Bloom Day November 2016

Daylight Saving Time and the electoral college. I think we can agree that these are two areas worthy of further study.
May Dreams Gardens collects Bloom Day reports the 15th of every month.
My excuse for posting on the 16th? The DST ate my report. I don’t know how you all manage with these shortened days.

 photo 1-P1013747.jpg

For November we’ll begin with N, for nerines, truly a miracle bulb. I get it that all bulbs are miraculous, but they are not, unlike my nerines, kill-proof.
But go ahead and forget nerines in a dry bowl all summer long (like I do a lot of other plants, come to think of it).

 photo 1-P1013739.jpg

In the case of nerines, you will be rewarded, not punished. They require that dry summer dormancy.
Think of nerines as bulbs that actually encourage bad behavior.

 photo 1-P1013814.jpg

Okay, nobody gets excited by the drab composite flowers of a senecio, but I do like how the blooms extend the leaf-stacked lines of the stems.
And November is not a bad month for a shot of yellow. (Senecio medley-woodi)

 photo 1-P1013760.jpg

More November yellow from Tagetes lemmonnii, the Copper Canyon Daisy.
What a great common name, right out of a John Ford western. Some plants get stuck with unfortunate names like “lungwort.”
Maybe I’m weird (ya think?) but I actually like the smell of the leaves.

 photo 1-P1013798.jpg

Bocconia is sending forth those frothy bloom panicles.
Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea,’ the blue wash in the background, is also budded up with bloom.
The acacia just underwent an intervention and had some Tanglefoot smeared around its trunk to stop the ants from massing cottony cushiony scale along its branches.
As difficult as it is to imagine winners where climate change is concerned, there will be those who come out victorious, and I’m certain they will be bugs.
Each one of those cottony, pillowy encrustations on my acacia holds over 600 eggs.

 photo 1-P1013802.jpg

I’m loving this tawny, oatsy look the garden has taken on in November. ‘Fairy Tails’ pennisetum in the foreground, oatsy-colored bloom trusses of tetrapanax in the background.

 photo 1-P1013818_1.jpg

One clump of melinus, the Ruby Grass, is still sending out rich-colored blooms. The other two clumps have only faded stalks. More oatsy theme.

 photo 1-P1013726.jpg

Once the grevilleas reach blooming size, look out. It’s just another ‘Moonlight’ mile, as far as continuity of blooms. It really does take on a lunar glow around sunrise.

 photo 1-P1013829.jpg

Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ backed by the claret tones of ‘Hallelujah’ bilbergia.
And since Dustin Gimbel burst into Mr. Cohen’s immortal song when he gave me these pups, that’s the gorgeous earworm I’m stuck with in their company.
(I have to admit my earworm is sung by Jeff Buckley, though. I can’t help it — that’s where I heard the song first.)

 photo 1-P1013764.jpg

I don’t think I’ve given a shout-out to Plectranthus neochilus all summer. Ever stinky of leaf, but a sturdy friend to hummingbirds.
The stump of the smoke tree ‘Grace,’ that improbably grew branches as thick and far-flung as a sycamore, still lies underneath.
A little more decomposition of the stump, and I can dig it up and plant something more exciting. I know the hummers are going to hate me, though.

 photo 1-P1013825.jpg

And yet another entry in the category “Every Bloom Counts in November,” the little euphorbia that took containers by storm 5 or 6 years ago, now greeted mostly with yawns.
Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is perennial here and doesn’t get into much trouble. Nothing eats it and hot, dry summers don’t faze it.

 photo 1-P1013822.jpg

Another view of it wrapping around the other side of the containers, with another survivor, a climbing kalanchoe. The euphorbia loves that root run between garden and bricks.

 photo 1-P1013782.jpg

Berkheya’s feeble attempt at a weak-necked bloom this November highlights why it’s equally appreciated for those great, serrated leaves.

 photo 1-P1013792.jpg

Aloe “Kujo’ is just about spent, but the red-tipped aloe to the left, cameronii, was discovered to have two buds still tucked in close to the leaves this morning. (Woot!)
The other aloe to the right is allegedly elgonica. I’ve searched the blog and find no reference to a bloom yet.

 photo 1-P1013787_1.jpg

And the little passiflora ‘Flying V’ is still displaying all those fine qualities, unstoppable, indomitable, etc. this November, on the day after Bloom Day.

Bloom Day August 2016

 photo 1-P1012872.jpg

It must be August, because the Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is billowing. This tender perennial becomes activated by the heat of August.
I pull it out by the handfuls when it gets too rambunctious but always leave a few roots. Any plant that likes this weather deserves a place at the table.
And I like what it’s doing with this potted agave. Remember when this euphorbia was the “it” plant several years ago?
It had a brief moment in the spotlight as a go-to annual for containers. Here it’s colonized the soil where the bricks meet the garden.

 photo 1-P1012882.jpg photo 1-P1012873.jpg

Otherwise, it’s the grasslands of August and not much change since July Bloom Day. Same cast of characters.
Most of what’s in flower are oddball blooms only a bug would love, no real classic garden plants, so I’ll spare you the closeups. (And I got home too late.)
I’ve been cutting back, thinning the gomphrena, cutting Anthemis ‘Susanna Mitchell’ to the base, so more more buttery daisies this summer.
I’ve even cut back the brown eryngium flowers and Rudbeckia maxima seedheads. Everything looks fresh again.
I wanted to get some air circulation going in the jungle and deep water shrubs and stuff to get the garden through August and September and ready for winter-blooming aloes.
At least I hope there’ll be a good show from some youngish aloes this year. And there’ll be room to add the irises, which shipped today.
I think I’m cured of trialing big blue agastaches like ‘Blue Blazes.’ Coarse leaves, not bad from a distance, but not so welcome in a small garden..
Easy, stemmy, swaying bog sage, seen in the background, suits this garden fine and provides a film of blue all summer.

Eragrostis 'Tallahassee Sunset' photo 1-P1010011.jpg

One of the most startling blues in the garden comes from this Eragrostis elliottii ‘Tallahassee Sunset’ I just planted mid-summer.
Can you tell I’m seriously smitten with grasses lately? Plants’ leaves may age and yellow throughout summer, but grasses always manage to look impeccable.

 photo 1-P1012866.jpg photo 1-P1012864.jpg

Buddleia ‘Cranrazz’ enjoying life in a deep container (trash can)

 photo 1-P1012819.jpg

All grevilleas are in bloom, this ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Robyn Gordon.’ An ‘Austraflora Fanfare’ bloomed lightly earlier this summer but is still a youngster.
Seen in the background, little aloe hybrids are sending out flares of orange flowers throughout the garden.
That’s the abbreviated Bloom Day report for August. More thorough chronicles can be found at Carol’s site May Dreams Gardens.

Bloom Day July 2016

 photo 1-P1010053.jpg

I’m going to try a systematic approach, so bear with me.
Right outside the office, the planting is getting some height from the bog sage, kangaroo paws, and Pennisetum ‘Skyrocket’ showing a few blooms way in the back.

 photo 1-P1010011.jpg

Using the bocconia as a reference point, swinging east, away from the office, the Crithmum maritimum, an almost succulent-like umbellifer, is in bloom at the base of the bocconia.
The grass in front of the crithmum, Pennisetum ‘Fairy Tails,’ is just getting started.

 photo 1-P1012674.jpg

Silvery plant to the right of P. ‘Fairy Tails’ is the Island Bristleweed, Hazardia detonsa, endemic to the Channel Islands off Ventura, Calif.
The tiny golden paint brush blooms are only interesting insofar as they elongate and further develop the plant’s architecture. I love the overall effect.

 photo 1-P1012679.jpg

Closeup of the crithmum

 photo 1-P1012715.jpg

Before leaving the office planting, I want to give a shout out to Calamintha ‘Montrose White.’ Frustratingly difficult to get a decent photo of the clouds of tiny white flowers.
But so cool and Grace Kelly elegant. The bees and I are wholly smitten. It is by far the best bee plant in the garden.

 photo 1-P1010018.jpg

A second clump of Glaucium grandiflorum has just started blooming behind the calamint.

 photo 1-P1012555.jpg

In the foreground of the first photo is this amazing, silver-leaved mat-grower whose name I never committed to memory. It may have once been known as a helichrysum. Hasn’t every silver plant?
Sold as a summer annual, it would be perennial here in zone 10. Even though planted spring/early summer during some easy-going temperatures, this one gave me the same trouble as Stachys ‘Bella Grigio.’
Both collapsed after a couple days in the ground. I pulled them out, set them in the shade, where they surprised me by fully recovering.
In both cases, the soil mix was incredibly fast draining. The heavier garden soil was wicking away all the moisture.
After recovery, the mat grower was moved back into the garden. Some careful hand watering has helped to reveal its true and sturdy dry garden temperament.
(edited to add mat grower’s identity: Chrysocephalum aplicata. thanks, Hoov!)

 photo 1-P1012573.jpg

The stachys will reside in a container for summer, and if it makes it to fall I’ll reappraise options for a spot in the garden.
I asked the nurseryman if this stachys was the real deal, as in is it trustworthy enough for use in landscaping projects? He assured me that it was. I remain unconvinced.

 photo 1-P1010037_1.jpg

Still near the office, Agave ‘Mateo’ with the Crambe maritima (that never blooms), orange arctotis, Ricinus ‘New Zealand Purple,’ succulents, sideritis.

 photo 1-P1010041.jpg

Verbena bonariensis finds support among aloes and agaves — as do I!
(Okay, I’m officially ditching that impossible systematic approach now.)

 photo 1-P1010032.jpg

Penstemon ‘Enor’ had the usual problems with budworms blasting the flower buds before opening, but the wasps seem to have sorted it all out now.
My theory is whatever insecticide suppressant is in use at nurseries wears off soon after planting. As ever, I’m always thankful for parasitizing wasps and hungry birds.

 photo 1-P1010015_1.jpg

Origanum ‘Rosenkuppel’ in the center, with yarrow and agastache.

 photo 1-P1010030.jpg

Yesterday I took out the largest planting of this oregano to try out Sedum ‘Blue Pearl.’
The oregano is a demure evergreen mat all winter but leaps into alarmingly expansive growth in summer. It suffocated a grevillea and threatened to do the same to other neighbors.
Like first world problems, similarly, these issues get filed under small garden problems.

 photo 1-P1010029.jpg

Calamagrostis brachytricha has about five bloom stalks. Prefers moist soil, but okay on the drier side.

 photo 1-P1010016_1.jpg

Ruby grass, Melinus nerviglumis, was recently added to fill gaps where I took out a couple clumps of Elymus ‘Canyon Prince.’
I love the elymus, but it also needs a bigger garden to develop and play out its rhythms. And possibly a more wind-exposed site.
One clump of elymus tentatively remains.

 photo 1-P1010037.jpg

And yes, Margaret, there is a fast-blooming puya. Not the sexiest, but the quickest to bloom.
And Puya laxa’s very prickly leaves are like silvery tillandsias for full sun. It’s a notorious spreader, so it remains in a pot.
Since this photo, a navy-blue flower has opened, barely discernible in the overall scheme of things.
Even though it’s not one of the flamboyant turquoise beauties, I do appreciate the quickness to bloom, tall, stemmy structure, and the gorgeous leaves.

 photo 1-P1010035.jpg

Bulbine ‘Athena Compact Orange’ blooming through a carpet of horehound, Marrubium supinum.

 photo 1-P1010034.jpg

A second clump of bog sage mid garden with Verbena bonariensis. The black bumblebees and hummingbirds go for the bog sage, the butterflies favor the verbena.
The bog sage, Salvia uliginosa, has elbowed out Crocosmia ‘Solfatarre’ this summer, so there will be some shifting around this fall.

 photo 1-P1010024.jpg

Just giddy about summer-blooming Aloe ‘Cynthia Giddy’

 photo 1-P1010020.jpg

Possibly Aloe ‘Christmas Cheer’ giving off some July cheer too.

 photo 1-P1010016.jpg

Mid garden crescendo with Agastache ‘Blue Blazes,’ Achillea ‘Terra Cotta,’ eryngium, glaucium, oregano, verbena, anthemis, bog sage, melianthus.

 photo 1-P1010001.jpg

Indefatigable Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ bulwarked by Senecio medley-woodii. Anthemis ‘Susannah Mitchell, kangaroo paws.
Berkheya purpurea obligingly keeps sending up one bloom truss after another.

And that, give or take, is a wrap on July’s Bloom Day.
Check out our host’s site May Dreams Gardens for more blog contributions to July Bloom Day.

streetside; your own personal prairie

When my job canceled today, I knew exactly where I wanted to go before breakfast, before even the first cup of coffee. The local neighborhood prairie.
It’s something you don’t see everyday in my coastal neighborhood in Los Angeles County, where a mix of succulents are usually the first landscape choice for stylishly beating the drought.
This is a very new, waterwise, lawn-to-garden conversion built around a matrix of grasses, with the eyebrow grass, Bouteloua gracilis, predominating. There are zero succulents included.
The folksy, barn-red color of the bungalow and wood-and-cattle-panel fence reinforce the expression of pioneer spirit reflected in their choice of landscape.

 photo P1011058.jpg

This is prairie Southern California style. The blue against the pillars is from plumbago trained on cattle panel.

 photo P1011082.jpg

A native cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Citriodora’

 photo P1011122.jpg

Easy to tell that the house faces east.

 photo P1011107.jpg

On the south side, Pittosporum is planted along the outside of the fence near the sidewalk. The dark leaves are a Euphorbia cotinifolia.
White roses are most likely ‘Iceberg.’

 photo P1011108.jpg

Young cypresses behind the fence. So this open, inviting view is only temporary until the privacy screens mature.

 photo P1011103.jpg

There’s some sort of mesh shade cloth hanging behind the bell.

 photo P1011109.jpg

The climber Solanum jasminoides will fill in here too.

 photo P1011075.jpg

Detail of cattle panel fence, last night’s party lights still lit. Paper bags as shades for battery-powered votives maybe?

 photo P1011100.jpg

I should have waited for sunrise before taking this photo, but it shows how the fence fits into the side entrance.
From this side I could hear sounds in the kitchen of the household waking, so it seemed impolite to linger.

 photo P1011073.jpg

Unlike my admittedly superficial trial of the eyebrow grass, these are proving that it will thrive in Southern California.
Bouteloua gracilis is the smallest of the prairie grasses.
Their size sets the scale for the rest of the garden, with plants in bloom just grazing above the knee on a walk from the front door to the mailbox.

 photo P1011094.jpg

Informal paths of decomposed granite wind through the plantings. We’re often warned against using d.g. where it might be tracked indoors onto wooden floors.
Maybe a shoes-off policy is a house rule here. I like that the porch paint is in the same color range as the d.g.

 photo P1011078.jpg

Among the big sweeps of eyebrow grass are also carex, phormium, lavender, caryopteris, gaura, Salvia greggii, yarrow.

 photo P1011061.jpg

 photo P1011069.jpg

And a couple clumps of the ruby grass, Melinus nerviglumis

 photo P1011118.jpg

 photo P1011057.jpg

How much “down” time a prairie-style landscape imposes is a key issue in a climate that handles dormancy almost imperceptibly. There are many plant choices that will see a zone 10 landscape through the year without any bare soil visible at any time or need for radical haircuts. Roughly calculating, if the grasses are cut back, say, before Christmas, they’ll be making growth again in February. On the other hand, many succulents also have periods where they’re not at their best, high summer for example. Knowing the trade-offs when choosing how and with what plants to replace the front lawn is a crucial consideration. What I like about this house and garden is that it seems to know exactly what it wants.

 photo P1011105.jpg

Bloom Day June 2012

I got in too late yesterday for photos for a Bloom Day post, so made a head start last night on checking out the blogs linked on Carol’s May Dreams Gardens host site for Bloom Day.
I think that’s the best “issue” on June gardens I’ve seen in a long time.

Summer-blooming bulbs like crocosmia and eucomis stirring here in June.

Crocosmia and Teucrium hircanicum

Photobucket

Eucomis almost buried under a daisy with fennel-like leaves, Argyranthemum haouarytheum.

Photobucket

As with June Bloom Days past, white valerian seeding around at the edges. The seasons-spanning kangaroo paws, succulents and grasses.
I’ve been nibbling away at the bricks under the pergola, whose once-seamless perimeter is now as gap-toothed as a hockey player’s smile.
(how ’bout those Stanley Cup-winning LA Kings?!)

Photobucket

Latest brick removal was instigated by finding a source for Eryngium pandanifolium, the Giant Sea Holly.
I sowed seed last fall of a ‘Physic Purple’ variety but didn’t get any germination, and then it popped up a month ago on Plant Delights online offerings.
Sometimes you’ve just got to scratch that plant itch. Of course I had to squeeze some Ruby Grass in while the eryngo thickens up.

Photobucket

More brick removal yesterday to try out Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket,’ a sterile hybrid from the same batch as ‘Fireworks.’
I’ve been on a destructive tear lately and have started hammering off the slippery tiles in the side patio too.

Photobucket

Onward and upward. This summer I’m training Passiflora sanguinolenta up the pergola. A rarity among passifloras, this one has proven to be a dainty, nonaggressive climber.
Sidling up to Aloe distans at ground level.

PhotobucketPhotobucket

Not this Bloom Day but certainly by the next, I’ll finally get to see Lobelia tupa blooming in my garden. I think the trick was thinning out plants possibly crowding it.
(Gosh, there’s a surprise, overcrowding in my garden?)

Photobucket

First spikes appearing on Persicaria amplexicaulis. Salvia canariensis is more colored bracts than blooms now.

Photobucket

Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ in the iron tank. Eryngium tripartitum barely visible blooming here too.

Photobucket

One lone drumstick allium amidst eyebrow grass, Bouteloua gracilis.
I think the 29 other Allium sphaerocephalum may have been swamped by the burgeoning Mint Bush, Prostranthera ovalifolia ‘Variegata’

Photobucket

And since this post has wandered into Foliage Followup’s turf of the 16th of every month, hosted by Pam at Digging, I’ll close with a photo of a restio new to me.
Cannonmois virgata, identified by San Marcos Growers as more probably C. grandis.
SMG’s photo shows the beautiful culms.

Photobucket

I was considering this restio to replace the rose I removed from the patio room, whose tile is being demolished…wonder where I left my hammer and chisel?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

November 2010, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. I’ve just scanned a few of the entries so far, but it’s clear November is not at all dreary for many all over the world.

What I’m most excited about this November is finally seeing some blooms on the Ruby Grass, Melinus nerviglumis. Not nearly enough, which is an indicator of how much shade has crept into the formerly sunny back garden. This can be laid directly at the feet of Cotinus ‘Grace.’ A showdown is coming, and not a pleasant one for either of us, but necessary all the same.

Photobucket

The ever-reliable ‘Waverly’ salvia.

Photobucket

Roses, brugmansia, thunbergia vines, anigozanthos, gomphrena, Salvia ‘Purple Rain,’ all are reblooming in the cool fall temps.

The front gravel garden has a pointillist effect continuing into November of small blooms spangled among the grasses and agaves. Bulbinella, limonium, species pelargoniums, and the prodigious yellow daisies of Coreopsis ‘Full Moon.’

Photobucket

Thank you, Carol!