Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shimmering Silver

Color is an important element in any garden, be that flower or foliage. One of the 'colors' that can occasionally be overlooked is Silver. The curious thing about plants that feature silver tones is that despite the color generally being considered a 'cool' color, when it is placed with plants where the dominant foliage colors are green and blue, silver becomes a shimmering standout. Case in point, a new and unusual Cassia that I've just added to my garden. Other than the recognizable gold, cup-shaped flowers, one wouldn't pick this phyllodinea species as being a Cassia at all. It is a 6' shrub not a 10-12' tree and its leaves are a shimmering silver not a verdant green as with the most popular Cassia (or Senna as it's now often classified), C. corymbosa.
And it doesn't get any more lovely a silver than this tough, drought tolerant shrub (see photo below). It's sheer mass makes it an immediate standout in any mixed planting. Or it can be used as a focal point in a colorful container, which is how I plan to feature mine. Sometimes all that glitters is not gold -- it's silver!
And now the photos!

Cassia phyllodinea. Put to the side everything you know about the popular Cassia trees. This dense, silver-leaved shrub will get to six feet high and wide. It's drought tolerant and of course has those brilliant gold flowers. A standout!

Bat-faced Cupheas are all the rage these days and why not? They're tough plants that put out an endless parade of colorful flowers from July to at least October. Instant color to a sunny bed.

Echeveria species. I love the way the sun picks up the subtle pink shades on the inner new leaves. For you succulent neophytes, Echeverias are one of the easiest succulents to grow. And one of the ones that most readily blooms.

A top down shot of my Glaucium flavum (Horned poppy). Still waiting on the flowers but the foliage is pretty in the meantime.

Haitian oil drum sculpture. Many of you have, or have seen, these lovely metal sculptures made from recycled oil drums. And the profits go entirely to the artists who produce the work.

Name that trunk! It belongs to my large-leaved Philodendron in the back yard. The 'patches' you see are where I removed lower branches, mostly because those leaves had gotten so huge you couldn't get by the plant! It does however make for an interesting photo n'est-ce pas?

Silene uniflorus. This hardy little ground cover is also a great choice for spilling out of a pot, as it does here.

Okay, today's groaner joke is -- "What do you call a pen with multiple personalities?" A Schizo-stylis of course. That word play aside, this is one of my favorite bulbs. Love that color and it's easy to grow.

Justicia fulvicoma. This hard to find Plume Flower plant has joyful, tropical colors and is surprisingly easy to grow (at least in the milder zones of the Bay Area). One of my faves!

Speaking of color, here's the first flower on my still maturing Protea 'Pink Ice.' It hasn't fully opened yet but is already showcasing that lovely salmon pink color.

Today's photos are displaying lots of color - a bit of a coincidence - and none are brighter than this Celosia 'Cramer's Burgundy.' This is one of the tall species from Annie's Annuals and is at the very beginning of its bloom season.

The plant of 2014 (in my mind anyway), Tecomas offer a variety of orange, apricot and gold colors. This T. stans 'Bells of Fire' showcases more of the orangy-red spectrum. This is a dwarf variety, meaning it will only get 4-5' tall.

Mimulus = summer, no? No! My various Mimulus aurantiacus varieties typically bloom well into the fall. That could be due to the warm weather stretching so late in the year.

Begonia rex 'Escargot.' The name is self-explanatory and this is one begonia where the leaf trumps the flower. My favorite Rex (sorry, dinosaurs and Marc Bolan).

Euphorbia trigona 'Ruby.' So many Euphorbias, so little time. You might even say, so many succulent Euphorbias ... This little cutie makes Prickly Pear like branches, kind of a desert cactus on a miniature scale.

Under the 'Nature is funky' heading, here's the flower on my Haemanthus albiflos. The genus is known as Blood lily, though that isn't apparent from this white-flowering species. This plant is sometimes called the Shaving Brush plant because of the flower.

Aloe striata. File under 'some plants just speak to you,' this lovely Aloe is one of my favorites (and that's saying something as I have 500+ species/varieties in my garden).

SB5. That's my code for Succulent Bowl #5 (the most recent). It's turned out pretty well and is placed to greet both passersby and folks coming up our main walkway.

Though it may not look like it at first glance, these vertical 'climbing' branches are part of a Pelargonium (geranium). In this case, it's a Pelargonium crispum 'Variegated Golden Lemon.' A closer look will reveal intricately twisted leaves and a gentle rub of the fingers will reward the olfactory senses with a heady lemon scent.

Kalanchoe 'Flapjacks.' Enough said.

Though tuberous begonias are common, that doesn't take away from their beauty. This yellow variety helps to brighten a shady area.

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