Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fall preview

I know it's only mid-August but it already feels like fall is just around the corner. Kids are getting ready to go back to school, fall sports will be returning to the tube and our recent cool weather, especially the occasional nippy morning, brings on feelings of fall. Our gardens might argue. They're still enjoying summer, thank you very much. That said, autumn staples are already showing up in nurseries, such as Rudbeckias, Salvias, Heleniums and even the first Violas. Of course for those of us lucky enough to garden in milder zones, the transitions between the seasons are more of a continuous progression than a more sharply delineated end and beginning. And of course our warm Septembers and Octobers here in the Bay Area only extend the summer for certain plants.
After the glut of photos in last week's post, I have just a few to share this week. I try not to repeat photos of the same plant more than on an occasional basis so, even given the diversity of my garden, there aren't always a lot to share from week to week.

Although I couldn't get the contrast I was after in part because of the depth of field, I wanted to share just how sweet the slender purple flowers are on this Tillandsia. They're kind of like little purple shooting stars.

Here I was able to achieve the look I was after, isolating this Helichrysum bracteatum flower. With that vivid red color, yellow at the base, it almost seems like this 'paper flower' is on fire.

I was worried that my Gazania 'Nahui' had died off (foliage turned all brown) but it did revive with some careful attention and here is the first flower of the year. 

Justicia fulvicoma. As many of you know, I love Justicias. This unusual one is hard to come by so thanks to Susan Ashley for keeping it alive in the trade. It gets to be about 2' tall and a bit narrower and in the late summer and fall produces these colorful plumes. Love it.

You don't see many yellow salvias but this is one. S. 'Lemon Light' is a greggii type, so gets about 2' x 2.' It's a bit difficult to get an accurate representation of its color when shooting it in the sun but this gives you an idea. I'd describe it as a butter yellow. Lovely!

Hibiscus 'Cherie.' Hard not to swoon over hibiscus! Although it isn't immediately apparent, hummers love hibiscus.

I haven't shared a photo of my Bouvardia recently so here's one. It was looking ragged at the end of the year last year so I pruned it back hard. I was a bit nervous but it did eventually sprout new growth and soon it had budded up and burst into bloom. 

As I've mentioned, I'm trying to remember to include the occasional shot of a whole planting bed or area. My garden is dissected by a series of walkways and driveways, leaving the modest-sized back yard as the only non-interrupted space. Here's the house wall bed as one walks back to the studio apts in the rear. This bed is only 30" wide so it limits what I can plant there.

Another shot of my amazing Evolvulus. Not sure why I had trouble with this plant before but it's now in year three and going strong. If the flowers look a bit like morning glories there's a reason for that. This genus belongs to the Convolvulaceae family, which contains several morning glory genera. 

Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue.' One of the few reliably blue hydrangeas, mine has proven vigorous and long blooming.

Begonia 'Irene Nuss.' Everyone's favorite cane begonia and the large scalloped leaves are a main reason why. Incidentally, there really was an Irene Nuss. But unlike professional plant breeders, Ms. Nuss was an amateur with a keen interest in begonias. It's fitting that she will be remembered by this outstanding selection.

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