Friday, December 26, 2014

Drying Out

How happy are we to see the sun here in the Bay Area? Let me count the ways. Wait, I don't have enough fingers! It's a bit of blue heaven for us sun lovers and for everyone else, we get to finally dry out. On the down side, no more kayaking down main street.
Our gardens have loved the rain, though I suspect enough is enough for the moment. And we're in for a good dry spell now so that's a bit of relief. For those of us who are not 'ducks' it's a chance to get out in our gardens and get back to work. The combo of rain and warmth has caused everything to grow way too quickly and that means trimming and weeding. I know, I know. Weeding at Christmas time is an odd concept but until the weeds go to Hawaii for the winter I'll be out there yanking them out.
Here are a few new photos, most of them taken on Christmas day. The first two shots are of a new Ladyslipper orchid and I post them to illustrate how dramatically the light conditions can affect the look of the photo. The first photo is taken indoors, the second outdoors. Partly it's the flash that brightens the indoor photo. Elementary principles to be sure.
Hope everyone had a marvelous Christmas!

Paphiopedilum 'Be Happy Dots.' I love Ladyslipper orchids for their large, dramatic flowers but also for the tremendous variety of colors and the spotted or not spotted leaves. This color combo here is one that's less common.

Edgeworthia chrysantha. It's interesting to me, the way certain plants like Edgeworthias or Pieris show their hand early, offering tightly held clusters of unopened flowers for an extended period before they finally open. I walk by my Edgeworthia every day and then one day the first little bursts of bright yellow will appear, bringing with them a heavenly fragrance.

Dianthus. Outside of roses, there may be no common plant that's been "messed around with" more than carnations. They've been cross bred to infinity (and beyond!), giving us just about every color and pattern. But, hey, who's complaining?

Luculia. Now in its third year, my Luculia pinceana has really put on a growth spurt. And it's blooming prolifically as you can see here. This is one plant that's not confused. It's naturally a late fall and winter bloomer so it's in its element. Still one of the most intensely fragrant plants I've ever encountered.

Well, after the seven year wait my Melianthus pectinatus has finally bloomed and ... well ... not exactly a big show. Red flower buds open to small rust-colored flowers. Still, just to finally see it bloom offers a good deal of satisfaction. 

My new succulent bowl. Very simple but these bowls are a great way to display one's favorite new little succulent treasures.

Daphne odora marginata. Everyone's favorite daphne (or at least the most commonly available one). This year I've noticed how pleasingly dark the leaves are. These are the first flowers. This is one of my "success" stories, having nurtured this plant along from a 4" pot size. As I tell our Ace customers about daphnes -- think sun! Mine has very much responded to getting a good amount of late morning/early afternoon sun.

Echeveria 'Pappy's Rose.' Simply put, great color!

Speaking of color here's your winter dose of chartreuse! Amazing how this Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious' retains its golden/chartreuse colors, sun or not, summer or winter. A great way to brighten an area, in this case the walkway back to my apartment.

This shot isn't mine but my Mimulus 'Jeff's Tangerine' is still in bloom -- in December going on January -- and even for a mimulus that's pretty brave. Love that color!

Lepechinia hastata. For some reason this photo stayed large. Oh well, that's sort of appropriateas my specimen is now huge, requiring me to keep pruning it back. This salvia relative offers the loveliest burgundy flowers and the bloom season is a long one!

Finally, my long absent Camellia 'Buttermint' has begun to bloom. This is a shot taken last year at about this time. It's in a new location, at the back of a shady raised bed, and I've kept an eye on it, wondering why I didn't see any flower buds. I'd forgotten that this camellia is different in that due to its flowers being substantially smaller, the buds are slender and don't show much color before suddenly bursting open.

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