Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happy Solstice

It's hard to believe but we've nearly reached the summer solstice. Ostensibly the beginning of summer, here in the Bay Area it can mean nearly anything weather wise, though of course it does absolutely mean the longest daylight of the year. For those of us who like to be outdoors, this is 'one of our most favorite things.' I don't often stroll out in the garden at 8 pm but knowing I could is nice. It also means I have birds coming to my window feeders till past 9 pm. And to those of us for whom 'light therapy' is a real and tangible thing, the long days are really the very best blessing.
Those salutes accomplished, here are this week's photos. Lilies are ruling the day in my garden so they provide some of the visual highlights.

This new type of Hibiscus, H. longiflora HibisQs, is noteworthy for having its flowers stay open an astonishing 3-6 days, not the 1-2 of most Hibiscus. It is just in the testing phase here but hopefully we will see it on the market next year. This one is Adonis Pearl but they come in a host of bright colors too.

Speaking of bright colors, this Calceolaria calynopsis features bright red pocketbooks. It's a more compact species than the more familiar yellow-flowering C. mexicana.

Ornamental onions (Allium) take many forms. Here, this A. Red Mohican has a spherical head with dozens of tiny, half closed tubular flowers. This head is about 2" in diameter.

Here's the raspberry red lily that's part of my Summer Garden mix. It's an Asiatic type so not fragrant. Gorgeous color though. 

Lilium pardilinum. This California native lily is a type of Tiger lily - notice the recurved petals and prominent spotting. Though not always thought of as a destination for bees, in truth lilies are rich in nectar.

Lilium Triumphator. This huge trumpet lily is just awe-inspiring. 

The subtle colors on this tiger lily and not much spotting means that we're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

My Centaurea Blue Diadem and Clarkia Salmon Princess were hugely successful this year. That golden-leaved shrub is my glorious Physocarpus Nugget. 

Begonia boliviensis hybrid. These begonias are amazingly durable and long blooming, not to mention an easy way to bring orange into ones garden.

The star of the lilies parade this year is my new Lilium martagon Claude Shride. This is one that I wrote the sign for Annie's Annuals and for that contribution they kindly gifted me a single bulb. Martagons don't always bloom the first year but luckily mine did and wow, it produced 11 buds. They assume a nodding form, with partially recurved petals. The photo below, where I lift up the flowers, shows some of the spotting closer to the center. Though only 3" across and not fragrant, martagons are still highly sought after by collectors and usually command a dear price.

Walkway bed, upper portion. Here you can see a few developing tiger lilies, the Gloriosa lily shoots and the developing patch of Helenium Mardi Gras. There's also a patch of Lotus jacobaeus, otherwise known as Black Lotus for the deep burgundy (almost black) flowers.

Though it's still filling out, here's the first flower head on my Trachelium Hamer Pandora. Nothing says 'purple' like this deciduous perennial. A real butterfly magnet. btw, have you ever wondered how butterfly got its name? Wiktionary has several ideas. The old English 'buterfleoge' literally translates as 'butter' and 'fly.' The Low German word 'botterlicker' means 'butter licker,' as it was thought that butterflies landed on and ate butter. But the funniest derivation by far is the Dutch 'boterschijte' which means literally 'butter-shitter.' Apparently a few ancient Dutch thought butterflies excreted a butter-like substance.

Silver foliage is always an attraction and this silver-leaved Tanacetum haradjanii is a real treat. Tanacetums are feverfews and the one most gardeners are familiar with is the golden-leaved variety. This species stays low and acts more like a ground cover.

My Sea Holly is slowly acquiring its metallic blue coloring but here a honey bee is interested in the center flower.

It took awhile but my Chantilly Purple snapdragon is finally hitting its blooming stride. That's a Clarkia Aurora next to it, providing a pretty salmon contrast.

These are the yellow lilies in that Summer Garden asiatic lily mix. Such a vibrant yellow.

Lower walkway bed. I've mentioned it before but this bed demonstrates that you can densely plant a narrow strip, with a little planning and some judicious trimming.

Trachelospermum asiaticum tricolor. The genus is the familiar star jasmine, while the species and variety indicate this is the multi-colored more low laying type. I rarely get the deep reds you see here and when I first looked, they almost seemed to be red butterflies alighting on the cream and green leaves.

Hakonechloa macra Aureola. Though you can grow this Japanese grass in the shade it seems to prefer the sun, which brings out its golden colors more.

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