Wednesday, September 6, 2017

True Wealth

It's no secret to many Bay Area gardeners that we live in one of the prime gardening regions of the country. That's especially true for cities like Oakland that lay in the milder zones. It seems that you can grow almost anything here in Oakland and for those of us with a diverse garden, we have the great good fortune of experiencing a 'true wealth' of floral delights. For the avid gardener, plants are the gift that keeps on giving, revealing small pleasures as they progress throughout the seasons. And of course gardens attract a variety of engaging insects and birds that are fun to witness, study or simply marvel at. When I'm able to put city distractions out of my head and be in the moment in my garden, it truly is a little corner of paradise. And we could all use a bit more of that 'escape' these days ...
Here are this week's photos.

A friend suggested that she indeed had someone in mind that she'd like to drop a house on. Hmm, who could that be?

Begonia Irene Nuss. This cane-type begonia has some of the largest and showiest flowers for any larger size begonia. 

I'm loving my Clerodendrum fragrans. It's proving to be a prolific bloomer, even from a young plant. Here's the formation of a flower cluster, the round white buds getting ready to pop open. It has lived up to its rep as being intensely fragrant.

I'm officially now a caudex collector. Here's my latest, Adenium obesum. This Desert Rose plant is noteworthy for not just its fat trunk but for its showy rosy-red flowers.

Begonia Fannie Moser has some of the darkest leaves of any begonia. Love the delicate spotting too. It looks to be a spiller, more than an upright type.

Here's the beginning of my Herb garden. The centerpiece is the golden oregano, while 3 silver thymes are spread around it. There's also 3 Arugulas that I planted for their pretty brown-ribbed white flowers, a Lemon Balm, an Agastache and a Nepeta x faassenii (Catmint). 

Dianthus x superbus Bearded. This extravagantly fringed carnation certainly stands out, surrounded by orange and gold flowers.

Here's my Sun King bed. The Celosia Sunday Wine Red dominates the bed right now but coming along are a Penstemon Violet-kissed, a Tweedia and a Wooly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum). I took the bold step of yanking nearly everything out of the upper portion of the bed and planting some new favorites and they're coming along nicely.

Here's a closeup of the Tweedia caerulea. There's nothing quite like the robin's egg blue color of these flowers. Some may not know that Tweedia is a member of the milkweed family and produces those distinctive seedpods that eventually crack open to reveal the fluffy seed capsules. The best known milkweed is of course Asclepias or Butterfly bush (host plant for Monarch butterflies).

I include this photo to show off the lovely pot as much as its contents - Dahlia 'Dark Side of the Sun' - though I think the plant looks handsome in this container.

Although the angle of this shot is a bit strange, it's what I had to work with to reveal the colorful interior of an Alpinia Zerumbet flower. Known as Shell Ginger due to the seashell shape of the white flowers, these little beauties also happen to be fragrant.

Here's the newest addition to my Japanese bed, featuring dwarf conifers. This is Juniperus chinensis 'Sea Green.' Though it is more vertical than horizontal right now, I'll be training it as a ground cover plant. 

Speaking of ground covers, this Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (say that fast 10 times) has spread out very nicely, colonizing a part shade location in and around my bird bath.

Regular readers of this blog know I'm a big Agastache fan. This A. 'Raspberry Summer' is a relatively new one and its vibrant color has already made it one of my favorites. Colorful, hummingbird magnets and fragrant. Pretty much a triple play!

Lonicera japonica. I've managed to keep my Hall's honeysuckle trimmed to a 4' x 4' bush. It's such a prolific bloomer than even with regular trimming it still regrows and flowers.

Another shot of my Salvia discolor. What color was that, Tony Soprano? "Dis color" he says. Okay, bad jokes aside, this is one tough and resilient salvia. It's most famous for its nearly black flowers but the pale lime bracts and white undersides to the leaves and the sticky white stems are also appealing features.

No, not popsicles but the elongated seedpods from my Lilium philippinense flowers. Very curious looking, no?

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