I've been working for three days now, with one one to go, getting my garden ready for my annual Garden Soiree. As always, this exercise magically restores one's sight. That is, it finally makes appear all the work and attention you've been ignoring, sometimes to the point of not seeing it at all. Then when you make the effort to get the garden looking its best, presto didgio there's suddenly a mountain of work to be done. As a friend told me, when I mentioned I might finally put my garden on one of the spring garden tours, "Don't." She of course was referring to the said mountain of work to get the garden in public-viewing worthiness. And I'm not even trying to make mine in any way resembling perfect. "It's a working garden" I always tell people, which I humbly suggest is one of the most massively useful descriptions in the 3000 year old history of gardening (ie. I'm still working on it).
Of course when the work is done and the party's over I'll get to enjoy the garden in its once-a-year clothes. But of course I'll be so stiff at that point I'll be lucky to still be walking ...
Anyway, here are a few photos of the garden as it puts on its best face.
Clematis integrifolia. This nodding 'blue' clematis has simple purple flowers that are a true delight. I've suspended it to photograph the inside; normally the flowers are like little umbrellas.
This hanging basket contains a begonia that's part of a new series on the market. It was my one concession for the party, a bit of instant floral eye candy.
Begonia 'Mocha Mix orange.' This addition to a rectangular planter in the Shady Lane bed came already in bloom. To its right is a Staghorn fern, started from a clump broken off the mother plant.
Begonia 'Irene Nuss.' This popular cane begonia is just unfurling its leaves, giving them an especially crinkled look.
Dianella 'Baby Bliss.' The flower spikes on this dianella are interesting in themselves. Wiry branches sprout little egg-shaped pods that will open to reveal pale blue flowers. Later, blue berries will form, making this a plant with four season interest.
Quick, name 5 California native bulbs. There aren't as many as one would think but one of the prettier (and readily available) ones is Brodiaea californica. It sports purple, campanula-like flowers in late spring or early summer the goes dormant in the late summer.
Laurentia axillaris. This deciduous perennial, known as Blue Stars, offers delicate foliage and the aptly named blue (okay, purple) flowers all summer.
Clarkia 'Aurora.' One of my favorite clarkias and here's why.
One wonderful surprise this week is the sight of my Iris 'Joyce Terry' producing a new flower. Most bearded irises bloom in February or March but this one obviously took a longer nap. A three month siesta.
Succulent bowl #5. Newly created for the party, this is my first foray into using colored glass. The jury's still out as to whether it works but it IS striking.
Didn't get the light shining full on for this Salpiglossis 'Chilean Black' but wanted to share a photo of its rich burgundy color.
Mimulus 'Lemon Yellow.' A very pretty, delicate yellow Monkey flower.
From the sublime (mimulus) to the ridiculous. As in the ridiculously brightly colored Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame.' There's currantly a dozen flower spikes in bloom, though none are as large as this one.
Aquilegia 'Yellow Queen.' For some reason my columbines are late this year. In fact this is the first of the group to bloom.
I thought my red-spotted Crassula alba v. parvasepela looked cool in this blue teacup. What do you think?
The curiously named Congo Cockatoo impatiens (I. congolense or I. niamniamensis) has a cluster of flowers in bloom, their colorful waxy flowers seeming today like a gathering of tiny macaws.
heddewigii. This unusual carnation comes to us courtesy of Alejandro Hayes. It's a beaut, with the rich burgundy, ruffled flowers, edged in white. Ain't Nature grand?