Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More plant shopping

Since the weather cooled at the end of October, I've been making up for lost time shopping for plants.  The weekend before last, a friend and I visited 3 garden centers in Santa Barbara County and last Friday I drove to Orange County to visit Roger's Gardens.  As I'd arranged to meet a friend down there for lunch, I didn't dilly-dally much with photos but I snapped a few things that caught my attention upon arrival.

This mass planting of the new-to-me hybrid Aloe 'Safari Sunrise' was stunning 

I was also impressed with the massed planting of Crassula multicava next to the Aloes.  I've planted nearly a dozen of these plants in my own garden but it never would have occurred to me to mass them like this.

I was tempted by this display of tiny barrel cacti (Echinocactus grusonii) in 4-inch pots.  I don't usually get excited about true cacti but these are one of the exceptions.  Mature specimens are usually very expensive.  These weren't expensive but, between having no idea where I would put them and the time I expected it would take for them to reach basketball size, I turned my back and moved on.

This is one of the best specimens of Cordyline 'Electric Flash' I've seen.  Bugs of some kind ate away at the roots of 2 smaller specimens I planted from 1-gallon containers a couple of years ago but I may try another in a pot one day.


Although Roger's opened its Christmas Boutique before Halloween, preparations for the event were still in full swing when I visited.

The succulent display in the demonstration garden near the front entrance (on the left, photographed in September) has been replaced by the usual toy holiday train display (current photograph on the right), although the train itself didn't appear until I was on my way to the check out area.

Baskets meant to conjure winter (despite the pleasantly warm weather) were in place

An area intended to display wreaths was under construction


But scarier than any of the Halloween decorations that Roger's had on display on my prior visit in September, including the avenging angel...



Was this sight:

The back lot filled with fresh Christmas trees


I didn't peruse the holiday displays.  I selected the plants I'd been looking for and several more I wasn't and high-tailed it to my lunch appointment.

More frightening still, I looked out my home office window Monday night and saw the first house in the area totally bedecked in lights.  How did Christmas sneak up on me yet again?!  Our temperature is expected to reach 90F today!  I haven't even thought about holiday greeting cards, presents, decorating or celebratory get-togethers.  I still have gardening to do!

Filling this basket, hung on a screen on our south side patio, was my primary objective in visiting Roger's.  It doesn't look like much yet but I'm hoping it'll be gorgeous by January.  It contains: Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset', red pansies, 3 Butterfly Amaryllis (Hippeastrum papilio), and rooting cuttings of Alternanthera 'Little Ruby'.  The bulbs are currently hidden behind the Lotus foliage, which should soon trail down to hide the basket.

Among other things, I also splurged on an Aloe 'Safari Sunrise', shown here in place in my south side succulent bed


I hope all of you in the US take time to thoroughly enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow before facing down the specter of the year-end holiday festivities.  Best wishes!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, November 20, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Not simple enough

As I was preparing last week's Bloom Day post, I was surprised to discover that my New Zealand tea trees were sporting a heavy flush of pink blooms.  They were a natural choice for this week's edition of "In a Vase on Monday" in which Cathy of Rambling in the Garden challenges us to create arrangements from materials on hand.  The question I faced was: what do I have to accent these flowers?  I cut stems of Coprosma and Camellias but used only the latter.  Much as I love Camellias, in retrospect I think I probably should have let the Leptospermum stand alone.

While both the Camellia and Leptospermum flowers are pretty, I'm not sure they do much for one another

The back view is nearly identical

The vase contains only the glossy-leaved stems of a noID Camellia sasanqua and the prickly stems Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'


As my bush violets are on the wane, I thought I'd also assemble another vase using them while I still could but the flowers were sparser than I'd realized so I ended up picking bits and pieces of a lot of other things to fill out the vase, creating a mish-mash.  I was pleased to find a one blue Lisianthus in bloom, though.

While some ensemble casts may be considered greater than the sum of their parts, I don't think that can be said of this one

The arrangement ended up lop-sided too

Top view

The vase contains: Top row - Barleria obtusa and Duranta repens 'Sapphire Showers'
Middle row - Erigeron glacus 'Wayne Roderick', Eustoma grandiflorum, and Lavandula multifida
Bottom row -  Leucadendron 'Pisa', seedheads of Catanache caerulea, and Osteospermum '4D Silver'


Both vases this week might have been more effective had I kept their contents simpler I think.  We'll see if I can manage to keep that lesson in mind next week.



For more IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, November 17, 2017

Foliage Follow-up - New Plants!

I recently posted photos of a dramatic change to the southwest corner of my garden resulting from a neighbor's removal of several large oleanders suffering from leaf scorch.  As plans were afoot this week to install replacement shrubs, I'd planned to provide photos of the newly installed Pittosporum hedge for this week's Foliage Follow-up, the feature hosted by Pam at Digging each month following Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  But, as the schedule for the planned installation stretched out, I began looking for a new topic.  I've been on a few fall planting sprees of late so I focused on some of my new foliage purchases.

On a trip to Seaside Gardens last weekend, I picked up 3 Cordyline 'Renegade', which I planted this week.  Their burgundy color nicely mirrors the color of Leucadendron 'Ebony' in the background (currently in danger of being swallowed up by Leucadendon salignum 'Chief').  The grasses in front of the Cordylines, Melinus nerviglumis, are also relatively new introductions.

I also picked up Leucadendron 'Little Bit' at Seaside, shown here planted in front of Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira''Little Bit' should eventually grow to 3 feet tall and wide, relatively small for a Leucadendron but a nice accent to the larger Echium.

In last month's Foliage Follow-up, I focused on the Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' that threatened to encompass everything in its path.  Commentators were nearly universal in supporting removal of the succulents that stood in the path of these shrubs and I recently moved the succulents.  However, as I can't abide an expanse of bare soil (and didn't want to give the local raccoons an invitation to dig), I planted Lotus berthelotii, a low-growing ground cover, to bridge the gap between the Acacia and the creeping thyme.  The new plants are shown in the photo on the left.  The photo on the right shows an expanse of established Lotus on the other side of the path.  The Lotus (aka Parrot's Beak) develops red flowers but shouldn't fight with 'Cousin Itt' the way the taller succulents did.

The area in the foreground here was a sloppy mess of overgrown thyme and raggedy Carex testacea.  I moved a Stipa arundinacea 'Sirocco' that had been growing in the front garden (the orange grass shown above) and picked up 2 more of these plants to fill in the area in front of Leucospermum 'Goldie'.  The new plants should take on the same orange color as the transplant in time.


Near dusk yesterday afternoon, the neighbor's garden crew finally finished work on the installation of the new hedge of Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Sheen'.  The light wasn't great for photos but I'm going to include these anyway.

The first photo on the left shows the property line between us and our neighbor to the south before the mass of oleanders on the neighbor's side was removed.  The middle photo shows the area as it looked immediately after the oleanders were removed, exposing the neighbor's driveway to our view.  The third photo is a blurry shot of the new Pittosporum hedge just beyond our property line.

This is a closer view.  There are a total of 7 Pittosporum 'Silver Sheen' here.  The neighbor also laid new irrigation, jute to hold the slope as the plants become established, and plugs of ice plant to serve as a ground cover.  We're sharing in the cost of both the oleanders' removal and the new installation so I appreciate all the work that went into getting the new hedge off to a good start.


Our side of the property line is also a mess as work has finally begun on the lath (shade) house planned for the southwest corner.  While I've been slowly clearing out the pots and detritus that had accumulated in the area during the 7 years we've lived here, my husband has the hardest job: building the structure.  Thus far, only the footings are in place but that's progress!

The lath house will be a 5-sided structure.  The space between the 2 footings in the foreground on the left will hold a door.  The 2 walls on either side of the door will have windows (and window boxes).  All the walls and the roof with be constructed of lath to allow air and light into the structure.  I expect I'll fill in with plants around the structure but I probably won't figure that piece out until the structure is complete.  My husband tells me that the pitched lath roof is likely to be the trickiest part of the project. 


For more Foliage follow-up posts, visit Pam at Digging.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bloom Day - November 2017

Caught up in fall planting exercises and a backlog of projects after October's scorching heat, I almost lost track of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Did we fast-forward to mid-November, or have I just been in denial about how quickly the year-end holidays are approaching?  In any case, although I took some photos early this week in preparation for Bloom Day, it nonetheless caught me somewhat unprepared this month.  Ideally, I'd have canvased my garden more closely and taken better photos but I'm making do with what I had in my camera.

Although early November's cooler temperatures and the return of the early morning marine layer have refreshed the garden somewhat, there are only a handful of plants providing significant splashes of color right now.

I have 4 Arbutus Marina and all are dripping in coral flowers, much to the delight of the hummingbirds

While my Senna bicapularis pooped out early during October's heat, Barleria obtusa (bush violet) is still going strong (as is Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa' to its right)

When the humidity increased with the return of the marine layer, Bauhinia x blakeana (Hong Kong orchid tree) leafed out again and produced a new flush of flowers

I don't remember Correa pulchella 'Pink Eyre' producing so many flowers in prior years.  My 'Wyn's Wonder' cultivars are also blooming but the blooms are harder to make out against their variegated foliage.

All the plants that produce fall berries are doing so right on schedule.  Here are just two: Heteromeles arbutifolia (aka Toyon, left) and Nandina domestica (right).


Some plants have commenced a new bloom cycle this month, most notably:

The noID Camellia sasanquas, which produced their first flowers during the height of our last heatwave

Hypoestes aristata (Ribbon Bush) hasn't been as vigorous in this garden as it was in my former garden, but I hope it's just taking its time getting established

I picked up this Jatropha integerrima 'Compacta Pink' last month and plunked it in a large pot near the entrance to our driveway.  I was worried about its water requirements but so far, so good.

This is a poor photo of Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl', which surprised me with a fall flush of bloom.  It's grown taller than I thought it would, merging somewhat unattractively with the foliage of one of my guava trees.

The first Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule) have bloomed from plugs planted a couple of weeks ago

I had few rose blooms this past spring despite our heavier-than-usual winter rain so I definitely wasn't expecting much of anything in terms of fall blooms but a few roses have appeared here and there.  This is Rosa 'California Dreamin', which looks as though it's glowing from within.

The climber Rosa 'Joseph's Coat' is also blooming

This Sansevieria parva produced its very first bloom.  I read that the flowers are supposed to be white but this one is a mauvish lavender.

Tagetes lemmonii (aka Copper Canyon Daisy) bloomed last spring but its usual fall bloom cycle is right on schedule


And then there are my old dependables, the plants that bloom all year or reliably on their usual seasonal schedules.

Cuphea 'Starfire Pink' blooms all year round, except when given a severe haircut

Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' also blooms continuously, at least in its location in the front garden

Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' blooms off and on throughout the year.  It's very much "on" right now.

Planted in November 2013, I can't remember a time when Grevillea 'Superb' wasn't in bloom

Lantana 'Lucky White' seems to bloom endlessly as well

The Pennisetums don't bloom all year but they do strut their stuff for a long period, starting in late summer and continuing into the winter.  Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is on the left and P. 'Sky Rocket' is on the right.  'Fireworks' is also in bloom.


To end today's Bloom Day post, here's the best of the rest:

Top row: Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', Duranta 'Sapphire Showers', and Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick'
Middle row: Felicia aethiopica, Gazania 'White Flame', and Mandevillea 'Sun Parasol Apricot'
Bottom row: Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom' , Tibouchina urvilleana, and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'


For more Bloom Day reports, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, November 13, 2017

Teapot & Driftwood (In a Vase on Monday)

Today is the fourth anniversary of "In a Vase on Monday," the addictive meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  I joined in several months after Cathy launched these weekly posts challenging her fellow garden bloggers to create arrangements from floral and foliage materials they have on hand.  I think I've missed just one week since I started participating.  This week, Cathy challenged participants to use something other than a vase to hold their creations.

My first arrangement utilizes an ornamental teapot.  The teapot had belonged to my mother-in-law.  It's not fine china but I'd always admired it and, when we cleared her home for sale after we lost her, I brought it home as a remembrance of her.

The starting point for this arrangement was the peach-colored rose.  Now that our weather is finally cooler, the roses are gradually reappearing.

Rear view

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the teapot contains: Rosa 'Medallion', Abelia 'Kaleidoscope', Agonis flexuosa ' Nana', berries of Nandina domestica, Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', Grevillea 'Superb', and Rosa 'Joseph's Coat'


Because I've featured the teapot before, I challenged myself to try something else I haven't used before.  I'd been looking for a piece of driftwood to support a collection of succulents as a display in my new bromeliad garden and, luckily, I finally found one last week.  The question then became: how do I put this together?  I'd decorated a pumpkin with succulents before but the driftwood was a little trickier to work with.

The first issue was to decide which side of the driftwood piece should be up and which down

I assembled my supplies, which included succulents, 2 kinds of glue, plastic gloves, and bagged moss.  In addition to small rooted succulents, I used cuttings from plants in my garden, including the Crassula pubescens in a pot at my elbow.


I'd viewed a couple of on-line tutorials about affixing succulents to driftwood but didn't strictly follow the recommended guidelines.  The tutorials made use of cuttings but I also used some small, rooted plants, wrapping them in moss and stuffing them in pockets here and there without using glue.  How well that will work in the long-run remains to be seen.  Here's a look at the finished product:

Front view

Back view

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the arrangement includes: Crassula capitella and Echeveria agavoides; Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi'; a red-tipped Rhipsalis (shown with a noID succulent); Crassula perforata 'Variegata' and Crassula pubescens ssp radicans; and Tillandsia 'Capitata Peach'


The teapot landed on the dining table and the driftwood found its place in my bromeliad garden.  The table in the front entry remains unadorned this week.




To see how others addressed this week's challenge, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party