Friday, March 27, 2015

A One Woman Tour

News out of this little corner of paradise is that for the very first time my garden is being photographed for an upcoming Oakland Tribune article on encouraging renters to plant gardens. I was first consulted by the writer and when she said "Can I send a photographer out to take a few pictures?" I said okay. Well, that turned into an hour visit by the photographer and a million photos taken (ahh, the luxury of digital cameras). Okay, so only a few will be used but it was fun (except for the part where she wanted me in the photo. Yikes). I keep telling myself to put my garden on one of the garden tours but it doesn't easily fit into any of the regular tours. If they had a tour for "Greatest diversity of plants in one garden" then mine would certainly qualify. Or a tour for "Small-sized Gardens" mine, which is really a collection of smaller gardens, would fit the bill. In any case, the article is due to run April 5th so keep an eye peeled.
I didn't attempt to make it a perfect looking garden, though I did weed the front bed that has lots of color now, to make it at least presentable. I was a bit jealous of the photographer's expensive cameras, which will no doubt result in some very nice photos. Hopefully, some will be posted online, assuming the story will also appear online.
Meanwhile her are a few more of my humble photos. I don't pretend to be a good photographer but I do like to photograph plants in different stages and occasionally go for an 'arty' shot. Mainly, the photos are a way to share my garden and to write a bit about each of these plants. Here they are:

Clematis 'Belle of Woking.' Possibly my favorite clematis, both for its large, double pale lavender flowers and its fat leaf 'buds' (shown here). I like photographing the bud phase of plants as there's a vital expectancy bursting forth. Also, I love the way the downy hairs on this bud glisten in the sun.

Sometimes, having only modest equipment and skill, plants with saturated color are hard to photograph well. A good example is this Sedum 'Lemon Coral,' which has yellow flowers against chartreuse foliage. The camera does its best but sort of freaks out at the same time (ack, too much yellow!) Still, it's my favorite sedum these days.

Speaking of hard to photograph, this sun-kissed Physocarpus 'Nugget' is my favorite of the many shrubs I have in my garden. And when it's in bloom, with the fuzzy, spirea-like flower clusters, it's ... well ... stunning!

Speaking of stunning, isn't this 'redwood' colored Dutch iris just a beaut? It's called 'Red Ember' and the lower falls are almost a reddish chocolate color. Never seen a Dutch iris this color. Can't wait for its brethren  to flower.

Everyone that visits my garden while this Leucospermum 'Veldfire' is in bloom always sorts of ogles it and asks "What is that?!" It IS pretty spectacular I'll admit. Before I could get it in the much larger pot it needed it rooted down through the bottom of the pot and I didn't want to risk severing that root, even though it had done so in literally an inch of soil on top of the driveway. So I finally got organized enough to construct a little raised bed around the base of this pot and the Eriogonum giganteum next to it. Hopefully they'll both be happier now. 

Speaking of Leucospermums, here's an unidentified one that I brought home from Ace. It came as a 'houseplant' and without any ID. I honestly didn't expect it to survive but it is now prospering. 

Among the many reasons to recommend Chamelauciums (this one is Purple Pride) is the fact that their flowers stay open and vital for weeks on end. This makes for an especially long blooming season for this tough Australian native. I suspect that its common name, Waxflower, owes more to each flower's durability than to it being waxy (which it isn't).

To paraphrase those milk commercials -- "Got weird?" You do if you have a Calothamnus villosus. Here's a closeup of the flowers which are, no your eyes are not deceiving you, sprouting from the branches themselves. And then the flowers are sort of odd too. That and their fire engine red color make them a real showstopper.

The garden can't be all hot colors so the more subtle tones of this Aloe striata are most welcome. Everyone knows that aloes grow slowly, except for a few like this not-fast-but-not-snail's-pace aloe. It has turned out to be surprisingly unfussy, though I'm still waiting for it to bloom. It will and the flowers are what lend this plant its common name (Coral aloe).

Leucospermum cordifolium 'Salmon Bud.'  Yep, it's Pincushion shrub season. This is a new addition to my garden and due to its small size I wasn't certain it would bloom this year. It must like its location as it's been forming new flower buds every week. Can't wait to see what their actual color is.

Dicentra scandens. I never get tired of photographing this plant. Vigorous to a fault, pretty yellow flowers dangling from slender vines and a very long bloom season. So why has it disappeared from the trade?

Arisaema thunbergii var. Urashima. I included a photo last time but here the spathe has fully opened. Notice the patterning on the tube of the spathe and then the spotting on the inside. These Jack-in-the-Pulpits mostly hail from China, Japan and the Himalayas, though there are a couple native to the U.S. They have always seemed very primal to me.

Azalea 'Mangetsu.' Simple but I like the combination of pink and white.

Speaking of 'buds,' here's a photo of my American pitcher plant (Sarracenia) putting out two new 'flower' stalks and buds. Of course they are carnivores, getting their nutrition from digested flies and tiny insects which get trapped inside the 'pitchers.'

Abutilon 'Lucky Lantern Red.' Though they are common, flowering maples are still lovely and they seem to bloom nearly year round.

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