Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Scabiosas, sometimes known as Pincushion flowers due to their domed flowers, are one of those garden 'staples' that nonetheless are often overlooked. The common foot high lavender-colored varieties only hint at the diversity of this genus. They can range in height from 6" to four feet, with colors that include bluish-lavender, pink, red, dark burgundy, butter yellow or even white. One thing these varieties all have in common is their being a magnet for butterflies. Besides the common hybrids, there are the tall S. atropurpureas, which can easily reach three feet and produce intense red or burgundy flowers in great numbers. For something softer, there's the low mounding S. ochroleuca, with its butter yellow blooms. Like the bluish varieties but want something taller? Check out S. caucasia 'Fama Blue,' with its especially large bluish-lavender flowers. And just when you're sure you've seen everything, along comes Scabiosa 'Black Pom Pom.' Not only does the flower promise to be something eye-catching but the crimped foliage is one of a kind.
All of this proves that what's old can indeed be new again.

Scabiosa caucasia 'Fama Blue.' Here's our 'leading lady,' just beginning its bloom season. You get an idea how elevated the flowering stems are, waving in the breeze with their floral wares.

Petunia Supertunia Honey. I love how this petunia offers a range of colors, from yellows, to apricots to peaches. 

Gloriosa lily. To those in the know, just Gloriosa and nowhere is a plant more aptly named than with this vigorous lily. Though it can be finicky mine seems to have settled in and is very happy. 

Everybody's favorite orange-blooming shrub, Marmalade bush (Streptosolen) is slow to establish but once it gets going it's unstoppable. Pass the scones ...

Here are the first pink fuzzy flowers on my Helichrysum 'Ruby Clusters.' Dense silver foliage and little clusters of flowers that sprout like mushrooms? Yes please.

Calibrachoa 'Spicy.' A new Million bells, with orange tones and a dark eye.

Going for the gold? Yes, with this Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' It has loved this sunny location, with just a bit of midday shade provided by a Magnolia 'Butterflies.' Soft pale purple flowers will soon complement the gold tones.

If you look closely you'll see many upright spikes on this Campanula primulifolia, which are about to burst into bloom. One of the tall, sun-loving bellflowers, this one is my fave due to those rigid flowering spikes and masses of starry purple flowers.

There's red and then there's RED. The latter is on display with this Bouvardia ternifolia. It was suffering a bit so I hacked it back hard last winter and it has really responded. 

Dwarf Conifer bowl. It contains two Chamaecyparis obtusas -‘Mariesii and ‘Melody’ plus a

            Cryptomeria japonica ‘Ryokogu Coyokyu.’

Laurentia axillaris. One of my favorite plants, the aptly named Blue Stars really starts getting going in mid-summer.

Tillandsia tectorum - my so-called Silver Spider - and to its right the red-spotted Crassula alba v. parvisepala, which is getting ready to bloom (upper right).

Begonia 'Mocha Orange.' Love the dark foliage on the this begonia and the intense orange flowers as well.

Mystery fern. Still haven't figured out the identity of this mystery fern. Love its look through, the dense fronds and the way they radiate out at different angles.

Finally a picture of my mature Japanese maple in the back yard. It's now a fixture  in my yard and is a great habitat tree for birds.

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