Fall Foliage? (Mostly--Feathers, Too)

 See it?  That blush of reddishness?  A tiny bit of fall foliage color!  If we get a cold night or two and have not had a hot October, we may get a bit of foliage color.  Not this year--2017's October was Hotober.  

Out in the garden I've been moving this and planting that, and observing foliage in between digs.  

From the all-it-takes-is-lots-of-water file,  the volunteer fern that appeared in the top of the koi pond shower has filled the entire space.  No foliage damage at all to this fern in full sun, even during our horrific Hotober heat waves. 
 The after same miserable Hotober, foliage on 'Spider's Web' Fatsia: scorched in places and disappointingly un-webby.  The mid-century modern chandelier shapes of the flowers are somewhat of a consolation.  Somewhat.

 Sideritis 2.0.  For its first two years the original was a gorgeous plant.  The third year it lost its perfection, brown at the base, but it produced some perfect seedlings, like this one:

A hummingbird appeared and got a drink from the thin layer of water running down the urn fountain.  The bird's colors echo the fountain's.

All summer, the foliage of  Athanasia parviflora Hymnolepis parviflora crithmifolia attracted aphids and subsequently ladybird beetles.  It continues into autumn.  The hunter..
...and the hunted.  They've balanced themselves out nicely enough to allow the plant to thrive.
Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird' is battling Agave ovatifolia for world domination, while the baby Quercus adjacent will long outgrow and outlive both of them. As Qui-Gon Jin said, there's always a bigger fish.   
Finally got Phlomis purpurea in the ground.  It survived Hotober sitting in a 4" pot.  Tough plant!
 Agave 'Ray Of Light' planted, too.  Instantly happier.
 This not impressive plant is Hakea salicifolia 'Gold Medal', which has been puzzling me no end, because it has been painfully slow growing.  I thought the label said "Fast to 10'x10' ", so I wondered what I was doing wrong.  Turns out it is indeed very very slow growing.  10'x10' in 20 years--maybe.  Wasn't doing anything wrong.   Now I know. 
Slow also is Aloidendron pillansii.  It was in dire shape last year:
 
Now, showing significant recovery.  Yay!

This flower bud on Protea nerifolia was apparently dried up and dead when I first saw it.  The bud was tiny at the time--pinky fingernail sized.  Now it's golfball sized.  Dead doesn't grow, so it's not dead.  Looking forward to the flower, which will be silvery pink with tips fringed with pure black.  This counts as foliage because of the way the leaves are spiraled around the bud. 
 The emerging flowers from Aloe hardyi x cameronii are, like the foliage, tinged coral.   Seems to be a slightly nicer plant than A. hardyi just because of the cameronii-provided coral foliage color.  Hardyi's is plain green.   The hardyi x cameronii hybrid has inherited hardyi's tendency to sun scorch foliage even in this relatively mild near-coastal climate.  
Aloidendron thraskii has become very graceful now, with that long sweeping skirt of draping foliage.  First planted, it was quite awkward.  Ugly duckling to swan.

Comments

  1. Wow, lot's of action going on in your garden! Great hummingbird shot, love how you captured him between the green stripes. That Aloe thraskii is gorgeous. My eyes have recently been opened to the beauty of Aloes (in large part due to your beautiful photography!!). I think I was in some denial about my love for them before as I lived in a wet frosty climate. Now that I garden a little warmer, I feel like I can appreciate them more. Weird, huh?

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    1. Not weird at all--a little warmer garden makes the growing of Aloes a little more possible. I am not a zone-pusher, sticking to plants that will be happy in this climate--well, mostly. It's educational to try a few iffy plants.

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  2. Aloe thraskii, after what you say was an awkward adolescence, is now a stunner. Temps are supposed to climb to almost 90 for Thanksgiving, so you can enjoy the garden in shorts and flip-flops again.

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    1. So pretty, yes. I didn't expect that.

      "Almost 90" and "enjoy" don't belong in the same sentence! I hope the heat is a brief aberration.

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  3. Those are great shots of the hummingbird! I'm glad your garden is getting its fall bounce after our miserable October (and I very much hope the coming warm up doesn't last). Now I'm off to check for aphids on my own Hymenolepsis...

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    1. I could not quite figure out at first what the bird was up to. I added a rock to the top of the fountain as a dry perch just out of the water for other birds--now to observe how that goes over.

      Hope yes that the heat will be very brief. They are the nasty black aphids, the worst. The ladybugs showing up was so cool.

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  4. It isn't over yet. 92F predicted for Thanksgiving Day here by Weather Underground Ugh.

    That fern is a sword fern, I think. Take a close look at one of the leaflets. You should see a small projection at the base where it attaches. This supposedly resembles the hilt of a sword. I have them. They grow wild here, no care whatsoever, and are difficult to remove. That planter is a good place to keep them contained. Nice with camellias.

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    1. Well, won't be able to garden on Thanksgiving anyway. Cooking and family and such. May the heat be brief!

      Yeah, I think it's that sword fern that is to be honest weedy. If it springs up elsewhere in the garden it will be removed.

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  5. HB, the picture of the hummingbird deserves a prize! The hummingbirds here are so weary of the camera! When I am not holding it they came very close to me but when I want to take a picture they fly away! I like aloes because they attrack lots of hummingbirds but unfortuntately nurseries here don't offer many Aloe varieties. Have a great sunday!

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    1. Well tell those birds that they need to get used to the camera. Beauty has a price! ;^)

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  6. it is a rather lovely skirt, with room to make a sweeping entrance.

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  7. Those hummingbird shots are quite stunning, as is the Protea nerifolia. Hope your upcoming heatwave isn’t too bad.

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  8. I experimented one year with cutting my Sideritas back to the ground to get rid of that lambs-earish brown foliage at the base. It was not a success. So, I think this will be one of those that I pull out every couple of years and replace. Your Aliodendron thraskii is just splendid !

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    1. Lambs Ears were a complete fail here (several times) so Sideritis is a most excellent substitute. When there are healthy seedlings, replacement is also most excellent.

      Aloidendron, yes indeed. Should have updated the name.

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  9. Wow ! The images of the hummingbird are stunning. Very nice how its colors match with the fountain. Fall foliage here has been disappointing, too, as far as the overall effect. But it is nice to see individual plants with pretty colors. You have some interesting, very exotic plants!

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    1. Thank you! I think it is an Anna's rather than the Rufous which has become the dominant species here--smaller but belligerent. Wish I could tell them there is plenty of nectar for all.

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