Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What rain?

We all had this collective dream, didn't we? That it rained nonstop from November to April. That was a dream, right?
So nice to enjoy a stretch of sun and not be looking over our shoulders for the next rain storm.
Lots of photos to share today so will let the images be the entertainment. Enjoy!

Tillandsia tectorum. You could call this species 'Tumbleweed' or 'Silver Fireworks'  but in any case it's a real beauty.

This photo catches three Copper mum flowers in different stages of opening so was kind of fun to photograph. 

Platycodon. I caught this Balloon flower just as it was unfurling. They are easy to grow, look like little alien faces before they open and have that lovely color. Also, if you study Chinese herbalism you'll find this plant is used in several herbal formulas.

Here's the lower half of my walkway bed. It proves that you can take a narrow bed, this is only two feet wide, and pack a lot of color into it.

This is my newest Mimulus, Jelly Bean Dark Pink, and it's off and running. They are very drought tolerant once established but a little water at the beginning gets them off and running.

Agastache 'Tutti Fruiti.' This free flowering Hummingbird mint is a real delight. Bees like it too. 

This cup-shaped golden flower belongs to a California native Abutilon, A. palmeri. It features soft, felty, grayish foliage and in early summer through fall, two inch golden yellow flowers. 

2017 is the Year of the Lily in my garden and here is one of my new additions, the large trumpet lily Triumphator. I love the splash of pink and the slightly recurved petals. 

Another new lily is this burgundy pink trumpet lily, L. Pink Perfection. This one is fragrant too. 

Lathyrus Blue Vein. I don't see much of the blue veining yet but I love the orange color of the petals. This 'throwaway' barely survived the transplant but it's flowering now. Ahh, sweet peas.

Everybody's favorite blue Hydrangea, at least those that have seen one in bloom, Nikko Blue is one of the very few 'blue' hydrangeas that stays blue (that is, doesn't need Aluminum sulfate to stay blue). Love that robin's-egg blue color.

Clerodendrums aren't well known which is too bad because there are several really nice ones. This is C. ugandense, also known as Glory Bower. It forms a 6-10' shrub and produces two-tone blue, sweet pea-like flowers during the summer. 

Back to back are two of the most fragrant flowers you can grow. Above is Philadelphus Belle Etoile, for my money the most fragrant of all the Mock oranges.

And this blindingly white flower is Mandevilla laxa. Discard everything you know about the popular pink and red Mandevillas. This more modest-sized species produces some of the most fragrant flowers you'll ever have the joy to inhale. Its common name, Chilean jasmine, is well earned. 

Begonia boliviensis. This is one of the most vigorous of all begonia species, returning reliably each year and starting to flower almost immediately. The flowers continue well into the fall.

 Hebe speciosa. This tough, floriferous hebe is a real delight. We may enjoy its pink and white flowers but bees REALLY like them. It's rare I can take a photo of this plant without several bees not busy collecting nectar.

Clarkia Aurora. This is one of my favorite colors in the garden, what I would call an icy salmon-orange. This CA native is a prolific bloomer and as these are its first flowers I have many, many more to enjoy.

Hunnemannia. If this sweet flower looks a bit like a poppy it is, being a member of the Papaveraceae family. 

Cuphea Vienco. This bat-faced cuphea is a strong grower and a long bloomer. I use it as a kind of high ground cover and it rewards me with months of flowers with virtually no care.

One of my older lilies, this Honey Bee is an Asiatic type. Many of them feature the kind of prominent spotting/splashing you see here. They're usually early bloomers too.

I had a nice surprise yesterday in spotting my Epipactis gigantea up and flowering. For some reason it had been dormant the last two years. Stream orchids are well named so maybe it was all the rain this winter that spurred it to return. Love these delicate patterned flowers.

If one were to have a section in the nursery for 'Sex' plants this Amorphophallus kiusianus would certainly be there. Not many plants manage to work in the words 'phallus' and 'anus' into the same botanical name. The photo here gives an idea why.

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