Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beautiful Tree

On of my favorite tees is blooming now in the Southland.  It is Eucalyptus ficifolia. The Latin for the species means leaves like a Ficus as you can see it's leaves are very green instead of the more common Eucalyptus grey. "They" recently changed the name to Corymbia ficifolia. Oh, I HATE that and refuse to call it that. It will always be a Ecualyptus to me.  The flowers are exactly like all other Eucs.  And like other Eucs, this tree is native to Australia.  Australian plants grow very well in the Los Angeles area as well as all of SoCal because we have a similar Mediterranean climate with only Winter and Spring rains.  The flowers range from white to coral to orange to cherry red and orange red.  I love the orange and red ones.

 This tree grows to about 25' which is small for a tree compared to the Eucalyptus citriodora(Lemon Gum) which grows to about 70'!    I have seen E. ficifolia grown as street trees in Glendale, parts of LA, Pasadena and Altadena.   I would LOVE to have one for my yard.  But I NEVER see them in nurseries. They are said to only flower after about 7 years.  So you won't know what color flower you'll get!  Ugh! :-(  I guess I will just have to enjoy them when I see them while driving.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Purple Foliage

I love foliage that's other than green because 90% out there is green! Burgundy, red, pink and variegated leaves are beautiful! And colorful foliage makes all the green around it look good too.   Here's a plant with gorgeous purple leaves. It's Strobilanthes or Persian Shield. It likes partial shade and dislikes frost. That is why I'm on my 3rd or so plant. We don't get frost every year just every 4 or 5 years. Strobilanthes will grow about 2-3 feet tall. It takes to pinching nicely otherwise the branches get long and lay down. And a bushy plant shows more leaves. And who doesn't want to see more of these beauties?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Firey Begonia

I   LOVE LOVE LOVE  this firey flower called Begonia boliviensis "Bonfire".  It is spectacular, no?  I first saw it 4 years ago in Washington DC of all places in a pot outside the Smithsonian castle.  I pined for it for a couple years not being able to find it locally.  Don't you ever pine for plants?  :-)  I finally mail ordered 2(in case one died) from Logees and have had it for 2 years.  Now it's in nurseries all over.   I have mine in 2 separate pots; one in the back yard and one on our front porch.  The one that gets brighter light is doing better. This is a tuberous Begonia and dies back completely!   It sits all winter with just a nub showing like a Cyclamen bulb.  Then it starts growing in about March and in a few months, this amazingness in my photos occurs!  It's flowers are a beautiful pomegranate or persimmon orange red.  I just can't tell you how much I adore this plant :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's a Swainsona?

Yeah, I'd never heard of it either when I saw it. This is another plant I bought at The Huntington Library & Garden's nursery.  It's Swainsona galegifolia 'albiflora'.  For my non die hard gardener friends, you know that botanical latin is easy to decipher.  "Albiflora" means white flowers.   Must have leaves like a "Galeg" whatever that is.   The foliage is ferny like a Jacaranda.  It's in the legume family as it has pea flowers.  But it makes not pod.  Curious.    I just read that the Leguminosae family is now the Fabaceae family.   Great!  I hate it when the botanical world changes names of things that you've known forever!   This wonderful plant flowers for months and is from Australia.  I always love Australian plants!  I hope to visit there someday. I'll go crazy with all the Eucalyptus, Grevilleas, Melaleucas and koala bears.    I had a hard time keeping this plant from wilting when I first got it. So, I kept potting it up and it's now in a 7 gallon can.  Hopefully before the end of the year it will get planted in our new garden IN THE GROUND!  Whoo-hoo!  It blooms for so long.  Research says it blooms in Spring and Summer.  I've seen it bloom from Fall into Winter too.  Must be our mild climate. Or the plant is just homesick for it's southern hemisphere :-)  I've had my Swainsona for about 3 years. It takes sun or part shade and grows to about 3 feet.  I never saw it in any other nursery until recently at La Crescenta Nursery.  Go check them out if you are in SoCal.  La Crescenta Nursery   I only cut it back when it gets long and stupid or has some dead branches.  Then is comes back into flowering. It must like being trimmed :-)  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Unusual Plant

I bought this unusual plant from The Huntington Library & Gardens about 1, 1/2 yrs ago.  It was in flower when I bought it, then didn't flower for a year or so.  It just started to look this amazing.  It's Dianthera nodosa "Brasil" and super cute.  The tag said clusters of pink flowers over a long season. Perennial 1-3ft. Bright or part shade.  Mine is about 2 ft tall now. 

The first two photos are mine.  I look forward to finding a spot in my garden when my ground is ready.   The third photo I found on the web.  It gives you a better idea what the plant will look like.  

I had never seen it before or since I bought it in another nursery or garden.  Love it!   I wonder if it will grow from cuttings?  Hm...

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Summer has come along with the heat. Ick. I hate summer as I work out in it. But in Southern California summer brings Hydrangea macrophylla into full flower. I don't know if that story of rusty nails or even aluminum sulfate added to the soil will absolutely turn them blue. I always forget to do it in late Winter or early Spring or whenever one is supposed to! But the pink and the white flowered Hydrangeas are gorgeous right now! Remember that Hydra really means water in Latin. That's why a hydrangea is usually the first thing to wilt or crisp. So, water water water!