Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Migrating Weather

It's certainly not uncommon for Southern California to have warm weather in November but they are a full 400 miles south of the Bay Area and so our recent warm weather here in Oakland and environs is a bit troubling. Chalk it up to climate change or just a shift in the currents and weather systems but it does seem like this late in the year almost-summer weather is here to stay. As a gardener (and sun lover), I find it hard to complain but we do still need the rain and personally I enjoy the crisp early mornings that Fall brings.
Which is all to say that the recent rains followed by the unseasonably warm weather has really spurred plants in my garden. The following photos are but a sample of what's in bloom. November tends to be a month of transition. We're done with summer and early fall but haven't hit winter. In fact, the September to December period here in Oakland feels like one very long transition period. So, I've decided to embrace the transition in all its multi-faceted glory.
And now the photos.

Camellia japonica 'Little Babe Variegated.' A camellia blooming in November? Yep. This camellia is always the first of my collection to bloom. As with many variegated flowers, each individual bloom is slightly different from the others.

Also early is my Rhododendron 'Sappho.' This rhodie will often preview bloom a bit in the fall before having its main season in the early spring. For some reason it reminds me of Black Raspberry Swirl ice cream.

Calylophus drummondianus. This cheerful little ground cover has performed beyond my expectations and is still going strong in November. 

Lepechinia hastata + Luculia pinceana. These are two of the most fragrant shrubs you'll ever have the pleasure to have in your garden. For the Lepechinia, it's the foliage that has a woodsy appealing scent. And the pink flowers of Luculia (background) offer an incredibly sweet, heady fragrance.

Tecoma x smithii. The huge umbels of peachy-orange flowers keep on coming, which is delighting the local bees and hummingbirds. The plant also produces curious seedpods that resemble a cross between beans (long pods) and Asclepias (cottony inner portions). 

"I seed, therefore I am." That's certainly the motto of nasturtiums, which have self-seeded prolifically around my bird bath. 

Notocactus magnificus. Doesn't this botanical name sound like a Harry Potter spell? This new addition to my succulent table is already a star. 

Faucaria sp. Faucarias, or Tiger Jaws as they're affectionately known, are one of the most readily blooming succulents. Like many a succulent, the flower seems especially large in proportion to the plant itself.

This is just a simple Viola but to me its home, a large blue tea cup, gives it that extra special pizzazz.

My Aloe striata (Coral aloe) continues to get bigger. The wonderful symmetry of its new leaves makes for an additional element of interest. It produced two spectacular bloom spikes this summer and now continues to establish itself.

Trachelospermum asiaticum. The variegated form of this star jasmine is a slow grower but has finally gotten established. It's making a mat of multi-colored leaves, which provide a pleasing contrast to the green-leaved plants around it.

Staghorn fern. Taken at a side angle (the only angle I had), it may be a bit difficult to see but my potted staghorn fern is coming along very nicely. This illustrates that though staghorns are mostly epiphytic, they can be grown in soil as well, as long as the drainage is good.

Just a simple mum but I love the color. There's something about chartreuse-colored plants - be that the leaves or flowers - that is unique and inviting.

Winter is also the season for Flowering Quince, aka Chaenomeles. This flower belongs to C. 'Cameo' and as you can see it's a gorgeous salmon color. Most flowering quince are red, pink or white but slowly other colors are appearing in the market (especially orange). Chaenomeles are incredibly hardy plants, to the point of almost being invasive. Hard to argue with the beauty of their flowers and their can-do spirit.

Nemesia. Nemesias are wonderful ways to add color to the garden during the summer and fall. Though they're a short-lived perennial, while they're blooming they're just so cheerful.

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