Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Full Moon Fever

It's another crazy full moon in these parts, with things going at breakneck speed and many lingering things coming to a head. Not many of us are out in our gardens I know but actually the peacefulness of that experience is a nice counterbalance to the hectic XMas shopping and socializing. Of course that's going to happen in between the series of storms, making gardening at best a part time endeavor this month.
So it's a time to rest on one's laurels and if you have bulbs in your garden, to watch as they poke their heads up one by one.
Here's a few photos from my winter garden. In some small way, these photos -- shared by a few local friends with friends of theirs living in much colder climates -- are a way to remind those gardeners that there is life happening, that spring will eventually arrive and they can resume their gardening ways.

I'm getting some of the best color on my Cotinus 'Royal Purple.'  Smoke bushes can offer reds, burgundy, but if your lucky you get these fantastic golden-oranges. Everything about this bush/small tree is great but fall may be the best show.

This variety of Teucrium fruticans - 'Gwen' - is proving to be a hearty and healthy variety. I'm not sure if its fall/early winter blooming will prove to be typical or this is just it maturing at this late stage in its first year or whether this will prove to be normal for it.

Echeveria species. I've noticed that it's getting a deeper blue hue as the temps have gotten cooler but I like the change. Echeverias are good succulents for colonizing a sunny bed.

Euphorbia atropurpurea. This spurge has gotten big and seems to be one of the 'octopus' types - developing twisting branches, with lotus-like leaf clusters at the tips. 

As someone once said about a hyperactive child ("I think she took too many of the pills that make a kid a kid"), this Helleborus 'Amethyst Gem' is blooming as if its life depended on it. It's still in its gallon pot, yet to find a home in the ground, but it does look elegant against the gray stucco backdrop.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fans will remember the line about the Deep Thought computer - "they built a stupendous super computer which was so amazingly intelligent that even before the data banks had been connected up it had started from 'I think therefore I am' and got as far as the existence of rice pudding and income tax before anyone managed to turn it off...".  This Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious' is kind of like that. Very enthusiastic and more or less indestructible.

Although it hasn't bloomed yet, my Begonia luxuriens specimen has grown quickly and hasn't been bothered by all the rain or the cold.

One plant that has LOVED the recent rains is my Iochroma coccinea. I'm appointing it as my Christmas tree, the cascading orange-pink flowers being either the ornaments or icicles depending on your POV.

This orange Nemesia is prospering, liking the rain and sun (when it appears).

Leucospermum 'Veldfire.' It hasn't begun flowering yet but the leaves are awfully pretty I think, both the color and the pink tips.

Salvia 'Love & Wishes.' This Wendy's Wish hybrid is a lovely new addition to the world of sages. 

The bright green leaves in the upper left belong to one of the 'shamrock' oxalis. It appears every fall and will soon sport masses of orchid pink flowers.

Primroses are a great way to add winter color to a part shade area. And remember that they are actually perennials, though in the summer they can go semi-deciduous. 

Cyclamen 'Salmon.' Though the bright colors of the flowers are a major draw, the leaves are just as beautiful to me.

Beauty and the beast? Well, not quite but the orange nodding flower is from my Canarina canariensis and the speckled leaves are from a Helleborus argutifolius 'Pacific Frost.' They make a nice combo, don't you think?

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