Thursday, March 9, 2017

And now the sun

This extravagant tulip is a variety called Monsella. It almost looks like it has a bit of parrot tulip in its genes.

My Butterflies magnolia has burst into bloom, helped by the recent sun. As you can see they sport butter yellow blooms, not the white, pinks and reds associated with other magnolias.

Though Sparaxis are famous for their bright colors, here's a white flowering one. It still has the yellow center and burgundy ring that is often seen on Sparaxis hybrids.

This is not an optical illusion. I really am posting a photo of that weedy oxalis. This is to demonstrate that if you separate yourself from the experience of always having to yank it out, it's actually a very pretty and cheerful plant.

One might say the same for Chasmanthe bicolor. It's notorious for self-seeding everywhere. But the one I planted at the base of this conifer has remained well behaved.

It sort of looks like ... hmm, give me a moment ... a Corydalis? Yes. The reason this new Blue Line variety looks different (foliage) is that it's a cross between C. flexuosa and C. elata. Hybridized in France, then brought to England and finally stateside, it's a real beauty. Little know fact: Corydalis is part of the poppy family (Papaveraceae). 

Though compositionally not the best shot, I had to share a photo of my Camellia reticulata 'Bill Woodruff' flower. It's huge and intensely ruffled. And a very saturated red. One word - Wow!

This scented Pelargonium's leaves remind me of oak leaves, with their highly segmented form. Scented Pelargoniums (geraniums as they're commonly called) may be an English garden staple but that doesn't mean you can't add one or more to your garden. Plus that fragrance!

My sidewalk bed is starting to burst with color. The pale violet flowers you see are Ipheions. Lower right are species Freesias. Soon there will be Dutch iris, Sparaxis and Lilies.

This year my Pandorea pandorana (Wonga Wonga vine) went wild and it has smothered the fir tree it climbed into with masses of tiny gold and orange tubular flowers. Good things come to those that wait, as this vine did nothing for its first four years.

My large red-flowering Helichrysum bracteatum toppled over in all the rain but my dwarf orange one is going strong.

My first Dutch iris, seen against the backdrop of a copper spinner.

My new Leucospermum 'Tango' didn't waste any time in producing its first pincushion flowers. High in nectar, it's a favorite for bees and butterflies.

I didn't quite get the perfect focus in attempting this depth of field shot but those white flowers belong to Viburnum x burkwoodii and they are intensely fragrant!

Camellias are tough. My Silver Waves survived being smothered by a passion flower vine for nearly a year and yet it's still going strong.

A little winter color. Violas, crocus and a pot of Helichrysum 'Ruby Clusters' all add winter cheer.

Phylica plumosa. I've started over with a new plant and so far so good. One of THE softest plants you'll ever feel.

My next Pacific Horticulture magazine article will be on Caudiciforms (plants with fat trunks). Here's one of them, a Cussonia natalensis. It will soon leaf out.

Though it's a challenge photographing a Sophora plant due to its delicate stems and tiny leaves, here's mine. More of a collector's plant but lovely nonetheless.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit lovers unite! Here's my Arisaema thunbergia unfurling its first leaf. The distinctive hooded spathe will appear lower down in short order. Arisaemas are part of the Arum family.

Tolmiea menziesii + Ajuga. This sweet but tough CA native has settled in nicely in my Shady Lane.

Heliotropium 'Alba.' This more fragrant cousin to purple heliotrope is also longer lived. Talc powder or vanilla, you decide.

Abutilon thompsonii. Even this variegated abutilon is happiest getting a decent amount of sun. It's back to flowering now that we're getting some sun.

Even though it's just leafing out, I wanted to photograph this new variety of Ninebark. It's Physocarpus 'Amber Jubilee' and its leaves will get more of a ginger blush to them as they mature.

It's amazing what you can grow in pots, how many cool pots are out there and how many you can jam into a small space. I have to resort to pots to hold all my treasures and I have little tricks. I put many of my annuals in pots, as they will be changed out in 3-6 months, leaving the valuable ground space for perennials.

Euphorbia atropurpurea. This red flowering Euphorbia has produced big heads at the ends of gangly branches.

The arching branch with the furry little bottlebrush-like flowers is my Melaleuca incana. Very sweet and at the same time hardy as a horse.

Everybody loves Sparaxis (Harlequin flower). They come in all colors and naturalize easily in the garden. Here's an orange and reddish-coral ones.

Pieris japonica 'Flaming Silver.' This evergreen shrub puts out delicate reddish new growth in spring, providing nice contrast to the variegated green and white foliage.

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