Friday, May 29, 2015

Who's Your Monkey?

Today I'd like to pay homage to one of the most beautiful and hardy California native plants -- Mimulus aurantiacus, better known as Sticky Monkey flower. This tough local bush, which can easily be spotted when hiking around Northern California, now is available at nurseries in a variety of colors, thanks to enthusiastic propagators. The straight species is a apricot color but that's just one's entry point. Other varieties include Garnet (Blood red), Pamela (yellow with white edge), Creamsicle(pale cream color), Ethan (red), Jeff's Tangerine (soft orange), Lemon Yellow (yes, lemon), Curious Monkey Orange (saturated orange) and Curious Monkey Red (brighter red). Just to name a few. When customers at our nursery ask for a colorful native, Mimulus is one of the first plants I think of. They love warm, dry conditions and 'play well' with other drought tolerant plants.
And now a few photos from my late May garden.

Heliotropium 'Alba.' As I mentioned before, for some reason the white version of the Heliotrope plant is much more fragrant and longer lasting than the purple. Two fun facts about the purple plant -- it is also known as 'bloodstone' and there is a color in the paint wheel called Heliotrope purple.'

Calceolaria calynopsis. Here's another shot of my fab new Pocketbooks shrub. Ladies and gentlemen - the color red.

Eccremocarpus Tresco Gold. Hard to pronounce but easy to grow. Popular with hummingbirds and a great vine to choose when you don't want it to go wild and cover everything next to it.

Another shot of my royal blue lupine (Lupinus pilosus). There's very little that offers this kind of saturated blue color, outside of certain Phacelias and Salvia patens. Speaking of the latter, did the person coming up with that name remember to 'patent' it?

Agastache 'Orange Nectar.' So many Hummingbird mints, so little time ...

Although I didn't get this shot of dwarf Ageratums perfectly in focus I thought I'd post it as they look like a collection of sea corals on the ocean bed. 

Adenanthos sericeus. My wooly bush is now, well, so tall I'd need a ladder to measure it accurately. I'm guessing 12.' That's a lot of wooly to go around but fortunately it's solved the crowding problem in my Australian natives bed by being taller than everything else there (although my Melaleuca has outgrown its stated dimensions as well). Happy campers all.

Tecoma x smithii. Just the most glorious flowers out there and something that luuuuvs the sun. It's in a median strip, meaning sometimes a car is parked in front of it, obscuring its view. It's not invasive like its 'cousin,' Tecomaria capensis.

Echeverias are one of the easiest succulents to grow and one of the easiest to get to bloom. Here's a new flowering stem on one of the ones in a mixed succulent bowl. I love the Darwinian physics of the bloom spike, how it shoots straight up to a certain height, then suddenly decides to cascade.

Speaking of the color red, here's one of the distinctive breadseed poppy flowers, this one a Raspberry. Incidentally, the word 'rasp' in the fruit name dates back to either the 15th or 17th century and depending on its origin means either 'rough' or thicket.'

Arisaema speciosum var. magnificum. Here's the newly opened spathe on one of my Jack-in-the-Pulpits. This photo doesn't do it justice, doesn't show off the wonderful burgundy colors. That little 'squiggle' in the center is the 'whipcord' part of the spathe.

Philadelphus coronarius. This slow to flower philadelphus is grown for its delightful cream and soft green variegated foliage. That's enough to earn it a place in my garden.

Amorphophallus konjac. Late 'arising' this year, this aroid, whose 'cousin' is the gigantic A. titanum -- said to possess the world's largest (and one of the foulest-smelling) flowers -- will sprout leaves quickly and possess a full head of foliage in no time. I'm still waiting for it to bloom but the leaves have a charmingly tropical appearance.

Clarkia 'Aurora.' One of my favorite clarkias, mostly for its sublime peach sorbet color. It does kind of glisten in the sun so who knows, maybe that accounts for its variety name.

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