Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fall Colors

Normally when we mention fall colors it's the deciduous trees offering their bright foliage in a picturesque display. But colors can be closer at hand, and to the ground, for many a gardener. Due especially to our warm fall weather, many brightly clothed perennials are still blooming away. Nuff said and now here is the proof in the pudding.

My reluctant Cuphea schumanii is finally hitting its blooming stride, making it one of the latest bloomers in this genus. As you can see, it was worth the wait!

I had to deal with the wandering branches on my Salvia horminum (viridis) to get a photo of its colorful bract. Those tiny flowers along the stem are the real flowers. I have yet to find a satisfactory explanation for why this species produces bracts separate from the flowers. Anyone? 

My Helichrysum bracteatum seems to bloom most of the year, even on this dwarf orange-blooming variety. This is the Helichrysum with the papery flowers, available in orange, red, yellow, pink and white. 

I may be one of the few gardeners who is growing Arugula for its flowers. I somehow find them ever-so-charming. Incidentally, Arugula grows like a weed and I've had to strip away an abundance of lower leaves to open up light for plants nearby.

Though not yet in bloom, I thought my Nicandra physalodes looked pretty enough in its hexagonal pot. This Solanum family member, affectionately known as Shoo-fly, grows quickly and offers up the prettiest lavender-colored flowers. 

Beschorneria albiflora. Though it's been an infrequent bloomer for me, the foliage on this hardy and drought tolerant Agave relative hailing from Mexico is reason enough to have it in my garden.

One last shot of my long blooming Tecoma x smithii. I like how it kind of looks like a globular world, with the front side in the sun and the back side in the shade. As it were rotating on some floral axis. 

Mums may be common but they are still lovely. Here a chartreuse variety is shown off nicely by a ginger-colored pot.

In my continuing attempt to provide a fuller view of the various areas of my garden, here's a photo of the main walkway leading back to the studio apts. On the left is a two foot wide planting bed and on the right is a slightly elevated cement shelf that holds  a row of pots. Proof that you can, if you choose, pack a lot of plants in a relatively confined space.

My 6 pack of Browallias are just now starting to grow and flower. Some may not know but this shade-loving plant is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Arachinodes standishii. Squirrels dug up this newly planted fern but luckily I caught it in time and replanted. Heaped an especially good mat of shredded cedar mulch on top to discourage a repeat performance.

I've loved everything about my Aralia cordata 'Sun King,' including it producing clusters of little black berries. Not sure if the birds are taking any notice yet.

Another plant 'late' this year is my Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' Usually it begins blooming in early September. Meanwhile I get to enjoy the beautiful golden foliage.

Lots of carnations in bloom in my garden, including this unusual Dianthus x superbus Bearded.

The warm weather is encouraging my Calibrachoas to hang around and to continue blooming. This one is spilling out of a low redwood planter right at the entrance to our main walkway.

Part of the fall color in my garden are the many Mimulus in bloom. Here it's M. Jelly Bean Dark Pink. As with many perennials a little bit of regular water extends their bloom season.

Hebe andersonii variegata. This Hebe has been a bit slow to get going but is filling out nicely now. 

Mimulus Jelly Bean Gold. This 'rescue' mimulus was nearly dead when I brought it home but I've nursed it back to health. That goes to show you just how tough this genus is. 

Myrsine africanus variegata. This variegated African boxwood has also been kind of slow to establish but it has remained healthy and attractive. 

Everybody's favorite rex-type begonia, B. Escargot forms the distinctive curving shell pattern, with a dark green center, white center rib and a dark edge. So lovely!

Bonus points to those who can ID this flower. Extra points for getting its common name (Shaving Brush flower). Yes, it's Haemanthus albiflos. It makes a great bathroom plant, taking care of both the shaving and the flossing (albi-floss). Okay, bad joke. For some reason this white-blooming species of Blood flower is easier to coax into bloom than the red-flowering Haemanthus coccineus. Native to the Cape district of South Africa, Paintbrush lily is one of the most fascinating members of the Amaryllidaceae family.

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