Thursday, August 8, 2019

Variety is the Spice of Life

Well, that variety certainly is the 'spice' if as a gardener one likes a great range of plants. Though it has never been elucidated here, that range, in terms of the type of plant, encompasses at least these forms: smaller perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, vines, ground covers, xeriscape plants, succulents, a group that includes Aloes, Agaves and Yuccas, South African plants, CA natives, water or bog plants, bonzai, dwarf conifers, bromeliads, bulbs, plants for deep shade, tropical plants. The list is much longer, depending upon your parameters. The idea is, there's a great wealth of plants to choose from in fashioning a garden, with each one of these listings also potentially serving as a theme garden. At one time or another, I've employed five from the above list for such a theme garden. Even if one doesn't (as I have) populate one's garden with some of each of these, it is fun to consider the role that they can play in our gardens.
On that note, here are this week's photos.

Begonia Illumination Apricot. One of the heaviest bloomers of all my begonias. Love the color!

Helenium Mardi Gras. I know I take too many photos of this amazingly prolific sneezeweed but it's so damn beautiful. A bee magnet.

Tiger lily. Not sure which one this is but it always produces tons of flowers.

Tigrinum Flore Pleno. This is considered a double tiger lily and, as well, it has the deepest orange in my collection of tiger lilies. 

Although slightly shaded, this is my Erica speciosa. It's starting a new bloom season but I enjoy the foliage year round.

Although the Digiplexis craze has somewhat subsided, they're still widely available. This is the original, D. Illumination Flame. Of note, the flowers are infertile and thus stay open and beautiful much longer than those of its cousin Digitalis (foxglove). 

Sphaeralcea Newleaze Coral. This exuberant mallow has sprawled out of its pot and onto the street.

This Lilium 'My Wedding' turned out to be very similar to another double white lily I grew this year (Lodewijk). Though not quite as fragrant as the latter, it still exuded a pleasing scent. The photo below shows more of the stand of this variety.

Ageratum houstonianum. "Houston, we have a ... success." This tall, long blooming species is always a delight. A fave of butterflies.

One could easily add 'caudiciforms' to the list of types of plants in the intro. Here's one - Cussonia natalensis. Caudiciforms are recognized by their fat trunks, which can be just a couple of inches tall or in the case of certain trees 50' high!

Leucospermum 'Veldfire.' Though it's already bloomed, this pincushion bush hailing from South Africa has I think some of the most beautiful foliage of any Leucospermum.

If it's August, that means it's time for Crocosmias. Here's my C. Emily McKenzie. Fiery orange flowers on tall arching stems are its calling card. 

Likewise past its spring blooming period but still attractive is my Cotinus Royal Purple. I took the plunge and pruned it hard this year and it bounced right back, more lush than before. There's different kinds of pruning but you might think of this type as 'restorative' pruning.

My Tecoma x smithii is now a force of nature. It's not only climbed to the top of a 20' street tree but it's blooming even more vigorously this year. No matching that sun-drenched color.

The bed between the front driveways was once all Australian natives. Though I've since deviated slightly from that organizing principle, this Adenanthos (Wooly bush) continues to hold down, if not dominate, the bed.

Non-cat lovers can skip the next tw photos. Here's Phoebe out in her element, making sure I'm getting the (gardening) job done right.

This year's "most outrageous lily" award goes to L. Bombastic. Huge, the deepest red ever and really, really fragrant! Case closed.

I mostly took this shot to capture the colorful little metallic green fly that was visiting my Helichrysum bracteanta Monster Red.

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