Friday, June 30, 2017

June Favorites

My garden is a mess.  That's not all that unusual for summer, which is the toughest season in my garden, but several days away during a heatwave didn't help matters any and a full schedule has yet to give me time to dig into a full-scale clean-up even though the return of our marine layer has made working in the garden pleasant again.  So, when I stepped into the garden to take photos for the monthly favorites post hosted by Loree of danger garden, I was hard-pressed to see what was looking good.  The biggest problem is that everything within 20 feet of the large mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) in the middle of my back garden, is covered in a layer of pink and brown fuzz.

Although I love the structure and presence of the multi-trunked Albizia in my back garden, I HATE the mess it creates every year, starting from the moment it begins leafing out in late spring and continuing into winter when every seedpod it drops seems to produce viable seedlings.  During the height of the drought last year, the litter was low by comparison to prior years but, after our solid winter rains this year, it seems to be making up for lost time in the litter department.  Within an hour of arriving home late Monday afternoon, with the temperature still in the low 90s, I spent half an hour sweeping up the back patio, just because I couldn't stand the mess.  The picture on the right was taken on Wednesday, just hours after the gardeners had visited to blow the debris clear.  Those fuzzy pink flowers stick to everything!


But I persevered and, after a couple of rounds of the garden, photographed quite a few plants that held their own against both heat and pink fuzz to share with you.

All the Abelias in my garden are looking good right now.  I have at least 4 different cultivars and perhaps a dozen plants but Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' stood out from the pack.  It's done a nice job here of acting as a ground cover, although, as you can see in this photo, it does have the odd habit of throwing up a few straight stems.  As soon as I get more time in the garden, I'll be cutting those off to encourage the plant to extend out rather than up.  One bonus with this plant is that pink fuzz does not adhere to its glossy leaves.

I'm chagrined to report that I don't have a name for this dark-leaved Aeonium arboreum.  I clipped a rosette from somewhere and stuck it in among the green-leafed variety when I planted the area above the dry-stacked wall we extended last year.  Its rosettes seem to be flatter than the dark Aeonium I grow elsewhere.

The Agapanthus I inherited with the garden are in full bloom in both the back and front gardens.  The largest clumps are in the back but those are covered in pink fuzz so I photographed these fuzz-free specimens in the border fronting the house.  I probably have a month more of blooms before I start cutting the flowers back.  Last year, I stopped counting the bloom stalks I cut after I passed 250.  Most are various shades of blue but there are a few clumps of a white-flowered variety too.

This Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey' planted alongside our south patio looked terrible last year.  I gave it a judicious pruning during the winter months but I think the winter rains deserve most of the credit for its resurrection.  I love its glassy foliage, which I frequently use as an accent in floral arrangements.

I didn't have this plant listed in my personal directory but I believe it's a Cotyledon orbiculata.  It's taller and has larger leaves than the 2 other Cotyledon I have.  It's surrounded by another Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' on one side and Grevillea 'Superb' on another.  The flowers play off the colors in both of those plants and the leaves contrast nicely with their textures.

This is Duranta 'Sapphire Showers', which is the heaviest bloomer by far of any of the Duranta I grow.  I dump gray water from the kitchen on it once a week and it flowers without fail during the summer months.  (I picked the pink fuzz off of it before taking my photographs.)

I returned home from the Garden Blogger's Fling to find that the wisteria I've been trying to eradicate almost since we moved in had crept onto the side patio along my cat's screened enclosure to weave itself up this potted Kalanchoe orgyalis.  Although there was no way I was going to leave the wisteria in place, I admit that I like the way its green and bronze foliage complemented the succulent.

The wispy foliage of Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' isn't easy to photograph but this tall shrub, one of 2 in my front garden, deserves special mention for the large sprays of small white flowers it produced this year.  The second shrub has just a few widely scattered blooms.  Neither produced much in the way of flowers at all in prior years.  Perhaps this is yet another impact of our heavier-than-usual winter rains.

Certain Leucadendron develop red foliage during the summer months.  L. salignum 'Chief' is one of those.  Its foliage is finer than that of most of the other Leucadendron I grow.  The smaller dark-leaved shrub in front of 'Chief' is L. 'Ebony' and the burgundy-foliage plant to the rear on the right is another Coprosma 'Plum Hussey'.

Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder', one of my all-time favorite plants, also develops red color during the summer months.  This is the smaller of my 2 specimens, planted 2 and a half years ago.  I'm hoping I can keep it smaller than the one I brought with us when we moved here over 6 years ago, which is probably 6 feet tall and at least as wide.  (You can see a photo of it in its summer glory in an earlier post here.)


For more June favorite plant selections, visit Loree at danger garden.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday weekend for those of you in the US celebrating Independence Day!


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

24 comments:

  1. My Kaleidoscope Abelia does the same thing with throwing up strong straight branches like that. I have to get out there and sort it out too. Nice choices for favorites this month.

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    1. The behavior does seem to be characteristic of 'Kaleidoscope' as all mine seem to pull the same trick. I can't say I've noticed this in other Abelia, like 'Confetti'.

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  2. What beauties! I love them all. I always admire your leucadendrons and long to grow them. And the Duranda us adorable.

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    1. That Duranta is so much more floriferous than any of the others I've tried. I keep wondering if it would grow tall to tree-like proportions if I took it out of that pot as another of my Duranta has.

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  3. That wisteria/Kalanchoe combination is definitely eye-catching! I sympathize completely as I don't think I ever quite got rid of the wisteria in my first garden - sneaky, tenacious plant that it was. I can only sigh over your Agapanthus - such wonderful summer blues... and your Duranta, always a beauty! I might give it a second try now that I know more about growing things here; ours was clearly in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

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    1. I think that wistera has roots under the house's foundation where I can't get them!

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  4. It is Cotyledon orbiculata.
    I have it with large circular red bordered green leaves, your grey mielie leaf, slender grey fingers, and Rudolph's reindeer antlers.

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  5. The Time Of The Pink Fuzz. It does have a fine shape, but a whole lot of fuzz and seedlings is not a good thing. My Wisteria has come back for ELEVEN years after I dug it out; it has not come back this year--yet.

    Your best-of-Junes are all beautiful.

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    1. The Albizia's pink fuzz stage, which can continue a good 2 months, is its worst. If I didn't think it would destabilize the entire back slope, I'd be very tempted to remove that tree and plant a more hospitable tree somewhere else in that back bed.

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  6. Flew home on Mon, got to my house abot 2pm, performed duties that were ok to do if comatose and fell asleep holding my Kindle with my glasses on. How can weeds grow so fast in one week ?

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    1. I'm trying to figure out why it looks like it'll take me 2 weeks to put the garden back in order when I was gone all of 5 days. I'm exhausted too. It was good to meet you in person though!

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  7. I love the wisteria twining around the Kalanchoe, but it's definitely something to enjoy for a moment and then remove. I love the leucadendrons and leptospermum! My leptospermum lanigerum [silver form] is absolutely loaded with flower buds this year.

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    1. I disentangled the Kalanchoe yesterday but still need to dig into what will probably be yet another fruitless effort to remove that wisteria. Short of resorting to an herbicide, I'm not sure I'll ever be rid of the thing.

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  8. Lovely plants/photos, every one! As we drove along the highways and biways of the capitol region I was amazed at the number of Albizia julibrissin growing along side the roads. I thought of you and meant to mention them at our next stop - but then once we were off the bus that thought was replaced by whatever garden was in front of me.

    I returned home to fat buds on my Agapanthus which should burst open any day now! Of course I'm only looking at about 5 flowers, not over 250!

    And yes, that Wisteria and Kalanchoe combo is delightful, although I could almost hear the Kalanchoe calling out "save me! before it's too late..."

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    1. Our Albizia wasn't nearly as robust during our long drought, although even that didn't prevent rampant self-seeding. I live in fear that I'll miss some seedlings and end up in an Albizia forest. I even enlisted my husband to crawl around the steep side of the back slope to remove several would-be trees there last year. That said, I was enchanted by the 'Summer Chocolate' cultivar at the Hotsetler garden - I've yet to see one of those go crazy but maybe they haven't been around long enough to show their true natures...

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  9. Your best of Junes are looking their best indeed!

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    1. It really did take me a little while to see beyond that horrid blanket of pink fuzz at what was right in the garden this month.

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  10. Kris, I admit I was taken in by the green and bronze combination in the patio pot. The colors just popped so well. Then to see it's wisteria! Oh well. Wisteria is tough to eradicate so good luck on that challenge. I'm so jealous of your lovely Agapanthus.

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    1. The prior owner planted 2 wisteria (!!!), one on either side of the arbor on our south side. I think I've finally gotten rid of the one on the far side but the roots of the one on the other side seem to have stretched down under the house.

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  11. I know I'm always talking about my Cotinus 'Grace' as the pinnacle of being chained to a debris-spewing tree, but truly life is so much better without her, so I know what you're going through. Gardens are of course a messy business, but then there's those trees that rain down hell all summer, that have no business in a small urban garden. I've learned my lesson, I hope, and I sympathize! And what I inflicted on the neighbors those years Grace was in action makes me red with shame...

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    1. I guess I'm lucky that the Albizia's litter seems to fall exclusively on our own property, Denise. I don't know what the garden's former owners were thinking when they planted it, although maybe it wasn't so hard to clean up after it when more than half the back garden was lawn.

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    1. Southern California is Agapanthus territory, Jean! They're so common here that you find them planted at gas stations.

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