Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring, is that you?

Well, after fitful starts and stops, it seems like spring is finally here. I want to use this intro to introduce a new plant I've discovered. It's Arenaria Lemon Ice (photo below). Commonly known as Sandworts, given they are often found in sandy or rocky environs, the Lemon Ice variety of this sun-loving ground cover offers very pretty, lightly ruffled lemon flowers, sitting atop finely textured green foliage. It's always fun to discover a new treasure. Now the photos!

Arenaria Lemon Ice (from the web). Sweet, sweet flowers.

Iris douglasii. Everyone's favorite CA native iris. Slow to establish but hardy and now a nice colonizing addition to a woodland bed.

Though still growing, here's my rare Arisaema ringens. Unlike most Jack-in-the-Pulpits, it has a wide thick spathe. It's a bit late this year, though I'm not sure as to why.

Chamaecyparis lawsonii Van Pelt's Blue. One of my favorite varietal names (I wonder who Van Pelt is or was?). In any case, this false cypress has nearly reached its full height of 6-8 feet. Love the color.

Helichrysum Ruby Clusters. Yes this is a Helichrysum and no those ruby clusters aren't the flowers, but rather the pink buds that the yellow flowers will eventually emerge from. 

My Physocarpus Amber Jubilee is much fierier in year two than in its inaugural season. It displays an eye-catching range of colors, from chartreuse to golden to amber to orange to fiery red.

Hard to believe that this Japanese maple was once a young sapling. Like most maples, it leafs out in a hurry.  There's something elegant and stately about the larger Japanese maples.

I'm still waiting for my Ribes aureum to flower (and potentially fruit). Forget what you know about the most popular flowering currants when you're considering this Ribes. The foliage is different, the flowers are yellow (not pink, red or white) and it produces yellow fruit (not red). Thus its common name Golden Currant.

Fallopia japonica variegata. This charming deciduous perennial likes some shade. It goes completely dormant then returns in late spring. The small white flowers are less of an attraction than the interesting foliage.

Choisa ternata. Of the three most common 'mock oranges' (Philadelphus, Pittosporum tobira and Choisya), for me the clear winner is this intensely sweet smelling vigorous evergreen shrub. Easy to grow, sometimes a repeat bloomer in the fall and pest and disease free, well, case closed.

Here's a close-up of my Viburnum plicatum. Love the ridged leaves, as well as the flat cymes of Hydrangea-like flowers. 

Begonia Gene Daniels. I like the way the light brings forward the dark red undersides of the leaves, almost as if there are glowing embers behind them.

Dwarf lilac. This Syringa meyeri Palibin has all the charms of a lilac bush, only in a dwarf package. I hadn't expected it, however, to bloom this early, especially during our cool spring.

Trachelium Hamer Pandora. That's a lavender Scabiosa in front and then the purple-leaved Throatwort in the rear. It will eventually produce large sprays of tiny intensely purple flowers.

My favorite plant of 2017, Fabiana imbricata violacea. Not a heather but a member of the Solanaceae family, it nonetheless sports masses of ultra-cool tubular purple flowers that remind many of heathers.

Callistemon viminalis. This dwarf bottlebrush has finally settled in and now is ready for a full flowering season.

Berberis 'Orange Rocket.' Umm, not orange but a very lovely blood red. The spring color will gradually fade to a dark green but for now I get to enjoy these rich tones.

My unstoppable Aloe striata is blooming again, this year with three strong flowering stems.

Pulmonaria officinalis. From Wikipedia "The scientific name Pulmonaria is derived from Latin pulmo (lung).[1] In the times of sympathetic magic, the spotted oval leaves of P. officinalis were thought to symbolize diseased, ulcerated lungs, and so were used to treat pulmonary infections."

Despite this Cistus McGuire's Gold being listed as a sun lover, when I moved it into dappled sun it was much happier. It's rebounded and now in its third third it's looking much happier.

My front yard bed, with Maritime CA poppy in the foreground and the deep blue flowers of Phacelia campanularia in back.

Hebe speciosa's common name, Showy Hebe, is well deserved. My specimen is just starting a new bloom season. Bees adore hebes and this species is no exception.

My Cussonia natalensis lost all its leaves, making this caudiciform lover a bit nervous, but look, it's starting to leaf out again. Phew! I swear, some of us gardeners are worse than helicopter parents!

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