Friday, October 17, 2014

Wet and Dry

People who study California's climate don't talk in terms of spring, summer, fall and winter. More accurately they quantify our climate as having a wet season and a dry season. Normally for us the wet season starts in late November or early December and continues through to April. That's followed by the dry season that rarely gives us more than a smattering of precipitation. Our predictably dry summers makes it even more imperative to have rain (and snow) in the winter and early springs months. Gardeners are understandably concerned and are going strong for drought tolerant perennials and succulents. Add bulbs to that list, especially spring blooming bulbs which are stimulated by spring rains and then can survive the summer dry spell by going dormant.
Here are a few more photos from my fall garden.

Looking at this broad-leaved succulent always makes me mysteriously hungry. Oh, yeah, it's a Kalanchoe 'Flapjacks.' Pass the butter and maple syrup.

Speaking of curious succulents I'm not sure what this little guy is but it's bloomed for the first time and the flowers sure are cute. I'm thinking it's a Euphorbia of some kind, given the red-centered chartreuse flowers.

What do you see here? "Umm, a bunch of green leaves" you might answer. It's my Edgeworthia chrysantha, otherwise known as a Paperbush because the Chinese used to use the peeling bark as a kind of parchment. It will soon shed its leaves and then the hard, tightly held little flower clusters will come into view.

A simple shot of one of my favorite Dianthus (love the color) but something happened in the shooting and I wound up with a murky background. Sort of neat though.

Although this Cupressus variety doesn't have Icicles in its title (it's a Blue Pyramid) I still think the silvery foliage resembles a network of icicles. Now I need to find a spot for it in my Japanese garden ...

Can you guess what this is? Sometimes a closeup photo can hide its subject's identity. It's a stock. People plant them for their peppery fragrance but Iwhat made me take this guy home was its color. 

Kudos to those who can ID this golden shrub. It's the little known Duranta 'Gold Mound.' My specimen's one purpose in life is to drive me crazy. It goes deciduous but doesn't reappear until July. Then it does nothing much until September. Finally it makes a little growth spurt but by that time it's too late and having only gotten to a foot wide and six inches high it goes deciduous again. Then it repeats.

I couldn't resist another photo of my Deppea splendens. Although it's surprisingly resilient, it just seems like one of those tropical plants that you have to fuss over and pray to the plant gods that it will somehow survive the winter. Nope. It's ticking along quite nicely thank you very much.

Here's another photo of a newly emerged Camellia 'Winner's Circle' flower. As I mentioned, this Nuccio's variety is so new that not even Nuccio's has a photo of it posted. When I googled it, the two photos I'd taken of it were the only ones on the web. So, here's a third.

My winter shrubs ain't waiting for the invitation to arrive; they're crashing the party now. That includes my Rhododendron 'Sappho.' Here's its first bud. I've discovered that it may be a repeat bloomer and if so that might explain a few fall flowers. 

For a little change of pace, thought I'd share a photo of my back yard bench. I bought it for its lovely tree design.

This begonia looks an awful lot like a B. Irene Nuss but my friend Ann, who gifted it to me, and I think it's something different. Very similar though, down to the handsome scalloped leaves and large sprays of pink flowers.

Pteris cretica albo-lineata and Fuchsia 'Rose Quartet.' One of my favorite ferns beside one of my favorite smaller fuchsias. They have found their 'happy place' at the foot of my stairs.

Here's another plant ID that may stump some, especially without the benefit of the flowers. It's an Oxalis, labelled as O. carnosa but I'm thinking it's something else. One of its distinctive features is that makes these six inch globes of petals, from which sprout yellow flowers in the late fall.

Alyogyne hakeafolia. This is the so-called Yellow alyogyne and is related to hibiscus, which you can see from the flower. That red 'spiral' is a red limn at the base of each of the five petals. And this species has a pronounced stamen and nectary, making it one of the more beautiful members of the Malvaceae family.

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