Friday, November 25, 2016

November Favorites

The whole garden looks better and brighter since last week's rain so it was easier than last month to get excited about a few plants for the monthly favorite plants round-up hosted by Loree of danger garden.

Throughout the garden, the Aeoniums have lost their shriveled summer look and regained their luster.

In summer, Aeonium arboreum curls into balls as if to protect itself.  Even the plants in partial shade look like shrunken vestiges of themselves.  As the average temperature drops, they relax.  All these photos were taken from the stacked stone bed along the front slope.  In the photo on the far left, the Aeoniums mingle with Festuca californica, a native grass.  In the middle photo, they're inter-planted with Agave desmettiana pups.  In the photo on the right, they're embellished by the blooms of Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard' and a variety of other succulents.


The Barleria obtusa featured in my Bloom Day post is at the height of its floral glory.

The plant is literally blanketed in lavender blue blooms.  Even the small cuttings of the plant I took less than 2 months ago are blooming.  It's almost scary.  The plant self-seeds readily and, while it takes a year or 2 to bulk up, I'm beginning to wonder if this might be another plant intent on world domination. 


My beautiful Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' is also blooming, not that it doesn't look good out of bloom as well.

When I planted Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' in late March 2015, it was barely a foot tall.  It's never been babied or given extra water but, in addition to reaching 5 feet in height in 20 months, it always looks good, in and out of flower.  The photo on the left, taken this week, shows it in flower.  The middle photo provides a close-up of the coral-pink bottle brush blooms.  The photo on the right, taken this past February, shows the flushed color of its new leaves.


Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' has exploded with tiny blooms since I cut it back by half a month ago.

This Gomphrena is perennial in our climate but it clearly likes some areas of my garden better than others.  It's thrived in the front border, where it gets full sun and regular irrigation.  It's difficult to get a good photo of the entire plant as it has a wispy aspect and the foliage tends to blend in with the plants around it.  The flowers are plentiful but very tiny.  They make nice airy additions to floral arrangements, although the stems can be very difficult to untangle.


All my large-flowered Grevilleas are looking good but 'Peaches & Cream' has flourished since we took out a hedge that blocked its sun exposure on the west side.

Like 'Superb' and 'Ned Kelly', Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' produces flowers all year; however, when a nearby hedge partially blocked its sun exposure, its normal bloom production was a few flowers at a time.  More sun significantly increased its bloom production.


Last but not least, Heteromeles arbutifolia, commonly known as toyon, is at its annual pinnacle, covered in berries.

This drought-tolerant tree-sized shrub sits atop a ridge that dips down to our neighbor's driveway.  Its small white summer flowers are not nearly as splashy as the red berries that appear in fall.  One of the plant's common names is California Holly and it's said that the plant indirectly gave Hollywood its name.  In 2012, it was designated the official native plant of the City of Los Angeles.


For other favorite plant picks this month, visit Loree at danger garden.


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

20 comments:

  1. Lots to love even at the end of December!

    Note to myself: I must buy a few Gomphrena decumbens. Annie's Annuals has them.

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    1. Most of my Gomphrena came from Annie's, Gerhard. Although Annie's calls them 'Airy Bachelor Buttons', it's exactly the same plant I previously purchased as 'Itsy Bitsy'. It's called 'Little Grapes' in other parts of the country.

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  2. I love seeing your California Holly! When I was small there was one growing in a hellstrip by our driveway. I'm sure it never attained any great size, but the berries were always thrilling to me. Cane's Hybrid looks wonderful :-)

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    1. The California Holly/toyon is a great plant, although I'm dogged about pulling out its numerous seedlings - I'd have a forest if I didn't!

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  3. Your garden does look fresher and more hydrated. I love the toyon - I remember seeing it when I visited and asked what it was and was told the Hollywood story. It looks good for Christmas decorating. Does it last in a vase?

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    1. My recollection is that the toyon berries aren't as good about staying put in a vase as Nandina berries but I'll have to try them again before the birds eat them all.

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  4. I am really taken with your bush violet, Barleria obtusa. It is quite different from our Philippine violet, Barleria cristata, even though it is of the same genus. I would certainly appreciate one that stayed so low but I understand what you mean about taking over. A particularly mild winter had about 12 seedlings of our Barleria growing along the path and I just can't pull them out. I must find new homes for them. I also have the gomphrena. I removed the parent plant but babies have sprung up in the gravel everywhere. What to do with all these orphans is a constant problem for me!

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    1. The Gomphrena has yet to self-seed for me - maybe it needs more rain to take off. I've only recently started potting up seedlings and divisions but I can see that orphans may become a problem for me in the future too, as I'm loathe to dump them in the compost bin. When I divided my Renga Lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) last time, I passed along what I could to friends but ended up putting the remnants in plastic pots along the street, encouraging passing neighbors on their walks to adopt them - that actually worked! I've done the same thing in the past with my excess lemons.

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  5. Hi Kris, I am glad you had some rain! I am hopeful we will get some soon. Your Barleria obtusa is wonderful. This is a plant we don't have here. I also am pleased to see your Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' doing so well. Belated Happy thanksgiving!

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    1. Rain is reportedly headed our way again, Deb, although you wouldn't necessarily believe that looking at the skies at the moment. Still, the forecasts claim a 100% chance of rain this afternoon. I hope yours comes soon too!

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  6. Wow, looking good Kris, the rain has brought your garden to life with a freshness I'm a bit jealous of!

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    1. It's turned cold here too (well, SoCal's version of cold - 58F), which has added a crispness to the air. I was worried about the Tetrapanax when it drooped in response to our Santa Ana winds this week but the colder weather has made it feel right at home now I think.

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  7. It's raining! Wheeee!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Barleria--might be a little scary, yes though it is beautiful.

    I'm worried also about the beautiful Callistemon--hopefully it doesn't get so tall someone complains. :( That house uphill sold yet?

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    1. The rain has been glorious! We're up to 0.68/inch for the weekend and I'm not sure we're done yet.

      The Callistemon isn't supposed to get more than 8-10 feet tall but I admit that its rapid growth gives me pause. As to the other question, the neighbor's house is under contract but there's no word yet on when escrow closes. Evidence is that she's packing up, though ;)

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  8. There were many posts I missed, several new plants you planted in your nice garden full of interesting plants.
    Here, winter came early with 50 cm of snow in one day in early November, but now everything has been raining off and the weather has been mild.
    Mariana

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    1. I am glad to hear that your period of drought is over, Mariana. Sweden would not be Sweden without snow!

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  9. Far out faves! I'm so glad you got some rain. The wet stuff just won't quit falling here in swampville.

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    1. Just continue to send your excess rainwater our way, Peter!

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  10. Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid'is great and encouraging that they do so well for you without much water. I've lost one in the past in a cold winter but they should really be OK here too; seeing how good yours looks, I'm tempted to try again.

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    1. I've seen photos of mature specimens of this Callistemon and they're impressive. You should definitely try the plant again, Christina.

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