Saturday, February 15, 2020

Stellar Geranium

Most people think they know Geraniums.  The plants people know are most likely Pelargoniums.  They used to all be called "Geranium". But Pelargonium and Geranium were separated as plant classification back in 1789.  But everybody still calls them all Geranium.  I know, it's confusing.   

Most popular are Zonal and Ivy Pelargoniums. Zonals are the scalloped edged leaves with clusters of red, pink, orange, lavender or white flowers. Ivies are cascading plants with pointy ivy shaped leaves and red, pink, white, purple, or lavender flowers.   

Then there is this OTHER type of Geranium/Pelargonium called Stellar.  They came from Australia in the 1970s and we're lucky to have them! They have a fan shaped leaf and jagged edges flowers.   I grow many Stellars. But this red one whose tag is lost is blooming like crazy right now looking super vibrant and beautiful! 

Stellar leaves

Stellar leaf

Do you grow Pelargoniums or Geraniums? You might want to join the Los Angeles Geranium Society.  

Happy Gardening! 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Just a quick pic of my garden to wish you all a happy New Year! I can't believe it'll be 2020! What are your gardening plans for the new year? 

 I have so much work to do. We've had about 5" of rain in the last two months. And even though I have a ton of mulch in my flower beds, the weeds have come up with the rain. And then there's all the rose pruning to do. I did my first pruning job of the season today. But I have so many jobs lined up I usually get to my own roses in Feb. 

I'd like to put a fence around the front garden, just two horizontal PVC slats to delineate our two walkways and maybe two small gates. We live on a corner. Sometimes people can't see the arches we put up over the walkways and they walk through the flower beds to the house. I have Zinnia seeds and Chrysanthemums to order.

 Ooh, today I found Freesia bulbs for 70% off at Armstrong Garden Center. I bought 4 packs and planted them. It's not too late to plant them if you can still find them.

Happy New Year! Happy Gardening!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Tree Daisy

I'm still learning about this plant called Tree Daisy or Montanoa arborescens. Say Mont-an-oh-uh. I saw it blooming a few years ago at the Quail Botanic Garden in Encinitas that is now the San Diego Botanic Garden. 

It took awhile for me to find out what it was. Then I found it in Lincoln Avenue Nursery 2 years ago in full bloom in a 5 gallon can. I'd never seen it in any other nursery. And I've learned that you have to snap them up when you see an unusual plant because when you go back it won't be there. That goes for things other than plants too :-) 

You can see how our fence needs painting here.  I had a pink Brugmansia in front of it that was beautiful at first, then slowly declined and I removed it recently.  

Montanoa is native to Mexico and will grow to 20' tall. I love that it blooms in fall and winter and that it is scented. The foliage smells sweet like Dr Pepper. Oddly enough my friend Louise says that in her native Maine, Montana blooms in Spring there! Wow! And it has crazy fast growth! The first year it got as tall as the fence. Unfortunately I cut it back too late and it didn't bloom in 2018. This year it is taller than the fence and is bungeed to a fence post. I was so happy to see flowers this year on it. I know that a plant should be cut back after blooming. But it grew so much that I want to prune it twice. I'll cut it back soon when there are no more flowers. 

 Have you grown Tree Daisy?

Merry Christmas and Happy Gardening!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Pipicha who?

Back in April I was at a nursery looking at herbs and found this strange plant with blue bud/flowers. I bought it because I'd never heard of it and like blue plants. I say flower/bud because those little buds never really open further. And they stay on the plant for awhile until they look like a small fuzzy Dandelion. The tag said PIPICHA. The botanical name is Porophyllum linaria. It's a short lived perennial or grown as an annual. 

Along with those cute little blue buds, the plant has a robust scent! It's difficult to describe except it's not unpleasant. The scent smells up(cant say "stinks" or "perfumes") my backyard. Research says it smells and tastes like Cilantro and is used in Mexican cooking. But I'm not a big cook so I don't know. I did plant it in my vegetable garden.

We'll see if it makes it through winter.

Have you grown Pipicha? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Gardening! 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Yellow Brazilian Plume Flower

Most people know the pink Justicia carnea or the Shrimp Plant, Justicia brandegeana.  There are so many different kinds of Justicias.   They all grow well for me in my garden.  I've seen J. carnea(the pink one) in many gardens.   I first saw this yellow version, Justicia aurea at The Huntington Botanical Gardens and have never seen it available at a nursery. Then I was lucky to see it in a friend of a friends garden and I got 3 cuttings from him about 4 years ago.   All 3 rooted. Today one of them is blooming gloriously! 

Justicia aurea is native to Brazil(San Marcos Growers says Mexico). It likes partial shade and is said to grow to 8' tall! Mine have only grown about 4' tall on the east side of the house. So, they do get morning sun. It does well in frost free areas. We do get some frost in SoCal. But my 3 plants have not been affected. As said above, it is easily propagated from cuttings. So why is it not more widely grown? 

Do you grow Justicias? I also grow the common pink J. carnea and several other completely different Justicias.  In my research for this post, I just found out about a beautiful one called Justicia americana that is new to me.  Now I'm on the hunt for it!  

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Gourds vs. Sweet Peas

I planted Birdhouse gourd seeds this year back in May. They grew up and over the arch and had about 4 pieces of fruit growing through the heat of the summer. I read that you're supposed to pick the gourds when the leaves start to turn brown and wither.  It is now October and time to plant Sweet Pea seeds. I want to rip out the gourds. But NOW they're making more flowers AND more baby gourds! They must be liking the cooler autumn weather.    Ugh! What to do?

Some of the leaves are turning brown. 

New babies! Ugh! 
Now is not a good time! 
And more?  No! 

What would you do?  Should I wait until November to rip them out and plant Sweet Peas?  No! I ordered a bunch of Sweet Pea seeds in August in anticipation of Sept planting.  But then we were getting ready for a trip and I didn't want to burden my friend Joe with watering them every day while we were gone.    These Sweet Pea seeds are burning a hole in my pocket!!!!  

Happy Autumn!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Mysterious Asters

Asters are a little mysterious to me.  Of the perennial type, I have only had ONE client who grew them here in SoCal.  The magenta pink one I have used to bloom in May.  Now it only blooms in September.  I think actually that they all are supposed to bloom around now.  They are also called Michaelmas Daisies, a christian festival named after the Feast of Saint Michael and all angels which falls on Sept 29.  Some of them get tall; to maybe 5' and some stay short; only 8".   So it is good to know which kind you have as to where to plant them.  The lavender one below I got at Home Depot a couple years ago. It usually blooms to 2' tall.  I split it when I got it and planted it on two different places.  One of them gets 2' and this one got to almost 4 '! That's up to my hip! 

Research tells that Asters are native to North America and Eurasia. Like Mums and Shasta Daisies they are a perennial plant that get's cut down to almost nothing after bloom.  And they come back! Cut off the flower stems after blooming and you'll see new leaves coming out of the ground. They like full sun as most daisies do.  

I have very few names for my Asters.  Either I got it from someone or the tag has gone missing.    

They look great up close. 

But they can look messy from far away.  
Below is the 4' tall one right on the edge of the flowerbed.  I might have to move it. But that's what's great about Asters, that you can dig them up and transplant them.  Wait until after flowering so you don't miss out on color.  Cut down all the spent flower stems.  Trust me, you'll want to because they turn brownish.  Then dig up the plant. You can cut it right though the soil and make more.  Just be sure all the pieces have roots.  And plant right away in their new homes.  

Below is Black Prince that I got at The Huntington Library & Gardens plant sale.   It has very dark foliage. I am a sucker for colored leaves.  

Aster Black Prince up close with it's tiny flowers
 The bees were all over the flowers.  
Aster Black Prince from away
 I got this little Aster at Roger's Gardens hoping it would stay small.   It did and got swallowed up by other plant.  I moved it back in June and it didn't skip a beat. 
Aster Pink Chiffon

A white that I got from a client. 

This magenta one I split into 3 plants. Here's one next to a Dusty Miller. 
It's a great color! 

Here they are cut
They make great cut flowers and look so cute in my little vintage medicine bottles.  
 I also have one in the backyard that I got from my friend Steve G. It isn't blooming yet. It must be waiting until Sept 29!  See, mysterious!  Do you grow Asters? I love to read your comments. Tell me what kinds you grow and if you like them, love them or not.  

Happy Gardening!  
And Happy Almost Autumn.  The internet says the first day is Monday 9/23.