Wednesday, June 27, 2018

That Chantilly Thang

My upcoming SF Chronicle column will be on a wonderful series of snapdragons that some of you may have discovered - Antirrhinum majus Chantilly. There are five colors in this series - Peach, Bronze, Velvet, Purple and Pink. This series is much taller (30-36"), much fuller (my C. Bronze is a full two feet wide now) and much longer blooming (nearly year round) than your typical snapdragon. They are quite simply nothing like the weak little hybrids you buy at your corner garden center.
That said, here a few photos of plants in the series, the Bronze and Purple from my garden and the Pink courtesy of Annie's Annuals. These are followed by photos from my garden. Enjoy!

Chantilly Pink snapdragon. This orchid pink color reminds me of some of the Oxalis species, especially O. hirta. Vivid.

Here is my Chantilly Bronze snap. This is it back in March, right before I cut it back. It had been in nearly continuous bloom for ten months at this point. 

My Chantilly Purple really is more of a deep burgundy color but certainly offers a saturated tone. 

Papaver Frosted Salmon. Grown from seed, this breadseed poppy offers a color not easily found in the trade. Incidentally, I've discovered that bees love breadseed poppy flowers.

Hibiscus 'Cherie.' This rosa-sinensis variety offers up lovely salmon-orange flowers, plus a red eye. Hummingbirds are very fond of Hibiscus flowers.

Neomarica caerulea. This Iris relative has perhaps the most vividly colored flower in the Iris family. And though not obvious from this photo, it has an intricately patterned nectary.

Another variety in my Summer Garden Asiatic lily mix.

What goes on with Vegas stays with Vegas. This species Gladiolus is called Las Vegas and it is indeed colorful.

Sesbania tripetii. This tropical tree can get big but I'm keeping mine in a container to somewhat dwarf it. Vivid orangish-red flowers that look like pea flowers betray its legume family heritage.

There's purple and then there's purple! Trachelium 'Hamer Pandora' sports Hydrangea-like heads comprised of tiny purple flowers, much beloved by bees and butterflies.

Cynoglossum amabile is one of those rare plants that simultaneously looks like a weed AND offers up the prettiest sky-blue flowers. Sometimes known as Chinese or Tall forget-me-nots, it puts out a seemingly endless amount of those tiny, star-shaped flowers.

Laurentia axillaris. This perennial should be known as the lavender stars plant. A reliable deciduous perennial, it comes back faithfully each year, till it eventually poops out. Totally charming!

For some reason this Bells of Ireland plant, with its green flowers against a backdrop of green leaves, reminds me of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (HGG). In that Sci-fi book, our heroes wind up stealing a futuristic black spaceship from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Inside they discover  that everything is also midnight black. When one of the gang tells Zaphod "Hurry, if we're stealing this ship we have to do it. NOW" he says "Give me a minute. There's black controls, on a black panel, on a black station inside a black spaceship. How the hell do I turn it on?" And I think that's the charm of green flowers. They're there but you have to look really closely to see them.

Speaking of hidden things, the soft yellow flowers on my Eriogonum crocatum are kind of hiding within the foliage of my ornamental Quince plant (Chaenomeles).

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