Our strange climate here in the Bay Area, especially near the bay, raises the question of what exactly constitutes summer. For most of the rest of the country, summer is the period with the warmest weather, the main time one is outside, be that at the beach, out in nature or even just in the back yard BBQing. Not so here. September through November is often our warmest period, while June July and August can be cool, as it mostly was again this year. This observation may be a specious one except when it comes to gardening. Though the nights are indeed cooling down, the warm days allow plants to continue to thrive. Flowering is extended, deciduous plants wait a bit longer to do so. A longer paradise if you will. I for one am not complaining, nor seemingly is my garden. I'm being more conservative with the water but have not gone whole hog and told the plants "You're on your own." I don't have that type of garden. My way of dealing with this reality is to use as little water elsewhere as I can, save my shower water and get as many things out of pots and into the ground as I can. So far so good. Then again, I've never had a lawn and I water carefully, so no liquid goes to waste.
All of that said, here's some photos of the garden taken this morning. Enjoy.
Rhipsalis 'Limey.' I love this genus, which has many interesting species. Many of them cascade, as this one is beginning to do.
Passiflora 'Lady Margaret.' This new variety is a real showstopper. Wine red petals with sort of striped filaments make this a real find.
My Halliana honeysuckle is popular with moths as well, as this visitor demonstrates. The white petal is the perfect 'backdrop' for his subtle colors.
Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' This new variety of bluebeard features chartreuse foliage and eventually wispy purple flowers.
Calluna 'Firefly.' This type of heather acquires more red color as the weather cools, though my specimen has decided to get a head start on that chameleon-like change.
Do Asclepias curavassivicas self seed? Yes, as this little guy demonstrates. And it wasted no time in flowering.
It's a little hard to tell from this photo but this is a flowering quince (Chaenomeles), in this case a C. 'Fuji.' It is one of a group of plants that produces flowers directly off its trunk or branches, as you can see here.
Echeveria pulvinata 'Red Velvet.' A new addition, this gorgeous Echeveria features dramatic red coloring to the leaves and orange flowers. C'est magnifique!
Kalanchoe 'Chocolate Soldiers.' No idea where the strange common name came from but this fuzzy kalanchoe is one of my favorite succulents.
My Begonia 'Illumination Yellow' is almost done blooming but I managed to get one last photo, here using the wood background to make the buttery yellow petals really shine.
Fuchsia 'Firecracker.' I had to cut this nearly to the ground but it has sprung back, showing even more color than before. Sometimes the garden gods smile on you.
Ampelopsis. This has been the best year yet for my Porcelain Berry vine. Many more blue and purple berries to help put on a show.
Nematanthus wettsteinii. If this name draws a huh? maybe the common name Goldfish plant will ring a bell. Normally grown as a houseplant, it can actually be happy outside for all but the coldest nights. Mine has adjusted to its location of bright shade.
I'm still not sure which bromeliad this is but its smooth speckled leaves eventually produced a many-branched spear and finally, and I mean finally, it produced simple little chartreuse flowers (seen here at the very tip of the 'branch').
Tecoma stans 'Bells of Fire.' My specimen is happy, happy, happy and in full bloom, only a month plus from me bringing it home in a gallon container.
Cassia phyllodinea. Last week I posted a photo of this new addition to my garden (and wrote about it). Here's a close up of the lovely gold flowers. Silver and gold, a wonderful combo.
Speaking of silvery foliage, here's a photo of my Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius
‘Silver Jubilee.’ It's just beginning to sprout its tiny white flowers, adding a brighter accent to the downy foliage. One of my favorite plants.
Grevillea 'Moonlight.' One of the most spectacular grevilleas around, it produces eight inch long cones of buttery yellow flowers. Long blooming and nectar rich, it's a favorite destination for bees and hummers.
Chamaecyparis pisifera juniperoides 'Aurea.' This new addition to my dwarf conifer bed is a lovely charmer. It will top out at two feet and the new spring growth is more of a golden color.
My mimulus would be one of those 'summer' plants that is convinced that summer is a long way from being over. Here it's a M. aurantiacus 'Pete' care of Susan Ashley.