Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Disappearing Act

I've discovered the most amazing thing in my garden today. I'm about to share it with Physics Today but will let you in on it now. I've discovered a wormhole in my garden. You know, the kind that takes you to another dimension. Okay, of course I'm kidding but in a way there's an element of truth to the joke. Our gardens allow us to 'escape' the stresses of the real world for a time. In a sense, they've 'transported' us to another world, in some small way invisible to others. So in that way it opens a portal to a hidden world of soil and spades and plants and the hum of bees and zigzag of butterflies and the whtt, whtt of zooming hummingbirds. In the best gardening sessions, the whole of the world fades and we are encased in our private paradise. Now if we could only find that wormhole when the tac collector comes to our door ...
Here are more photos from my early summer garden. Tho spring is over, there is plenty still in bloom, with perennials and shrubs taking over the show.

Dianella 'Baby Bliss.' I'm finally getting my Dianella to bloom. As you can see they produce little, star-shaped blue flowers. The real treat assuming it happens are the tiny blue berries. Supplication is underway to the gardening gods ...

Here's the Begonia hanging basket I bought for the party. It's part of the new 'Illumination' series. Not sure which one I have, as it wasn't tagged. No matter, it's a real show stopper!

The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone ... It does almost look like the Hedychium greenii in the foreground is somehow connected to the red banana behind it. Both are residents of my tropical corner and seem happier with the recent warm weather.

Look, it's the Philodendron that ate Detroit! It only seems like this huge-leaved philodendron is big enough to do such a thing. 

Here's one of the mini-beds that lines the walkway to the back apartments. The variegated bush is Abutilon thompsonii; the small gold shrub in the front is Duranta 'Gold Mound' and that's a Calamintha to its right (not yet in bloom).

If you look at the flowers on this 'cactus' very closely you can probably guess its genus. Yep, it's a Euphorbia, in this case E. trigona 'Ruby.' The way the sun highlights its colors adorning the very top, it almost looks like a halo.

Not the most elegant shot, a simple flower seeming to float in space, but I'm very fond of this Scabiosa ochroleuca. Though the flower looks very white, as the plant progresses and if it was photographed in shade you'd see its subtle butter yellow hue. 

Mimulus 'Fiesta Marigold.' Wow, is all I could say in discovering this wild new mimulus. Dark red bordered by orange? So much for subtlety. But a bright splash of color now and then is fine.

Speaking of Monkey flowers, here's Mimulus 'Curious Red.' It's taken up residence in one of my median strip beds and is making itself at home.

Major gold stars to those who can ID this plant. The key to the ID is the way the individual 'blades' are wavy at the bottom. It's a Boophone disticha. That's not pronounced boo- phone but rather boo-off-on-ee. It's a tropical (or sub-tropical) bulbous plant endemic to Africa. The genus name is from the Greek 'bous' meaning 'ox' and 'phontes' meaning 'killer of'. So that's a hint that this plant is poisonous. It is sometimes known as 'Veld fan.' If one is lucky enough to have it flower, it produces a large inflorescence of star-shaped red flowers.

Tecoma x smithii. One of my favorite plants and now that it's established, one of the most vigorous. There's nothing quite like this color and the way it forms large clusters. Surprisingly, I haven't seen the hummers around it, though it seems like something they would love.

Magnolia grandiflora. My specimen is still somewhat small, magnolias aren't terribly fast growing trees, but it's slowly getting a foothold in its median strip home. It's the smaller-sized 'Little Gem' so it won't get too huge. Unlike deciduous magnolias, this evergreen species blooms in summer.

Datura 'Blackcurrant Swirl.' I'm a big fan of daturas. All the benefits of a Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) without the huge size or the need to feed constantly. This is one of the showiest ones, a semi-double form whose flowers are purple on the outside and white on the inside. As you can see, it's loading up with flowers now.

Monardella villosa. Coyote mints are tough, adaptable plants. They can take full sun or a mix of sun and shade. Not only are the furry flowers attractive but the leaves are intensely aromatic. 

Here's a hanging basket I planted for the party then decided that it was easier seen (and appreciated) on a little plant stand. That's a Begonia boliviensis hybrid on the left and a Cuphea ignea variety on the right. 

I once had a customer come into Ace and ask for a purple hydrangea. When I showed her one, she said 'No, no, the flowers are much tinier.' It took me awhile before I figured out she was talking about this gem - Trachelium 'Hamer Pandora.' This summer flowering perennial is a magnet for bees and, well, a magnet also for gardeners who love purple.

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