Tag Archives: Gaillardia ‘Oranges & Lemons’

back on the home front


 photo P1019685.jpg

It’s finally happening.

 photo P1019680.jpg

 photo P1019848.jpg

Miraculously, after a couple close calls resulting in an almost fatal wilt, Musschia wollastonii has survived and begun to hoist up that much-anticipated chartreuse candelabra of blooms.
The Madeira Giant Bellflower must be an unforgettable sight in bloom on its native cliffs of Madeira. As with Aeonium tabuliforme, the cliff face is what’s shaped that remarkable architecture. Some claim to grow musschia mainly for the leaves, but I don’t find them wildly exciting, possibly because it’s been struggling to survive here. Musschia is monocarpic, meaning it will die after blooming. Which also means I can now die happy, having seen it bloom in my garden. But what vigilance to get to this point! In spring I parked this pot right by a hose bib on the north side of the house for its daily shower.

 photo P1019763.jpg

Also newly in bloom and slightly offbeat, Emilia javanica ‘Irish Poet,’ the Tassel Flower.
A delicacy that couldn’t compete in a waist-high, full-throttle summer garden, but it stands out fine in mine, which is in the process of undergoing accommodation to the ongoing drought.

 photo P1019786.jpg

Emilia may be small, but it packs a big orange punch in its ‘Irish Poet,’ form, seed from Nan Ondra.
Many years ago I grew the species, which is a darker, burnt orange bordering on red. I much prefer the electrifying orange of ‘Irish Poet.’

 photo P1019662.jpg

These pots give a sense of its scale. Last agave on the left was just brought home from the recent Orange County succulent show.

 photo P1019835.jpg

Agave ‘Tradewinds,’ a blue-green striped potatorum selection thought to be a seedling of ‘Kissho Kan.’

 photo P1019825.jpg

Diminutive emilia is barely visible on the lower left, unlike the fountain of Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket’ in the distance.

 photo P1019775.jpg

The plumes arch just where the Cussonia gamtoosensis canopy begins, a wonderful effect that’s unlikely to be duplicated next year as the cabbage tree continues to grow.
Today I watched for the first time as a sparrow landed in the baby cussonia, which to my mind makes it a real tree now.

 photo P1019869.jpg

There’s also two big clumps of this grass fronting the lemon cypresses on the eastern boundary*

 photo P1019774.jpg

And another clump growing amidst Gomphrena ‘Fireworks.’ Both thrive on minimal supplemental water, which keeps them in trim, upright shape.

 photo P1019768.jpg

The front of the cussonia border, which shows how Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ looks in its summer dormancy period here.
I can appreciate ‘Zwartkop’s’ skeletal form, as opposed to the giant ‘Cyclops,’ which was getting increasingly annoying in its off-season shabbiness, so it’s been pulled out of the garden to be grown in a container.
All the plants here are well adapted to low water use, except for a couple patrinia I foolishly included this year. Crambe maritima is doing really well, another plant I saw in several Portland gardens recently. Yucca, furcraea, gaillardia, adenanthos, coprosma, Pelargonium ‘Crocodile,’ anigozanthos, agastache, echium, Rekohu carex. A Beschorneria alba is in here somewhere too. Variegated St. Augustine grass is weaving through the legs of the aeonium and spilling onto the bricks. The iron pyramid was propping up a castor bean I recently pulled out.

 photo P1019808.jpg

In ‘Cyclops’ place I decided to try agapanthus, something I’m as surprised to type as I was to purchase, having never brought one home before. This one is ‘Gold Strike,’ and it wasn’t easy to find. I wrongly assumed I’d have the pick of tender varieties in inky blues, even deep purples, all within a few miles’ radius of home. After all, they grow like weeds here. There must be a wonderful selection locally, right? And if not, there must be U.S. growers with extensive lists, right? Wrong on both counts. The best selection, of course, is found with UK nurseries. A couple years back I attended a lecture given by Dan Hinkley on what he’s up to at his new garden at Windcliff, and a good part of the presentation was on his new-found love of agapanthus. “How suburban!” I thought at the time, and “Dan’s going soft!” But as usual, Dan’s right. Mature stands are tolerant of drought, make a mid-summer garden look fresh again, and now I can’t wait to try them with Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket.’ The deepest blue to be found locally is ‘Storm Cloud,’ but I’m not done searching around for other kinds with names like ‘Purple Emperor’ and ‘Night Sky.’ Still can’t believe I’m shopping around for agapanthus, though.

 photo P1019753.jpg

A large mint bush near the ‘Cyclops’ aeonium was showing its age, so that was given the heave-ho recently too.
Prostranthera never gets older than a few years in my garden and is well known to be short-lived.
Waiting in the wings, outgrowing its pot was Eucalyptus ‘Moon Lagoon,’ which I intended on planting in the mint bush’s spot in the fall.
This is one of the mallee eucalyptus, which are more large shrubs than the towering giants Californians associate with eucalyptus.

 photo P1019656.jpg

Never much inclined to wait, I called Jo O’Connell at Australian Native Plants Nursery, where I bought the eucalypt, to ask her opinion.
She said to absolutely go for it now, mid-summer, a woman after my own heart. And so it’s been planted.

 photo P1019721-001.jpg

Speaking of suburban, how about some marigolds? (Now who’s going soft?)

 photo P1019728.jpg

What an undeserving bad rap the bedding plants industry has given marigolds. The tall strains like this one, ‘Cinnabar’ from Derry Watkins, are so hot. If you don’t have a bias against orange, that is.

 photo P1019602.jpg

And I don’t think there’s anything easier to grow from seed than marigolds.

 photo P1019736.jpg

The grey shrub arching over the marigolds is Olearia virgata v. lineata ‘Dartonii,’ brought home from Far Reaches Farm a few years ago.
(“If you’ve hankered for a willow but lament your dry conditions, then weep no more.”)
It was so cool to see this shrub growing against the greenhouse at Old Germantown Gardens in Portland recently, where it was tightly clipped in a more columnar form.
The Agave attenuata is ‘Boutin’s Blue,’ formerly ‘Huntington’s Blue,’ not quite happy in full sun. In a large pot, it’s the Goldilocks of agaves and gets moved around quite a bit.

 photo P1019581.jpg

Marigolds in the distance, the new Leucadendron ‘Ebony’ in the foreground, handling its first summer beautifully so far.
The sideritis to its right wasn’t so lucky, inexplicably collapsing a couple days ago, about a day after this photo was taken.
Every so often around mid-summer, this mysterious soil-borne wilt process takes out a plant.
I know in my absence the garden was watered really well for a change, and that might have kicked it off.
The sideritis was one of two self-sown seedlings I found this spring, so it was a gimme anyway.
I’ve already planted a couple Cirsium occidentale in its place.
(Seeing the cirsium almost in bloom in Scott’s garden in Portland was a nice moment too.)

 photo P1019557.jpg

The Berkheya purpurea I brought home from Cistus a few weeks ago can just be seen behind the leucadendron.
The oregano-like plant is Calamintha nepeta ‘Gottlieb Friedkund.’ Fabulous plant I’ve been spreading around the garden. From Digging Dog.

 photo P1019739.jpg photo P1019737.jpg

Another annual growing fast in the heat, Hibiscus trionum, seed also from Nan Ondra.

 photo P1019712.jpg

Rudbeckia triloba is everything I want in a summer daisy, except for its moderate thirst.
There’s a chance that if it self-sows, the progeny will be better situated for drier conditions. Slim chance, but you never know. And there’ll always be gaillardia.

 photo P1019555.jpg

Eryngium padanifolium in its second year, reliably blooming again, a great relief.

 photo P1019800.jpg

The ‘Limelight’ Miracle of Peru seed around, and a few are always welcome.

 photo P1019745-001.jpg

A potted Lotus jacobaeus has filled out well this year, much more so than when planted directly into the garden.

 photo P1019872.jpg

Aristolochia fimbriata scoffs at any neglect I throw its way. No surprise that it was included on the sales tables at a recent succulent show. It’s that tough.

 photo P1019871.jpg

 photo P1019492.jpg

Crassula pruinosa, also brought home from Cistus

 photo P1019507.jpg

The crassula was tucked in at the base of Euphorbia ammak. That golden-leaved shrub thrives in pot culture, even the careless kind I practice.

 photo P1019541-001.jpg

Really brightens things up. Corokia virgata ‘Sunsplash’

 photo P1019647.jpg

Also doing really well in a container is the Shaving Brush Tree, Pseudobombax ellipticum

 photo P1019645.jpg

And that just about takes care of mid-summer 2014.


*I keep neglecting to mention that one of the best attributes of this excellent grass is that it is sterile and therefore noninvasive, unlike Pennisetum setaceum.

Bloom Day June 2014

Bloom Day on Father’s Day? Really? I figured this out about 7 o’clock last night, but by then I was too sun-blasted to muster a post. Marty wanted his day spent at a local Irish fair. Guinness and “trad” music for him, Irish wolfhounds and sheep herding displays for me. Running late, on to my experiments with herbaceous stuff for a dryish zone 10 Southern California garden. A counter-intuitive direction in the land of palms, agapanthus, and bougainvillea but for now my idea of summer.

 photo P1016590.jpg

June brought the agastaches. Dark blue in the background is Lavandula multifida.

 photo P1016589.jpg

Agastache ‘Blue Blazes’ planted last fall 2013

 photo P1016602.jpg

So now the blue spikes of Plectranthus neochilus have been joined by agastache to make quite an unplanned wash of blue in the corner under the Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea.’

 photo P1016672.jpg

No complaint from me. A corner of blue isn’t a bad thing on a warm day.
The lavender and catmint ‘Walker’s Low’ is here too.

 photo P1016360.jpg

Self-sown nicotiana with the plectranthus, leaves of Echium simplex in the foreground.

 photo P1016610.jpg

Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ is a pale, milky blue. Maybe a little insipid compared to some of the darker blues like Agastache ‘Purple Haze,’ which I neglected to photograph.
But BF has an admirable chunky structure and wonderful leaves. Umbels of Baltic parsley in the lower right.

 photo P1016668.jpg

Cenolophium denudatum, the Baltic parsley, was started from seed a couple years ago. I think it would be happier in a wetter garden. Stays green and lush but not many flowers.
Maybe I should try it in soups.

 photo P1016665.jpg

I lifted and split the enormous clump of the grass Chloris virgata and started with smaller divisions last fall. It thickens up fast and does self-sow so no danger in losing it.

 photo P1016401.jpg

In a small garden, a large pot of cosmos makes for a summer full of daisies. This one has a faint halo of yellow. Cosmos ‘Yellow Garden’

 photo P1016639.jpg

Pot of cosmos in the background. Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ and digiplexis. There’s some white cleome in here too I didn’t photograph.
For animating a dry summer garden with just two kinds of plants, it’d be hard to beat this gomphrena with grasses.

 photo P1016642.jpg

Purple orach on the left.

 photo P1016613.jpg

Seedheads of purple orach, Atriplex hortensis. Wish it did more than very lightly self-sow. The edible orach would no doubt be happier in the rich, moist soil of a vegetable garden.
I once grew a fantastic chartreuse form too but couldn’t get it to reseed. The lower leaves are fed to the parakeets.

 photo P1016677.jpg

The best umbellifer I’ve found for dry zone 10 is Crithmum maritimum.

 photo P1016606.jpg

I love the crithmum growing among Eryngium planum

 photo P1016335.jpg

Dalea purpurea’s first year has been very impressive.

 photo P1016328.jpg

Tiny blooms on the grass-like Anthericum saundersiae ‘Variegata’ which thrives in the morning sun/afternoon shade in very dry soil under the tetrapanax with bromeliads and aeoniums.

 photo P1016627.jpg

The kangaroo paws don’t seem as tall this year. Not long-lived anyway, the lack of winter rain may have contributed to smaller size. (‘Yellow Gem’)
More fern-leaf lavender, with Gaillardia ‘Oranges & Lemons’ in the background.

 photo P1016637.jpg

My garden is really too small for big clumps of rudbeckias, too dry for heleniums. Gaillardias are just right. This one is sunshine on stems.

 photo P1016621.jpg

Out of three pots of lilies, only the white returned in spring, supported here by the trunk of Euphorbia lambii.

 photo P1016597.jpg

Pelargonium echinatum has started a new flush of bloom in the mild June weather.

Catch up with other June gardens at May Dreams Gardens.


Bloom Day May 2014

 photo P1015780.jpg

Thank goodness, unlike me, some like it hot, such as Dalea purpurea. the Purple Prairie Clover.
Zoned only as far as 8* and not recommended too far south, so zone 10 was a gamble as far as lack of winter dormancy.
Might not be long-lived here, but it’s putting on a good show for a young plant.
(*to clarify, for zones 3-8. I’m always concerned about a plant’s winter chill needs and heat tolerance.)

 photo P1015775.jpg

I duplicated how I saw it planted at the Highline, close in to the walkway to admire its outline, but I’ll probably add more amongst the phlomis and other shrubby stuff. The bees will thank me profusely.
Its deep tap root handles dry conditions beautifully. You can imagine how much water it’s getting planted amongst agaves and succulents, which is next to none.
The legume family is full of such interesting characters. There’s a white form too, Dalea candida, but I’m fine with magenta.

 photo P1015735.jpg

A succulent I like as much for its flowers as leaves, Cotyledon orbiculata var. flanaganii

 photo P1015739.jpg

This annual grass doesn’t reseed much, but every bit of it is a treasure. Briza maxima

 photo P1015784.jpg

Gomphrena ‘Fireworks,’ planted last fall, exploded into growth with the heat.

 photo P1015722.jpg photo P1015718.jpg

Wonderful little pelargonium whose name I’ve misplaced, gets clipped back when it encroaches on Agave schidigera ‘Shira ito no Ohi.’
(If you need cuttings, just ask. And then let me know if and when you ID it. Possibly P. trifidum?)

 photo P1015737.jpg photo P1015748.jpg

More heat lovers, gazanias and gaillardias

 photo P1015712.jpg

Various iterations of self-sowing nicotianas shrugged off temperatures over 100, a rarity here a mile from the ocean, where we’ve previously never felt the need to install air conditioning in this old drafty bungalow.

 photo P1015487.jpg

Solanum pyracanthum wintered over and got an early start in spring.

 photo P1015752.jpg

Most worrisome was anything spring-planted, like this Glaucium grandiflorum

 photo P1015785.jpg

But except for some sad heat damage on the big-leaved agaves, we all limped relatively unscathed through the second record-breaking heat wave of May 2014.
My survival strategy for the next one involves researching old camping cots on craigslist. I’m planning a camping theme for the east patio. I haven’t slept outdoors in quite a while.
When life deals you heat like this, might as well have a weenie roast.

So it’s finally here, May, the month that Carol dreams of all year. Some gardens are already cooking on all burners, some just waking up, but it’s all chronicled on
May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts our Bloom Day reports the 15th of every month, or thereabouts.

aftermath of a spring heat wave



 photo P1015452.jpg

Unseasonal, sudden onset heat, like cold, is similarly not in a plant’s best interests. The pristine good looks of Agave ‘Blue Flame’ took a hit last week.
Poor thing didn’t have time to develop a base coat and suffered a bad sunburn on a few leaves.

 photo P1015468.jpg

But only a couple feet away, in full sun, delicately pale Agave celsii var. albicans ‘UCB’ absorbed it all in stride.

 photo P1015470.jpg

This New Zealand grass, Harpochloa falx, was planted before the heatocalypse began, possibly the worst conditions imaginable in which to introduce a plant to its new home, yet it seems to have weathered the sunstorm. And if it hasn’t, I’m definitely going back for more. Oddly enough, I’d been chasing down another New Zealand grass, Chionochloa flavicans, which is why I’ve been combing the grass aisles at local nurseries, where this beauty unexpectedly popped up. I finally ordered seed of chionochloa that, knock wood, is germinating nicely. But what a nerve-wracking enterprise seed-sowing can be during a heat wave.

 photo P1015469.jpg

It’s very similar to the Eyebrow Grass, Bouteloua gracilis, which didn’t like my garden one bit and exited roots first fairly quickly.
So excited about this NZ grass, which is evergreen, with a name I might actually remember, reminding me as it does of both Harpo Marx and his brother’s famous eyebrows.

 photo P1015471.jpg

The castor bean plant shot up like Jack’s bean stalk, exulting in a punishing amount of sun.

 photo P1015474.jpg photo P1015486.jpg


The bulk of the back garden is made up of tough, rough-and-ready plants that should stand up to whatever the weather has in mind (theoretically). Probably favoring leaves over flowers, it still brings in lots of aerial drama from pollinators. Seen in bloom here is lavender, adored by hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, night moths, all manner of winged creatures, with gaillardia, kangaroo paws, Senecio leucostachys, whose pale yellow flowers naturally age to brown.

 photo P1015363.jpg

Amazing how much hot, dry wind a delicate thing like the annual Orlaya grandiflora can withstand.
Its bloom will probably be over by June. Never one to chase the idea of a nonstop, summer-long flowerfest, I’m completely okay with flowers going in and out of bloom.
Like savoring seasonal fruit and vegetables, for me it’s the changing rhythms that make a garden that much more exciting.

 photo P1015475.jpg

Some plants had me worried, like burnt ember-colored Isoplexis isabelliana and the digiplexis, all of which did fine. Nothing phases a russelia, yellow flowers on the right.
I hand-watered the foxglove relatives all directly at their base, because they definitely showed some heat stress, which I also did for anything newly planted.
Everything had already been deeply mulched, which keeps the soil cool.

 photo P1015359.jpg

I wasn’t too sure about spring-planted clary sage either, another plant I hand-watered directly at its base, and so far it seems fine.
I’ve been trying for years to add this sage to my repertoire of self-seeders and feared I’d lost another chance.

 photo P1015484.jpg

This Coprosma ‘Plum Hussy’ was planted last year and didn’t blink in the heat, even though I forgot to give it an extra drink.

 photo P1015459.jpg photo P1015458.jpg


Sunday morning brought relatively cooler temps, and having been idled and literally made dizzy by the extreme heat, I was itching to get busy. Half of Eryngium pandanifolium was sprawling onto the terrace off the kitchen, snaking around our feet under the table. I can’t speak for everybody here, but I was prepared to live with these conditions, since I’m thrilled that this fantastic eryngo from South America likes my garden. But now that I’ve got a few seedlings for insurance, I’ll probably remove the main plant and plant something a little less intimidating. Yesterday I cleaned up old leaves and removed three big offsets, which were planted elsewhere, though I doubt they’ll survive. Like all eryngos, they hate root disturbance and are famously touchy about being moved. Worth a try anyway, rather than tossing them in the compost pile. That’s one of the divisions in the photo above with the coprosma.

 photo P1017999.jpg

March 2013, with the eryngo on the left, that surprised me by a) really, really liking my garden, and b) thereby swiftly increasing in size. Agave ‘Blue Flame’ can be seen, too, in better days. The mortared brick path on the right was in place when we bought the house. Instead of bricks and pavers on a bed of sand, I should just gravel in what’s left of the terrace, which is sinking below grade. I keep pulling the bricks out anyway to make room for more plants.

 photo P1017850.jpg

Which is what I did for the eryngo, removing some bricks in secret, of course. Seen here in May 2013, still very puya-esque in character.

 photo P1018189.jpg

Detail of the eryngo’s 6-foot bloom stalk last August.
I’ve just started another promising eryngium from seed, another South American from Argentina, E. bracteatum, which has deep red, bottle brush-type flowers.

 photo P1015489.jpg

Plectranthus neochilus has been stunning this spring, happy with dry soil, overcast skies or extreme heat and strong sunshine
For hazy blue, I should just forego nepeta entirely and go with this plectranthus. The tight, uniform bloom is the stunning result of very harsh treatment.
It’s a spreader, so I cut it back hard in winter.

 photo P1015479.jpg

This Echium simplex, growing deep in a border, weathered the heat fine, but another one closer to the bricks suffered leaf burn

 photo P1015454.jpg

The poppies run to seed fast in extreme heat

 photo P1015381.jpg

At the front of the house, the jacarandas’ normally sticky blooms had the texture of potato chips underfoot after a few minutes on hot pavement.

 photo P1015368.jpg

Another delicate one that withstood the worst of the heat wave. I will say this about monocarpic plants that die after blooming. They really, really give it their all. It was a pleasure, Melanoselinum decipiens.


Bloom Day August 2013

Not too much of a change since July’s Bloom Day post, when I predicted the Persicaria amplexicaulis would own the garden in August, and the vibrant crimson spikes have done just that. This knotweed is the legacy of foolishly trialing just about every reasonably drought tolerant, classic border perennial in the early years of making the garden. A very quixotic notion in this dry-summer climate that would prefer plants just go dormant, like many of our natives do. Still, there are always surprises to be found, like the persicaria.


 photo P1018237.jpg

It still amazes me that this persicaria thrives in my zone 10 garden, in full sun. A fabulous bee plant too.
These kinds of perennials are as rare a sight here as desert plants in a wet, zone 5 garden. It’s always about the challenge, isn’t it?

 photo P1018207.jpg

Where the common red persicaria loves the dry, heavy clay of August, the other varieties always struggle. I’m trying the white-flowered persicaria again, so this is a new clump, and it’s just managing to squeeze out a few blooms against a backdrop of the unstoppable ‘Limelight’ Mirabilis jalapa which self-sows.

 photo P1018184.jpg

Even though I long ago gave up on the concept of a summer garden of strictly perennials, I usually include a few stalwarts for late summer.
The ‘Monch’ aster is another surprisingly reliable perennial in zone 10. Finding perennials that can tolerate such a long, dry growing season with very little winter chill is a continual puzzle that still absorbs me. I like the seasonal “movement” they give the garden.

 photo P1018163.jpg photo P1017824-1.jpg

But like everyone else, I have been trialing agastaches. I brought in a few kinds in spring and early summer. Planting agastaches in fall has always been problematic (they disappear by spring).
This one is the stalwart ‘Blue Fortune’ I grabbed at a local nursery.

 photo P1018160.jpg

Agastache ‘Summer Glow’

 photo P1018165.jpg

Other good daisies for summer here are the gaillardias, and ‘Oranges & Lemons’ citrusy colors makes it one of my favorites.

 photo P1018261.jpg

The simple buttery goodness of anthemis is another continual favorite. This one is ‘Susanna Mitchell.’ If ‘Sauce Hollandaise’ is at all different, I haven’t noticed. I have read that ‘Cally Cream’ is considered to be more reliably perennial where this anthemis tends to disappear after a season. Not a problem here. Incredibly easy from cuttings in any case, and bulks up fast in one season.

 photo P1018264.jpg

The anthemis with Salvia greggii

 photo P1018162.jpg

A nice feast for insect pollinators and hummingbirds

 photo P1018220.jpg photo P1018228.jpg

Speaking of summer feasts, I am in stone-fruit love with my neighbor’s peach tree. Or maybe it’s an apricot tree. (This is its first crop.) I’ve never experienced fruit-tree lust before, but now I’ve got it bad. Having to duck under its branches to sit at the table is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Is this not the best of all possible worlds: A fruit tree taking up no space in my garden, within picking distance? Oh, hell, yes. The fruit is just starting to color up. Will they be edible? The suspense is almost unbearable. The branches were wall-to-wall with fruit, just inches apart, and some quick Internet research brought up the importance of thinning the fruits. I may have thinned my side too late. Common wisdom says to thin as soon as fruit has set after bloom to lessen the nutrient burden on the tree. Also saves the tree from weighty branches prone to wind damage. Some diehards even thin out the blooms before fruit set. The little tree was given a buzz cut, topped within an inch of its life last year, which was fairly alarming, but I’ve since read this is a technique some recommend for better fruit bearing. Possibly by next Bloom Day we’ll have sampled some fruit. My neighbor didn’t thin his side, so the fruit might turn out bland and insipid. Offering advice just seems a little too pushy for now.

 photo P1018183.jpg

Self-sown Verbena bonariensis. The dwarf kinds actually seem like that rare good idea where dwarfism in plants is concerned, but so far they’ve been disappointing and weak growers. ‘Little One,’ ‘Lollipop,’ whatever the name, they dwindle and limp along, never very many blooms at one time. The self-sown species is robust and reliable.

 photo P1018185.jpg photo P1018266.jpg

Cuphea viscosissima attracts lots of pollinators, has a lovely rich color, but some seriously ratty leaves. If it seeds around I’ll let some stay, but I won’t go out of my way to grow it again.

 photo P1018167.jpg photo P1018168.jpg

Tall, knobby gomphrena in deep orange. Yes, please.

 photo P1018191.jpg photo P1018192.jpg

Nicotiana are back, progeny from Nicotiana ‘Ondra’s Brown Mix.’ These are new plants that seeded into the bricks. The ones that bloomed all winter were pulled out in June to make room for early summer plants.

 photo P1018234.jpg

Russelia is incredibly tough, long blooming, and beloved by hummingbirds.

 photo P1018204.jpg photo P1018200.jpg

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is having a strong rebloom after being cut back hard in June. Eucomis were shaken out of their pots and grown in the ground this year. Much more upright in full sun and dry conditions, if just a tad singed on the leaf tips.

 photo P1018154.jpg

The prairie clover, Dalea purpurea, just planted in July, lightly blooming.

 photo P1018175.jpg

Lotus jacobaeus beginning to bloom again after a deep soaking in early August. I know what’s attracting flies to the garden this year.

 photo P1018189.jpg

That would be Eryngium pandanifolium, whose blooms carry the light scent of old socks, noticeable mainly on still mornings. Possibly its one failing.

 photo P1018256.jpg photo P1018257.jpg

The weight of the blooms is sending some of the stalks earthward. This stalk remains upright by leaning on a hanging caged tillandsia.

 photo P1018249.jpg

The tillandsia has the scent of grape Sweet Tarts.

 photo P1018252.jpg

Salvia chiapensis is rarely out of bloom.

 photo P1018276.jpg

This little cutie was found at a local nursery this summer, the South African Crassula exilis subsp. cooperi. Very thyme-like in appearance, growing to just 2-3 inches high. To zone 8.

 photo P1018268.jpg

A California native new to me this summer, Lessingia filaginifolia. I’ll probably move it to the gravel garden in fall.

 photo P1018272.jpg

The garlic passionflower is blooming lightly in August and appreciates occasional deep watering.

 photo P1018285.jpg

After wondering every summer how to prune this crazy tropical, whose new leaves push out like a mop atop a 6-foot trunk, the matter was taken out of my hands.
Here it is throwing new growth after having its trunk snapped off at the base in a garden mishap. (A tree fell on it).

Carol at May Dreams Gardens graciously hosts Bloom Days and gathers links of participating blogs there, 92 when I last checked.


Bloom Day July 2013

An extravagant display of blooms isn’t the overwhelming impression the garden is making this July, which is pretty typical.

 photo P1017242.jpg

Though the Pennisetum ‘Skyrocket’ grasses are technically blooming.
In the dimming twilight, the ferny leaves of Selinum wallichianum can just be made out leaning onto Furcraea foetida ‘Mediopicta’ in the foreground.

 photo P1017336.jpg

And the sideritis is also technically in bloom.

 photo P1017159.jpg

Solanum marginatum’s white blooms are for all floral intents and purposes invisible.

 photo P1017063.jpg

And there are blooms you have to move leaves aside to see, like with this little Aristolochia fimbriata. Since it reminds me of a tick, I don’t mind if the flowers stay hidden behind those very cool leaves.

 photo P1017367.jpg

In the foreground lean in the bleached-out plumes of Chloris virgata. Eryngium pandanifolium tops the pergola in the background

 photo P1016985.jpg

‘Monch’ asters are responsible for some of that blue.

 photo P1017035.jpg

And ‘Hidalgo’ penstemon is the tower of lilac blue. So far this is a beautifully erect penstemon that I’d absolutely include in next-year’s garden if it decides to return or maybe seeds around. From Mexico, zoned 9-10, reputedly long-lived and not touchy about drainage issues. On that count, one of the first casualties this summer is the lovely shrub Phylica pubescens, pulled out yesterday. I pruned it lightly when I returned from being away a couple weeks. Immediate decline followed. Never, never prune touchy shrubs mid-summer. Will I ever learn?

 photo P1017422.jpg

Peachy yarrows like ‘Terracotta’ line the path cutting through the border behind the pergola, now not more than a dog track.

 photo P1017417.jpg

Salvia chiapensis flowering at the base of the eryngium.

 photo P1016908.jpg

More closeups of Eryngium pandanifolium, the undisputed rock star of the garden this summer.

 photo P1017098.jpg

 photo P1017431-001.jpg

 photo P1017360.jpg

Persicaria amplexicaulis will pretty much own the garden in August.

 photo P1017425.jpg

In July I’m glad for every Verbena bonariensis I pulled out of the paving and planted into the garden in spring

 photo P1017130.jpg

One of the “suitcase plants,” Pennisetum ‘Jade Princess.’

 photo P1017167-1.jpg

Crithmum maritimum weaving into Senecio viravira. The senecio is starting to throw some more of its creamy blooms after being thoroughly deadheaded about a month ago.

 photo P1017031.jpg

So far the crithmum has been the most reliable umbellifer to flower through summer. (Selinum wallichianum is struggling. to put it mildly.)
Crithmum with yarrow and Eryngium planum.

 photo P1017195.jpg

Crithmum, yarrow, leaves of persicaria, calamint, anthemis, agastaches, anigozanthos in the background

 photo P1017398.jpg

Some peachy Salvia greggii are building size for a late summer show with the grasses.

 photo P1017218.jpg

I carved off some bits of the ‘Skyrocket’ pennisetum in spring to replace Diascia personata which I found disappointing, and the grass bulked up fast. Its slim tapers move quickly from burgundy to beige.

 photo P1016983.jpg

Tall, sticky-leaved Cuphea viscosissima seems to love the heat.

 photo P1017070.jpg

Plectranthus neochilus is starting to bloom heavily, just as nearby Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ slows down after being cut back

 photo P1017348.jpg

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ lightly reblooming

 photo P1017078.jpg

In a border closest to the garage/office, early spring-blooming annuals and flopping penstemons were replaced with Gomphrena ‘Strawberry Fields’
and Gaillardia ‘Oranges & Lemons.’

 photo P1017272.jpg

 photo P1017439.jpg

Russelia reminds me of a blooming restio, great for texture tumbling around nearby containers. It’s planted in the garden and does well with minimal irrigation.


There’s odds and ends I left out, such as eucomis and the passion flower vine which has been wonderful all summer, but that’s the sketch for July. Sending out solidarity to those suffering in excessive heat, or too little heat if that’s possible, unseasonal drought, too much rain. It’s always something in July! Thanks as always to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day on the 15th of every month (and not minding those straggling in a day late).

cage light vase

If you happen to have a marine cage light in the garage, and some lengths of chain in your garden shed, all of which came to light after a thorough cleaning and organizing marathon today, you can take a short break from all that tedium to make this. Marty wrapped some twine around the rim of the cage and hooked the chain under the twine. Done in about 15 minutes. Some pliers to open and close links on the chain were the only tool required.


 photo P1014164.jpg

Lots of these caged lights have colored shades, so we were in luck that this shade is clear glass.
Cleaning out the garage is always equal parts delight and exasperation with all the stuff we’ve rat-holed away over the years.
Actually using some of the forgotten stuff we’ve stored feels like vindication, a kind of triumph. Triumph of the Pack Rats.

 photo P1014141.jpg


Eryngium pandanifolium, almost to the top of the pergola, is just behind the vase, which is filled with a single bloom of Gaillardia ‘Oranges & Lemons.’ I pulled out some annual coreopsis and tucked in a couple of this gaillardia, which like my dryish summer garden just fine and will bloom with astonishing exuberance into fall. That’s also a bromeliad hanging in the background, Aechmea recurvata ‘Aztec Gold’. This is definitely the summer of the hanging garden.

 photo P1014136.jpg

The vase is hanging outdoors for now, from a hook on the pergola, but there’s no reason it couldn’t hang indoors too.


June 2010 Bloom Day

A 2-year-old mossed basket with sedums, agave, and oregano ‘Kent Beauty.’ I was surprised to see the oregano return this year. Life in a mossed basket can be rough.

Photobucket

The urns of arctoctis. Hopefully, the next time I replant the urns will be the day after Thanksgiving, to fill them with tulips. July is not too early to get a tulip order in for the best bulbs!

Photobucket

Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’ and Libertia peregrinans. This libertia actually is in bloom, tiny and white, but it’s the tawny leaves I’m after.

Photobucket

Crocosmia just budding up, different kinds of forgotten names. Running in ribbons throughout, not in big clumps. I’m always amazed they find their way up and through at all in June.

Photobucket

Continue reading June 2010 Bloom Day