Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Clematis armandii

Every once in awhile I like to use this space to write about a favorite plant, especially one that people may not always have heard of. Clematis armandii is one of those plants. The buzz about this plant is its fragrance. As in, not sort of fragrant, or only fragrant between 6:30 and 6:45 pm but 'no doubt about it, sweet, heady, any time of day' fragrant. Plus, pure white, star-shaped flowers. By the hundreds. Did I mention that it's sun-loving and evergreen? So, not your grandmother's Clematis. Why nurseries don't have a 'drive-through hut' where they're selling this Clematis to whoever pulls in is beyond me.
Okay, we now return you to your regular gardening blog programming ...
Here are new photos from my garden, as it bungy cord jumps between winter, summer and spring. No question that last week's warm weather helped to push things ahead.


The new kid on the block, this Camellia 'Anticipation' variegated almost looks more like a peony than a camellia. Love the ruffles and the variegation in dark pinks, light pinks and whites.


Speaking of Camellias with variegated flowers, here's my C. Francie L. variegated. There's been quite the variation in colors, with some, like this flower, having a lot of white and others mainly pink. This is one of the open habit Camellia reticulata hybrids.


Wonga Wonga vine, otherwise known as Pandorea pandorana. Completely different than the more familiar bower vine Pandoreas, with their much larger flared white or pink tubular flowers, this species produces masses of these nodding rusty-orange flowers. 


Here's the same specimen. It has now climbed to the very top of my neighbor's conifer and is blooming its heart out. A very fast grower and one that appreciates some sun.


Here is the aforementioned Clematis armandii. This is the Snowdrift variety, which to my nose is by far the most fragrant. I like the simplicity of the white flowers and the deep green leathery leaves.


Here's another shot of my Azalea plant , 'born' as an accidental sport. Each flower has unique patterns of white and pink, making each 'unveiling' a lovely surprise.


My Physocarpus 'Nugget' obviously felt it was warm enough to start leafing out. Whenever it does do so (a bit different each year), it goes about leafing out with great gusto. Believe it or not it will be in bloom in less than a month.


This is obviously a Freesia (speaking of deliciously fragrant flowers) but one with a story. The Freesias you buy in your local garden store are hybrids. And sometimes hybrid bulbs can revert to their species form. Such is often the case with Freesias and here's a clump that's done just that. So, not quite as showy in the color department but oh so sweet smelling.


Under the category 'Just tell me when to stop,' this Helichrysum bracteatum has been blooming pretty much continuously for two years. Go figure. 'Hel' in Latin means 'sun' and this plant certainly fits the bill.


Helleborus x sternii 'Silver Dollar.' The x sternii hellebores feature distinctive silvery leaves, stay low, and showcase flowers that are a bit more muted than some of the H. orientalis hybrids. The label describes their color as 'creamy green' and that's sort of true. Lovely!


Just a reminder that yes, Freesias do bloom in a wide range of wild colors. Got orange? Yep.


There's nothing quite like Chrysocephalum apiculatum for providing low growing, silvery foliage. Quick, is this a California native or not. If you said native, why you'd be wr-, oops, correct! It would certainly make the Top Ten list of CA natives most people have never heard of. Tough as nails too.


There aren't many yellow-flowering Magnolias and depending on the year this M. 'Butterflies' is pale yellow like we see here or a more vibrant yellow. Despite the fact that this tree historically was pollinated by beetles, I've noticed that bees, especially honey bees, are very fond of the pollen.


Aloe striata. My Coral aloe has once again sent up a thick, multi-branching flower spike. I just thought this angle made the cluster look quite architectural.


I sometimes think that flower buds, being that they often possess the most concentrated color, are the most alluring stage of that flower's eventual opening. Certainly true for this Magnolia Black Tulip.


I still haven't positively ID'd this Lachenalia but it's one of the most striking in my collection. Not only does it have the vibrantly colored flowers but both the wide leaves and very sturdy flower stems are spotted.

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