Friday, March 25, 2016

March Favorites

Once a month, Loree of danger garden invites us to celebrate the plants in our garden making the biggest impression at the moment.  Most of my selections this month aren't exotic or unusual.   However, in each case, the plant's either at its peak of performance or it's done something to surprise me.

First up is Ajuga reptans 'Mint Chip'.  A very low grower, it fits in nicely alongside the backyard walkway.  Its pretty blue flowers seemed to appear overnight.



Another low groundcover that suddenly burst into bloom this month is Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin', a hybrid I planted 2 years ago.  It needs to be cut back after it finishes blooming but that's virtually all the maintenance it requires.



Felicia aethiopica is providing another burst of blue in the backyard.  This variety, called 'Tight & Tidy' by the grower, is just that.  Its projected size, 16 inches tall and 30 inches wide, is shorter than the variety usually offered by local garden centers.  (It's currently in danger of being engulfed by Lupinus propinuus, which is growing larger and faster than I imagined it would.)



The front garden has its own bolt of blue in the form of the noID Ceanothus hedge that is currently near full bloom.  This hedge, trimmed frequently to keep it within the bounds, probably doesn't have a long life ahead of it.  Since we moved in, I've already lost 3 sections of the front Ceanothus hedge and one section of the backyard hedge.  I've considered removing the entire thing but, when it blooms, granting it mercy and letting it exit on its own terms is an easy decision to make.



The garden has also produced some jolts of hot pink this month.  One of the plants providing that bright color is Callistemon 'Hot Pink', a hybrid I acquired last year.  The plant is still relatively small but it does its best to make an impression.  The only problem with it is that its floral color clashes with that of a number of its bedmates so it may have to move.



More hot pink color is provided by Pelargonium cucullatum 'Flore Plenum' (aka 'Golf Ball').  This was one of several Pelargoniums I picked up at a Geranium Society sale at my local botanic garden last year but it appears to be the most vigorous of the lot.  There's a nice red edge to the bright green leaves that complements the flowers well.



A more subdued bloomer sits on the back slope, where it gets little attention.  Carpenteria californica (aka Bush Anemone) is a drought tolerant, native plant that tolerates sun or shade conditions.  It seemed a perfect choice for the back slope when I planted it in 2012 as the area was in shade most of the day but it struggled to adjust to the increased sun exposure when we took out the giant Yucca Elephantipes there early last year.  It benefits from tip pruning, which I neglected to do last year.  Full of round, balloon-shaped buds now, pruning will have to wait.



My last entry, which also grows on the back slope, may be mundane but it falls into the "surprise" category.  It's an artichoke.  It was leftover from 6-pack of plugs I planted a few years ago.  With no more room in the vegetable garden, I stuck the seedling on the slope.  While it hasn't produced any chokes, it's out-lived the other plants I put in that year.  It gets very little water and dies back each summer but it keeps reappearing after our meager winter rains, flaunting its attractive gray foliage.




For more favorite plant entries, visit Loree at danger garden.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. I'm torn between orange flames on Leonotis and gold sparkles on scarlet 'Jersey' lilies

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    1. Those are both beautiful plants that do well in my climate too, Diana.

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  2. Kris would you be insulted if I called you a flower floozy? I think it's Annie of Annie's annuals that refers to herself that way, so you'd be in good company! And I love your artichoke surprise...

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    1. Not at all. I'm fairly sure I meet Annie's definition of a flower floozy.

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  3. Artichoke is always a surprise! And they do seem to do well in the warm spring... Yours fits in beautifully!

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    1. It's funny but it does always catch me by surprise when it reappears.

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  4. That's a lot of color power on the little Callistemon :) Your Ceanothus is gorgeous; I would do the same in letting it stay as long as it might!

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    1. I'm sad to see the Ceanothus, which I inherited with the garden, dying off in sections. I don't think it was meant to be used as a hedge and trimmed hard every couple of months as it has been.

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  5. I would grant the Ceanothus mercy too. It's one of my favorite shrubs, but I don't think I'd want a whole hedge of it. Good idea to let it go out on its own terms, then you can take your time figuring out what to do with the space it leaves.

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    1. These are looong sections of hedge too. And there's a second (Xylosma) hedge alongside both the front and backyard stretches of Ceanothus. The idea behind the original design (before my time) is lost to me.

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  6. Hi, Kris! I enjoyed your post, but I mostly wanted to forward this link, which came to me courtesy of FB-- http://gimcw.org/books/bookinfo.cfm?bookid=tbompglo -- it's a book by a notable peony expert with good info (so I read) about the mediterranean species. The post was in a forum about Mediterranean Gardening. I thought of you and your recently-posted peony. Hope it continues to thrive and boom.

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    1. Thanks for the link, Emily! How cool. I think I'll put the book on my b-day wish list for my husband's consideration.

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  7. You have lots of lovely blue in your garden, a color which we are seldom able to get in our zone 5. The Felicia daisies are my favorite!

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    1. I've grown Felicia aethiopica before but this cultivar really is a cut above.

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  8. I love all your March favourites. I have never seen an Ajuga so covered in flowers, I must look out for Mint Chip.
    Happy Easter Krid.

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    1. 'Mint Chip' is indeed more floriferous than any other Ajuga I've grown, Chloris.

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  9. I'm so happy you posted a photo of your Felicia aethiopica. I saw one in Morro Bay but didn't know what it was. Will look for it.

    That Calistemon 'Hot Pink' is something! It has the potential to be a real standout.

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    1. My 'Tight & Tidy' Felicia came from Annie's so you may be able to find it on your next visit there, Gerhard. I hope my Callistemon takes its pending move in stride - I'd be heartbroken if I lost it.

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  10. Your garden looks great this month!

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    1. 'Tis the season when gardens here explode, as the photos of your own garden demonstrate, Hooever Boo.

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  11. Beautiful! A friend planted a lot of 'Mint Chip' ajuga in her garden, and I was just admiring it this past week.

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    1. It's a great plant, Deb - floriferous and well-behaved.

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  12. That Mint Chip is so pretty! The variety I have here (no clue which one) is not nearly so floriferous but as you note, those blooms appear practically overnight! And I hope your Callistemon moves easily but I'm betting you'll manage to find it a great new spot to show off in. Watching those plumes develop before the flowers appear is always a lesson in patience for me...they seem to take forever but then POW! Impact plus!

    Truth be told though I'm totally smitten with your scarlet pimpernel. The color on those little flowers just grabs me every time. I've got to keep an eye out for some to try out here- it is so much better behaved than the bristly mallow I tempt fate by allowing to bloom each year before pulling it out (again...). It is just those peachy-orange flowers! I like them so much!

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    1. The Callistemon has been moved - so far, so good! That 'Wildcat Mandarin' Anagallis is hard to find even here, Deb. I haven't even come across the seed in catalogs.

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  13. Kris I do love seeing what is in bloom in your garden. i am awaiting my Ajuga to green up and grow after a cold winter. I love seeing the Callistemon...they just don't look real!

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    1. I love Ajuga. 'Catlin's Giant' was a favorite in my old garden but it wasn't happy with the hotter, drier conditions here. I'm trying A. genevensis now, which is said to be both less invasive and more drought tolerant but the smaller varieties, like 'Mint Chip', seem to have fared the best in my garden thus far.

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