Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New or Used?

I was pruning a large Buddleia (Butterfly bush) this week at a job when I found a whole bunch of Praying Mantis egg sacks. At first glance it's difficult to tell if they are new(with babies inside) or used and empty. All are glued to branches and hard. Since I was trimming branches anyway, I brought them home. In this photo you can see closer. Can you tell? The whitish one is new with eggs. The two brown ones have tiny pin holes down the center edge. That's where the babies came out. I took the white one and taped it to a stake on one of my Purple Hopseed Bushes in my backyard. I'll be watching in March and April to see them hatch. Keep an eye out for these in your yard.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Autumn Iris

This is a post for those who think Bearded Iris only bloom in Spring. Here are three Iris blooming in my garden right now. They call these "reblooming" Iris.   Bearded Iris like full or mostly sun, well-drained soil and moderate water and are great companion plants for roses and other perennials.

The yellow is Pure As Gold.

 The burgandy & yellow is called Blatant.

And the white with the slightest bluish tint is Aspen which is it's first bloom for me. 

I have learned a lot from my year and a half in the San Fernando Valley Iris Society  The way to really learn how to grow certain kinds of plants is to join a garden club. I'm also in two rose societies(24 yrs) and the Los Angeles Geranium Society(15 yrs). You meet like minded people, go on garden tours, get access to more plants and learn how to grow them better. If you love plants, find a garden club in your area and go to a meeting!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Plant That Sounds Like A Disease

Every time I identify this plant,  people say "That sounds like a disease!".  The plant is Plumbago auriculata.  It comes from South Africa(Again- all the cool plants do!) and has beautiful powder blue flowers. It also comes in white. But WHO WANTS THAT WHEN YOU CAN HAVE BLUE?  Research shows that Auriculata means "Ears or ear shaped appendages". Uh, ok.  And that helps how?  Maybe it means what the flowers look like in bud.

 It is kind of an obnoxious grower and I haven't decided if I should plant it in my own garden. These photos were taken at one of my jobs.  The color was so beautiful that I had to stop and photograph.
 It grows in a pile about 4-5  feet tall and wide.  But it will also sort of climb up other plants and one day you'll see it up there 10 feet tall.  The thing I don't like about it is that the spent flowers are sticky.  When you're working around it, they'll stick to you and you'll end up having them all over your clothes. Because it comes from a Mediterranean climate(like ours), it does well here but is susceptible to frost.  I have seen them get frost burned but never killed. It is a tough plant.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Star Zinnias

I had the regular big flowered Zinnias that I grew from seed blooming all summer. I yanked them about 2 months ago because they were done.   There is a different Zinnia called Star Zinnias. They grow low to the ground(8") with small flowers(1") and come in white, yellow and orange.  I always look for them and don't often find them in Spring.    I found these Star Zinnias late in the season and actually cursed my friend Jen for having them at her nursery because I wanted them and it was getting too hot to plant.   I bought a flat of plants and set them out on both walkways in late June.  I had also ordered 2 packets of seed(really difficult to find) and none of them came up :-( 

 These plants are still blooming their heads off on my east facing walkway. I LOVE them!  They are still annuals and will die if it gets too cold.  Sometimes they reseed themselves.  I hope so.  You can see some of my Freesia bulbs coming up between the orange ones.  Now that we're finally getting some cooler weather and overcast days, the colors really show up here.