Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mexican Flame Vine

Senecio (say cen-EH-see-O) is a very diverse genus.   You know Dusty Miller(Senecio cineraria) and String Of Pearls(Senecio rowleyanus), right? The look TOTALLY different!!! Dusty Miller has gray foliage and is mostly grown as a bedding plant accent or border. String of Pearls is a hanging succulent!  Just goes to show that they classify plants by their flowers and not their foliage or habit. 
  
Beginning of the flower 

 Here is a wonderful plant that I'm so glad I was finally able to find, Senecio confusus - Mexican Flame Vine, Orange Glow Vine or Mexican Love Vine. Common names vary everywhere.  They actually changed the name of this plant to Pseudogynoxys chenopoides.  That is a BIG mouthful! So, it's not even a Senecio any more.  I'd rather call it by the old name. It's much more fun.  
 I love orange flowers and I saw this plant in my friend Loren's garden. He has a huge garden and lots of cool plants. You may remember me mentioning him here before :-)  I went right away to search online and ordered it from Almost Eden Plants just this past April since I've never seen it in any local nursery.  It is said to like full sun to part shade and moderate water. Height may vary from 10-20'. And it blooms through the warm season. That could be March-Nov for us here in SoCal!  It is a tropical plant and only grows in zones 9 - 11 so it won't tolerate a hard frost. It's native to Mexico, Central America and the West Indies and is attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. 

Middle of the flower lifespan
Since mine is still young, every time I see a flower cluster I get happy! 



3' tall a couple weeks ago before new trellis

Nearing the end of color on the flowers


Seed clusters looks like they do on String of Pearls. 

Today with extra trellis action.  4'







































I'm sure it will need a taller trellis, stakes or wires soon.  But look what you can do with a couple bamboo stakes and a few zipties!  Research says it roots easily in water.  I'll have to try that.  It is also said the cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Just what I need with my stupid every-bug-loves-me allergic skin. I'll have to be careful.   

I  have it growing on the east side of a hot fence.  I look forward to it getting to the top.   Do you grow this plant?   

Happy Gardening! 


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Monday, September 4, 2017

Pink Gaura

We have just recovered from record heat in SoCal.  We had here in Burbank and the San Fernando Valley 105-110º for a whole week. It was horrible.  It didn't even cool off but to the 80's at night. It was like being in Lake Havasu(which I hated-sorry Havasu people).  I know some people like the heat.  But I do NOT nor does my garden. It's difficult to work outdoors at all. Then on Friday a fire started in the Verdugo Hills just about a mile away! We could see scary flames  from our house for 3 days!   
 The finally put it out(at least on our side) last night.  We even had a little rain last evening and cooled down enough to open the windows.  For those from other places who may not know, in SoCal, we go without rain from about May - Nov. So any rain we do get in the summer is rare and awesome! 


Gaura is a perennial in SoCal that is native from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.   The common white flowered variety is a noxious weed.  I will never forget mistakenly planting it for the first time for a client in Pasadena where it spread like crazy! I was forever digging it out.   BUT, the pink variety, Gaura lindheimeri Siskiyou Pink is so much nicer!  It doesn't spread but instead makes this airy mass of pink flowers.  I have not had any reseeding in several years in my garden. It has skinny leaves that you can barely see.  It is such a wispy plant that it was difficult to photograph in my garden today.  The flowers look like little pink butterflies.  

So fluffy! 


Gaura grows best in well drained sandy soil(which I have!) and full sun.  If it has one bad quality at all, it is that I have to cut it back about twice a year.  When it stops flowering for a bit, it is good to give it a whack! Then it grows back prettier and flowery.  It is said to bloom in the summer.  But here is SoCal it blooms for quite a long season.  Research says it grows in zones 5-8.  


See how it was difficult to capture in a photo! 

The flowers begin dark pink and sometimes fade to pale pink and white.  Laura is said to grow to 4 feet tall.  Mine are 4'tall and wide.   The name Gaura comes from the Greek gauros meaning superb in reference to the beautiful flowers.

This species honors Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879), Texas plant collector.




Do you grow Gaura? 
Happy Gardening! 

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Flame Acanthus


I saw this plant with the lovely coral orange red flowers at the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia a few years ago. Soon after I was really happy to find it for sale in the nursery at The Huntington Library & Botanic Gardens. I've never seen it in another nursery. It's Anisacanthus quadrifidus wrightii or Flame Acanthus. It's native to the Americas, drought tolerant, likes full sun and attracts hummingbirds.  I think those are all the best qualities in a plant! It grows to about 3' tall and wide. It's blooming right now and will through the summer.  Research says this plant is named for Charles Wright (1811-1885), botanical collector who collected extensively in Texas, Cuba and his native Connecticut. 




Have you grown this plant?
Happy Gardening!
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Barberry


In SoCal we are spoiled with evergreen plants. Many trees are deciduous here. But no one wants a deciduous shrub. Berberis thunbergii is one of many Barberry native to Asia. So called because of it's thorns and sometimes(I've never seen them) little berries. It is mostly grown here for its burgundy foliage. Because of our mild winters it's only partially deciduous here. It likes full sun and different varieties grow from 3-6'. It's not ubiquitous in SoCal like it is in the Pacific Northwest. I see it once in awhile. This one I planted many years ago at a job in Glendora. It's looking pretty awesome now.


Burgundy contrasts nicely with green. 
Can you see those thorns? 
Don't grab barehanded
Happy Gardening! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Micro Mini Rose

I love big fluffy double flowers just as much as anyone.  But I adore super tiny flowers as well.  I grow about 25 tiny roses that are classified as "Micro Mini".  In the rose societies, not as many people seem to love the micros.  There are few entries in those classes at rose shows.  I can't help but love them because they are SO DARN CUTE!!! I can barely stand the supreme cuteness!  In Japan they say "kawaii".  From wikipedia - "Kawaii (かわいい[kaw͍aiꜜi], "lovable", "cute", or "adorable") is the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture". That's how I see micro mini roses. 

When we bought this house and I got my first garden, I thought I could plant everything in the ground. I found that some things just didn't do well in my super sandy soil. I almost lost several of my micro mini roses. So I dug them up, rescuing them and put them back in pots. 

Below is Tiny Flame looking super cute in a pot. 

Tiny Flame in a pot



Tiny Flame flowers


The buds are really small. 
Tiny Flame buds
I had to show how it looks as a tiny bouquet.  The whole thing is only 3" tall. It includes the micro mini rose Tiny Flame, a couple sprigs of Asparagus retrfractus and a couple little stems of Serissa foetida in a my favorite tiny vintage medicine bottle.  
Super tiny bouquet

Do you grow Micro Mini roses? I know my friend Kathy Jean does :-) Happy Gardening! 

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!