Friday, May 31, 2019

Another Visit to Sherman Gardens

I've visited Sherman Gardens in Corona Del Mar several times.  It's a very pretty and relatively small "horticultural retreat,"  just over 2 acres in size but jam-packed with lovely plants and lots and lots of flowers.  My most recent visit last weekend with a friend was intended as an early celebration of my birthday.  I took fewer photos than I have on previous occasions, partly because the sunlight was intense and partly because I've photographed the gardens so extensively in the past.  You can find prior posts here.

As in prior years, the Central Garden celebrated spring with a massive display of dahlias.

The centerpiece of the display changes from year to year but the color scheme seems to have been consistent, at least from 2017 to 2019

Pink and orange wouldn't be colors I'd have considered combining but it works

Within the color scheme, the flowers vary in shape (cactus, decorative, etc) and size

I found this display of cut dahlias floating in a birdbath near the rose garden

The orange and pink combination was repeated in the area surrounding the entrance fountain but foxgloves, lupines and Gerbera daisies were used instead of dahlias here

Due to the bright light, my photos of the Perennial Garden adjacent to the Central Garden weren't especially good but I pulled together a few shots to share with you.

Although orange and pink flowers were featured here too, a variety of other colors were thrown into the mix.  Last year's "it" plant, Senecio candicans 'Angel Wings', is back (lower right).  The ruby-colored goose-necked plant on the lower left looked familiar but neither my friend nor I could name it.

A section of the Sun Garden was blocked off with caution tape so I collected only a handful of photos there.

The caution tape prevented me from getting a good photo of the garden's otter mascot so I pulled up a photo from my October visit as a tour of Sherman Gardens isn't complete without him.  The passionflower, Aeonium and Plectranthus mash-up, and the red Alstroemeria flower are all current photos.

The Tropical Conservatory is one of my favorite areas within the gardens.  Although it hasn't changed much from visit to visit, I always enjoy it.  If only I had another acre or so and a big pile of money, I'd like to have a space like this, complete with turtles and Koi fish.

I've never cared much for chenille plant (Acalypha hispida) but I always appreciate it in this context, surrounded by bromeliads, ferns and water

These are the same 2 turtles I featured in my Wednesday Vignette this week, accompanied by some of the Koi occupying the pond

A nice pairing of vibrant Croton and dark-hued bromeliads

I put a Medinella magnifica like the one shown in the middle of this photo on my birthday wish list but I didn't receive one.  However, my husband bought me several Mangaves so he's forgiven.

I think all these orchids are kept in pots and changed out as their blooms fade

The plant on the upper right is torch ginger (Etlingera elatior).  The only orchids I can name off-hand here are the chocolate orchid (Oncidium 'Sharry Baby', second from the upper left) and the one on the lower left, called the hollow woman orchid (Coelogyne sp.).  The latter was tagged and who can forget a name like that one?

There's a good-sized Bromeliad Garden on the property, which now includes a display of carnivorous plants.

Once again the sun's glare interfered with my photos.  I think the plant on the lower right is Dyckia fosteriana or a hybrid.

The last area I photographed was the Tea Garden.  Much of the area is shaded by lath structures so the photos aren't sharp but I think you can appreciate just how densely planted the area is.

Ferns rub elbows here with Impatiens, Fuchsias, Alstroemeria, Clematis and other plants too numerous to name

The Clematis on the upper left looks as though it's growing in that hanging basket but it's planted in the bed below and is only using the basket as support.  The basket on the upper right is brimming with what I think are Achimenes.  There were also many hanging baskets of Fuchsias, including one (lower left) featuring red and near-black flowers.

I somehow failed to take any photos of the Succulent Garden on this visit, a serious omission but one I suspect I'll remedy before the year is out.

That's my wrap-up for this week.  I wish you good gardening.  May the weather be with you.

All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday Vignette: That face!

A friend and I visited Sherman Gardens in Corona Del Mar on Saturday morning.  I'll post more of the photos I took during that excursion later but this photo, taken in the Tropical Conservatory, will serve as my Wednesday Vignette.  I know it's an anthropomorphic projection but the faces on these turtles, seemingly happy with their sunny, plant-filled paradise and pleased to be well beyond the reach of the nearby paparazzi, delighted me.  I hope you enjoy them too.

For more Wednesday vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.

All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, May 27, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: Warm & Cool

While the Midwestern US has been turned upside down by a plague of tornadoes and the Southeastern US has been hit with a major heatwave, coastal Southern California has continued to be pleasantly cool and comfortable with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60sF (17-20C).  We even got another light touch of rain on Sunday, while the mountain areas got snow.  We know we're really, really lucky.

Saturday was mostly sunny but Sunday was cloudy and damp.  Near 6pm, we got a sudden downpour that pushed the day's rain total to 0.15/inch and brought our annual total to date to 19.45 inches, which is stellar.

Under threat of rain Sunday morning, I decided to cut a couple of my warm orange 'Medallion' roses, which started blooming last week.  I thought of combining them with Leucospermum or Grevillea flowers but I quickly took another track with the addition of a few Calendula blooms.

I wouldn't normally have thought of mixing the peach colored rose with red but there was just enough orange in the Calendula and the foliage of the dwarf peppermint willow to make it work

Back view: I can't remember the foliage of the peppermint willow ever turning this red

Top view: This particular foxglove stem had a cream-colored cast and the red dots echoed the reds in other elements

Clockwise from the upper left: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' (aka dwarf peppermint willow), Alstroemeria 'Claire', Calendula 'Zeolights', Digitalis purpurea 'Dalmation White', Ozothamnus diosmifolius (aka rice flower plant), and Rosa 'Medallion'

My Renga lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) just began blooming too.  Although I love these plants, I've found them difficult to combine with other flowers in a vase, which doesn't mean I didn't take a stab at it.

A stronger foliage back-drop may have helped the sprays of the Renga lily stand out more

I dressed up the back view with the addition of white Agrostemma 

Higgledy-piggledy top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga lily), Agrostemma 'Ocean Pearls', Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterfly', Centaurea "Silver Feather', and foliage of Cercis occidentalis (aka Western redbud)

For more Monday vases, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  To those of you in the US, best wishes for a wonderful Memorial Day!

This could be the last time you see flowers in these positions for several months.  We've already started packing up the half of the house that'll be impacted by our remodel.

All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, May 24, 2019

New Arrivals

I'm embracing my inner flower floozie and posting an addendum to my lengthy mid-May Bloom Day post with photos of flowers that have made an appearance since that date.  Some of these may still be here when next month's Bloom Day rolls around but not all and I can't deny them the opportunity to strut their stuff.

The parade of Agapanthus blooms has begun!

Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga Lily) has begun producing sprays of flowers in all the dry shade areas of my garden

This Echinopsis oxygona (aka Easter lily cactus and night-blooming hedge-hogs cactus) is looking a little yellowish despite the feeding I gave it last month but it's still producing blooms 

I inherited this noID Knipfofia with the garden.  This is the first and only bloom I can remember it producing in 8 years.

Last July's horrific heatwave sent the Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) covering the back slope into retreat but our winter rains have brought it back.  I'm having a hard time keeping it under control. 

Melaleuca thymifolia has an extraordinarily complex flower that's also very difficult to photograph

The Matilija poppies (Romneya coulteri) believe that summer has arrived whether the temperatures indicate that or not

I won this David Austin rose, 'Lady Emma Hamilton', in the DC Garden Bloggers' Fling in June 2017.  The rose was shipped to me in March 2018 but the plant and its first blooms were incinerated in last summer's heat.  Although the plant's still small and it's only produced a handful of buds, things are looking better this year.

Rosa 'Medallion', inherited with the garden, is currently producing its first flowers of the season too

The unusual flowers of Sideritis cypria are opening.  Last year they appeared in April but didn't hang around long.  The tiny flowers filling the cupped calyces will turn yellow as the buds mature.

And, for the record, here's another collage of flowers I managed to skip over in that earlier photo-dense Bloom Day post.

Top row: Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid', Campanula portenschlagiana with Pelargonium peltatum, and Feijoa sellowiana
Middle row: Geranium 'Tiny Monster', Hebe 'Wiri Blush', and Melinus nerviglumis (aka ruby grass)
Bottom row: Pelargonium 'Tweedle Dee', Salvia 'Mystic Spires', and Trachelospermum jasminoides

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer in the US but weather reports for the holiday weekend are decidedly mixed.   In my area of coastal Southern California, we're still cooler than usual for this time of year and there's even yet another chance for a rainstorm over the weekend.  Whatever the weather or your plans, best wishes for an enjoyable weekend!

All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Succulent Surprise

If you read my blog posts even occasionally, you probably know I have a LOT of succulents.  They do very well here in general and, as our summers grow hotter and our problems with drought persist, I've added more and more of them.  In June 2016, I planted Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' from 6-packs all over the garden.  'Kiwi Verde' is a more understated sibling of variegated 'Kiwi', which I've previously described as my "gateway succulent."  The latter was the first succulent I introduced in my former garden.  I brought cuttings with me to my current garden in December 2010 and planted them here too.  They're attractive, well-behaved plants and they've filled in nicely as edging material in several areas of my garden.

I used Aeonium 'Kiwi' here to edge one side of the back patio

and here to edge a portion of the gravel path in the area on the north side of the house

I expected 'Kiwi Verde' would behave the same way.  I found it grew a bit faster and taller but it also appeared well-behaved - until it didn't.

Here's what the plants I added to the sandy bed along the back patio looked like back in March

And this is what the plants look like now.  Unlike 'Kiwi', which produced only a couple of flowers here and there this year as in prior years, 'Kiwi Verde' has bloomed heavily everywhere it was planted.

Back in late March, when I was pondering what I should do with the sandy bed along the patio, 'Kiwi Verde' was still all foliage and no flowers,  I went ahead and filled in the empty center of the bed with a second Yucca 'Blue Boy' and low-growing Festuca glauca.  Since 'Kiwi Verde' began blooming like crazy, I'm once more considering a wholesale renovation of this bed.  The Aeonium rosettes that flowered will die back, leaving holes in that bed, as well as the bed next to it.

One of the principal reasons I didn't remove the Aeoniums in the other bed in the first place was that I had a matching set on the this side of the flagstone path too

This is what the bed in question looks like at present.  The Yucca cutting, while still small, will gain size in time.

I'm going to let 'Kiwi Verde' finish out its bloom cycle but I think I'll pull the Aeoniums out of this bed and the adjacent one when they finish up.  The plants will fit more nicely in other areas of the garden than in they do along the patio.

They look as good in flower as they did beforehand in this spot on the south side of the house

and the flowers do look rather pretty in a vase

I'm not entirely back to square one on the patio bed area.  Yucca 'Blue Boy' #2 is really happy there so I may add a third plant and simply fill in with more blue fescue.

'Blue Boy' has colored up nicely since I planted it here.  (Thanks again for the cutting, Denise!)

As the saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed...".

All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, May 20, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: The Blues Have It

Sunday morning was beautiful but wet.  We got rain for the second time within a week.  In mid-May!  I already had in mind what I wanted to cut for "In a Vase On Monday" so I quickly got to it.  There are a lot of new blooms in my garden and it would have been easy to get distracted by this or that but the rain and the cold temperature kept me reasonably focused.

I hadn't even noticed the Delphiniums were blooming until last week, when the top-heavy cilantro/coriander plants in the same raised beds toppled over following the storm that moved through Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  The seed-sown larkspurs (Consolida ambigua) have been slowly unfolding for the last couple of weeks.

I couldn't decide which side of the vase should represent the front and which the back.  This side features a blue and white Aquilegia (aka columbine).

This side features seed-grown Nigella (aka love-in-the-mist)

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Aquilegia 'Orgami Blue & White', Campanula portenschlagiana, Consolida ambigua 'Summer Skies Mix', Delphinium 'Pacific Giants', Salvia 'Mystic Spires', Prunus ilicifolia, noID Penstemon, Orlaya grandiflora, Lagurus ovata (aka bunny tail grass) and, in the middle, Nigella papillosa 'Starry Night Mix'

The heavy bloom stalks of Aeonium haworthii have been flopping over into paths for weeks now and the rain had exacerbated the problem so I went ahead and cut some of those too.

The stone vase was the only one I had heavy enough to hold the succulent stems without tipping over.  Unfortunately, the stone sweats so I inserted the stems into few water-filled floral tubes.  My experience is that the succulent flowers don't need much supplemental water but we'll see how this works.

Most of the stems were cut from Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' (right) but I also found a couple of flowering stems among the variegated 'Kiwi' plants.  There's a noticable difference between the flower and stem colors of the 2 plants, at least at this stage.

This is the small vase I created 4 weeks ago using small 'Kiwi Verde' stems.  The flowers still look good but their color has faded dramatically over the weeks.

Sunday afternoon brought bright blue skies and warmer temperatures near the mid-60sF.  My garden now has the fresh, clean appearance that only rain can bring.  The smog that normally blankets the harbor view cleared out with the storm and both the sky and the water were a beautiful blue.

View from the back garden looking at the entrance to the Los Angeles harbor, known as Angel's Gate

While I was snapping photos of the harbor, I heard a familiar buzz and caught sight of a hummingbird sipping nectar.  As soon as he rose above the foliage I pushed the button on my camera, hoping for the best, and for a change I got lucky.

Anna's hummingbirds (Calypte anna) are year-round residents here and, although they zip by constantly when I'm in the garden, I seldom get a decent photo.  As soon as this fellow heard the click of the camera, he was off!

All in all, Sunday was a great day.

For more Monday vases, visit our "In a Vase on Monday" host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party