Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spoils of Summer

I keep a garden journal and update it every week, as I stroll through the garden. I only record what is new, usually some plant budding up or beginning to flower. That list has been a bit shorter in recent weeks and yet I had to remind myself that there's still plenty in bloom in the garden, that in fact summer is, for those of us with mostly perennials in our garden, the most bountiful time of the year. Mid spring plants are still in bloom (some at least), summer perennials have begun blooming and even fall plants are moving toward the near point of flowering. And hopefully we've kept up with the weeding and trimming, meaning July and August can be a period of enjoying the fruits of our labors. The long days are now in slow decline so it is indeed time to enjoy our gardens to the fullest.
I'll be back next week with more Name Game entries but thought I'd give readers eyes a break. Apropos my comments above, there are plenty of photos to share.

Although this isn't the most artistic shot of my Clematis integrifolia, I wanted a closeup to show the purple ribbing against the blue backdrop of the flower. The flowers are simple, certainly not the showiest clematis out there but I enjoy that very simplicity plus the true blue color.

I've somehow lost the tag for this fern so am not sure what it is. Plant lovers that have been to my garden are also stumped. Anyone have a guess? 

This tuberous begonia certainly isn't shy, showing more orange in the sun and more red in the shade.

This little known bulb, Roscoea purpurea, came to me via the U.C. Botanical Garden and though the flowers are simple, they offer a lovely shade of lavender. 

To paraphrase the rock group The Who, "meet the new Portulaca, NOT the same as the old Portulaca." This is one of the new bicolor types, this one P. 'Fairytales Cinderella.' 

If this flower looks a bit familiar but you can't quite put your finger on it, putting your finger on it would help. The flower has a papery feel and its common name is Pink Paper Daisy. It's Rhodanthe manglesii and it is closely related to, some say synonymous with, Helipterum.

Here's a bit better shot of my Evolvulus hybrid. Such a charmer and it's in the 'Blue Circle,' with Heavenly Blue morning glory and Salvia patens.

Though the metal railing is casting a shadow over my new Verbena Lanai Purple Mosaic, I decided to include the photo anyway. Such a petite charmer!

Got red? You have it in spades with this Mimulus hybrid (M. Curious Monkey Red). Color in nature fascinates me. Think of the intricate genetic coding that causes one color or another, specific to that plant. Want an example? Rose growers have for hundreds of years tried to come up with a true blue rose. They tried using genetic material from plants like Delphiniums and many others, all to no avail. 

Not sure who our little guy is here but he's loving the nectar from this Eriogonum giganteum. All California Buckwheats are nutritious and are favorite destinations for a variety of insects and pollinators.

Asclepias tuberosa. Everyone is familiar with the Mexican milkweed (Asclepias curassivica) and some with the most popular native species (speciosa and fascicularis). This orange flowering species is the East coast milkweed and every bit as showy as the Mexican species.

Got red, part deux. I'm always amazed in staring closely at my Bouvardia ternifolia just how saturated the red color is. Crimson red. This guy blooms 6-8 months of the year and that as many of you know is a VERY long time for any perennial. I have it out front so passersby can get a good look.

This Echeveria species has really made itself at home once I got it in the ground. Contrary to popular opinion, if succulents have good draining soil, most will be grateful for a little regular water.  This one certainly has found its happy place.

I thought this Penstemon species had finished its spring blooming when all of a sudden it put out a new bloom spike. Instead of rising up, it ducked down and then curved back up! No matter; it's a most welcome sight no matter its shape.

It may seem like I have a thing for red flowers (with all the red flower photos here) but it's a coincidence. Still, there is a story behind this exquisite 'Night Flyer' lily. I brought it home three years ago and nothing happened. Two years ago it sent up two weak shoots but nothing happened. Ditto last year. I was about to dig it out when voila this year one stem matured and I'm about to be rewarded with four royal red flowers. Patience, grasshopper, patience.

Thalictrum rochebrunianum. Whew, that's quite the species name mouthful but fortunately no need to pronounce it to enjoy the gorgeous lavender flowers. This is one marvelous Meadowrue!

Asarina scandens 'Joan Lorraine.' Everyone's favorite Asarina and this photo demonstrates why. Love that color and the delicate foliage. It's just beginning to flower so I have the main show to look forward to.

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