Thursday, November 20, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Echeveria cante

To avoid walking through the bare soil in the front yard, I've been passing through the north side yard when moving between the front and back gardens.  This takes me by two new Echeveria cante I picked up at the local botanic garden's fall plant sale.  In a semi-shade location along the gravel path that bi-sects the dry garden, their silvery blue-green foliage gleams.

I bought the one on the right during my first pass through the sale.  It's somewhat larger than the one on the left, which I went back for on the second day of the sale.  They should eventually grow to 1 foot (30.5 cm) tall and 1-2 feet wide.  According to on-line sources, they usually remain solitary rosettes, seldom forming pups.  They're generally propagated by seed.

Close-up of the larger Echeveria, surrounded by stones dug out of the garden to protect the plant from the resident raccoons

The second Echeveria was purchased to provide symmetry at the entry to the dry garden.  When the rosemary in the background is in bloom, the succulent nicely mirrors its ice blue flowers. 

The volunteer propagator at the sale warned me (twice) against planting these succulents in the sun.  San Marcos Growers recommends growing them in "cool sun," by which I assume they mean morning sun, or bright shade.  Mine get a touch of sun in the morning and spend the rest of the day in the shade provided by the house's shadow.

The smaller of the 2 Echeverias gets its brief moment in the sun

The blue-green leaves have a whitish coating that gives the plant a celadon color with a blush of lavender.  The plants also have a a pinkish-red edge along the leaf margins.

Like most succulents, the Echeverias have low water needs.  San Marcos Growers claims that the plants, which originate from Mexico, are hardy to at least 25F (minus 3.9C).

The colors of the ocean and the afternoon sky, with its vague promise of rain, nicely mirrored the plants' colors late this afternoon.  

Clouds over the Los Angeles harbor

However, the sunset some 45 minutes later, was distinctly pinker.  Although it's dark now, things are looking brighter - it just started to rain.

View looking east at the harbor just a few minutes after our 4:47pm sunset

All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, November 17, 2014

In a Vase on Monday: It was better in concept...

For a change, I went into the garden to cut flowers with a plan in mind for "In a Vase on Monday," the meme sponsored by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Maybe that was the problem.  Usually, while I might identify a focal point ahead of time, I otherwise approach the garden as a blank slate.  This time, I began cutting flowers of various kinds I'd identified in advance, only to find that they didn't combine well when I took them in and tried to create an arrangement.  I took out a vase to fill with rejects early on and ultimately ended up with 2 reject vases and one larger vase I'm not thrilled with.

The larger vase was constructed of flowers and foliage I hadn't even considered on my first pass through the garden.  It's a hodge-podge construction with an emphasis on pinkish-coral tones.

Front view

Back view

The vase includes:

  • Aloe flowers (noID, possibly Aloe 'Pink Blush')
  • Arbutus 'Marina' flower stems
  • Calibrachoa (noID)
  • Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' flower stem
  • Rose 'Pink Meidiland'
  • Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Honey Crisp Coleus'

The Aloe flowers pick up the deeper tones in the roses

The flowers of the Arbutus' Marina' trees look like miniature hot-air balloons and are loved by the hummingbirds

The flower buds of the succulent Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' have a coral blush but open with yellow petals

The centers of the 'Pink Meidiland' rose mimic the colors at the center of the Graptoveria flowers

Close-up of the variegated leaves of the coleus

Reject vase #1 contains Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl,' a couple of raggedy stems of Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy,' and Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Fire Fingers Coleus.'

Close-up of the small Leptospermum flowers

Reject vase #2, my favorite of the day due solely to its sweet perfume, contains Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum,' Lantana (noID), and Lonicera japonica, a weed that grows on the steep side of the back slope.

Close-up of Lonicera japonica, inherited with the house

The vases all found places to roost.

The larger vase sits in the front entryway

Reject vase #1 landed in the guest bathroom

Reject vase #1 sits next to my PC, where I can appreciate its scent

Please visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and other contributors have rounded up now that the weather has turned cold in many areas.

All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Foliage Follow-up: More Please!

As we get closer to being ready to plant the area formerly occupied by lawn in the front yard, I've spent more time deliberating on my plant choices.  What's clear is that I need more foliage plants.  In compiling my wish list, I started by looking at what I already have.  In the sunnier area of the new space, I want to add more of these:

Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope'

Alternanthera tenella

Duranta 'Gold Mound'

Pelargonium hortorum 'Mrs. Pollock'

In the shadier areas, I'm thinking of more:

Ageratum corymbosum, grown more for the foliage than the flowers

Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri,' which is likely to spread on its own

Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' (even if it does tend to get leggy over time)

Although I'm not really ready to do any planting yet, that hasn't stopped me from buying plants.  Those selected specifically for their foliage include:

Leptospermum 'Copper Glow,' which is new to me

A wider view of Leptospermum 'Copper Glow,' which doesn't do it justice

Another Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'

For comparison purposes, this is my existing Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder,' which is just starting to develop its winter color

More Lomandra longifolia 'Breeze'

I'm itching to start planting but that event is still probably 2 or more weeks away as we're still digging.

The neighbors have been speculating about what has been variously referred to as an archaeological dig and a burial ground

This foliage overview is my contribution to the monthly foliage follow-up sponsored by Pam at Digging to recognize the importance of foliage in our gardens.  Click here to see her post this month and to find links to other foliage-focused posts.

All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bloom Day - November 2014

One of the great things about Bloom Day is that it provides a record against which to compare current events in the garden.  As I've been blogging less than 2 years, I have only last year's posts to look at but, by and large, 2014 has closely paralleled 2013 in terms of what's blooming in any given month.  That isn't true for November, however.  Last November, I had early blooms of Agapanthus, Alstroemeria, and Iceland poppies, none of which are blooming yet this November.  In addition, some plants that were still blooming last November, like Grevillea 'Superb' and Plectranthus ciliatus, have already thrown in the towel for the season this year.  Still, here in coastal Southern California, I know I'm lucky not to face the frost and snow already hitting many areas of the country.

Yellow flowers are making the biggest splash this month, as they light things up under gloomy skies.

When Senna (Cassia) bicapsularis 'Worley's Butter Cream' blooms, I wonder why I don't have more of these shrubs in my garden

Like the larger variety, this Tagetes lemmonii 'Compacta' tends to flop but I love the flowers for their color and their scent

All it took was a little rain to send Euryops 'Sonnenschein' into a paroxysm of flowers 

Gazinia 'New Day Yellow' produces large blooms for the size of the plant

Even the succulent Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' is getting into the action, producing a large flower stalk

There are also flashes of orange and red here and there.

Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid' is a relatively new acquisition - I wish I'd bought more  (It looks especially nice with the Alternanthera tenella, doesn't it?)

This unidentified Aloe (maybe A. 'Pink Blush'?) is a vigorous bloomer with stalks that stand straight

Senecio fulgens (photobombed here by a flowering Echeveria) is producing another round of blooms

This Bougainvillea provides a dash of red in the front yard

The Gomphrena haageana blooms keep coming

Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' keeps on blooming, albeit usually producing only one flower at a time

The recent heat took a toll on Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy's' foliage but the flowers keep coming

Adding more red and orange, berries are popping up everywhere.

Heteromeles arbutifolia, named the official native plant of Los Angeles a couple years ago, is starting to produce a mass of red berries

Berry production on Nandina domestica has been in process for some time

Even the chlorotic Pittosporum (Auranticarpa) rhombifolia is producing berries

Although the yellows, oranges and reds draw the eye, pink flowers are making a stand in the garden as well, outnumbering their splashier and flashier companions.

After struggling with the heat in early fall, Camellia sasanqua is now hitting its stride

Close-up of Camellia sasanqua bloom

Flowers are usually present almost year-round on the Arbutus 'Marina' but, after being pruned early this year, they're only now returning in force

As you can see here, my Arbutus are making up for lost time, making the hummingbirds very happy - the flowers look coral here but they're really more pink

Bauhinia x blakeana has begun another bloom cycle since the temperatures cooled

A Geranium sanguineum I have no record of planting has begun blooming

Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl' has pumped out more flowers since the weather cooled too

This Pelargonium peltatum (aka ivy geranium) has decided that it wants to climb

The Pennisetum 'Fireworks' have settled in comfortably despite regular digging around their base by raccoons and skunks

All the Pentas lanceolata are blooming - this one is 'Nova'

Even the 'Pink Meidiland' roses, shown here with Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink,' have produced a few blooms despite a sorry performance earlier this year

There is a scattering of blue and purple blooms too.

Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon' looks better now than when I planted it in spring but I don't know if I'll grow it next year

Aster x frikartii 'Monch' is taking its own sweet time to get established but I love it anyway

Barleria obtusa has a sprawling habit, which makes it hard to photograph

The beautiful Eustoma grandiflorum 'Borealis Blue' is back in bloom

Lobelia erinus may not be exciting but it self-seeds freely here and, after disappearing during the peak of the heat, it's reappearing all over (shown here coming up in a pot underneath a blueberry shrub)

This new Osteospermum ecklonis is 'Berry White' - I like it just as much as '3D Silver,' which has been a mainstay in my garden

Salvia leucantha is coming to the end of its bloom cycle

Solanum xantii, a California native, is one of my latest finds - the purple color is even brighter than it looks here

There are only a few white flowers, making me wonder why I haven't added any Argyranthemum to my garden this year.

Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo White' isn't quite as double or as vigorous as the blue form but it's still pretty with its bright green throat

Hibiscus trionum (aka flower of an hour), sold to me by my local botanic garden, turns out to be a weed in parts of the country but it has been well-behaved here thus far

All my Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta daisies) were hit hard by the heat this year but they're slowly making a comeback

That's it for my November Bloom Day round-up.  Please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the host of the world-wide gardening event that is Bloom Day, and you'll find photos of what is lighting up gardens elsewhere this November.

All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party