Thursday, October 19, 2017

Too much of a good thing? (Foliage Follow-up)

I featured Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' in May's Foliage Follow-up post, crowing  a bit about how well these plants were doing in my garden, particularly the cluster of 3 plants underneath an Agonis flexuosa (peppermint willow) in a very dry section of the back garden.  Here's what the area looked like in May:

Acacia in mid-May


Now, if you consider that photo, you'll note that the Acacia was already starting to enroach on the succulents in front of it.  Last week, while trying to find a spot for a new Aeonium nobile, I realized that the Acacia had climbed right over a good many of those succulents when I wasn't paying attention.  By the time I got around to cleaning up the area a few days ago, I'd already partially uncovered 2 of 3 Agave 'Joe Hoak' but these photos give you an idea of the "before" state:

The Aeonium arboreum and ceramic fish had all but disappeared.  The Aloe vanbaelenii x ferox was half-covered.  The smallest 'Joe Hoak', a gift from a fellow blogger, was still nearly invisible and even Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie' had been engulfed.


I removed a large amount of the encroaching Acacia foliage but I suspect it won't be long before the succulents are swallowed up by 'Cousin Itt' again.

After photo #1: If you look closely, you may notice that the Acacia is still covering up other plants close to the trunk of the peppermint willow.  Those are Agapanthus.  I'm leaving them to their own devices.  The Phlomis in the background seems safe - for now.

After photo #2, showing all 3 "rescued" 'Joe Hoaks'.  I'm not really concerned with the Aeoniums - I have a nearly endless supply.


I haven't decided whether to relocate some or all of the succulents and simply let 'Cousin Itt' do its thing, or to just put the Acacia on a quarterly pruning schedule.  What would you do?

This is my belated Foliage Follow-up post.  For others, visit Pam at Digging.


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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sunrise (Wednesday Vignette)

I was out and about early yesterday morning as I had a dentist appointment and wanted to take care of a few things in the garden before I made my 50-minute schlep to the dentist's office.  (I love my dentist but I need one with a closer office.)  I caught the sun as it was coming up over the Los Angeles Harbor.

7 minutes prior to sunrise

The official moment of sunrise (7am)

Six minutes after sunrise with the sun still partially obscured by clouds but mirrored in the waters of the harbor


For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


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

Monday, October 16, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: The last dahlia

While there are yet a few buds on the dahlias, most of these dry up in no time during the hot, dry weather we've been experiencing.  Dahlia 'Punkin' Spice' surprised me by producing one beautiful, albeit small, bloom, which I elected to cut now as a final hurrah to the summer season.  Honestly, after last week's fires throughout the state we're more than ready here to see the end of summer dry conditions.  Red flag warnings signifying a high fire risk were in effect for much of the weekend in Southern California.  With all the sad and terrible stories stemming from the fires in Northern California and last Monday's fire here in Southern California, I couldn't help watching the horizon with a degree of anxiety.  Shortly after 4pm on Sunday, I glanced out my home office window and noticed this:

My husband got out a telescope and placed the fire near the Harbor Freeway's end point in San Pedro, less than 5 miles away.  Although we never heard sirens, the fire was out within 20 minutes.  However, our hot and dry conditions aren't expected to break until Friday.  Our humidity level here has been running below 15%.


But on to happier topics!  I let the color of 'Punkin' Spice' dictate the palette of my first vase.

This vase turned out better than I'd anticipated when I collected the hodge-podge of materials from my garden Sunday morning

I still haven't pulled all my remaining Zinnias but I'm trying to use up the last blooms - the plants look terrible!

The top view reflects the narrow profile of the vase

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Dahlia 'Punkin' Spice', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', berries of noID Cotoneaster (recycled from last week's vase), Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', Leonotis leonurus, Oncidium 'Wildcat', Tagetes lemmonii 'Compact', and Zinnia elegans


Barleria obtusa (bush violet) produced its first flowers just before Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and more flowers have opened continuously since.  I cut a few stems as the starting point for a second vase.

I can't recall how well the bush violets hold up in a vase or whether the buds will open once the stems are cut

I added pink Zinnias to the back of the vase as a last minute change.  This gave the 2 sides of the vase (or rather mug) distinctly different personalities.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the mug contains: Barleria obtusa, Cuphea 'Starfire Pink', Salvia 'Mystic Spires', Leucanthemum x superbum, and Zinnia elegans


I'd picked up a few pumpkins at the market last week and used the small ones to dress up the 'Punkin' Spice' arrangement on the dining room table.

I was going to retire the mouse to the cupboard but he looked quite happy there atop the pumpkins so I let him stay


I left my largest pumpkin outside the front entry, nestled in a pot in an attempt to keep the squirrels from tunneling through it before Halloween.  Despite this precaution, I caught one in the act of chewing it Sunday morning and the cheeky creature had the audacity to cuss me out when I sent him packing.  I put my skeleton cat out next to the pumpkin in what is no doubt a futile effort to keep the squirrel away.  I'm still looking for my skeleton rats, which seem to have disappeared.

The violet vase sits in the front entry


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find more "In a Vase on Monday" posts.


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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bloom Day - October 2017

It's a subdued October Bloom Day.  Some of the flowers I count on to make the biggest splash at this time of year are running late relative to the last 2 years, which I find strange as we were plagued by drought conditions and serious water restrictions in 2015 and 2016.  However, Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder' bloomed right on schedule.

This year, Plectranthus 'Zulu Wonder' is keeping happy company with burgundy flowered Pelargonium peltatum (ivy geranium)


The late-comers, Barleria obtusa and Senna bicapsularis, have barely said hello but I expect they'll both be coloring up the garden within the next couple of weeks.

Barleria obtusa (bush violet) shows signs of wishing to take over various sections of my garden but, with healthy green foliage and masses of purple-blue flowers, I can forgive it almost anything

The first buds of Senna bicapsularis 'Worley's Butter Cream' opened just yesterday and, as the plant serves as host to sulphur butterflies, I expect to see them make an appearance soon too


Tagetes lemmonii is also late in making its regular fall appearance, probably due to tardy pruning, but the dwarf form is trying to make up for its absence with a carpet of bright yellow blooms.

The compact form is right at home at the base of Agave 'Jaws' and Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'


While Eustoma grandiflorum has moved on prematurely, leaving only a few blooms behind, Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' continues its long seasonal performance.

Two of the 5 purple fountain grass clumps in my garden


I discovered a few surprises on my rounds.

I inherited a few Anemone hupehensis japonica with the garden but they bloom only sporadically and in small numbers if at all

Salvia 'Mystic Spires' can be found in various areas of my back garden but this clump in a corner of my south side succulent bed, while short in stature, is the healthiest one in my garden despite the fact that I've almost entirely ignored its existence

This Tibouchina urvilleana (Princess Flower), also inherited with the garden, has produced more blooms this year than I can ever recall it doing in the 6+ years we've had the garden


The rest is bits and pieces of this and that.

Top row: noID Angelonia, noID Duranta (sold as 'Gold Mound'), Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick' and Iochroma 'Mr Plum'
Second row: Lotus jacobaeus, Osteospermum '4D Silver', lavender Pelargonium peltatum, and noID Plumbago
Third row: Lavandula multifida and noID Leucophyllum
Fourth row: Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa' and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'

Top row: Achillea 'Moon Dust', Clematis paniculata, Eustoma grandiflorum, and Gazania 'White Flame'
Second row: self-seeded Gazania, Lantana 'Samantha', Leucanthemum x superbum, and Oncidium 'Wildcat'
Third row: Gaura lindheimeri, Hunnemannia fumariifolia, and Lantana 'Lucky White'

Top row: Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid', Arbutus 'Marina', Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' and Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun'
Second row: Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', G. 'Peaches & Cream', G. Superb', and Lantana camara 'Irene'
Third row: Leonotis leonurus, Mandevilla 'Sun Parasol Apricot', and Salvia elegans

Top row: noID Argyranthemum, Bauhinia x blakeana, Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', and dark pink Pelargonium peltatum
Second row: Pentas 'Graffiti Violet', noID rose, and Rosa 'Pink Meidiland'
Third row: Correa 'Wyn's Wonder', Cuphea 'Starfire Pink', and the last of the Zinnias


I'll close with blooms of 2 of the prettier weeds in my garden.

Top row: tiny cream-colored blooms of Artemisia ludoviciana
Second row: the buff-colored blooms of Helichrysum petiolare 'Silver Mist'


That's it for my October bloom summary.  Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for more posts celebrating Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.


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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Plants and Pumpkins

Last Saturday, a friend and I visited the "Fall Plant Boutique" at my local botanic garden.  This event replaced a more robust fall plant sale the garden used to sponsor annually.  Although I buy plants nearly year-round, fall is my peak planting season and I admit I usually go a little crazy.  As summer hasn't entirely released its grip on us here, I haven't gone hog-wild yet.  The botanic garden event seemed a way to ease in.  Plants offered by the botanic garden are reasonably priced to start with and, as a member, I get a discount on top of that.

The Barleria obtusa (bush violet) I'd hoped to find wasn't available but I still managed to find a few things to take home.

Clockwise from the upper left, my plant purchases included: Pelargonium peltatum 'Marble Sunset', Peperomia (labeled as P. rubella but it doesn't have the characteristic red stems and leaf undersides), Aeonium nobile, Centaurea gymnocarpa, Kalanchoe humilis, and Aeonium 'Lily Pad'


We decided to stay for the glass pumpkin exhibit and sale, which the exhibitors were in the process of setting up when we strolled into the main garden area.  We didn't have long to wait but I used the opportunity to take a peek around.

The botanic garden has been working on renovation of its rose garden since February.  It's supposed to be completed sometime this fall but it looked far from complete to me.

There were still some sunflowers in the Volunteers' Garden but what most interested my friend and me were the overturned plastic flats, which it appeared were being used to protect seedlings.  Like my own garden, the botanic garden has problems with raccoons but it was hard for me to believe that the empty flats would prevent those critters from rummaging.  But, it may be worth a try!


We entered the glass exhibit when it opened.  The designs all came from Walker & Bowes glass studios in San Jose, California and are part of their annual Pumpkin Patch exhibits.


I fell in love with that yellow pumpkin in the photo on the upper left but they were all pretty.  Prices varied from $88 to $528.

I didn't even bother to look for prices on the glass bowls

Sea shells are another Walker & Bowes specialty


The glass creations were pricey for me and I left without buying anything at the exhibit.  I did think about that yellow pumpkin after we left the garden but, luckily for my pocketbook, it was a one-day event.  More money left to spend on plants!


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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Vignette: Looking for the bright spots

In a painful year, the last several weeks have been especially bad, as hurricane after hurricane  battered the US and the Caribbean Islands, a major earthquake hit Mexico, a madman attacked concertgoers in Las Vegas, the White House continues its chaotic bent, and fires now ravage large areas of California.  Making donations to help those affected by some of these events feels like applying a band-aid when a tourniquet is needed.  Honestly, if I had a hidey-hole somewhere, I'd have crawled into it weeks ago.  But I don't and life goes on, making its daily demands and, like most of us, I put one foot in front of another and try to move forward.  It's trite perhaps but the sight of natural beauty provides, if not perspective, at least temporary respite.

Here's the beautiful image that made my heart sing this week, if only for a moment:

This is a silk floss tree (Chorisa speciosa 'Laska Beauty') in the parking area of the South Coast Botanic Garden


I hope you found a beautiful moment or two as well.  For other Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


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

Monday, October 9, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: There's always something

Stepping into the garden to cut flowers and foliage for "In a Vase on Monday," hosted each week by Cathy of Rambling in the Garden, I'd no big ideas about what to use.  First up, I checked the Helianthus 'Sunfinity Yellow' I'd picked up a few weeks ago to fill an empty pot, but last week's heatwave and some kind of critter left me nothing suitable for cutting.  The few dahlias left in the cutting garden also let me down (even 'Loverboy').  However, some of the Zinnia flowers still looked good, even if the plants themselves don't, so I focused on those.

I picked just about all of the coral, peach and yellow zinnias I had left in the cutting garden

Rear view: Not an exciting arrangement perhaps but cheerful

Top view

Clockwise from the upper right: Zinnia elegans (probably from the Cactus and California Giant seed mixes), the ripening berries of a noID Cotoneaster that planted itself at the base of one of my Arbutus trees, and Agonis flexuosa 'Nana'


Despite last week's blast of heat, Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder' continued to produce a steady stream of new blooms and as I still had a few Eustoma grandiflorum (Lisianthus) blooming in the garden, I cut more of both.  As most of last week's Eustoma were still looking good, I also repurposed those for this week's second vase.  It's not an exact match of last week's vase, though, as I altered the supporting cast.

Pretty Erigeron glaucus and Leucanthemum blooms added a fresh touch to this week's arrangement

Last week's "black" Eustoma blooms bring up the rear, accompanied by stems of  the weedy Artemisia that planted itself in my garden and the always available Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy'

The top view highlights the lavender blush form of Eustoma, looking just as fresh as it did in last week's vase

The vase contains, top row: Artemisia ludoviciana, Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick', and Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star'
Middle row: Various forms of Eustoma grandiflorum, including 'Rosanne Black Pearl' (left)
Bottom row: Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Leucanthemum x superbum, and Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder'


I hadn't planned to duplicate the color schemes I used last week but that's what happened.



Visit Cathy to discover what she and other gardeners used to fill their vases this week.


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