Sunday, October 14, 2018

Falling into Fall

As the saying goes "Fall would be my favorite season if it wasn't followed by winter." It may be mine anyway, at least here in Oakland with the warmer days and cool nights extending well into November. While the garden may not be as lush or bursting with the exuberance of spring, fall offers its own distinctive charms. And Fall is kind of a rest period. Yes, there's still weeding and trimming, fixing up some post spring/summer beds, but we've done most of the planting and can sit back and enjoy what our gardens have to offer. Today's garden photos reflect the diversity of the season but also a subtle shift from flowers to foliage as we inch our way to the colder months. And given my diverse garden, there are always delightful little surprises. This week it was my carefully nurtured Cypella peruviana bulb opening its first golden-orange flower. As they say, sometimes the hardest fought battles provide the sweetest victories.

Here's what all the fuss is about. Like Neomarica caerulea this Cypella has a patterned 'throat' to add that extra bit of interest. Unfortunately the flowers are very short-lived, often only a single day.

Begonia 'Illumination Apricot.' One last shot of my prolific bloomer. The whole series seems to provide vigorous bloomers, often smothering the foliage. No shy wallflower here.

Although the variegated foliage was the appeal of this Mini Bar Rose morning glory, I like the white rim on deep fuchsia-colored flowers. 

Speaking of 'mini', here's my Calibrachoa Mini-famous Double Rose plant. Like many things in my garden this year, it's blooming later than usual. You're never certain to get a second year's bloom out of Calibrachoas but this is year two of this little beauty.

Justicia betonica. I'm still in love with this tres, tres cool Plume flower. I'd not known of it until finding it a fellow enthusiast's plant sale and now it's nearly my favorite plant. Look at it full size to fully appreciate  the veining on its bracts. I kind of think of it as my 'albino justicia.'

Tried to catch the sun back-lighting this huge flower on my Oenathera 'Silver Blade.' This cross has perhaps the largest flower of any Mexican Evening primrose. And it's not often that you see a flower where every part of it is exactly the same color (as you find here).

Okay, okay, I should wait until the flowers on this Asclepias cancellata open but damn I swear they are opening in extreme slow motion. The flowers on this Wild Cotton milkweed are slightly unusual, forming five white 'tubes' with purple bases. Stiff, slightly curved leaves also distinguish this plant. A great plant for Monarchs.

We occasionally get asked at the nursery I work at "Do you have any plants that bloom year-round?" Uh, no. But actually that's not true. Two come to mind, one being this Gomphrena decumbens. It just goes on and on, as if oblivious to seasons or rain or, well, anything!

I'm still digging my new Salvia mexicana 'Danielle's Dream.' It seems to spend as much time with its fuzzy white bracts closed as open and sprouting two lipped pink flowers but that's fine with me.

Sesbania tripetii. It's about done blooming but couldn't resist one last shot of its glorious orange flowers. 

Eriogonum latifolium. Although E. grande rubescens and E. giganteum get all 'the press,' this charming and neater habit CA Buckwheat has made itself at home. I like some wildness in my garden - and there's plenty of that - but a plant that stays neat and compact has its own charm.

Lotus jacobaeus. This is the 'other' nonstop blooming plant in my garden. I remember when I mentioned to an experienced gardening friend 'Oh, my Black lotus seems fragile.'  He claimed his grew almost like a weed and was never out of bloom. Lo and behold that's what mine has done. Bees love it so am glad to have flowers for them in the cooler months.

Another 'almost there' shot, this of my smooth and speckled leaved Billbergia. The flower spike is all yellow bracts for now but soon will open sprays of multi-colored flowers.

Nandina 'Firepower.' It's now acquiring the vivid reds that lend it its variety name. This is a dwarf heavenly bamboo shrub, only getting to 30" tall and wide.

Two new additions to the garden, nearly mature specimens of Birdsnest Fern here above and the delightful Kangeroo Paw fern below. btw, both can be grown indoors. 

I'm sometimes asked to photograph whole beds, not just individual plants. Here's a photo of the main walkway, taken from the vantage point of the back apts towards the street. There's a 2' wide bed on the right and a foot wide ledge on the left where I keep a collection of potted plants.

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