Thursday, May 18, 2017

A time to reflect

Chances are many of us in the Bay Area have been hard at work in our gardens this last month, once all the rain stopped. There was endless weeding, a lot of trimming, container maintenance, fixing of trellises etc. But here we are in mid-May and I think we deserve a little breather to just sit and enjoy the fruits of our labors. Smell the roses as it were. It's funny how easy it is to forget to do that - to simply step back and enjoy our gardens. Chat with the neighbors, especially those who are fellow gardeners. Swap stories of loss but also of triumph in our gardens.
On this note, I once again recommend two activities to you. First is to keep a journal. The mere walking through the garden and jotting down new developments or spontaneous thoughts is itself peaceful and most enjoyable. Secondly, take photos. Nowadays our smart phones offer us the chance to take brilliant photos and it's so easy. Not only is it fun sharing these photos but it's a kind of record in time of where your garden was at that moment. Our gardens are always in transition but taking photos allows you to capture a series of moments, both for the record and to enjoy later ("Oh, yes, this is when that new Hydrangea was starting to fill out").
On that note, here are the latest photos from my garden. Enjoy!

Collinsia species 'Purple Chinese Houses.' This new, deeper purple variety is indeed a richer purple. Not sure what the common name alludes to but in any case this native annual is a colorful delight. 

I joke that my black Aeonium Zwartkop and silver Tillandsia tectorum is my secret Oakland Raiders reference but in case they do make a vivid combo. 

My Pelargonium crispum Variegated Lemon is so vigorous it's grown through the slots of our fence through to the other side. And is blooming. This is a wonderfully scented variety.

Clarkia Salmon Princess.  This was supposed to be the new Salmon Queen, a double form, but a misplaced ID tag resulted in me taking the Princess instead. Still pretty but next year I'll try my luck again with the Queen.

This oriental lily, Black Eye, returned even more vigorous in year two, no doubt helped by all the rain. Love that intense burgundy center and I'm sure that next year, as it continues to multiply, it will put on quite the show.

Cynoglossum amabile. The tall Chinese forget-me-not  as it's known is a prolific bloomer and there's no substitute for that gorgeous robin's egg blue color.

Here's my latest Calibrachoa - Tropical Sunrise. It's just been planted but soon it will fill out and spill over the front of this wooden planter.

My Cotinus Royal Purple went crazy on the blooming front this year. Here's another photo. Sometimes where there's 'smoke' there is no fire, though this tree is worthy of stopping traffic. 

Another shrub that benefited from all the rain, my Tecoma x smithii has begun blooming a little earlier than usual. I'm expecting a bonanza of flowers this year.

Papaver 'Naughty 90s' and Callistemon viminalis. Both flowers are popular with hummers and bees. And, as it turns out, with humans as well, which is why I located them close to the sidewalk.

"What is that bush?!"  I get this question a lot from passersby and most are delighted when I tell them "Marmalade bush." And really, I count this as one of the great and most accurate common names. I sometimes get asked "Are the flowers edible?" Ahh, no, but they do look yummy. Streptosolen answers the question "How much do you really like orange?" The answer has to be "A lot" to locate this in your yard but I do love it.

Though I'm not a card carrying 'pel lover,' I do have several Pelargoniums in my garden. Here are two more. The variegated leaf one in front is a scented pel and the one in the back with the pink and white flowers is called 'Raspberry Twizzle.' 

Sometimes called 'Cherry Bells' this purple form of Campanula punctata is a vigorous bloomer and tends to spread by underground rhizomes. I love those nodding flowers and the way it takes care of itself.

To this plant I say "Go ahead and mock me." That is, Ms. Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile' go ahead and give me lots of those deliciously scented mock orange flowers. For some reason this variety is more intensely scented than my CA native P. lewisii 'Covelo,' which is literally right across the walkway.

The Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' is the star of the show right now in my Sun King bed but there's lots going on here.

Coprosma 'Pina Colada.' This colorful Mirror plant is loving the sun and holding onto it's multi-colored palette.

Eriogonum giganteum. Known as St. Catherine's Lace for its clusters of delicate white flowers - here forming but yet to open - this is one impressive and robust plant. CA Buckwheats are valuable plants for local pollinators.

One last photo of my gorgeous Lathyrus 'Nimbus.' Beautiful and fragrant. Nuff said. 

Cupheas need their own cheering section. "Cu-fee-ahhs!!" They're vigorous, long blooming, popular with hummers and humans and reliable. This one is C. purpurea 'Firecracker.'

A simple hanging basket Fuchsia but who can resist them?

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