Sunday, March 27, 2016

March showers bring April flowers

On an unexpected day off, I was able to spend some time in the garden and even though I wandered through, camera in hand, last Wednesday, the nature of Spring is such that a lot can develop in a mere four days. I couldn't resist taking more photos today. I imagined myself as a child looking for -- well, not Easter eggs -- but the delightful adult version, new things in bloom! So here are a number of my 'tasty garden treats.'

If this looks like a Glechoma, it is. The variegated form. And who knew Glechoma knew how to flower and that the flowers were so pretty. We frequently recommend this plant at our nursery as a shade ground cover or to spill out of a container, something that blends in with other plants around it. Here, this variegated form  proves that it deserves a spotlight of its own.

Thrips have been such a pervasive problem for Rhodies, Azaleas and Viburnums that I now hesitate to add new ones to my garden. This R. 'California Blue' is from Sonoma Hort and after battling, yep, thrips, it's made a comeback and is finally healthy again. Love the flowers!

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea) is to me one of the few 'perfect' plants. It's vigorous (almost to a fault), flowers profusely, is disease and bug resistant and in our mild Oakland climate is only deciduous for weeks at a time. The leaves are lovely and acquire a red blush in the late fall; the flower clusters are large and lovely; heck, even the seedpods are interesting.

This is your Japanese maple ... on drugs. Just kidding but wow, this mature tree leafed out completely in about two weeks and now is just incredibly lush. So many Japanese maples, so little room ...

Viola walteri 'Silver Gem.' This hard to find viola has the loveliest leaves, proving once again that even species violas can be wonderfully varied.

Asarina scandens 'Joan Lorraine.' Back from the dead, this tougher than she looks Asarina has begun blooming again. Love that purple!

Echeveria pulvinata. The drawing card for this Echeveria is its soft, furry leaves. The bright red flowers are a nice bonus too. 

Clematis 'Belle of Woking.' I love this guy, in part because of its dense double form and for the fact that its flowers start out this green-tinged alabaster color then gradually color in to become a light lavender color.

Lilium 'Black Eye.' A new lily on the market, it features midnight burgundy centers that look for all the world as if they've been painted.

Iris 'Red Ember.' Everybody loves Dutch iris and the combo of colors here, a brownish-red below and purple above, makes for a striking flower.

I took this photo of my Lepechinia hastata flower spike at an angle. It's actually coming out at a 45 degree angle but, well, I was trying something new. Same fabulous burgundy flowers on this, another of the plants on my 'perfect' list. Very fragrant leaves, lovely flowers adored by hummers. Tough. Works for me.

Got blue? You do, if you have one of these Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Van Pelt's Blue' plants. Love its form; love its color; love its toughness.

This Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiraliter' may not be as tough as the Van Pelt but it's gradually making itself at home. Love the bright green new growth.

Hmm, another 'perfect' plant (really, there aren't that many in my garden). Streptosolens (Marmalade bush) are just about the toughest things going. I've had mine for 12 years, never babied it, don't give it much water and it blooms all the time and has no bug or disease problems. That = perfect for me.

Here's a shot of my new metal Finial trellis. It's soon to be swarmed by my umm, vigorous, Dicentra scandens. I'm sure someone's been tempted to write a book called "Attack of the 50' Dicentra scandens."

Tillandsia tectorum + Sedum dasyphyllum. The latter is called Corsican Stonecrop but I think you could just as easily call it 'Creeping spruce sedum.' Oh and hey, look, it's blooming (little white flowers). Charming!

Iris Bronze Beauty. This aptly named Dutch iris is one of my favorites, for those rich colors. You don't see many Dutch iris this color and it contrasts nicely with purple varieties.

Here's a shot of my new copper wind spinner. It has a front and rear wheel that spin independently, making for a rather hypnotic effect.

My irrepressible Justicia brandegeeana is back in full boom. It's got to be root bound by now, in the same shallow pot for the last ten years, but it keeps on ticking.

Leucospermum 'Veldfire.' Still the showiest of all the pincushion shrubs in my opinion. Here the first of its flowers are developing the characteristic yellow fuzz, before the flowers finally open. First far flung trip when I retire will be to South Africa.

Here's a shot of my Physocarpus 'Nugget' in full bloom. Notice the similarity of the flowers to those of many Spireas. For those with eagle eyes, there's a little bee perched on a flower cluster in the center of the frame.

Sedum 'Lemon Coral.' Somehow, despite being given too little or too much water sometimes, this golden sedum keeps on ticking. Though it looks as if it's growing upwards, most of what you see has spilled forward from the container in back.

To me, Canarina canariensis is one of the holy grails of gardening. Notoriously difficult to propagate and hard to keep happy long enough for it to produce its gorgeous, tubular orange flowers, it nonetheless can reach a point where it can be quite vigorous.

Although I've spoken of Viburnum plicatum being my favorite Viburnum, V. opulus (Snowball viburnum) is a close second. Here the 'snowballs' are still green but they will soon age to that distinctive pure white color. A prolific bloomer, Viburnum opulus is one of those shrubs that leafs out in a hurry and then proceeds to bloom almost as quickly.

Exbury azalea. Sometimes just called deciduous azaleas, the Exburys have their roots in Britain. They are chosen for their orange and gold flowers, colors not commonly found on the popular evergreen azaleas. They are sun lovers, which means I need to do a bit more pruning to open up more direct sun for this specimen.

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