Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Every Kind of Garden

The wonderful thing about gardening is that there is the possibility of creating a garden that is uniquely your own. Even if yours is a variation on a theme, the plants you've chosen, how they're laid out, how each has done (for better or worse) and the love and work you've invested in the garden makes it uniquely your own. There are very few rules in gardening, other than planting plants that do well in your micro-climate, so the choices are endless. And you get to choose. There aren't many things in our lives where we get to create something beautiful entirely with our own imagination and hard work. And that we get to share with others.
So, take a moment to appreciate all the creativity you've put into your garden and if it inspires you visit other gardens to see the amazing wealth of creativity out there.
Here are some recent photos from my garden. Things are doing well, though as in most people's gardens, many of my plants are waiting for sun and warmth to really burst forth!

Asarum caudatum and Asarum maximum (Panda-faced ginger). Asarums are one of the toughest ground covers around and one of the most interesting, with their heart-shaped glossy leaves and curious flowers. 

Tricyrtis varieties plus Autumn ferns. They blend well together and all the winter and spring rains have helped the ferns to leaf out quickly and the toad lilies to fill in nice and lushly. 

Abutilon thompsonii. This heavily variegated flowering maple also sports exceptionally pretty peach-colored flowers. Abutilons like a good amount of sun in mild climates, while protecting them from the heat of midday in hotter climates is advised. Blooming machines, they always seem to be filled with flowers, something that delights hummingbirds!

Though the sun somewhat bleached out the pale lavender color on these Clematis 'Belle of Woking' flowers, they are having a banner year. And yes that's a bee on the lower left bloom. Next to it, a Thunbergia 'Arizona Red' is already off and running.

My walkway bed is always colorful, though it is in a bit of an 'in-between' phase, the Dutch iris, Sparaxis and Fressia having finished (and the foliage cleared out) and before the lilies, Agastache, Mimulus and Cuphea Vienco really get going.

I planted a new sweet pea from Annie's (Nimbus) next to my Physocarpus 'Nugget' so it could climb up into it and that's exactly what it's done. For a closeup of the flower see the last photo in this blog entry. Meanwhile, my Physocarpus is already on its way to producing its distinctive showy red seedpods. It does so at an incredibly rapid pace, as if it's on some kind of deadline. 

Here's the front yard bed I call the Sun King bed (Beatles reference). The dwarf snapdragons in the foreground have gone berserk; next to it the Baby Blue Eyes are filling up with sky blue flowers; in back in the bed, I have blue-flowering Wahlenbergia blooming profusely and Eschscholozia californica ssp. maritima 'Coastal Form' (whew that's a mouthful) is filling up with its distinctive yellow and orange poppy flowers. There's pink Ixias in back plus the lovely Ixia 'Buttercup' with its golden flowers.

Speaking of poppies, here's my favorite breadseed type, Orange Chiffon. Just a blindingly saturated orange. To paraphrase that 'Got milk?' commercial, yes with this poppy you've 'Got orange' in spades. Below it is a sprawling Chaenomeles (Flowering quince).

Speaking of orange, here's my Azalea Exbury 'Orange x Tricolor' plant. Love those golds, peaches and oranges that the Exbury hybrids produce. If they spread out, would that make them The Traveling Exburys?' Anyone? Some obscure group with Dylan, Harrison and Petty? Yes, them, the Traveling Wilburys. 

My Cunonia capensis (Butterknife tree) is finally perking up. Those coppery tufts are bunches of new leaves about to unfurl.

Teucriums may be common (and tough) but that doesn't mean they're not pretty. This new variety, 'Gwen,' is offering up a steady supply of pretty bluish-purple flowers.

"Is that a Kalanchoe?" we sometimes get asked at our nursery and the answer is often yes. These succulents come in all shapes, sizes, leaf form and, well, just about any qualification you can think of. This K. tomentosa 'Chocolate Soldier' is one of the 'fuzzy' Kalanchoes and I guess the chocolate part is the dark brown dotting at leaf tips. It's anyone's guess what the soldier part refers to.

Though not in perfect focus, I wanted to include a shot of my Aquilegia 'Black Barlow.' It went a little wild this year in the blooming dept. 

Pulmonaria hybrid. Though this Lungwort is done blooming I like the spotted leaves so here's a photo. Tougher than they look, they tend to bounce back after going completely dormant in the winter. A shade lover, it can also take some filtered sun, as my my specimen is getting here.

No more teasing "What is this plant?" I've shared several photos of this unusual Abelia before (A. species 'Chiapis'). I say unusual because it features three qualities not found in other Abelia species or hybrids. It's a cascader not a shrub; its flower color is purple not the usual pink or white and most intriguingly its flowers are sweetly fragrant. So glad I found it, as it's very hard to find now.

I've decided to augment my dwarf conifer/Japanese garden plot with a few other plants. The most recent is a Koidzuma fern (Dryopteris koidzumiana or Japanese Wood Fern). I love the coppery new growth and its delicacy helps to balance out the sturdy conifers here.

Okay, not an exciting photo I admit but for Arisaema lovers, the appearance of the highly ornamental spathe is always something to celebrate. Here it's my A. speciosum var. magnificum. Though it isn't easily appreciated against the brown wood fence, the purple spathe also features an especially long whip. 

I thought I'd dug out all the Alstromeria tubers from a front yard bed but I obviously missed one or two and they're back. I swear, these Peruvian lilies will be around at the end of time but I guess if you had to put up with something invasive, at least the flowers are pretty.

Here's the aforementioned Lathyrus 'Nimbus.' This photo is borrowed from Annie's Annuals site and yep my flowers really do look like this. Love that prominent purple veining!

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