Friday, March 20, 2015

Cleared for takeoff

As they say in the sports world -- "I'm calling it." Spring, that is. We're pushing on to April and there's no way the milder parts of the Bay Area are going to see 30 something degrees again. And the garden confirms that. Everything is coming up ... well, okay, not roses in my garden but everything else.
No verbal pearls of wisdom today, just the thought that I love every stage of gardening: the shopping for plants; the soil prep;  the planting; the tending and of course the fruits of one's labors. I also love the relationship as a whole, both with individual perennials as they evolve year to year and the garden as a whole. There aren't many things in our lives that bring pleasure from beginning to end.
And now the photos.

I always recommend Kalanchoes to those customers who want an easy, floriferous succulent. They're easy and beautiful, inside or out, very tolerant of different light conditions, not prone to disease.

I may have mentioned that I love Arisaemas. I have five and this A. thunbergii var. Urashima is always the first to shoot up. It produces its spathe seemingly overnight and though in this photo it has yet to open, you already see the 'whip' at the top.

Here's a shot of my 'Sun' bed, featuring the exuberant Mimulus 'Jeff's Tangerine,' as well as the 'sea' of Dorycnium underneath it. There's a Voltage Yellow osteospermum in there plus some colorful Ranunculus.

There's just no stopping my Marmalade bush and this shot was taken after I'd pruned it back! I think maybe you could hide a few small countries in there. Simply put, the happiest plant in my garden.

Campanula 'Blue Waterfall.' This hardy little evergreen campanula is a real joy. It's spilling out of a low pot that houses my Justicia brandegeeana. 

I had a wonderful surprise when I walked out in the garden yesterday. My once thought to be dead Dietes bicolor, which finally regrew last year after being mistakenly weed-whacked by a neighbor's gardener, had produced a new flower! I know it's a simple flower but I love the color and the delicate spotting. 

Clerodendrum ugandense. I love blue flowers so there's no secret why I love this climbing shrub. You'll need the room though, as it can easily reach 10' or more. 

Halimiocistus 'Merrist Wood Cream.' Here's another shot of one of my favorite low growing, spreading shrubs. Perfect for a rock garden and it's tough as nails. 

Here's more of a closeup of the Sun bed, with the osteo more in evidence. That ferny plant in front is Nigella 'African Bride.' If Nigella sounds familiar, it's because the common one is known as Love-in-a-Mist, a staple in Wildflower mixes and something that self seeds prolifically. This 'Bride' is a white not blue flowering variety. Very beautiful!

Some flowers look as much painted as grown and that's certainly true for this Phacelia viscida. The inner nectary has a delicate  patterning that adds to the charm of the inky blue petals. It's a CA native too.

Speaking of Phacelias, here's P. campanularia. This low, cascading CA native not only offers exceptionally vivid blue flowers but has a dark dusting on its leaves. Quite possibly the most popular CA bluebell.

Babiana villosa. I don't have a good photo of my plant so I'm borrowing this fabulous shot from Annie's Annuals. Most people associate babianas with the color purple or a reddish-purple but this one has a vivid cherry-red flower. Fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous, how about this passion flower? It's Passiflora parritae x tarminiana 'Oaklandia' and it was a stubborn customer. It's finally bloomed in year three and I'm thrilled. This photo is also from Annie's, as my first flowers are too high up to get a good closeup of. No corona but the color is fab! 

Finally here's a closeup of my Ribes sanguineum 'Claremont.' I love everything about flowering currants -- their lush foliage, the way they shoot up in a heartbeat, the fact they flower in late winter, the spicy aroma, the fact that my hummingbirds love the flowers. And did I mention they're tough and disease resistant?

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