Bloom Day July 2012

I’m taking the last few weeks of July off work, which means sitting at a computer is the last thing I want to do. But miss a Bloom Day? Never! Since I’m heading out on more adventures this week, I’m going to rush through a few photos of my garden and then add in a few from last week’s trip to the Bay Area.

Papaver rupifragum and the Broom Fern, Asparagus virgatus (zone 7-10).


No vase required for this arrangement.


Helenium puberulum — of all the knockout heleniums to grow, right? I do like knobby stuff, though. I thought perhaps less petals meant less water requirements than fully petaled heleniums. Silly logic and not at all the case. A one-summer experiment.


Dahlia ‘Chat Noir’ — trialing a couple peachy dahlias this summer, too, and am not at all enthused. Done with dahlias. Except for this dark beauty. Saliva canariensis and Persicaria amplexicaulis in background


‘Monch’ asters are making a reappearance this year. Amazing long period of bloom, consorts well with grasses.


Disclaimer: Bloom Day post effectively ends here. All photos after this point are not of my garden.

I paid a visit to Annie’s Annuals & Perennials on 7/14/12. Very excited to report that I successfully transported six 4-inch pots in my carry-on bag from San Francisco International to Long Beach. Only possible within California state boundaries, of course, where quarantine rules aren’t an issue. After my bag was X-rayed, there was a tiny, heart-pounding moment when I was singled out for a special re-check and had to follow a stern-looking woman with rubber gloves out of the line, who I was certain was about to lead me into a lonely, dark basement room. Instead we went to a nearby table a couple feet away where the bag was re-examined by X-ray, not even opened, and no questions were asked. Success! Here we are safely heading home.


Back to earth. Sizable clump of Helenium puberulum at Annie’s nursery in Richmond.


Coreposis on fire, possible C. tinctoria ‘Roulette’


Regal lilies and roses wafting scent at the entrance


I’m guessing a Salvia involucrata hybrid, not the straight species. Maybe S. puchella X involucrata. Commanding attention near the entrance.


The little garden at the back of the shop of Paxton Gate. Treasures and oddities on the natural science spectrum. Taxidermied mice in stylish outfits, steam punk lamp creations. They give a great browse here.


Built-out planters were a nice touch to this vertical garden.


Striding through Big Daddy’s Antiques. Note the man’s coat I had to borrow. July in San Francisco: Brrrr.


The glory that is the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. More on the triumphant opening of Natural Discourse later. All botanic gardens should be open at twilight during summer, even if only for one incredibly memorable night. Magic hour indeed.




Agave polianthiflora in bloom


Eryngium maritimum

Eryngium maritimum

The gorgeous glare of Kniphofia triangularis


Aloe capitata var. quartzicola


A herd of agaves impersonating hedgehogs, possibly A. striata.


Agave xylonacantha, Tamaulipas State, Mexico

Agave xylonoacantha, UCBG 7/13/12, Tamaulipas State, Mexico

With Agave parryi and the native Fairy Duster Calliandra eriophylla


Agave species, no name provided, leaves soft like attenuata but much paler, edged in red, with flowers like eucomis on stilts. (Edited to add possible ID of Agave celsii var. albicans ‘UCB’)

PhotobucketAgave sp. Sonora State, Mexico UCBG 7/13/12

Agave colorata


Ginormous Cussonia paniculata, South African Mountain Cabbage Tree

Cussonia paniculata

Closing with an epic curbside spiral aloe, Aloe polyphylla, seen on a chilly walk through the Lower Haight in San Francisco.


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13 Responses to Bloom Day July 2012

  1. Hoov says:

    Wonderful! Love that polyphylla! Enjoy your time off. (Looks like you already started.) 🙂

  2. les says:

    Your airport adventure would be the start of a good novel, only you would have to make the outcome more exciting. Please enjoy your vacation, and take your camera for us.

  3. Sue says:

    When I see all the dry garden plants you grow, I’m amazed that you can grow Persicaria amplexicaulis. Mine sulks without regular water. A few years ago I got rid of ‘Firetail’ because it was a floppy mess and a japanese beetle magnet but I just added ‘Golden Arrow’ for the foliage.

    Loved Annie’s on my trip out there two years ago. I think I was the only one who didn’t take plants home. Maybe this year :

  4. Wait a second…how did you manage to squeeze all that into a single post? From your garden to Annie’s and finally Berkeley Botanical. My head is spinning (in a good way).

  5. gardenbug says:

    “All botanic gardens should be open at twilight ”

  6. Denise says:

    @Hoov, I saw lots of the spiral aloe in the Bay area, looking fat and happpy and occasionally spiraled!
    @Les, although I’d never tried it before, I knew taking the plants on board was technically legal, but there’s always the grumpy TSA agent factor to contend with.
    @Sue, I’m as amazed as you are that this is the one truly reliable perennial I’ve found for a dryish zone 10 garden. Must be the clay!
    @Loree, I should’ve split it all into several posts, I know! I hear you’ve got a Paxton Gate in Portland too…
    @Marie, it is the very best time to see the plants and so frustrating that it’s the one time we can’t go!

  7. Scott says:

    I was just walking through a nursery the other day and they had scads of fragrant Lilies…it was such a treat! I don’t know why I always gravitate towards the un-scented ones (could be my preference for the “turks-cap” style Lilies, which seem, more often than not, to be unscented 🙁 Next spring, I’m definitely getting one with SCENT! I’ll have to keep Berkeley Botanical in mine during our trip to SF this fall 🙂

  8. Linda says:

    I wonder If my mother-in-law would get away with stowing away a little pot of ‘ Chat noir’ when she flies over from the UK ..probably not.
    Still can’t get over that I grew up in the Bat area , not seen any of these wonders

  9. ks says:

    Great light for those shots at Berkeley Denise..I always hope for an overcast morning when I go up there.I strike out most of the time !

  10. Denise says:

    @Scott, I love the turks caps/martagon types but haven’t had any success with them. Didn’t know they weren’t fragrant! The way UCBG is tucked into the hills, the views out on the bay, it’s a great site.
    @Linda, seems I blog more about the Bay area than where I live, here in Los Angeles!
    @Kathy, it was one of the best times I’ve had in a public garden!

  11. Wait… no pictures of the taxidermy mice in their finest duds?!?! BOO! 😉

    I would actually grow that fiery coreopsis–and the salvia hybrid, too. But I’m really lusting over that black cat dahlia! And I love it with the phormium (I assume?) in the foreground of that picture. Great pairing!

    (Oh, and really… I’m leaving here to google taxidermy mice, in the hopes that I can find some pictures. Not kidding!)

  12. Denise says:

    @Kim, photos of plants only! The shop with the artists’ work did not allow photos. The most famous taxidermied mouse of the moment is the one on the cover of the Bloggess’ book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” — same general idea.

  13. You know how to vacation! Stunning plants at the UC Berkeley garden. I’m obsessed by Aloe polyphylla – I must have one!

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