Thursday, October 22, 2015

Spring preview

It seems sacrilegious to even mention the word 'spring' at this point in time -- hell, it still seems like summer on some days -- but lo and behold I've noticed a few early bulb shoots up in my garden. That would be Lachenalias and Freesias, two of the bulbs that make especially early appearances. It's also time for the earliest of the camellias to show a bit of color in their buds (even though they won't open for another 6-8 weeks). I love bulbs. The ones that are 'regulars' come back every year; they surprise with their appearances; they preview the coming attractions in spring with the winter appearance of their foliage and they provide an astonishingly varied display of form and color. And with few exceptions, they take almost no work at all. Plus, they're very efficient with water, needing very little during their dormant phase.
There are so many kinds of bulbs to choose from it's dizzying (I won't invoke such dizziness here). All of this in part is to encourage you to add to your bulb collection and to plant them now (with the exception of tulips, crocus and hyacinths, which need a month in the fridge for those of us in mild zones). I even love the planting of bulbs. It's easy and you don't have to fuss over them, heck even think about them, till they pop up above ground.
And now the photos.

It's new, it's colorful, it's in bloom! Now, where have we all heard that before?  In this case it's a new Thunbergia called 'Arizona Dark Red.' It caught my eye so brought one home. Now I just need to find a place for it. No sense in having 'a talk' with Thunbergias. They're going to go crazy and take over so I'll need to find an open spot for it.

Celosia 'Crested Orange.' 'Improbable' is the word that comes to mind when I look at this flower. Not only because the flower has a ridiculously twisty, frilly form but then add in that saturated reddish-orange color and it's something you might see on the world of Pandora in the movie Avatar.

Euphorbia peacockii. I took this shot as much to show off the new pot as the Echeveria itself. The pot is called Tall with Wide Rim and that pretty much sums it up. Love it!

Buddleja 'CranRazz.' Saved from a slow death once I put it in a larger pot, my now happier Bud is blooming away, drawing both butterflies and bees. Plus that heavenly fragrance.

Chaenomeles 'Cameo.' Here's a fun shot, showing both flower and fruit. Flowering quince, as this plant is commonly known, is an acquired pleasure. For those of us who love them, they're a great winter plant, blooming from late fall to early spring (depending on available moisture). They're very adaptable plants and can withstand long periods of dryness once established. Tough and beautiful -- right down my alley.

I planted my small Aloe striata (foreground) hoping it would survive in its new location. Well, as the Aussies say "No worries, mate." It's prospered so well that it's now overrun the little succulent in front. A nice problem to have as they say. Behind it is the winter blooming Oxalis latifolia, one of the so-called 'Shamrock' oxalis (given its 3 petaled bright green leaves).

This is a photo of ...what? you might ask. It's the tiny blue flower in the middle, the little known but infinitely charming Commelina coelestis. A true robins-egg blue and vigorous, it's a great part shade ground cover. 

Japanese garden. Here's a shot of my ever evolving dwarf conifer bed. I'll have to do a bit more excavation to make room for two new species.

Trunkless Cordylines are all the rage these days and here's a new one, C. 'Electric Flash.' It started as a recent one gallon so it's still a bit spindly but it'll soon fill out.

Plectranthus coleoides variegata. At least that's what the tag said. It looks different than a specimen I already have in another bed. We'll see. I like the larger leaves on this specimen ... and the bolder colors.

I had been searching for the 'perfect' wind chimes for at least four years and then wham we got this beauty in at Ace. It not only has the deeper, resonant tones I was after but I like the woodsy look of it.

Plectranthus zuluensis. This tall plectranthus features exquisite lavender blooms and in this case in the late fall period. 

Asarum maximum. Looks like an asarum (wild ginger) but aren't the leaves glossier? Indeed the leaves on A. maximum are shinier than on the more widely used A. caudatum. The flowers are also different on the strangely named Panda-faced Ginger. Two tone rich eggplant and cream and sort of waxy, they rate as one of Nature's weirdest flowers.

As mentioned above, here's one of my Camellias in bud. This one is C. Little Babe Variegated. It's always a cheerful sight, a promise of things to come.

Felicia amelloides. Tough, adaptable, seemingly ever blooming, Blue Daisies are one of those 'Why doesn't everyone have this in their garden? plants. 

Although not perfectly in focus, my Euphorbia mammalaria variegata is such a curious specimen I'm posting it anyway. The little pink and yellow flowers form a 'crown,' adding to the plant's delights.

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