Those Black Foliaged Lagerstroemias, And End-Of-Spring Flowers

'Ebony Embers' aka 'Black Diamond Red Hot'
There's the newly planted Lagerstroemia 'Black Diamond Crimson Red' aka 'Ebony Fire':
 Surrounded by blooming Hemerocallis, which can be easily moved as the Lagerstroemia grows.  There's also a red floribunda rose, 'Drop Dead Red',  which can be moved (or removed) as required. 
Update 7/2/2018: Here are the 'Ebony Fire' flowers:
 The 'Ebony Fire' flower color is not as saturated as the 'Ebony Embers' flower color.  It's difficult to see that in the photos, but in person it is quite obvious. 
'Ebony Embers'
Here's the original black-leafed Lagerstroemia, 'Black Diamond Red Hot'  (aka 'Ebony Embers').  I planted it in August, 2015.  It's still quite a slender thing, but has grown to over six feet (2m) tall.  These are slower growing than our Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite', which has the more typical green leaves with some reddish highlights--about 12" (30 cm) per year vs. 'Dynamite's 24" (60 cm) per year. All our Lagerstroemias are planted in unamended native soil and given no fertilizer.  

 Update August 17 2018
I am surprised how much it grew and filled in since June.  It did get a lot of water during July and August due to a long stretch of 90F+ temperatures. 

Here is the same plant at purchase back in 2015:
I planted another 'Ebony Embers' in 2016, not far from the original.  It's about five feet tall now.  The original 2015 plant is at the top of a gradual slope, and this 2016 plant is at the bottom of that same slope, where it receives more water due to gravity sending water down slope.  I think it looks slightly more robust than the 2015 plant due to that.  The bottom of a slope is always more moist than the top. 
The 2016 plant is the first to bloom this year.  

That combination of black leaves with a slight reddish cast and the brilliant crimson flowers always entrances: 
In 2017, 'Ebony Glow' aka 'Black Diamond Blush' went in near the gate from the vegetable garden to the koi pond garden. (I really am nutty about these trees!)  
 Perhaps it is due to childhood memories of the dark-foliaged plum trees my Mom & Dad planted at our family home before I was born--the first trees I was ever familiar with left a strong impression and lasting affection.  

Meanwhile, end-of-spring flowers.  The solstice is Thursday.  That least favorite season will last 93 days, 15 hours, and 47 minutes.

 Hydrangea 'Endless Summer' bloomed weirdly blue this year.  It looks strange and wonderful at the same time.  I gave it a handful of soil sulfur pellets, but it looks as though I dumped on a bucketful.
Because our soil is alkaline, hydrangea flowers in Southern California are pink.  Soil sulfur blues them up. 

"Uncle Owen!  What about that one?" 
'Mini Penny' has just a touch of blue
Another 'Endless Summer' is still pinkish.  It got what I had leftover from dosing Grevillea 'Superb' which gets chlorotic here.  A lower pH enables the plant to access iron existing in the soil, preventing chlorosis.
 We had a reprise of May-Gray weather over the weekend.  It was lovely.  The long stretch of cool weather in May prompted our two variegated Metrosideros excelsas to flower, mostly all at the top.  The bright red flowers are easiest to see from the balcony.  In Southern California, this plant blooms best right near the ocean, but because of our cool May,  ours came into flower as well.  Yet more nectar for hummers and bees.  

A neighbor has a very old Metrosideros.  Here's how big they can get:
On cool, overcast Saturday I braved the eight foot ladder and trimmed about four or five feet off the tops of some Pittosporums on the edge of the veggie garden, to control the height a bit.  I trimmed off the leafy bits to compost; the bared branches will go in the green waste bin. 
The Aeoniums bloomed a couple of months ago;  this Aeonium nobile is later.
 This species must be grown from seed as it does not offset.
 Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchard' was just about dead a couple of years ago.  I've taken better care of it (water!) and it has recovered somewhat.  It has bloomed later than most of the other Clems.
Crassula pubescens
One of the very last Hemerocallis to flower is 'Victorian Lace', and it's a favorite. 
Another that is very similar to 'Victorian Lace', though it is not nearly so prolific.
And another of the late ones.  This one has very nicely pleated petals, not readily apparent in the photo. 
'I Giver', which is probably late because it is shaded by a large rose bush. 
The outstanding 'Strawberry Candy'
 Oldie-but-goodie 'Pandoras Box'
'Bishops Castle' rose tends to flower late because it is on the north side of the house, where the soil remains cool longer. 
Everything still flowering in Proteana--the Leonotis, Hunnemannias, Grevilleas, Leucospermum 'Flame Giant' and ever-blooming purple Limonium perezii
Hummers there in the Leonotis.
That 93 day long season ahead.  Sigh.  I'll miss spring. 


  1. The dark Aeoniums really make the bloom colors pop in that great shot of the "Proteana" sector. Fascinating close-up of the blooming crape myrtle, too; the glossy buds remind me of Dahlia buds. Thanks for exerting yourself to share your late late spring with us!

    1. Yes, the black Aeoniums do make the yellows and oranges stand out. A lot of pluses to that plant. I should try planting some near the black Lagerstroemias also.

  2. I'm not looking forward to summer either - I've been spoiled by the long stretch of May Gray followed by June Gloom. The size of your neighbor's Metrosideros is a little scary but then my 'Springfire' seems to be taking its time growing up. Your photos of the dark-foliaged Lagerstroemeria have me wondering, once again, where I could plant one, preferably without incurring my husband's ire - he's already complaining about the way Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' is interfering with his view from his easy chair...

    1. That fabulous May--I'll remember that one fondly. What a dramatic difference it made for the plants, even after our pitiful winter.

      Not to worry--the neighbor's Metrosideros is a different species than 'Springfire', and it's also about 70(!) years old. Took a long, long time to get that big.

      Maybe just relocate the easy chair? ;^)

  3. Now you have me scheming to find a spot for an 'Ebony Fire' in my own yard....

    1. Should do well in your hot summers. They like heat.

  4. That 'Ebony Fire' is gorgeous. We can grow crape myrtles here, but our mild summers aren't their favorite. If I can find that one I might give it a try. Beautiful daylilies too. 'Strawberry Candy' is one of my faves.

    1. "Mild summers"--you're killing me! What about adjacent to reflected heat from pavement or a masonry wall? That also brings success with tomatoes here in winter.

      I love the rich color of 'Strawberry Candy', and the shape is always so perfect.

  5. Looking at your post's I always thinking "I wish I could grow that" in my garden. But
    I am enjoying to see it grow in your garden. It's beautiful.
    Have a wonderful day and I hope for you that your summer won't be too warm!

    1. Oh but your roses are so lovely! Thank you for the kind wish of a mild summer.

  6. I love the dark foliage of the first pictures. You have so much blooming now.


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