Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bird Of Paradise

Bird Of Paradise plant or Strelitzia (say strel-IT-zee-uh) reginae is ubiquitous in SoCal. It's everywhere! Funny that it's the official flower of the city of Los Angeles but it's from South Africa. Research tells of its naming for British Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1744-1818 wife of King George III. It was first introduced at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1773 by Sir Joseph Banks. It is not cold tolerant and in the US is only grown outdoors in California and Florida. But even with the few frosts we get here in some winters I have never seen damage.

It is so common in SoCal that I used to not like it. But I do love orange flowers and finally decided that I needed one in my garden. Bird Of Paradise is super drought tolerant and is slow growing. It took two years for it to bloom in my garden. Peak flowering is said to be winter through spring. But I see them blooming many times throughout the year.

Happy Gardening!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Wire Vine

I've had this weird little vine for maybe 15 years in several different pots. I love the little olive green leaves and the reddish stems.  Sometimes it's sold with houseplants in garden centers. I cannot imagine being able to grow it indoors!    I got a plant when I saw an adorable planting on a little birch branch trellis at the old Sassafrass Nursery(long gone) in Topanga Canyon.  It's called Wire Vine or Muehlenbeckia complexa. Say MULE-N-bek-E-uh.   It's native to New Zealand and is said to grow up to 30', though mine has never grown over 2' in containers.   I've seen it at The Huntington Library & Gardens growing in the ground and there it grows into little twisted piles climbing upon itself.  I'm sure if it has somewhere to attach itself it could go a long way.

Mine is such a little monster that you can't even see the pot! I moved it to the walkway to take the photo. But I keep it set upon an upturned pot to give it some height and to keep it from trailing upon our porch and tripping the mail carrier!

 Several days ago I noticed that it has a few super tiny cream colored flowers.   It has no fragrance. 

I read that the plant is semi-deciduous in colder winters. But here is stays green all year.   It does best in part shade here inland where it's still summer in Oct. and 87º today. But it's the last hot day dipping down to the 70ºs the rest of the week.  Thank goodness! 

Happy Gardening!