Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

The west slope a few weeks ago, with California poppies, Arctotis 'Burgundy', and the merest hint of orange Russelia equisetiformis adding color to 'Bright Star' Yuccas and striped centerpiece Agave americana 'Medio Picta Alba Aurea'.

Visit Flutter And Hum for more Wednesday vignettes.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Duos In Flower And Foliage

 Foliage/foliage above, pale greens pair in Ballota pseudodictamnus and an Agave parryi, variegated with creamy yellow.

Below, plummy Salvia 'Love and Wishes' with plummy Gazania at her feet.  Flower/flower.
 Orange-red in the Acer palmatum leaves, brighter orange in the Alstroemeria flowers.  Foliage/flowers
 Green and green, different in shade and shape.  Foliage/foliage:
 The weird/horrible/wonderful old-raw-hamburger color of 'Arlie Wright' Echeveria foliage brings out the pink tones in Cordyline 'Electric Shock'.  Foliage/foliage again.
 Golden Duranta foliage matches the yellow center of a Day Lily.  Foliage/flower
 The photo shows the Salvia flowers a little deeper in color than 'Peaches and Cream' Grevillea, but in person, it's identical.  Flower/flower.
 The crimson tips of Leucadendron 'Ebony' make its pairing with silver Maireana sedifolia more alluring.  Foliage/foliage
 An airy shawl of yellow Hummannia flowers accents the yellow edged, weighty Agave desmettiana.  Flower/foliage.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fasciated Verbascum and other "F"s For Friday

 We saw a fasciated Verbascum olympicum on a recent Huntington visit. Seriously creepy.  A bit of internet investigation revealed that in at least one species of Verbascum, fasciated plants produce significantly more seed than a "normal" plant, indicating a possibly evolutionary advantage for fasciation.  Plants with a fasciated parent are more likely to be fasciated themselves, therefore identifying the phenomenon as inheritable. Damage to seedlings can also induce fasciation, though less often than parentage. 

Creepy.  

Freaky!

Another "F"--the Front Slope.  Recently a neighbor across the street invited me to take a photo from a front window. 
 Another "F"--Fuchsias, looking pretty in this mild, gentle May.

 Another "F"--a face in Echeveria 'Pollux':
See?  
 Friday frivolity.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May Gray Work/Grevillea Flowers




We're getting a spell of what is known in Southern California as "May Gray", when a blanket of marine moisture--Raymond Chandler called it "high fog"--settles over the land, and doesn't clear until late afternoon, if then.  Temperatures are perfect for long days of gardening.  I've been hard at it.  

Sadly, I had to remove both fruiting cherries trees.   Originally there were three, planted January 2013.  One came out a few months ago, killed by some kind of borer.  Contributing factors were the drought and a not-great graft.
Gone in 60 minutes:
  The two survivors looked okay, blooming with enthusiasm and leafing out this spring, but they set no fruit, and then sap began bleeding in several places from the trunks.  The grafts looked terrible, too.  Strike one.  If not terminal they were headed for it.
Bad graft:
Digging them up exposed crown gall infection.  Oh, no.  Strike two.
Crown gall--that bump on the right:
Sap bleeding from wounds.  Strike three, they're out.  Of their misery and mine. 
We got a few handfuls of really good cherries last year.  Oh, well.  
Not so melancholy a job was shearing our side of the neighbor's Viburnum tinus hedge.  Where I placed blocks to stand on, it was quick, easy work.  Where the blocks were too low to reach all of the hedge, it was hard on both ankles and slope, but by no means as painful as failed trees.  I make no claims to a perfect job, but from a distance the hedge looks tidy.
Then on to the 'Crepuscule' rose--cutting it back and retying it to the fence I painted last autumn.  Much easier work by virtue of the stepping blocks installed for Spring Project 2016.


Next, potting up some succulents and getting others into the ground.
Happy in the ground:

Aloe 'Sparkler' miserable in the ground, is happy again in a pot:


Next, planting the Phabulous Phylica--I moved one of the Kalanchoe orygalis over about 8' and placed the Phylica in the Kalanchoe former spot, where the afternoon sun will light it up.  Whether it is a good spot or not--time may tell.  This plant had an impressive root ball, filling the 5 gallon pot, but without circled roots.  Good quality.  I added just a little peat to the planting hole soil, in hopes of acidifying the soil a bit.  Normally I don't add amendments when planting.   
She just got a shower, and looks a little tousled:

In between the work, several pauses to consider 'Robyn Gordon' and 'Peaches and Cream' Grevillea flowers.  The inflorescence begins as a bumpy finger on a branch tip, with little triangles of leaf-like tissue adding more texture:

 The structure lengthens, the little triangles dry up and fall away, and the bumps begin to partially unfurl:


The unfurled bumps grow to resemble flat snail shells.  Then beginning at the base of the inflorescence and continuing to the tip, the "snails" begin to split down the middle, like clams rather than snails, and loops of pistil emerge.

At one point, the inflorescence creates a rounded pattern of  loops.
Then the pistils fully emerge.  
Nectar begins to drip.  The flowers are fully open.
Quite an amazing process.  

I ended up with another Grevillea, G. nudiflora 'Medusa', deciding it was a great substitute, of a sort, for Acacia 'Cousin Itt', a plant I have killed two, soon to be three times.  The latest copy is on its last leafs. 
That's it for Itt.

'Medusa' may be more enthusiastic about living, and eventually cascade down the Spring Project 2016 slope.  It will grow much larger, though no taller, than 'Itt'.  The flowers are small, but bright--red with a yellow splash.  There was a Salvia discolor in the spot, before the Grevillea got it.  Perhaps the Salvia will get one of the cherry tree spots.    
'Medusa', I can do without Itt!
The local news reminded us that two years ago we were having temperatures over 100F.  This year's May Gray is a joy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

In A Vase--Recently

 For my MIL for Mother's Day, a mix of roses, a Grevillea, Alstroemeria, sweet peas, and a Leucospermum.  Abelia 'Kaleidescope' provides a few spears of colorful foliage.  I didn't have enough of any one flower or color to make a coherent arrangement, but it has a certain exuberance.
 For the elderly tailor who has a little shop a few doors down from the place where we get our morning coffee, a mix of Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' foliage, sweet peas, Shasta daisies, and a rose.  A yellow, lavender or purple rose would have been a better color, but I had none blooming.  The tailor's little dog, aged 19 years(!) died on Mother's Day and he was grieving.  It was painful to see his sorrow.  The little dog spent every minute of his 19 years with the tailor--they were inseparable.  He died peacefully in his master's arms, of great old age.      
One of my neighbors brought her daughter over to see the koi--she was amused at how loudly they eat.  Neighbor gave me some beautiful Gardenia flowers, and I gave her some sweet peas.  I floated the Gardenia flowers in a white porcelain salad bowl. 
 Flowers are even more delightful shared.   There is a wonderful "In A Vase On Monday" meme, but rarely I get around to making bouquets.  I find them easiest to make when I can give them away. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bloom Day May 2016

 Between rose flushes this Ides of May.  Just a scattered few at this moment--such as 'Beloved', above.  

Cistanthe grandiflora crazy gaudy against a background of Abelia 'Kaleidescope'.  The bees don't mind. 
Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird', just beginning for March Bloom Day, still looks quite striking two months later.  There is a single 'High Gold' flower on the new plant, which can just be seen at the extreme right of the photo.  Next year the show may be even better. 
 This is an 'Yellow Granex' onion flower!  The onions are ready for harvest.

 Leucadendron linifolium has a new set of silvery cones. 


 The Bougainvillea spectabilis is simply covered; leaves can barely be seen.  I had hoped that the Opuntia microdasys below the Bougie might bloom for the first time this year since it has grown so much, but...not yet.  This is a selection with wavy leaves.
 Salvia 'Waverly', making the hummers happy.
 Sideritis cypria has a delightfully whimsical bloom. I hope I get seedlings.


 White Shasta Daisies look sweet and fresh with Geranium 'Rozanne'.  The red foliage is Coprosma 'Pacific Sunset'
 The sweet peas finally bloomed.  Fragrance heaven!
 To end this post, the "insignificant" flowers of Ballota.  Tiny and hard to see, but beautiful nonetheless.  Close up, the plant's fuzzy stems look like pipe cleaners.  


 I hope your Bloom Day is beautiful!  See more at May Dreams.

While he dreams about nectar.