Thursday, October 30, 2014

We should be so tough

A reflection this morning that our gardens soldier on, no matter the weather, no matter the rain, somehow getting a toehold and flourishing when conditions are good and toughing it out when they're not. We should all be so resilient. That said, we all live in a world dominated by insects. We have a relationship with them, whether we're conscious of it or not. There are beneficial insects, such as spiders, that it would behoove us to cultivate. And we may view birds as simply pretty and interesting feathered friends but birds are also essential components of our ecosystem. They eat an astonishing volume of insects. Without them we'd soon be overrun by the insect hordes. There are many other beneficial insect predators, all part of what is known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). There are certainly occasions to use a safe spray such as Spinosad to stop thrips or Citrus leaf miner in their tracks but there are a host of beneficial insects and birds to handle the bulk of any needed insect control.
Here are a few (hopefully) un-scary photos of my garden, taken on All Hallows Eve. Hopefully the day/week/month will bring you more treats than tricks!

Christmas cactus. This is an unusual color and I snapped it up at our garden center the moment I saw it. A faithful bloomer and year round outside resident, it blooms at the first hint of cooler nights. 

Hebe evansii. A late blooming hebe known as much for its purple new foliage as for its flowers, it nonetheless offers rich burgundy blooms.

Senecio crassissimus. Say that real fast ten times! I love its purple-tinted stems and the milky blue 'paddles.' 

Who am I? If you said a 'Silver dyckia' you'd get a gold star and if you replied Dyckia marnier-lapostollei then sorry, you've exposed yourself as an uber plant geek. Not quite as deadly (thorny) as other dyckias, it's still got some very sharp spines. Love that color!

I've been trying to get a decent shot of my Evolvulus and I finally succeeded. This photo ain't going to win any photography contests but I just wanted to share that lovely blue color.

I've lost the tag to this Penstemon but I love its color. Sort of a raspberry tone and then the throat markings. 

I thought the contrast of the Mimulus 'Jeff's Tangerine' flowers with the foliage of Dorycnium hirsutus was particularly pleasing. This Canary Island clover as its known has been a smashing success this year.

Though this Verbascum nigrum flower spike isn't as full and large as earlier ones it's such an industrious plant that it keeps blooming. As you can see, it's in a pot in front of the Dorycnium.

Self-seeded plants that pop up unannounced are always such a pleasure. Here's the variegated form of Nicandra that suddenly sprouted two new plants. The common name -- Shoo-fly plant -- owes to its Solanum heritage. People in the Southern states reputedly put the sap of this plant into some milk and it killed flies that were drawn to it. Gives you pause when you have a tomato in your hand (it being another Solanum family member) ...

I was after a sort of dreamy effect with this photo of a Magnolia stellata flower. Not sure why it's blooming before November but there you have it. The plant hasn't even dropped its 2014 foliage.

The red-leaved succulent here is Kalanchoe sexangularis. For some reason that reminds me of one of my all time favorite films -- Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. It's a Dorothy Parker biopic and at one point, when she and the other famous Algonquin Table members were out for lunch there and a new guy was seated at the table Ms. Parker is reputed to have said coyly "Oh, dear, is the conversation in danger of turning to ... sex." Although of course, here "sex-angularis" has a different meaning. Or does it?!

Speaking of a different lighting effect, I was after a soft focus, no direct sun shot here of my favorite Grevillea, G. Moonlight. Just a fabulous, fabulous flower and my specimen blooms nearly year round now. Flowers can reach a length of 10-12."

Not sure which bee this is that's gathering nectar off my Swainsona but this Australian native is a popular destination for bees of all kinds.For those of you with a white garden, this long blooming evergreen shrub is a great addition.

Isn't Salpiglossis a spring blooming annual you say. Why yes. Except when it isn't, like with my year two specimen. It's such a show-off!

Iochroma coccinea. It's back blooming now, though the foliage isn't as full as it should be. I give it very little water as it's tucked away where it's hard to drag the hose to. Now if it would only rain ...

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