Sunday, July 16, 2017

Kooky Colored Flowers

I've long loved flowers with kooky strange colors. Don't get me wrong.  I adore red and orange and pink and green and blue and yellow too.  But they're everywhere.  I enjoy a flower that looks different from everything else. I bought this Salvia lanceleolata at  The Huntington Library & Gardens a couple years ago.  It's got silver gray foliage. And "lanceolata" means it's got leaves "in the shape of a spear".  I love my "Latin For Gardeners" book.  Find it at amazon here Latin For Gardeners  If you know a little Latin language, it describes the plant. And you'll understand better.

But the best part of the plant is the weird flowers.  They start with what looks like a pink flower within an orange lower. You know how Poinsettias have bracts?  The red part is not the flower but the bract. The little white part is the actual flower. Bougainvillea has similar bracts and flowers.  When the pink flower or corola falls off you are left with what looks kind of bronzy orange bract or calyx.


How they begin
How they end
After some of the pink parts drop off you get what looks like pink AND orange on the plant.   The combo with the contrasting gray foliage is striking! 




 The plant grows about 2- 3 feet tall and wide.  It thrives in full sun with good drainage like most Salvia.  And OF COURSE it is native to South Africa as ALL THE COOL PLANTS ARE!  It is said to bloom in Spring and Summer.  But mine seems to be blooming most of the year.  The only time I cut it back was a little away from another plant.
Was really difficult to photograph. You almost can't see the flowers. 

Sometimes the flowers match the dirt. 

Do you grow any kooky colored flowers?  
Happy Gardening! 









Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tithonia


I've probably posted about this plant before. But every summer Tithonia looks so amazing in my garden that I have to share. I first saw this plant in my friend Loren Zeldin's garden just a few years ago. Why I didn't know about it before that is beyond me. I left his garden, went straight to a nursery(that is now gone) and was thrilled to find the seeds.  This year I mail ordered them from Baker Creek Seeds.  They have tons of interesting seeds. 


Tithonia rotundifolia is native to Mexico and the Southern United States and is also called Mexican Sunflower. Plant Tithonia when you would Zinnia and Tomato seeds around March or April. I start them in 4" pots because then I still have cool season plants(Poppies) taking up space in the garden. When the seedlings have grown up a bit it's usually time to rip out the poppies and plant the summer stuff. I even had a few seedlings come up from last year. Now they are 3-4' tall and popping with flowers. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them. I love them too.


The leaves of a young plant look like Paper Mulberry.





 

Happy Gardening! 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Zinnias

Are you growing Zinnias? They're so easy from seed. And there are many varieties to grow. My new favorite is Zinnia Queen Lime. I adore that chartreuse color. I always love green flowers and kooky colored flowers. I'm also growing Carousel, Pink Señorita and Queen Lime Red(which just looks kinda muddy and I'm not including it's pic) and some pink ones that I must not have kept the packet.

Zinnia Queen Lime
Zinnia Carousel




Zinnia Pink Señorita




Zinnias are annuals that like full sun. They're started in Spring from seed and grow during the warm months possibly into Autumn. They are native to the Southwestern United States into South America. They like my sandy soil and blazing sun. Try them if you haven't.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Iochroma

I fell in love with Iochroma a few years ago. Say EYE-oh-chrome-uh. One of my clients grew the purple one. Then I saw it again in a friend's garden. It is a large shrub native to South American forests. I've seen them grow to 8' tall. They take to pruning well and can be kept around 6'. Research says they only grow outdoors in mild zones 8- 10. In SoCal inland we are zone 9. They are not frost hardy. But I haven't seen damage here. We had frost last year it not this year because if all the rain.

Iochroma is in the Nightshade family of Solanaceae which includes tomato plants and Brugmansia -Angels Trumpets. They attract hummingbirds and bees.












I searched for it at many local nurseries without luck. I finally mail ordered the purple, blue and red from Logees Nursery. I love the purple and blue. But the red one I'm not so happy about. It has bigger leaves and very small flowers. We'll see. This year I found a pink one that I ordered from Almost Eden Nursery. It came already about 8" tall. I potted it into a 2 gallon can right away and it already bloomed.  It's lovely!

Do you grow Iochroma?

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Star Jasmine Arch

I apologize for the length between posts. Spring is a busy time for most gardeners. In April I attended/worked the San Fernando Valley Iris show and the Pacific Rose Society/PSWD district con/ARS National Mini rose con. The latter was a huge deal. I was in charge of their bus garden tour on Friday and on Sat I exhibited roses, heard speakers, certificate calligraphy, saw a little bit of the show(I did win one trophy for micro mini- Yay!) and banquet.

Tom Thumb, best Micro Miniature rose.

AND I have spent the last two months weeding and getting my own garden ready to be included on the SFV Iris Society's Iris Trek(garden tour) that was last Saturday. Now that all those are over I can almost just enjoy my garden. But there still is the LA Geranium Society show coming up next weekend May 13 & 14 (Mother's Day weekend). If you're in the Los Angeles area, please come to the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia to see the show and shop for plants.  geraniumsociety.org


 Here is my Star Jasmine blooming over the arch & gate to the backyard. It smells so good. I planted it a few years ago and put up that arch maybe 2 years ago. I love how the plant travels overhead. The fragrance wafts through the backyard and the side yard. I wish you could smell it.






What have you been doing in your garden?  I love comments and hardly get any. 
Happy Spring!






Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bamboo Succulent Planters

Last summer I had seen a hanging bamboo planter at a nursery that looked so cool that I wanted to make some! I had been collecting succulents for awhile and had a good selection to use. In autumn I got around to asking my friend Louise who works at The Huntington Library & Botanic Gardens for two big pieces of bamboo. Thanks Louise!  It's good to know people who work at botanic gardens :-) One was so big and heavy I had to cut it right then and there to make it fit in my truck. Good thing I had a little folding saw in my work basket.  I hauled them home. A few weeks later I cut them into varying sizes on the segments. Rick helped me by cutting out the top for planting and drilling holes for hanging. Filled with cactus mix I then planted them with succulents, some were cuttings and some were rooted. I scrounged nylon string for hanging that I found at a job that was trash.  I sold a few at the SoCal Horticulture December meeting and gave some as Christmas gifts. What was left I found places to hang here at our house. 

These two I hung from the roof on the bare wall of the garage. They'd probably look better hanging from chain. But that hasn't happened yet.

The little one hangs below our mailbox by the front door.


These two are hanging on the little chain link fence next to the unattractive AC unit in the backyard.

I think they'll just get better when the succulents grow and cascade. Yay for upcycling!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Spring!


Spring is here in SoCal. Roses are soon to pop, many of my bulbs are blooming and our Tangerine tree has a carpet of flowers beneath. But I wanted to share this Pelargonium cordifolium blooming today. It's a big plant, almost 5 feet tall. Cordifolium or any Latin with "cord" in it means heart-shaped. And the leaves of this plant are heart shaped.




Happy Gardening!