Friday, May 27, 2016

May Favorites

On the last Friday of the month, Loree of danger garden hosts a meme focusing on favorite plants.  In preparation, I took photos of all sorts of plants but my attention kept coming back to one bed.  I call it the "spa bed" because at one time it contained a "snorkel spa" we inherited with the house.  The spa was heated by firewood and very inconvenient to use so, after living with it for a few years and using it only a few times, we took it out and used the spa's top to build a patio table.  (I'm using the royal "we" here as my husband really did all the work.)  I planted the spa bed in March 2014 and have modified my plant choices several times since.  I feel it's finally coming together now and, although the plants are still immature, I love the combination already so I'm featuring the occupants of this bed as my May favorites.

Wide shot of the bed formerly occupied by the snorkel spa

Another view of the same bed


The tree on the left, an Arbutus 'Marina', was in place when we moved in, as was the clump of Agapanthus on the right and the hedge behind.  Everything else is a more recent introduction.  After a brief flirtation with some other plants, I took my color cues from the Arbutus with its red trunk and its coral pink flowers.  Here's a closer look at the present bed.

The bed echoes some of the colors in the dry garden beyond


Melianthus major, Leucadendron 'Jester' and Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' started the ball rolling.

A current photo showing the chandelier-like flowers of Arbutus 'Marina' dangling above Melianthus major, mirroring the colors of Leucadendron 'Jester' below and Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' on the right

A broader view picks up the red of Pennisetum 'Fireworks', Lantana camara 'Irene' and Leucadendron 'Blush'


Pennisetum 'Fireworks', Leucadendron salignum 'Blush', a yellow Anigozanthos and a host of smaller plants were later introductions.  Most recently, I've added  Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin', Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown' and Leucospermum 'Royal Hawaiian Brandi'.  I love each of these plants individually but it's their synthesis that makes them my favorite selection this month.

Top row, from left: Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin', noID yellow Anigozanthos, and Arbutus 'Marina'
Middle row: Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', Leucadendron 'Jester' and Leucadendron salignum 'Blush'
Bottom row: Pennisetum 'Fireworks', Origanum 'Monterey Bay', and the two newest additions, Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown' and Leucospermum 'Brandi' (still babies)


Visit Loree at danger garden to see the plants she and other gardeners are most excited about this month.


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

34 comments:

  1. What a great combination of colors. I especially like all the reds. Nicely done!

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    1. I'm hoping it'll only get better as the plants mature and fill out.

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  2. I love your plant choices in this bed. your Arbutus is different to the native here but both are equally lovely. I don't remember seeing your Melianthus major before, I've just grown some plants from seed and will be planting them into the garden in the next couple of weeks, I hope mine look as good as yours.

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    1. I've found that the Melianthus wants a bit of shade here. I put one in a sunnier location last year and it simply fried in the intense summer heat. The only problem with having it under the Arbutus is that squirrels (and perhaps the raccoons) occasionally drop down from above and break off limbs.

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    2. they do grow along rivers with feet in the damp, so a little shade is a good compromise.

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  3. Pretty colors! I'm especially partial to the warm, coral-y pinks.

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    1. Coral is one of my favorite colors too.

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  4. We were looking at a Melianthus at Kirstenbosch. In that garden it looks like a pansy, just another little bedding plant!
    Back home the Melianthus is a stately presence in our garden.

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    1. My Melianthus is about 3 feet (1 meter) tall but that's just right to snuggle it in under the low hanging limbs of the Arbutus.

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    2. once the flowers fade and shed their seeds, cut back to the ground a few limbs.

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    3. I usually end of doing just that, Diana, because the critters inevitably break a few branches.

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  5. Love it! It would be so hard to pick a favorite. I do remember that funky spa. I like the garden bed better. :o)

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  6. I'm loving your stone walkway with the Origanum - it looks awesome!

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    1. The stone walkway turned out to be a good idea, I think. It now extends around 3/4ths of the house, creating some continuity (even when my plants don't help there).

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  7. You have lovely gardens. I must keep looking. Thanks

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  8. I was trying to visualize that snorkel spa but quickly moved on to what has taken its place. As usual plants of which I have never heard. What a lovely picture you have painted. Those reds bring a real zing to the area.

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    1. The snorkel spa was something that looked like a better idea than it proved to be, Jenny. I suspect the prior owner didn't bother to move it for just that reason.

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  9. I just love the colour scheme here, what a fabulous selection of plants.

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    1. That color combination is one of my favorites - and is repeated elsewhere, albeit with other plants.

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  10. Isn't it interesting how we name things based on features that are no longer there? (eg. your "spa bed"). People visiting my garden now would have a hard time understanding why I sometimes call the are north of the patio the "privetlands."

    That Melianthus major, Leucadendron 'Jester' and Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' combo...wowza!

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    1. Yes, I've often thought I should rename some of my beds but that requires more thought than I've cared to give the matter.

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  11. Really beautiful, Kris. The pavers and GC look like they've been there a few years already!

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    1. There's nothing like creeping thyme to fill in between pavers!

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  12. Ahh I still remember when you just started planting up that area, looking good now!!

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    1. I wish I could get these things right on the first go but that never seems to happen. I throw things out there and the garden itself has to tell me what it likes and what it doesn't!

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  13. I particularly like the Arbutus 'Marina' dangling above the Melianthus major. The color and foliage texture combinations in your spa garden are lovely. I can see why this area is a favorite!

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    1. That close-up of the Arbutus and the Melianthus with the Leucadendron 'Jester' is my favorite in the post.

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  14. Beautiful combo Kris. I'm beginning to think they are my favourite colours in a garden. Whenever I go plant buying these days it is the russets that I end up coming home with.

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    1. In the past, I've favored yellows but my color choices definitely seem to be shifting toward the coral tones.

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  15. Replies
    1. I think mine want more water than they get. They're not as vigorous as some I've seen but then neither has been in the ground much over a year.

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  16. A swell collection of colors and foliage shapes. They work very well together! Nicely done!

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