green color too. Almost looks yummy enough to be a cool dessert on a hot day.

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