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!