Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sweet smell of success

While I was out in my garden yesterday, I noticed that my Choisya ternata is about to start a fall blooming. That reminded me that its common name, Mock Orange, applies to other plants as well. In the case of Choisyas, they're called Mexican Mock Orange due to their native location. The common name is perhaps best associated with Philadelphus species. That's most often P. coronarius but it applies to P. mexicanus and the native Philadelphus, P. lewisii as well. All produce fragrant white flowers that exude a heavenly citrus fragrance. There's a third entry here, Pittosporum tobira which, hailing from Japan, is naturally called Japanese Mock Orange. Although each of these three mock oranges feature fragrant white flowers, that's where the similarities end. Choisya has small shiny green leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers. Philadelphus mock oranges' leaves are larger and soft, lightly downy. The flowers are considerably larger. And Japanese mock orange has glossy leaves that form a dense shrub if a dwarf variety or a tree form if not. Like choisyas, they produce clusters of small white flowers. This diversity gives one lots of choices and that is furthered by both Choisya (Sundance) and Pittosprum tobira (variegata or Creme de Menth) having lovely variegated forms.
So, here's hats off to the joys of Mock Oranges and the sweet smell of success.

Choisya ternata. Here's my Mexican Mock orange in bloom this last spring. The fragrance is almost overpowering when  it's this full of flowers. Incidentally, Choisyas are great plants for attracting bees.

Fuchsia 'Firecracker.' Am including this photo mainly to talk about how sturdy many Fuchsias can be. I cut this fuchsia to the ground after some animal wrecked it and it has returned nice and vigorous. Species fuchsias are a completely different animal from the highly hybridized hanging basket types. The latter aren't usually long lived and they are more prone to the destructive Fuchsia mite. Although the flowers are smaller on the species types, they can be every bit as showy.

Speaking of showy, my Passiflora parritae x tarminiana 'Oaklandii' (whew that's a mouthful), is finally getting around to blooming. Here's visual proof of why I was anxiously waiting that event. Just an indescribably beautiful color.

Whereas the above passiflora is all about the petals, this Passiflora actinia is all about the filaments. Wow! One of the most extravagant flowers in my garden. 

Per my comment from a few weeks back about wanting to not just shoot individual flowers, here's one of my front yard. This is just to the left of our front walkway and that bed is fronted by a small collection of pots. This area gets the most southern exposure so holds sun-loving perennials. That's a Felicia in the light blue pot; a Buddleja 'Cranrazz' behind and to the left; a Mimulus 'Marigold' to the right of the Buddleja and then an Osteospermum planted in the ground behind it.

Correa 'Wyn's Wonder.' Here's a slightly better shot of my Australian fuchsia, as Correas are sometimes called. I somehow managed to kill the first one I planted 5 years ago, though its demise was hastened by some critter breaking off pieces of it.

Echeveria species. I just love the architectural quality of some succulents. Here larger outer plants surround younger pups, forming a dense almost hypnotic pattern.

Echeveria nodulosa. One of the few variegated Echeverias, this beauty is still a young guy. As you can see, it's part of a mixed succulent bowl. 

My Dicentra scandens has somehow forgotten it's no longer spring or summer and is still blooming. One of the most vigorous plants in my garden, it is very much the exception in the world of Bleeding Hearts. It is a vine not a small perennial and it's the only Dicentra I know of with yellow flowers.

Sometimes it's the leaf not the flower and here's one example of that. This Abutilon thompsonii has the most interesting of leaves. If you look closely, it doesn't have a regular variegation. When I looked at the photo, it actually reminded me of the Creston flats where I grew up. That farming district has a patchwork quilt of different crops, each with its own color, visible from an elevated distance as geometric shapes.

Sedum dasyphyllum. I love the color and form of this low growing sedum and I thought it was interesting how the silvery 'arm' of the Tillandsia tectorum to its left is snaking across the plant.

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