Sunday, October 23, 2016

Banksia victoriae, Woolly Orange Banksia

Rare in the wild, found only in one area of Western Australia near Geraldton.

Photographed at UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday Vignette October 19, 2016

Niguel Botanic Preserve.  Careful erosion-prevention preparations done last year for an expected El Nino that turned out to be El Noshow.  Perhaps it will be of use this winter.  We can hope, even if hope, like water, is running low.  

To add a little beauty to the vignette, nearby dried flowers of Salvia clevelandii are as ornamental dry as fresh.   

As a matter of fact, we received a bit of magic sky water on Monday, perhaps 0.15" (4 mm).  So while not quite a vignette, I get a pass for magic sky water, right?
Calothamnus villosus after the rain:
 More vignettes at Flutter and Hum.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Back to Niguel Botanic Reserve To See The South African Lookout

 Above, the South African Lookout 
We returned to the Niguel Botanic Reserve, wanting to see the South African Lookout we'd missed on the first visit.  Studying the map of the place, we noted there were also a few other things to see that we'd missed--Wollemi pines, for example.
Maps are handy!  Beloved navigated.
We walked up to the Lookout. 
Below us was the area of the park designed for the non-plant-nerd:  sport fields, pool, and the like.
 Alas, we discovered the South African Lookout is a planned future expansion.  There were two Aloes and a Euphorbia ignens, a couple of Eucalyptus, and...
 ...a trash barrel.  Oh, well.  It would be a great space for South African plants someday.  I neglected to mention that this Reserve is almost all a volunteer effort.  They've done heroic work so far, with little resources.  With a much stronger and growing interest in climate-appropriate plants, the future of this place is promising.  
 We walked on to see a few places we'd also missed on our last visit.  That gorgeous Brahea armata by the palm stairway looked even better from a different angle:
 Toyon berries are ripening.
 We found an Acacia pendula.  I got one of these as an Annie's Annual seedling, dithered on where to plant it, and it died in one of our Santa Ana wind events.  My bad--beautiful small tree.

  Ah, I thought there would be a 'Peaches and Cream' Grevillea somewhere here!  We found a big healthy one.
 Guessing by the chlorotic foliage, this nearby Grevillea must be 'Superb'.  Didn't notice the grass growing in it when I took the photo--the grass might have been carefully removed by someone if I had.
 'Peaches and Cream':
 Then, then, then...I realized what was growing downhill of 'Peaches and Cream'.  Gasp!
 Yes, it's what you think it is. 
 In the most ridiculously luxuriant glorious good health!  A whole lot of them!  Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'.  Looking stupendous.  A plant I have killed too many times.  How did they do this?  
 WHAT.  DID.  I.  DO.  WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!
 It can be grown here, it can, it can.  It looked like a part- rather than a full-sun location--is that the trick? 
There were three Wollemi pines there also, two still alive, not looking nearly as happy as the 'Cousin Itt's. 
 Two Wollemis here, if you can pull your eyes from the 'Cousin's.  Wollemi (according to the linked article) in their one endemic location in Australia, grow in a low-pH (4.5) soil--difficult to achieve in Southern California. 
 Oh, good grief.  How did they get those Itt's looking so fabulous?  I must know!
 The plants were happily swallowing up their ID sign.  Darn it!
We had to move on before I started screaming.  
Ah, the comforting distraction of a Banksia:
Cassia? Senna?  Senna bicapsularis (Thanks, alert reader Jane!)
 It is Salvia leucantha's big moment of beauty all over Southern California.  I never tire of it.  This version has the purple/violet flower--ours at home is the purple/white combo.  There's now a white/pink variation available, but the saturated color of this type is my favorite:
 Another Banksia, B. integrifolia, perhaps? 

 Looking healthy and growing well with 'Canyon Prince' Leymus condensatus and aforementioned Salvia leucantha:
We also visited the small and neglected rose garden,  a "childrens garden" in the same condition, and peeked through a fence at the greenhouse propagation area.  
 The roses were struggling, except of course the ever-amazing 'Iceberg':

New growth emerging on a California native Rhamnus.  Autumn into winter and spring is their time to grow:
 A beautiful selection of Zauschneria Epilobium californica, 'Route 66'.  I had the ordinary species--this one looks much better:
Hummingbird party time!
 We saw this next also in the Huntington Australian garden--I disremember the name: Eremophila polyclada:
 Casuarina equisetifolia ssp. equisetifolia.  Pine-like East Asian and Australian genus with interesting cones.  This species is classified as invasive in Florida and South Africa.  (What isn't invasive in Florida?)
Back near the parking lot, as we left, the very common (for good reason) Callistemnon 'Little John'. 
  I left pondering those gorgeous 'Cousin Itt's.  How?  How?  How?  How did they do Itt? 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bloom Day October 2016

Above, the very first flowers from Grevillea 'Medusa'
Below,  Aloe deltoideodontea
 We've had several days of cool weather, so it was a chance to get outside and hack back some of summer's tired and sunburnt growth.  The cooler nights have caused several different plants to break out in flowers again--Hemerocallis, for example.

 Also reactivating are Aloes.  Besides A. deltoideodontea, the easier-to-spell species A. suprafoliata is developing a flower stem:
Farther along is Aloe fosteri, which produces a single, very branched and towering stem
 It displayed a beautiful range of colors just as the sun appeared.  The leaves of Aloe vanbalenii glow in the background. 
 Even reluctant bloomer 'Grassy Lassy' has flowers again. 
Also reawakened by cooler nights are the young Grevilleas.  Perhaps when more established they will be able to bloom in summer, but this year, they rested.  'Superb':
 The cooler nights of October also mean the end of Dahlia season.  'Catching Fire'
October is also usually the stellar month for individual rose flowers, but not this year.  It's been a terrible year for the roses, with Chili Thrips destroying nearly every flower.  If I want roses next year I face regular insecticide spraying.  Still, a few roses survive to bloom, like 'Yves Piaget':
Months of heat have nurtured the few subtropicals in the garden.  Truly fierce heat seems to have stimulated the new Bougainvillea 'California Gold'.  Surrounded by reflected heat from tile and stucco, in a heat-absorbing ceramic pot, it is thriving where the previous plant,  Rosa 'Iceberg' failed to be happy.

 A bright pink Pentas has also enjoyed the long hot summer.  It looks very happy:
 While Echeveria 'Pollux' bloomed in summer heat,  the new round of flowers are not infected with heat-loving black aphids. 
 Much better!
To end, a goodbye to the Brassica/Miltonia hybrid orchid, about to bloom out.  Who knows if it will ever bloom again, but the ten-year wait since the last flower stem wasn't so bad...
Huh.  More flowers than I thought I'd find.  More also of garden bloggers celebrate the blooms of October--links at May Dreams.  Enjoy!