Monday, March 2, 2015

In a Vase on Monday: Callas in Charge!

Rain was forecast for the entire weekend but, for the most part, it missed us until last night.  It was dry again for awhile this morning but, it's raining now and we're even getting thunder and lightening.  It's an exciting way to start the week in an area that sees relatively little in the way of weather fluctuations.  Today's bouquet for "In a Vase on Monday," the meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, was put together in something of a hurry.

Front view

Back view


I spent time weeding and cleaning things up at the bottom of the slope over the weekend, where I noticed several Calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) in bloom so they were the natural choice as the focal point for this week's vase.  In addition to the Callas, I included:
  • Coleonema album
  • Freesia
  • Narcissus, dwarf (noID)

Common Calla lilies

Coleonema album, which is currently in full bloom

These yellow Freesias differ slightly in color, with the one on the left reading as a clear yellow and the one on the right as gold, although the photos above don't show the difference well

My noID dwarf daffodils began blooming just days ago


The new bouquet took the place of last week's vase at the front entryway.  That vase, featuring Grevillea 'Superb,' lasted nearly a week.  The vase containing Cymbidium stems, created for my post on February 16th, is still on the dining room table, still looking almost as it did then.

New vase in position near the front door

The photo on the left was taken for the February 16th post; the one in the middle was taken for last week's post; and the one on the right was taken for today's post.  I changed the vase water once but haven't replaced any of the flowers.  The Leptospermum and Coleonema appear to be drying in situ and the orchids show little sign of decay.


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find her newest creation and links to the contributions of other gardeners.  If you have a vase created from materials in your own garden, link up!


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wide Shots - March 2015

Rain was predicted for Friday through Monday this weekend but it didn't show up here until last night and it has been light thus far.  In anticipation of the rain, I took my wide shot photos yesterday, when the skies just held the portent of rain.

View of clouds over the Los Angeles harbor


The front garden, irrigated by sprinklers once a week and hand-watered as needed during dry spells, continues to fill in nicely.


Inspired by a recent series of photos from Rock Rose, I took a few pictures from inside the house this month.  This one, taken from our master bedroom, turned out better than many of my exterior shots.

Closer look of the front garden beds on the north side of the front walkway

Closer view of the area on the south side of the front walkway

View looking toward the driveway near the arbor entrance to the south side yard


Although raccoons still rummage through the south side yard one or two times a week, they seem to be doing less damage.  I've used the prickly seed cones that fall from the Magnolia tree and thorny stems from my pruned rose bushes to create rings around the newer and more fragile plants, which, amazingly, seems to put them off a bit even if it hasn't sent them packing.


The usual view through the harbor looking toward the harbor

Another photo taken from inside the house - this one was taken from the living room looking out on the side yard

The usual view looking at the side yard from the backyard


The backyard beds still have holes here and there that need to be filled but I'm holding off any work there until the tree trimming scheduled for next Saturday is completed.

View of the backyard taken from inside our dining room

Exterior view of the backyard, looking south

A longer view looking in the same direction - that "lawn" walkway is little more than a collection of weeds now

View in the other direction, looking north - the tree in the mid-border on the right, at the edge of the frame, is the one we're taking out next week to accommodate a neighbor who claims our trees obstruct her views


The backyard borders north of the main patio, both created last year, are also filling in well.

View of the 2 newest backyard beds, both filled with drought tolerant plants

View of the same beds looking in the opposite direction

Nothing much has been done with the dry garden in the last month.

Photo of the dry garden taken from inside the master bathroom


My husband helped me weed the back slope last weekend.  I did a little planting along the lower slope last month, adding 3 small Pelargoniums and two Agave attenuata pups taken from elsewhere in the garden.  I continue to hand-water the 3 Pittosporum tenuifolium I planted to create a screen between us and our neighbors but I expect it'll be a good year before we have any kind of real barrier there.  Meanwhile, I think the existing lemon, fig and peach trees are benefiting from the increased sunlight.

View of the slope looking down the cement block stairway - you can see the fig tree midway down is already leafing out

The usual view of the slope, looking up


I planted more sugar snap pea seeds to replace the seedlings previously nibbled by critters of some kind but the second round of seedlings disappeared as soon as they broke through the soil as well.  However, one of the sweet pea seedlings has already produced a bloom.  I'm seriously considering skipping vegetables altogether and using the raised beds to grow flowers for cutting instead.

A single sweet pea bloom can be seen on the plant growing up the yellow tomato cage on the right


I haven't touched the street-side succulent bed or the adjoining area I call the "glen" in the past month so little has changed there.

The succulents have filled in some but the shrub on the far left is clearly dead and will need to be taken out.  A neighbor told me that these shrubs, which I think are Auranticarpa rhombifolium, once ran the entire boundary along the street but, when they began dying soon after installation, most were were replaced with Xylosma congestum. 

The glen area is enjoying more light since the neighbors trimmed their trees and I just noticed that the pineapple gauva (Feijoa sellowiana) has already begun to bloom. (It's partially concealed in this photo, which shows it backed by other trees in the distance.)


That's it for this month's wide shots post.  My continuing thanks go to Heather of Xericstyle for inaugurating this monthly exercise.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My favorite plant this week: Bryophyllum manginii

This week, perhaps due to our partially cloudy skies, my eyes were drawn to the most vivid colors in the garden.  In selecting a plant as my favorite of the week to link to Loree's monthly favorites wrap-up at danger garden, I debated a few possibilities, including Callistemon 'Hot Pink' and Calliandra haematocephala.

Callistemon 'Hot Pink" has only been in my garden about 6 weeks and this is its first flower so I decided it deserves more time to reach its potential

Calliandra haematocephala has already received a lot of attention in this blog so I decided to direct my attention elsewhere for this post


I settled on Bryophyllum manginii, one of the relatively few plants I picked up during a visit to Roger's Gardens with friends last week.

Bryophyllum manginii sitting on my backyard patio


I remember being tempted by this plant last year and, as it was on "special" when I visited Roger's, how could I pass it up?  I even stopped by my local garden center last week and purchased a Talavera-style pot to put it in.  Although priced well below Talavera norms, the pot still cost more than three times the amount of the plant but so be it.  It needed that pot.

The plant was labeled as Kalanchoe manganii 'Bette's Red Bells,' but it appears that it's now classified as Bryophyllum manginii, although Kalanchoe manginii is listed as a synonym on The Plant List.  One of its common names is chandelier plant, which is a fitting description of its arching flower stems.



The evergreen succulent foliage isn't particularly distinctive.



However, the salmon-red, bell-shaped flowers are very pretty, reminding me of those borne by Phygelius.



The plant is native to Madagascar and is very tender.  On-line sources indicate that its best kept at temperatures above 50 to 55F (10 to 12C), which means that I need to exercise care with it even here.  Although the plant was shown in full sun and the tag recommended full to partial sun, other sources reference partial shade.  As long as our temperatures remain cool, I'll leave it where it sits on the backyard patio in full sun but, if it becomes stressed or the temperatures jump back up into the mid-80sF, I'll move it to the side yard patio, which gets just morning sun.

This pretty, tender Bryophyllum manginii is my favorite plant this week.  You can see last week's favorite, Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Peach,' in my Bloom Day Postscript.  It's still blooming its heart out in one of my backyard borders.

Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Peach' line the front of this bed along the backyard patio


Visit Loree at danger garden to find her favorite plants wrap-up for February and links to other gardeners favorite plant picks.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Succulents & Daffodils

Two friends and I made a trip to Roger's Gardens last Saturday.  Two very different displays caught my attention near the entrance.

The first was the installation of a new succulent display garden.  It's another indication of Roger's commitment to a California-friendly plant palette.  The bed was too large to photograph in one wide shot (at least in the presence of customer traffic) so I took multiple shots walking around the circular space.













What's your reaction to the layout?  Although I generally prefer naturalistic plant arrangements, I liked the circular and paisley patterns in this bed.  I also liked the use of rocks of varying size, combined in places with smaller gravel.  Although the display is made up of good-sized specimens, I admit that it probably isn't sustainable in the long-term as some of those succulents will get larger still in time but my guess is that it's not meant to remain in place more than 6 months at most.

The other display was a daffodil exhibition.  I love daffodils, in part because most come in my favorite color, yellow, but also because they're an emblem of spring.  I don't have much of a collection myself and I'm not well-versed in their culture but it was fun to have a look at the range of variation among them.








Some of my favorites, clockwise from the left (assuming that I got the names right): 'Karigal', 'Pacific Rim', 'Falstaff', 'Early Dawn', 'Innovator', 'Butter n' Eggs', and Pima


Surprising myself as much as my friends, I didn't buy much on this trip.  Anticipating the pending upheaval associated with taking out a tree in the backyard and cutting back 9 other trees in response to a neighbor's complaint about my garden's obstruction of her view (as previously discussed here), I've felt frozen in place with respect to work in my garden.  Hopefully, after the work is complete on March 7th, I'll be able to refocus on my own plans for the garden.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party