Friday, April 24, 2015

My favorite plant this week: Hoya multiflora

Even with many of my plants looking parched, it's hard to choose a favorite during this time of year.  Alstroemeria, Centranthus, Cotula lineariloba, Argyranthemum and Solanum are all in full bloom.  My Arthropodium cirratum are getting ready to burst into flower and the Agapanthus scattered throughout the garden have produced buds.  Still, what's grabbing my attention right now is the Hoya multiflora (syn. Centrostemma multiflora) sitting in my home office.  I picked up this plant at a local cactus and succulent show and sale a couple of weeks ago.

I'd been looking for this plant for some time.  I had a smaller plant a couple of years ago but I gave it too much sun and too little water and it perished.  I've been looking for another ever since.  When I saw this one at the succulent sale, I snapped it up, practically under the nose of another shopper.  (There were more hanging nearby.)

Also known as the shooting star hoya, it had a few buds but no blooms when I brought it home.  It now has more buds and lots of blooms.

Close-up of the off-white buds

Looking at the blooms, you can understand how it got its common name

According to some on-line sources, this evergreen shrub can get 4 to 5 feet feet tall if provided the conditions it prefers, although sources vary significantly in describing those conditions.  Some call for full to partial sun, while others refer to filtered light.  Some say to keep the plant moist, while others warn against over-watering.  All that appears clear is that it won't tolerate low temperatures, which isn't surprising as the plant's origins are in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.  Having given my other plant too much sun and too little water, I'm giving this one bright indoor light and allowing it to dry out during regular weekly waterings.  It looks happy thus far.

The flowers produce a sticky dew, which has a sweet taste

Loree of danger garden is hosting her monthly wrap-up of favorite plants with her post today.  Earlier this month, I featured Gazania rigens hybrids and, I'm happy to report that, just yesterday, I was finally able to locate more of my favorite G. 'Kiss Frosty White Flame', which I'll be adding to my front garden this weekend.

Enjoy your weekend, however you plan to spend your time!

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Vignette: Coleus in Combination

I'm joining Anna of Flutter and Hum in presenting a Wednesday Vignette, which she has described as a  combination in which "individual components lift each other, and make each other sing."  In February, I replanted the pots outside our front door with a simple mix of coleus (Solenostemon scuttellariodes) and Fuchsia.  I find myself admiring the pots every time I enter and leave the house.

The pot on the right

The pot on the left includes a yellow Calibrachoa, carried over from an earlier combination

Individual elements, clockwise from upper left: Solenostemon scutellariodes 'Electric Lime', S. s. 'Lava Rose', Fuchsia 'Swingtime' and Calibrachoa 'Double Lemon'

Visit Anna at Flutter and Hum to see what she's found for us this week.

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

In a Vase on Monday: False Start

Last week, I got it into my head that I was going to use Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet' as the centerpiece for this week's vase, prepared in connection with the meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Why I fixated on that particular flower with its relatively short stems, I can't say, except that I do like the way the sun shines through the flower petals in the early morning.

Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet', photographed in the garden for Bloom Day

However, when I went to clip my first flowers from the shrub, I realized that the high winds we've had for the last few days had done the plant little good so, with one stem in hand, my plan fell apart.  I decided to stick with the color scheme anyway.  Here's what I put together:

Front view

Back view - the leaves make me think of the train on a formal dress

While the vase I used is short, its opening is rather wide so I ended up using a lot of flowers to fill it:

  • Alstroemeria (no ID)
  • Centranthus ruber album
  • Cercis occidentalis 
  • Coleonema album
  • Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink'
  • Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'
  • Lagurus ovata 
  • Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet'
  • Pelargonium peltatum (double-flowered form, no ID)

Alstroemeria is still plentiful in my garden

Centranthus (photobombed here by Alstroemeria and Cuphea 'Starfire Pink') spreads like a weed in the driest areas of my garden

The seedpods of Cercis occidentalis, the Western Redbud, are more magenta than they appear in this photo

Lagurus ovata, aka Hare's Tale Grass, shown here with Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', is incredibly soft  - I wish I could make a sweater of it

The tiny stem of Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet' that started things off is barely visible as part of the overall composition

The double- flowered form of Pelargonium peltatum is front-and-center

This week's vase is in the front entryway (mainly because it doesn't look good with the current table runner in the dining room).

You can see Cathy's vase and find links to other gardeners' Monday creations here.

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Foliage Follow-up: Touches of Red

It's Foliage Follow-up Day and I'm joining Pam at Digging to recognize the significant role foliage plays in creating a beautiful garden.  For this month's post, I'm focusing on some of the foliage plants that add touches of red to my garden.

Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' is sporting lots of new growth in an orange-red color.  I have 3 of these peppermint-scented plants in the south-side garden bed adjacent to the patio.

The color of the Agonis' new growth is echoed in the foliage of Phormium 'Amazing Red,' Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey' and various succulents

The same Agonis, photographed from the other direction

Close-up of the wavy stems and curly leaves of Agonis flexuosa 'Nana'

I love the Leptospermum polygalifolium 'Copper Glow' I planted in my front garden in November but it always seems to be either too dark or too sunny to get a good photograph.  The best I could do today was this:

A graceful stem of Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' hangs above Phormium 'Maori Queen'

Another relatively new plant with red touches is Dianella tasmanica 'Tasred,' which I picked up from the Australian Native Plants Nursery in March.

The base of these Dianellas is red 

During that same shopping trip, at Sperling Nursery, I picked up Helleborus 'Anna's Red.'

I presume that Helleborus 'Anna's Red' gets it's name from the color of its flowers but there's also a touch of red in the stems and the base of the leaf cluster

The biggest splash of red color I'll share today comes from an Aeonium I picked up early last year.  It didn't come with a label but my best guess is that it's Aeonium 'Garnet,' reported to be a hybrid of A. arboreum 'Zwartkop' and A. tabuliforme.

Unlike A. 'Zwartkop,' this Aeonium hasn't developed tall stalks

My last foliage pick this month is Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' (aka coral bark maple).  Planted early in 2011, not long after we moved in, it's the most successful Japanese maple in my garden, possibly because it had a chance to get established before I began ratcheting down the irrigation in my garden.  Its placement beside the garage, where it's protected from the wind and receives only morning sun, probably also helps.

Acer Sango Kaku' has almost fully leafed out

Visit Pam at Digging to see her foliage picks this month and find links to other gardeners' foliage picks.

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bloom Day - April 2015

It's Bloom Day, when Carol of May Dreams Gardens leads gardeners all over the world in sharing what's blooming in their gardens.  Despite the heatwaves that knocked out some flowering plants prematurely in March, there's a lot going on in my Southern California garden this month.  The star of this month's parade of flowers is the climbing rose 'Joseph's Coat.'

But, in terms of the sheer volume of blooms, there are other key players jockeying for attention as well:

Pink Alstroemeria, inherited with the house

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' continues to play a dominant role in the beds along the front walkway

3 Argyranthemum frutescens 'Butterfly' have merged into a mass of bloom

Centranthus ruber has popped up in all the drier areas of the garden

I've fallen in love with this Gazania hybrid 'Kiss Frosty White Flame' after years of snubbing my nose at the entire genus

Lavendula stoechas occupies prominent positions in both the front and back borders

The humble Limonium perezii is adding color in the drier areas on both ends of the garden

The Phlomis fruticosa shrubs in the backyard have reached their peak of bloom

Some of my favorite combinations of flowering plants right now include the following:

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar,' backed up by Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl' and Phormium 'Maori Queen' along the front walkway

A mix of white and pink Centranthus is filling in the formerly empty areas along the back slope, mixing with Oenothera speciosa, which is just starting to bloom in the same area

Cynoglossum amabile is shown here mingling with Alstroemeria, Erigeron, and self-seeded Cerinthe major

Felicia aethiopica 'Tight & Tidy' and Gazania 'New Day Yellow'

This bed may have too much going on with Grevillea 'Superb' producing bloom after bloom in the center, accompanied by Convolvulus sabatius 'Moroccan Beauty,' Gallardia grandiflora 'Goblin,' Nandina domestica and Salvia 'Mesa Azure'

Lavandula stoechas again, accompanied by Felicia aethiopica and Gazania 'New Day Yellow'

This may be my favorite combination at the moment: Osteospermum 'Serenity Purple,' Geranium incanum and Leucadendron 'Ebony'

Cistus 'Sunset,' Limonium perezii and trailing Lantana

Hard-to-photograph Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud' mingling with Nierembergia  linarifolia

As this post also serves as my record of what's blooming each month, I'm going to try the reader's patience by adding a few collages of flowers organized by color.

Blue blooms include (clockwise from upper left): Lobelia mingling with blueberries, Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip,' Aquilegia 'Spring Magic,' Convolvulus 'Moroccan Beauty,' Felicia 'Tight & Tidy,' and Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud'

In the purple category (clockwise from upper left): Acanthus mollis 'Summer Beauty,' Iris germanica (no ID), Senecio stellata, Salvia 'Mesa Azure,' Salvia 'Mystic Spires' and Solanum xantii 'Mountain Pride'

Magenta blooms include (from left): Geranium 'Tiny Monster,' Osteospermum 'Serenity Purple,' and Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet'

The red category includes (clockwise from upper left): Feijoa sellowiana, Fuchsia 'Windchimes Neon & White,' Hippeastrum (no ID), the last blooms of Grevillea lavandulcea 'Penola' (in flower since December), the first ever blooms of Leucadendron 'Ebony' and the first blooms of Leucadendron 'Jester'

Pink blooms include (clockwise from upper left): Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl,' Helleborus 'Phoebe,' Hoya (no ID), Oenothera speciosa, Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom' and Schizanthus  pinnatus

Pink Pelargoniums include, top row: 2 unidentified P. peltatum; bottom row: P. 'Aurelia' and what may be P. 'Katie' 

Orange and peach blooms include (clockwise from upper left): Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream,' Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin,' Bignonia capreolata, Hemerocallis 'Elizabeth Salter,' Pelargonium x domesticum 'Georgia Peach, and Rosa 'Medallion'

Yellow blooms include (clockwise from upper left): Cotula lineariloba, Euphorbia 'Dean's Hybrid,' Gazania 'New Day Yellow,' Leucadendron 'Pisa,' Osteospermum 'Blue-eyed Beauty' and Narcissus 'White Lion'

White blooms include (clockwise from upper left): Carpenteria californica, Coleonema album, Nandina domestica and Trachelospermum jasminoides

Even my flowering weeds are at their peak:

Although they are virtually weeds here, I give Centranthus ruber, Erigeron karviniskianus and Geranium incanum some freedom to spread about

Okay, this post exhausted even me so, reader, if you got this far, bravo!  For even more blooming plants, please visit Carol, the host of May Dreams Gardens.

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