Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pleasing Associations...

In the garden today I was noticing how certain plant combinations catch my eye. Like this 'Moonlight' Nasturtium that has climbed three feet to sit proudly atop this Rosemary. I planted a seed last spring, that's all. She took it from there!
~Click any photo to enlarge~

And these apple leaves glowing in the new poppy foliage.

Or the amusing juxtaposition of the microscopic flowers of Fuchsia thymifolia, and their more full-figured relative.

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' has entwined herself firmly into Nandina 'Firepower' near the bubbling water pot. I only introduced them, I swear! She took over all on her know the type.

The Begonia richmondiensis and Coleus are waning a bit, but doing a good job of propping each other up.

I love how the renegade Fig has cozied up to the Bambusa oldhamii. He's an escapee from the neighbor's yard, and has agreed that he will remain a shrub. This is one season's growth, not bad...

By late autumn, many plants who were planted a tidy distance apart have bridged the gap, like this orange Diascia who is now chummy with the Coleonema 'Sunset Gold.'

Or the Woolly Thyme that is now sliding right under the Yucca out for those sharp tips!

I notice other things, like how Aeonium 'Thundercloud' and Pittosporum 'Golf Ball' do such completely different things with purple and green...

And how Stipa arundinacea (OK, OK, dang, Anemanthele lessoniana, hate it when they change my friend's names!) glows in sharp contrast to Senecio vitalis.

Or how the foliage of California Poppies and Artichokes springs fresh in winter; I love their similar color and form, at different scales.

Grevillea 'Coastal Gem,' Purple Sage, and Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' settle in for a long, sunny winter on top of this south-facing wall; the perfect spot for a trio that likes things warm, lean, and well drained.

The Dwarf Pomegranate and Stachys 'Primrose Heron' are about the same size now, and kinda fighting over the arm rest. But Pom will continue on to small bonsai-d treehood, while Prim will maintain dominion at ground level. A lot of my garden started small; Pom was a tiny beast in a 4" pot last spring; he'll be fun to train.

Stipa tenuissima (OK, OK, Nassella tenuissima, sheesh), Salvia apiana, Limonium perezzii and Senecio vitalis win the low-water, easy-care combination award this year. Yes, Nassella is a prolific seeder, but a regular grooming with a wide-toothed comb helps to keep this tendency in check and the blades free to move in the wind.

Volunteer seedlings of Lavender Stoechas multiply each year in my park strip and are the opening act and sidekick for the spring bulbs planted there. With the fall rains, the Dutch Iris are already up.

These harmonious associations in my garden please me, like when I introduce people I like and they become friends. They confirm that
my instincts are good, but theirs are better; I can only control so much. Perhaps the most credit I can take is giving them opportunity to grow
as they will.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Nip of Frost

We had our first frosty morning last week; not a killer, but enough to whiten rooftops and leave its unmistakable mark on the landscape. The Boston Ivy on the back fence seemed to transform to scarlet overnight.

The variegated English Ivy took on some pinkish tones...

The Pomegranate leaves began to turn gold...

Some of the Nandina leaves started to curl and condense their colors...

The Dodonea is about as purple as it's going to get...

And the tropical Manihots have left the building.

I am not a winter person, and this time of year tends to fill me with cold foreboding. Even a charming string of hearts isn't a consolation when I think of the bony stem that will soon be all that remains. As winters go, ours are nothing to complain about, but that does not make my primeval reaction to the shorter days any less real.

So I'm thankful for things like the sweet faces of late roses that remind me of high summer.

And for the Chinese Pistache in front of my house. As I write, the mid-afternoon sun is making it glow with every vibrant shade of red, russet, orange and gold that I can imagine. And I feel warm again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - November 2009

Welcome to my November garden! I'm cheating a little this month by including some blooms seen in my travels this week, but THIS handsome beast you'll recognize from previous posts. Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer' has been blooming for nearly 5 months! Rudy is getting a little tired now, but can still manage a stunning closeup!

Zauschneria californica (California Fuchsia) is a pretty little native that, to be honest, is also looking a little seedy these days, but if you look past that you'll find these exquisite orange flowers that look great with its blue-green foliage.

Fatsia japonica also blooms in late fall/winter around here. Those little sorbet-cup florets are constantly humming with bees and hummingbirds.

Salvia 'Anthony Parker' (a hybrid of Salvia elegans and Salvia leucantha) is just opening its first blooms. See here for more details on this gorgeous hunk of sage.

Callistemon 'Little John' is also putting out his first puffballs of the season; another plant with great glaucus foliage in a neat, rounded shrub 3'-4' high.

Another fabulous winter bloomer is Tulbaghia simmleri 'Cheryl Renshaw' which is NOT stinky society garlic, and in fact has a lovely fragrance. Cheryl Renshaw is actually a friend of mine, and was honored by a British collector to whom she sent some bulbs, sweet!

This is that cute dwarf Crassula that was so cherry red all summer; with cooler weather is takes on more normal coloration...and it blooms!

There are still some lovely roses around, like this pink carpet rose.

Or this single, lovely bud of 'Pure Perfume'

And this single red climber (a legacy from my old gardening neighbor, now growing on the fence between our houses). I love how autumn light makes everything glow!

Here's a few out-of-season head-scratchers to add to the mix. I've mentioned my Cerinthe major before, which is still blooming like crazy. I won't argue if it's going to keep being this photogenic!

At a client's house this week I also spotted this Cercis occidentalis (Western Redbud) with fall color AND spring blooms??? Somebody is confused here!

Also this lovely dark blue Agapanthus, who must think it's July...

This week I also visited Love Apple Farm in Ben Lomond, CA and grabbed a handful of blues, like this English Lavender.

The farm has many mature oaks and conifers, so the Hydrangeas come by their blue flowers very honestly in that acid soil!

Lest you think we Californians live in some perpetual spring, let me assure you that there will be bleak days to come. I think we have three of them scheduled for mid-January. Until then, our flowers will simply continue their slow, graceful decline.

Thanks, as always, to Carol from May Dreams Gardens for being the heart of Garden Bloggers' Bloom day. Visit her site for links to Bloom Day posts from all over the world.

"We can have flowers nearly every month of the year." ~ Elizabeth Lawrence