Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Good Things in Small Spaces

Every gardener has one or more small space in their garden, be that an area separated by a driveway, fence, walkway, existing tree or sometimes the house itself. This space can be a square, semi-circle, long strip or an irregular corner. These spaces can blend seamlessly into your garden or they can be used to create 'theme' gardens. This theme can be as simple as a shady spot or as elaborate as a distinctively themed garden with attending art, special lighting and of course particular plants. Some theme gardens include a Fragrant garden (filled with sweet smelling shrubs & perennials); a Wildlife garden (designed to attract birds, butterflies & bees); a Succulent/bromeliad garden (whether in the ground or in pots); a Secret garden (patio or private garden); a Child's garden (filled with whimsy); a Tropical garden (foliage plants giving a lush look); a Water feature garden (Focused on a pond, fountain or other water feature); an Oriental garden (focusing on conifers, rocks, statuary); a Monochromatic garden (devoted to one color) or a Woodland garden (with appropriate understory plants). There are many more, depending on your imagination. 
I've done this in my own garden, having a Tropical corner bed with gingers and bamboo, a Japanese garden with dwarf conifers, statuary and rocks, an Aussie natives bed with Australian natives and a bird sanctuary, with shrubs and trees that provide shelter, places for nests and berry-producing shrubs that certain birds love. 
Theme beds can be simple or elaborate, obvious or subtle. That's the beauty of them.
Okay, now this week's garden photos. 

Calendula 'Bronzed Beauty.' This lovely calendula is also edible (the flowers) but darn, it just seems too pretty to pluck! 

Laburnum anagyroides. The Golden Chain tree is a wonderful way to add golden flowers to a garden. It leafs out quickly in spring and flowers soon after. Needs water when it first leafs out to achieve a full lush look but can use less later. One look at the flowers and you recognize that it belongs to the Fabaceae family, which of course includes various legumes.

Clarkia Salmon Princess. Would this make it the princess of fish (salmon)? It's not so much the color that's different about this CA native annual but the interesting shape of its flowers. 

This first batch of photos are taken with my zoom lens, allowing me to get closer in for a shot of smaller flowers. That was especially valuable for this shot of Salvia melissodora, where the flowers are tiny. For flowers so small, they pack quite the fragrant punch (grape soda).

Okay, here's a groaner joke. What is the national flower of Jamaica (besides the obvious)? Why that would be the Calliste-mon. This dwarf form, C. viminalis, has the same flowers but in a more compact form. Much beloved by hummers and bees.

Ghost of Christmas past? Sort of. I planted this Amaryllis outdoors after it bloomed two years ago and last week I suddenly discovered it in bloom! That may seem strange, it blooming now, until you consider that Naked Ladies are also an Amaryllis and bloom in the summer.

There's something simple and clean about columbine flowers. Here's an Aquilegia 'Rocky Mountain.' 

Saw a bumblebee harvesting nectar from my Teucrium Gwen so thought I'd snap a shot.

Though orange is the dominant color for Tiger lilies, they also come in yellows and reds. This beauty is from a Tiger lily mix I bought as bulbs last winter. This is probably the richest red I've yet to see in a Tiger lily.

There's something otherworldly about Snowball viburnum flowers! V. opulus flowers start off green then mature to a blinding white color. This year my tree just went crazy in the flowering department.

My Impatiens congolense (syn. I. niamniamensis) has outgrown its container and it's suffering a bit but that hasn't stopped it from flowering. The genus is one of the great survivors, proliferating under good conditions and hanging on in conditions that would kill other plants. They are one of the few stationary plants (ie. not vining or spreading) that can broadcast its seed via the seedpods 'exploding' and flinging seed up to 20' feet away.

Ground covers are under-appreciated as garden plants. This is a double form Gazania and it's nicely colonized a front yard sunny bed.

Here the Yellow Emperor ixias have opened their first flowers. There's something very appealing about yellow flowers with burgundy centers.

Papaver rhoeas Pandora. This deeper red/burgundy variety of the straight species offers its own allure. 

Mimulus Jelly Bean Gold. This variety seems to glow in the sun, offering up luminescent colors. 

One of my favorite names in the flower trade is the 'Mini-famous' line of Calibrachoas. First off, what the heck does that even mean? They're not 'fully famous?' They're famous for being miniature, kind of the plant world's version of Austin Power's Dr. Evil's Mini-me? In any case, this is C. Mini-famous Double Pink and I do like the tea-rose form of the flowers.

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus. A whole lotta name for a little guy but that's often the case with Caudiciforms. This is a vining type so we'll see how big it gets. 

Plectranthus zuluensis. If the species name reminds you of Africa, well, that's no coincidence, as most Plectranthus hail from South Africa. Famous for their toughness, adaptability to shade and ability to repel insects and predators (like deer). Lost in all their attributes is the fact they're also pretty. 

Despite its common name - Star of Bethlehem - this is another bulb hailing from South Africa. This Ornithogalum Coconut Cream just opened its first flowers, a lovely alabaster white with brownish-green centers.

Campanula 'Blue Waterfall.' This variety gets its varietal name from its trailing habit. It's a prolific bloomer once it gets going, blooming from late spring through early fall.

Yes, that darned Dicentra scandens is back! It's rather like your favorite weed - you know it's coming back and yet you love it. 

Physocarpus 'Amber Jubilee.' I've been surprised at how deep red many of the newer leaves are on this variety of Ninebark. It's meant to be, well, more of an amber color. Not that I mind. I love these colors!

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