Monday, April 16, 2018

The Days Ahead

April is such an unpredictable month weather wise in the Bay Area - Oakland had hail this morning for crying out loud - that it's hard to know how our gardens will respond. It has also been unseasonably cool here in the usually ahead-of-schedule milder Bay Area zones. Of course that hasn't stopped plants from doing their thing, especially spring annuals. Now is a great time to add spring natives such as Phacelias, Gilias, Tidy Tips, Meadow Foams, native Lupines, Nemophilas (Baby Blue Eyes, Penny Black and Baby 5-Spot) and of course the various colors of CA poppies.
Here are this week's photos, representing a cross-section of my garden.

Viburnum plicatum. One of the most beautiful of all Viburnums, it features ridged lime-green leaves and hydrangea-like flat cymes of pure white flowers. C'est magnifique!

Athyrium. Better known as Japanese Painted fern, this deciduous but hardy and reliable fern is a real stunner. Colors range from an eggplant purple to a silvery hue. Not fussy and oh so pretty.

Trachelospermum asiaticum. Sometimes known as Tricolor jasmine, this colorful scrambler can be used as a ground cover or staked to climb a short trellis. Slow growing but worth the wait.

Clematis Niobe (above and below). My favorite Clematis for its velvety rich tone, this clematis is also very reliable.  The rich burgundy really stands out against the sea of green foliage.

Aechmea fulgens. Aechmeas are one of the easiest bromeliads to grow and also one of those that most readily produce pups (new babies). A. fulgens sends out a spike of orange tubular flowers tipped in purple. Beautiful!

Not the showiest flower I know but Allium unifolium makes up with charm what it lacks in the size of its flowers. There are a great many ornamental onions and they fall into certain groups. One group has sprays of tiny flowers, such as with this A. unifolium and the A. cernum below. Another, the Globe alliums, have large balls of tiny flowers that rise 2-4' above the ground. Then there are what I call the 'Exploding' alliums, A. cristophii and A. karataviense, the former known as the Star of Persia, in part because it hails from Turkey. Their flowers do indeed look as if they're exploding out from the flower cluster's center.

There's nothing quite like the inky blues of Phacelia viscida. Plus the nectary at the center is a lovely pattern. Enlarge the photo or better yet download a closeup of the flower and zoom in on the nectary. I'm a fan of true blue flowers and several Phacelias fill the bill.

To paraphrase Sara Lee "nobody doesn't like sweet peas." Here's the Triple G, a new variety being grown by Annie's Annuals. The deepest purple!

Here's the other true blue Phacelia, P. campanularia. A lighter blue and all things considered one of the bluest blues in the flower world. Bees love 'em too.

I think this delightful double Daffodil was part of a mixed bag of double varieties. It's become one of my favorites. 

Fabiana imbricata violacea. That's quite a mouthful for the heather-like sub-shrub. Despite its appearance it's part of the Solanacea family, hailing from Chile and Argentina. In summer it bears masses of pale violet flowers,blooming over a long period.

Leucospermum 'Veldfire.' I've written about this specimen aplenty so here the photo will suffice. BTW, bees and butterflies love these flowers.

Meadow Foam (Limnanthes douglasii). One of my favorite common names and quite apt, as the numerous flowers and lacy foliage seem to spill out in an endless fountain.

Ladybird poppy (Papaver commutatum). Everybody's favorite red poppy, Ladybirds are prolific bloomers, with one plant producing dozens upon dozens of flowers.

This daffodil was part of a Trumpet mix and I like the clean look of it. 

Another shot of my Exbury hybrid deciduous Azalea. Oranges, reds or golds, what's not to like?

Fuchsia autumnale. This trailing fuchsia boasts Autumn colors - reds, pinks and golds, all shown off in in combos unique to each leaf. 

Tritonia lineata. This delicately colored but hardy South African bulb is easy to grow and multiplies in your garden.

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