Saturday, September 28, 2013

Red Shrimp Plant

Most gardeners in SoCal know the common Shrimp Plant, Justicia brandegeana.  The flowers are shrimply shaped orange with white.  Well, I have this special Shrimp plant that I don't remember buying.  I've had it in a pot for a long time and planted it in the ground here about a year ago.  Most Justicias(and there are bunches of them) bloom off and on throughout the year.  This one only blooms in Autumn and has more red and no white in it and is shaped a little more whirlybird-ish than the regular one. Research says it may be called "Red Pine Cone".  But I'm not positive.  

Justicias can take full sun.  But I find they do best in part shade.  Mine gets morning sun on the east side under dappled light from our huge Cedar tree.  

We had a bunch of wind the past couple days which made the branches lay down despite most of the plant being staked.  So I cut them and put them in a vase.  Pretty!  I love that color! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dwarf Pink Powderpuff

If you've been following along, you know my love for all plants Australian.   My theory is most flowers that look like they're made of stamens come from Australia.  It's just a theory.   This plant, Calliandra (CAL-ee-AN-dra) haematocephala nana or Dwarf Pink Powderpuff is native to Bolivia.  But Calliandras originate in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia.  

Most people in SoCal know the common Pink Powderpuff or Calliandra haematocephala.  It is a lax growing sprawling plant that will grow 8-10 feet.  Where do you grow such a plant?  It's grown on a trellis mostly or kept trimmed and becomes a large shrub.  It also has those leaflets(little leaf parts make up a whole leaf) that close up at night.  That is called nychinastic.  

I have always loved those pink stamen-y flowers. I was happy to know that there was a dwarf version. I found in on the internet and mail ordered it last year.  It was just a tiny 2" pot when I received it. I repotted it to a 1 gallon size right away and let it grow up for a few months.  Last Fall I planted it in the ground and today it's about 16" tall and flowering.  Calliandras bloom off and on all year here but are tender to a hard frost.  Mine did not suffer this past winter when we had about 4 nights of frost. Maybe because it's planted under our huge Deodar Cedar tree. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

California Fuchsia

Oh, the confusion of plant names. This is not a Fuchsia but is commonly called California Fuchsia. It is Zauschneria californica (zowsh-NAIR-E-a).  Now I read that it's not really a Zauschneria but Epilobium canum.   Whatever!   I'm still calling it Zauschneria.   It is beautiful in my yard right now!  I adore that reddish orangey color.  The plant is happily growing in my super sandy soil whilst I dug out 5 dead roses this morning :-( 

I bought this at The Huntington
Library & Gardens' Fall plant sale last year.  Their Fall sale this year is on Oct. 26-27.  This variety is actually Zauschneria californica "Carman's Grey" and grows to about 4 feet.  It blooms in Autumn and the hummingbirds love it. You can also find different varieties of Zauschneria at Matilija Nursery.  There are 60 some varieties of Zauschneria.  Some have greener leaves and some are groundcovers. But they all seem to have this beautiful brightly colored flower. 

If you love this color and want to be awed and thoroughly impressed, try this google image search google zauschneria

Zauschnerias are a California native which means they want little water and like our hot summers.  Hey, why doesn't that work for me? I'm a CA native!!  ;-)   I didn't used to be able to grow natives when I gardened in containers because growing 200 roses takes a lot of water(and kills drought tolerant plants in pots).  But now that I have my own ground and the water runs right down and away here in Burbank, CA natives are looking better and better! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Uncommon Plant For Fragrance

While my roses are still frying, here is a plant that is doing very well in my yard this week.  It is Clerodendrum philippinum.  It is an uncommon plant so I've never really heard anyone call it by its common name; Chinese Glory Bower.   Research finds it called "Cashmere Bouquet" on one website.  Oh really?    It is native to Asia, likes part shade and will grow 4-8 ft.  Being tropical, it can't take a hard frost.  But even though we had several nights of it here this past winter, my plant did not suffer. As with most Clerodendrum the leaves are kind of stinky with good smelling flowers.  The flowers are super fragrant!   I've had this plant for about 10 years(it's probably longer because it always is!).

 If you've been following along you know that we moved into this house 3 years ago. I'm almost done planting the yard.  I've still got a bunch of backyard to do. But I had a little of the front yard near the house to finish.  I planted a few plants near our kitchen and dining room windows in the summer(LIKE I SHOULDN'T).  But because it's sort of an alcove and faces east with some shade from our Tangerine tree, the plants are doing well.   This Clerodenrum was in a 7 gallon can for many years.

I wish you could smell it.

What a fluffy rosebud of flowers!    There are many kinds of Clerodendrum.  At the moment I have 2. I used to have maybe 5 different varieties.  Some are travelers, meaning they can be invasive like C. bungeii that has pink flowers.  But with beautiful fragrant flowers, sometimes it's worth fighting them :-) I'll have to find C. bungeii again.

In the Los Angeles area, we can grow so many wonderful plants.   For so long I thought that going on trips I would see fabulous plants that I'd never see at home.  Even though I have yet to encounter a Peony and haven't been to Indonesia or the Philippines, I haven't really seen any plants in the US that we don't have here.  Hawaii DID have many unusual things.  So if you're in the southland, seek out the unusual stuff and grow something different!