Monday, June 19, 2017

Garden Party

Well, after weeks of prep and a remake of the back yard, I finally hosted the 2017 edition of my annual garden party. Thanks to all who came and thanks to those who'd wanted to come but had a scheduling conflict or a last minute issue. Miraculously, on a day when Oakland set a new temperature record for that day (97 degrees!), a bit of breeze came up in the afternoon and added to the fortunate circumstance that most of the socializing was in the shady back yard, meaning that the weather turned out to be okay.
Regrettably, of the two friends who were going to take photos of the event, one left her camera at home and the other was a last minute cancel so alas no photos! However, I did take some photos of the newly restored back yard right before the event and have posted those below. Added to them are more photos of the garden in its many colorful clothes.
On that note, here are the photos.

Here's the pathway leading to the back yard. I've dubbed it Shady Lane, although with a large Brugmansia gone it gets a lot of morning sun.

Here's the same Shady Lane looking back up towards the front. You can see how narrow the walkway is and equally how narrow the two beds are on either side of the path.

Back yard. Here's a look at the new brick red cement block bed I built two weeks ago. That area next to the fence has undergone a lot of changes over the years. 

Though shadowed somewhat, here is the gravel path that winds around the Philodendron. This year I used golden pebbles in the front half and then transitioned to gray gravel for the back half. 

Here's the back half of the path as it winds itself to the pond over to the right. In the distance is the Tropical Corner, which holds several gingers, a Black bamboo and a Canna Australia.

This view is from the west looking back towards the entrance into the back yard. I know this scene looks 'normal' but I had to do an incredible amount of weeding, even between the cracks in the cement slabs, then sweep it right before the party to have it look this neat.

Here's a wider view of the above shot. On the right side are three Camellias, a Summersweet shrub (Clethra), a Begonia luxuriens, a Weigela 'Rubidor and a Passiflora 'Coral Seas' (all in a narrow bed as well).

Dianella 'Yellow Stripe.' Here's my newish Dianella's first flower sprays. If you look at this photo full size you'll see the charming tiny blue flowers. These will be followed by blue berries so it's a 'blue-on-blue' experience.

Why we love lilies, reason # 89. This is my new Lilium 'Cafe Frappe' and it had the good sense to open the day before the party so all could enjoy it. It's an Asiatic type lily.

Agastache 'Tutti Fruiti.' I didn't realize it when I brought this new Agastache home but it's a prolific bloomer. Delightful to humans (that minty fragrance) and to hummers/bees (nectar) alike.

I sometimes call my Eriogonum giganteum flowerheads 'the cloud' due to its large and flat mass. The tiny individual flowers will soon open and that means bees and butterflies will soon be flocking to it.

One more photo of my amazing Clarkia 'Aurora.' Planted in a bed dense with other flowering plants, it almost has the appearance of a wild meadow. Clarkias, a CA native, do indeed grow in spring meadows in our parts.

A friend at the party commented 'You plant everything so densely and yet it all seems healthy.' That isn't true of every bed but it is of several front yard beds, including this walkway bed. Regular watering and the occasional fertilizing keeps everything happy.

This closeup of my Jacaranda 'Bonzai Blue' captures the attractively feathery and dense foliage of this dwarf, bush-like form, as well as the first of the lavender flowers opening from buds.

A friend helped me ID this Salvia as S. hians. I had planted it many, many years ago and I think it died out, so I removed it from my computer list of plants. But it had self seeded in a nearby pot and now it's flourishing there. The bees seem to like it.

Here's another shot of one section of my Japanese Garden, showing the various colors and textures.

And here's a closeup on one of that bed's members - Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea.' The aurea in its name owes to the golden new growth that is especially evident this time of year.

I'm a collector, thus have a host of less common plants in my garden, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the beauty of common plants such as this Calibrachoa 'Volcano Sunrise.' But seriously, "Volcano Sunrise?" 

Okay, all you foodies out there. Do you know this plant? Yes, it's a red Shiso. I'm growing it for its rich, reddish-chocolate foliage. 

My Evolvulus keeps coming back year after year. As you can see, it's starting in with a new bloom season. I'm a fan of 'true blue' flowers and this is one of my favorites.

My 'Silver and Black' (whether you're a Raiders fan or not) makes for an attractive pairing, especially since one (Aeonium 'Zwartkop') has broader leaves and the other (Tillandsia tectorum) has spidery foliage.

Abutilon thompsonii. No truth to the rumor this plant was named in honor of our Klay (although both 'light up' the stage they're on). This flowering maple is supposed to need shade but mine seems to have adjusted to midday sun.

This newly created mini-bed features a relatively new Physocarpus on the market (P. 'Amber Jubilee') plus some golden Hakonechloa, a new lily and some Gladiola acidanthera (both sets of bulbs yet to bloom).

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