Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tarnished Gold

Yellow is my favorite color but I've gone way overboard in its use in my backyard garden.  While I have several swaths of yellow color, the one that seems most jarring to my eye is that created by a mass of Gazania 'New Day Yellow'.  Despite the pathetically low rainfall we've had this season, limitations on irrigation, and bursts of unusually hot temperatures in what is supposed to be our cool season, these plants are very happy in my garden.  The clumps are large and continuously covered in bright gold flowers.

The gold-toned Gazanias, like taxi-cabs, draw one's eye but stand out in too stark a contrast to some of the surrounding plants


I decided I needed to tone things down a bit in this area so I went shopping for Gazanias in a softer color last weekend.  It's already getting late to plant anything new here - the month of February was the hottest (and among the driest) on record and we're in the midst of another heatwave now.  If I'm going to plant anything more, I thought I'd best get it done this month.

My shopping trip took me to Roger's Gardens in Corona Del Mar.  The garden center is full of lovely plants but it was hot so I only took a few photos.

Photos taken from the mid-section of the garden center

Left to right: Monkey puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana), which I can't remember ever seeing for sale locally; a lovely orange Leucospermum; and a beautiful Yucca 'Bright Star', which don't seem to be available in 1-gallon sizes anymore

A few of the many succulent displays - I fell for those succulent-planted purses but they were really pricey so they stayed on the shelf


I found the Gazanias and Gaillardias I was looking for fairly quickly, which doesn't mean I didn't scour the place for other plants I didn't need.

They had Itoh peonies but I've sworn I won't buy another until the one I have blooms again.

Left to right: 'Bartzella' (I think), 'Keiko', and 'Takara'

Here's my 'Keiko' Itoh peony - the foliage looks healthy but there's not a bud in sight


What I found extraordinary about the peonies for sale at Roger's was this tag:

I don't get how Itoh peonies can be considered "water-wise" so I was surprised to see this tag affixed to the pots.  I checked the grower's own webpage and saw only instructions to "water regularly - weekly, or more in extreme heat."


No peonies landed on my cart but I did pick up a plant I had a hard time leaving behind.

My cart, featuring a new-to-me Leucadendron laxum in front.  The plant sat on my cart for 20 or more minutes while I deliberated (and took photos).

More views of the Leucadendron


I finally decided Leucadendron laxum looked a lot like a bigger version of the Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown' I bought several weeks ago on a trip to Seaside Gardens in Carpenteria so I reluctantly put L. laxum back.

The small Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown' planted in my garden has feathery new growth similar to that of the L. laxum but it has yet to produce any flowers or cones


It turns out that the two plants aren't classified as part of the same species but, for now, I'll wait to see how 'Jubilee Crown' does - and whether L. laxum becomes available in a 1-gallon size pot.

I pulled up some of my gold Gazinias and planted five of the white and yellow Gazanias I selected in their place.  I'll probably add a few more if I find some in my local garden center.  I'm in the process of dividing the gold plants I pulled out and searching for spots in other corners of the garden to plant them.

The white and yellow Gazanias will take awhile to catch up with the gold ones in size


I've collected a LOT of plants over the past two months but I've been lazy about putting posts together to show them off.  I'll try to correct that omission soon.


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

18 comments:

  1. Those are nice! Do the gazanias reseed in your garden? And if so, do you find that the colors other than yellow last more than 1 generation?

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    1. I've a tendency to methodically deadhead my flowering plants and otherwise clean up the garden but, even so, the Gazanias have done some self-seeding. The Gazania 'White Flame' that seeded in the front garden have come back true to form thus far (first generation) but I don't have enough data to draw conclusions about the seedlings in the backyard yet.

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  2. You are a strongly disciplined woman, Kris! I would have been very hard-pressed to put that Leucadendron back on the table... About the yellow- isn't it interesting how yellow (of all colors) seems to be the one that handles bright, hot, sunlight best - at least in terms of photography? I always have a hard time photographing during those extremely bright days, as it seems to wash most everything else out, but yellows remain manageable even on those days. I hadn't thought about this before, but I bet it has to do with the fact that its maximum chroma is located on the lighter side of the value range. Those Gazanias are lovely - I like them in all their colors!

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    1. I'm still thinking about the Leucadendron I left behind, Anna, but it was relatively expensive and in a 5-gallon container, both of which were off-putting for me. As to the challenges of photographing different colors, you know more than I'll ever learn but you're right, yellow does photograph well, especially relative to blue. And then there's the problem with white, which all too often seems to reflect glare...

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  3. That was a very good switcharoo, the yellow and white flowers do calm the space considerably. And personally I think your Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown' is adorable! Can't wait to see what else you've been buying...

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    1. I think I still need more of the white Gazanias...As to my newest purchases, wait until you see my Phylica pubescens!

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    2. sob. My Phylica is fading away on me. Going, going

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    3. Oh no! My biggest fear is that I'm going to kill it, although, all of a sudden, the plant is showing up in garden centers all over. A year ago, you had to pay an arm and a leg to get one.

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  4. Having just purchased my first Itoh I'm now wondering how long it will take it to bloom. No buds this year but not really surprising as it was 2/3 of the price I've seen them elsewhere. I won't buy another yet either, just be patient. After all I've been waiting 10 years now for a Davidia tree to bloom..
    The new Gazania arrangement does look good.

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    1. The sellers here also dramatically reduce the price of the Itoh peonies after they've bloomed. I don't have a great history with peonies - this isn't peony territory. Despite our sizzling summer temperatures and inadequate rain, the foliage on mine has come back reliably since I planted it in 2013. Just no flowers. I hope your plant is more accommodating!

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  5. It's a small change but very effective. I love gazanias and am looking to add more to my own garden. Unfortunately, the Sacramento area nurseries all seem to be carrying the same handful of varieties...

    Your Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown' in very special. Quite different from most other leucadendrons. Keeping my fingers crossed it will flower soon.

    As for your Phylica pubescens, I can't wait. It's at the very top of my current shopping list.

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    1. I haven't seen any of the 'Sunbather' Gazanias this year, which is odd. I love that 'Jubilee Crown'. According to on-line sources, it's a winter bloomer, another difference from L. laxum. The Phylica has suddenly gone from rare to readily available here so I hope you find it up your way. I saw it last week at my local Armstrong Nursery, if you have a store in that chain nearby.

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  6. All sounds like a good ploy for buying more plants Kris! But your choices are always good.

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    1. Yes, justifications for plant shopping trips come in all sorts of guises!

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  7. I really like the yellow as an accent with the Stipas and the white and blue and pink. It looks beautiful!

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    1. My garden will always have a lot of yellow but I am happier with the softer version in this area.

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  8. I brought home a 4-inch L. laxum from the SF Bot. garden plant sale last year. sorry to say it didn't make it through the dry winter. I saw that one at Roger's and paused over it too. Your garden is looking great. I laid drip hoses down yesterday, hoping to do a better job watering in new stuff this year. And fluffy mulch. I'm fighting back a little bit harder this summer!

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    1. It's too bad about the L. laxum, Denise. I'm planning to haul in another load of mulch myself - maybe it's partly the fault of the steady diet of high winds here or the recent heatwaves, but I'm already losing plants here.

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