Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Helichrysums are one of those genera that are somewhat taken for granted these days. Want a tough, sun-loving ground cover? Helichrysums will do the trick. They're right up there with the very toughest and adaptable mat forming ground covers. But wait, they're damned attractive. As I've come to appreciate, even love, gray and silver foliage, I've found these so-called Licorice plants very charming. Start with the straight species H. petiolare, showing off that downy gray foliage and the little white flowers in summer. There's the more delicate version of this species called Petite Licorice. But sometimes you want a bit of pizazz as well as well as the functionality so there's the chartreuse H. 'Limelight.' This variety will hold its best color in a bit of shade. And let's not forget the H. petiolare 'Variegatum,' which features mint green leaves edged in cream.
And just when you think you know your Helichrysums along comes H. 'Ruby Clusters.' It's not a petiolare but H. amorginum. It sports sparkling silvery foliage that twists and curls. To top it off, it features the aptly named ruby clusters, which sparkle like little gems nestled in the foliage.

And now the photos.

Passiflora 'Lady Margaret.' I love the deep almost garnet reds of this passion flower. The flowers aren't large but it has proven to be prolific.

Golds, apricots and oranges abound in this tight little cluster of Cosmos, Agastache and Mimulus. 

Although this seems as if it must be two Cupheas, it's only C. vienco 'Burgundy.' Somehow in year two it began to produce red flowers as well. Perhaps that was the parent and some of the flowers are reverting. No matter, they complement each other very well.

Here's my Helichrysum 'Ruby Clusters.' In the lower right, you can see the beginning of its first flowers. 

My Amaranthus has prospered and is filling out the distinctive curving seed heads. 

Last week I mentioned the upcoming article on interesting seedpods. Although I won't use this Cassia phyllodinea, if you look closely you can spot the light green, legume-like seedpods. 

Lilium regale flowers are some of the most beautiful lilies we can grow here. Not just their visual beauty but that intoxicating fragrance.

Here IS one of the plants I'll use for the seedpods article - Cotinus 'Royal Purple.' Although not in perfect focus, you can clearly see the dark black seeds. They will be dispersed by the wispy flower puffs that catch the wind and so scatter. 

Another seedpod entry will be the pineapple lily - Eucomis. This Sparkling Burgundy variety's column is already shooting up and the first waxy flowers at the base have begun to open. It will eventually form fruits (berries) that contain the seeds.

Aeonium 'Kiwi.' One of the most popular Aeoniums, loved for its soft but refreshing color palette.

Begonia 'Mocha Mix Orange.' I love the prominent veining on this begonia.

Here's the new stepping stone I took a photo of last week, now in its permanent home on my back yard gravel path. The blue is small glass pieces, giving the (intended) suggestion of this being a bluebird.

My other new stepping stone, further down the path, is of a frog sitting on a lily pad. Me and frogs go way back, back to my childhood days up in S.E. British Columbia, down at our rustic lake property.

Here's a 'vanishing point' shot of the middle portion of our walkway, included to show how much you can pack into a very narrow strip of soil.

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