Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roses Finally!

I know all my rose friends have been waiting for me to put a rose on my blog. Well, it's finally here! In SoCal one of my favorite roses for the landscape is a Floribunda called Trumpeter! It has disease resistant glossy foliage and is almost self cleaning(easy to deadhead). The red orange color is so bright that you could see it from a few houses away. It is compact, only grows to about 3 feet and is almost always in bloom from April to Nov. Enjoy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Geranium Red

My favorite color is red. It's beautiful and striking. And what's more beautiful than a red Zonal Geranium! It's actually a Pelargonium. But we all call them Geraniums. Zonal Geraniums are super easy as long as you don't overwater them! Deadhead the spent blooms and cut back in warm weather if the plant gets too big. Feed once in awhile and you'll have color most of the year in SoCal.

Come to the Los Angeles County Arboretum on May 7 & 8 2011, Mothers Day weekend to our LA Geranium Society show and sale. You'll see all kinds of plants you didn't know were Geraniums(Pelargoniums).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blue for Spring

Nothing beats California Lilac - Ceanothus for spectacular blue color! Ceanothus are native to California and grow to different heights. Some grow like a groundcover and some make 8 ft tall bushes. They also come in white. But I do love the blue. They are sometimes too drought tolerant for most home gardeners because we water too much. They will rot with too much water. Visit them in Spring at Ranch Santa Ana Botanical Gardens in Claremont to see their amazingness! And find a dry-ish spot in your garden for one.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Color For Shade

Here is a wonderful plant for the north side of a house or in dappled tree shade. Heuchera - Coral Bells is native to California. Sometimes in gardens here it is a little difficult to grow. Maybe we water too much? This clump is growing in one of my client's gardens. It might be the hybrid H. 'Wendy'. But I'm not sure. The plant only grows about 6" tall and the flowers rise up to 1, 1/2' tall in Spring. Colors range from red, coral, pink and white. If you can catch them blooming at the same time, they make great cut flower filler in rose bouquets.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lemon Marigold

Lemon Marigold- Tagetes lemonii is fast growing to 6 ft. And comes from Mexico. It blooms when not a lot else is in SoCal; winter to spring. I took this photo right before I whacked it in half at a client's house. It has a Lemon/herb-y fragrance. With my allergies, it really makes me sneeze to trim it. It also has pointy pokey little seeds that get in ones clothes after pruning. It may seem that I dislike this plant for all it does to me. But I still love it for it's bright show of color, fragrance and fast growth in full sun. Found in most nurseries.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Constant Blooms

Nothing beats Lantana in SoCal for constant blooms. There are basically two kinds; L. sellowiana which is the trailing type- grows in a pile and comes in purple, yellow or white and L. camara which grows upright to 6 feet and comes in bright or pastel multicolors. Pictured is L. camara 'Radiation'. It's is always in bloom and the hummingbirds love it. Easy to find in nurseries.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yesterday Today & Tomorrow

I always forget how fragrant is the shrub Brunfelsia until I walk past it in the Spring. It's common name is Yesterday Today & Tomorrow because the flowers start as purple yesterday, turn lavender today and pale to white tomorrow so you get all 3 colors at the same time. The plant comes in the regular size B. pauciflora 'Floribunda' which grows to 10 feet and B. 'Floribunda Compacta' which grows 3-4 feet. Both are widely available.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sweet Peas

My Sweet Peas are in full swing right now and beautiful.  This very fragrant annual vine is the longest wait that I know from seed to bloom - about 6 months!   I planted them in Sept.   They began blooming in March. Consider a Tomato or Marigold seedling. They take like 30 days from seed to bloom!  Sweet Peas are worth the wait and always remind me of my Grandmother.   Mine are taller than our 6 foot fence.   The more you cut them for bouquets, the more they bloom and won't spend energy making seed pods.   Soon it will be hot and they'll get ripped out.  Buy seeds in August. 


Friday, April 1, 2011

Staghorn Fern

My Staghorn Fern - Platycerium bifircatum is putting out new shields this time of year!  It is a really easy plant to grow here in SoCal.  I've had mine for over 20 years(5 houses/moves).  I started with one plant and strapped it with fishing line to the top of a hanging wire basket filled with moss and potting soil.  It slowly filled it with more plants.   It gets water about twice a week and is hanging from our Ash tree.  Staghorn Ferns grow 2 different types of foliage; the shield which anchors it to it's perch and the antlers which are the part that makes spores(from which it spreads).  It is an epiphytic type of plant which means that it holds onto something else to grow and gets it's nutrients from air, water and debris.  It's not like a parasitic plant which holds onto something and saps it's nutrients from it's host. Ick!  My Staghorn is a happy plant.  I was almost not sure if I could bring it to our new house.  But luckily we have a tree that is just right from which to hang it.   We plopped it into the back of my truck and hauled it here(filled up 2/3 of my mini truck bed). It got a little smashed on one side but is beginning to fill in.  It took two of us to hang it.  They can also be mounted on a wooden board.  But I find that they grow out of that in a few years and then you have to do surgery to move it to something bigger.