Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fabulous April Favorites

I completely zoned out on the fact that yesterday was the last Friday of the month and time for the parade of favorite plants hosted by Loree at danger garden.  Even though the weather has turned decidedly warm (some might say hot) and the winds here have been relentless, the garden is still demonstrating buoyancy in the afterglow of the heavier-than-normal rains winter brought us so I hustled outdoors today to take photos of those clamoring for recognition.

Alstroemeria makes the most of spring's cooler temperatures.  As it heats up, most will retreat but I've enjoyed a plentiful selection of flowers this April.  From left to right, are 'Claire', 'Inca Husky' and a noID pink variety that came with the garden.  The first 2 have short stems but are semi-evergreen.  The pink variety has taller stems but goes completely dormant in summer.

Anigozanthos 'Yellow Gem' gets about 5 feet tall in my garden and creates a see-through screen.  Its yellow flowers have a green cast in contrast with another (unnamed) variety I have elsewhere.

Centranthus ruber is a weed here but I can't help appreciating its vigor in the driest areas of my garden.  This mass of blooms in 3 colors on my back slope grew from a few seedlings I transplanted our first year here.  I doubt I could get rid of them if I tried now.

The winds and spiking temperatures have taken a toll on the flower spikes of Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' but the bees are making the most of the flowers while they last.  The plant on the left is in my front garden and the smaller one on the right is in the garden on the south side of the property, where it happily keeps company with succulents.

Gaura lindheimeri has sprung into bloom in various locations.  Some of these plants, like the ones in the middle photo, are self-seeded.  Gaura looks delicate but it likes a certain amount of heat, just like the Pelargoniums seated around each of the plants shown in this collage.

All my large-flowered Grevillea seem to bloom year-round once established but 'Ned Kelly', shown here, has a produced a particularly strong flush of blooms this month.  Its flowers are somewhat larger than those of 'Superb' and also more red than coral in color.

I made several attempts to get a good photo of Lobelia laxiflora but this was the best I could do.  It echoes the colors in Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' and Leucadendron 'Jester', both of which occupy the same bed.  When we moved in, I found this plant, which a neighbor described as a weed, in one of the shadier areas of my garden but it disappeared when we removed the Eucalyptus tree and dug up the garden on the south side of the house.   It appears to handle sun as well as shade and it makes do with moderate water.

The self-seeded grass here is Lagurus ovatus, aka bunny tail grass.  It doesn't seem to be invasive and I love the furry-textured flowers, which can easily be dried.

I featured Limonium perezii as one of my favorite plants back in February (left) but I couldn't resist showing you how floriferous it is now (right).  This is a tough heat and drought tolerant plant, easily grown from plugs here.

Here's another pretty weed, Oenothera speciosa, aka pink evening primrose.  Like Centranthus and Gaura, it self-seeds freely, especially in the drier, less cultivated areas of the garden, like the back slope.  It didn't produce many blooms at the height of the drought but it appears to have recovered its vigor this year.

Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa'  blooms sporadically during the year but it's covered in blooms this month.  I was surprised to discover that this plant also self-seeds when I discovered 4 good-sized seedlings in the front garden.  I pulled out 3 shrubs in the front garden 18+ months ago so I can only assume that it needed regular rain like that we received this past winter to germinate.

My last selection is Salvia lanceolata, a shrub native to South Africa, also known as Rocky Mountain Sage.  Like a couple of my other choices this month, it's difficult to photograph.  I originally purchased it for its silver foliage with no idea what the flowers looked like.  The flowers, similar in shape to those of Salvia africana-lutea, are unusual but very interesting.


For a look at more plant favorites, visit Loree at danger garden.


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

16 comments:

  1. So many gorgeous plants! I admire all the variety you have. I really want to find a 'Ned Kelly' of my own. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

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    1. I recently picked up another 'Ned Kelly' myself, Renee. It's a great plant!

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  2. Sadly the Anigozanthos I've managed to overwinter for the last three years don't appear to have made it through this winter, which shouldn't be a surprise. I may have to hunt for Anigozanthos 'Yellow Gem' as it looks especially lovely. Your Echium is awe inspiring...

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    1. I was surprised by how quickly 'Star of Madiera's' flowers have declined this year, Loree - the flowers of Echium webbii have held up twice as long but then they got an earlier start, when temperatures were cooler.

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  3. So much to love! 'Ned Kelly' is gorgeous. I just noticed the first shoots emerging on my Lobelia lancifolia. I really love that statice, especially the second photo. It makes me want to try some of the hardier Limonium species. South Africa has some really beautiful salvias. I hadn't heard of Salvia lanceolata, but I love Salvia africana-lutea. I wish either one was hardy here.

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    1. I picked up a Salvia africana-lutea last year at one of my local botanic garden's sales. The specimen in the botanic garden is impressive to say the least, Evan. Mine is still small but it did produce 4 of its unusual flowers this winter.

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  4. Your garden is a wonderful tapestry of color, as in all seasons! I was trying to decide which of your featured plants was my favorite until I came to your Limonium perezii. Gorgeous! I also love your weed, Centranthus ruber. I planted this in my own garden a few weeks ago and just noticed little flower buds forming. So excited. If it spreads, I will be pleased. That same area contains Guara. No new seedlings yet, but I would be glad to see them. I am happy you have had good rain. We had a couple of weeks without rain lately, and I was getting nervous. But rain is pouring today with more predicted later in the week.

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    1. The rain was a major boon for us in terms of spring blooms. Most likely, we won't get any more rain until October or later now but I hope we'll have a mild summer that allows us more time to enjoy the bounty that spring brought!

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  5. Looking at all this beauty, one phrase pops into my mind, "Glory, glory, hallelujah!" If I had your garden, I'd be singing it every day!

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    1. I've been pretty happy with the spring floral-palooza, Eliza, but with summer creeping inexorably closer, I admit I'm becoming a little apprehensive about what it will bring.

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    2. Yes, I remember your summer is like my winter, but at least there are some things still in bloom, like lisianthus.

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    3. My Lisianthus have yet to make an appearance, Eliza. Actually, one plant has produced 2 distorted blooms but that's it. To top it off, the plugs I purchased by mail order this year and planted in early April have been mostly withered by the persistent winds.

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  6. The light in your images has gone up a notch, so I can imagine how hot it is getting. An amazing selection of blooms for April, but like me you will soon lose some to the heat (not that it has warmed up much here yet). My favourite is Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' , I have a small one in a pot in the greenhouse, I need to find somewhere in the garden where it would be protected in winter, I'd love to see it flowering like yours.

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    1. I hope you find the right spot for your Echium, Christina!

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  7. Coming back to this post (phone kept me out earlier :/) to say how much I like that Lobelia laxiflora. I had no idea there were any drought-tolerant lobelias... I think I have just killed one more Anigozanthos; they certainly do better in your climate than mine - love the looks of your five foot "Yellow Gem"!

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    1. This Lobelia can reportedly get out of hand when it gets too much water, Amy, which is probably why the neighbor called it a weed when she saw it in my garden - I'm relying on tough love to keep it under control. As to Anigozanthos 'Yellow Gem', I'd swear it's grown another foot since I took that last photo!

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