Thursday, August 30, 2018

Happy Labor Day!

Well, everyone raise your hand who wonders where in the hell August went. That's what I thought. Did we really have a summer? One thing about those of us who have a wide variety of plants in our garden - those plants are their own calendar/clock. Allowing for some variation in rainfall and temperature, spring blooming plants bloom in spring. Summer bloomers bloom in summer. If that comes across as a 'duh' statement, there's more profundity to it that a first glance. While we humans are kind of untethered to the biology of the seasons, plants are 'hard-wired' to follow their genetic programming. There's something comforting about that to me. A reminder that despite all the silly things that humans do, Nature is steady and rhythmic. Mind you, we're doing our best to wreck it, as a warming earth can only bring trouble.
After last week's side excursion into native bees, I'm back this week with photos and descriptions of plants in my garden. August and September are transition months in my garden (and in many gardens I suspect), with summer still here but hints of fall arriving. In any case, today's photos are a mixed bag of genera, form and color. Enjoy!

Sundial. This new addition to my garden features several dragonflies, one in 3D as the arm of the 'clock.' 

Begonia 'Illumination Apricot.' The Illumination series is one of the showiest and longest blooming all tuberous-type begonias. Love this color! 

Agastache rupestris 'Coronado.' One of my favorite hummingbird mints. It bears repeating that agastache are one of the great bee plants around. They're around my species gathering nectar for what seems like the whole day.

Ipomoea x multifida. Better known as Cardinal Climber, this unusual morning glory features heavily dissected leaves and small but intensely red flowers. A personal favorite!

Amaranthus tricolor 'Illumination.' This striking annual doesn't get as big as many Amaranthus but that foliage is just so pretty. 

No problem with size on this Snapdragon Chantilly Purple. Every one of the Chantilly series is robust and fills out to an impressive 30" high and wide. And they're very long blooming.

Ditto for the marvelous Ageratum houstonianum, which is much taller and fuller than the bedding types. So, we need a new memorable line. How about "Houston(ianum), we have much success!"

Lilium 'Sheherazade.' One of the loveliest oriental lilies around. I now have ~ 25 varieties of lilies in my garden.

I never get tired of photographing (and sharing) my glorious Tecoma x smithii. They seem to be radiating their own sunshine from within. 

Friends sometimes request I share photos of whole beds or areas of my garden, not just individual flowers. Here's the main walkway leading to the back. The walkway gives you an idea of how narrow the house side bed is. On the right is a foot wide raised cement area that holds pots. In the foreground is Abelia 'Kaleidoscope,' everyone's favorite variegated Abelia. The bright golden bush further down is my Duranta 'Gold Mound.'

These Sesbanii seedpods, large and colorful, almost look like XMas tree ornaments. 

The genus Senecio is so widely varied, you could probably trick all but the most experienced gardener into thinking that a whole bunch of species couldn't possibly belong to that genus. Although this S. amaniensis isn't one of those 'huh?' plants, its size (to 6') and thick wide spatulate leaves certainly make it a somewhat unique member.

Justicia fulvicoma. 'So many Justicias, so little time' is my motto. This orangy-peach one is a sun lover and tough as nails. 

I spoke of unusual Senecios. Well, here's one. S. kleinia is indeed rather odd looking. Here's what San Marcos Growers has to say about it: "A succulent sparingly branched winter growing shrub with gray bark on thick articulated (with constrictions like a sausage) stems that can grow to 6 to 10 feet tall and wide but usually seen in cultivation in the 4 to 5 foot range. It has narrow 3 to 5 inch long gray-green leaves near the branch tips that come directly on the stems without a petiole. Small whitish yellow fragrant flowers appear in later spring to summer on terminal short branched corymbs followed by white fluffy seed heads" Couldn't have said it better myself!

Want more strange? Here's Bukiniczia cabulica, a pretty succulent hailing from Pakistan. Its marbled patterning on the leaves would be reason enough to add it to your garden but it will eventually send up flowering spikes that look like tentacles on some alien creature!

I thought this was an interesting shot. A bit of wildness in a front yard bed. The red flowers are Epilobium canum, sometimes known as CA Fuchsia. The milky white you see is the seedhead fluff of several Tweedia flowers. Tweedia is of course a member of the milkweed family (most notable member being Asclepias) and shares those fascinating seedpods of all true milkweeds.

Nope, I didn't plan this. My Bells of Ireland decided to do a 'walkabout.' That aside, this has turned out to be a more durable and longer blooming plant than I expected. If you are into green flowers, Bells needs to be near the top of your list. Want to have a little fun with a gardening friend? Ask them where Bells of Ireland are native to. You'll likely get a deer-in-the-headlights look and a meek "Umm, Ireland?" Which of course it isn't. This annual is native to Turkey, Syria and the Caucasus.

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