Friday, July 12, 2019

July at South Coast Botanic Garden

After a hiatus of six weeks I led two tours through the South Coast Botanic Garden this week.  After the second yesterday, I went back to photograph some of the garden's mid-summer highlights.  Unfortunately, snapping photos when the sun is at its zenith doesn't render the best images but, as the morning marine layer has thinned dramatically this week and a ridge of high pressure promises to keep it at bay for much of the next week, I don't expect I'll have much opportunity to capture better shots any time soon so I'm sharing those I have.

This is Tithonia diversifolia, aka Mexican sunflower and marigold tree.  I was so impressed by it last year that I hunted down seeds to grow it for myself; however, having only vague notions as to where I could put a tree-like shrub that gets this big, I've held off on planting them. 

True sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are in bloom nearby

The Living Wall, shown here fronted by an herb garden and seating area, is looking great

Closer views of the mix of succulents, ferns and rubber plants (Ficus elastica) growing in felt pockets sustained by a hydroponic system

The giant bird of paradise (Streletzia nicolai) is loaded with blooms

There are still plenty of roses in full bloom, although I don't envy the job of the volunteers tasked with keeping them deadheaded

I thought this section of the Garden of the Senses looked particularly good but unfortunately the pretty blue Plumbago looks washed out in this photo.  My real objective in passing through this area was the lavender field just visible beyond the Plumbago.

This area was planted with a mass of lavenders relatively recently.  I didn't notice it until I began conducting tours again in early spring.  I think it's peaking now.

The brightly colored crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia) adds a nice contrast to the lavender

I'm guessing the stick-like tree with the burgundy foliage on the left in this photo is another crepe myrtle

The same area is also home to 2 nice Chitalpa trees.  xChitalpa tashkentensis 'Morning Cloud' is an intergeneric hybrid of Chilopsis linearis (aka desert willow) and Catalpa speciosa.  I wish I had someplace for a specimen this large!

On my way back to the parking lot, I snapped a final photo: Dahlia 'Dark Side of the Sun', blooming en masse


We enjoyed an extended period of pleasantly cool weather into the early part of July but it seems that summer's heat has finally reached us.  I'm hoping we  can at least avoid another horrific heatwave of the kind we got last year.

Best wishes for favorable weather wherever you are this weekend!


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

20 comments:

  1. I've been feeling a bit itchy to get out of my own house and head out somewhere, but I wasn't sure where. I've exhausted local nurseries, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go all the way north of Seattle to Sky or Swanson's. But your post has reminded me there are some public gardens nearer that I can visit, so I think I'll head out that way, maybe next week. I've got NPA garden tours over the weekend, and I'm hoping our cool, cloudy weather clears up enough for the mountain to come out, because I know a couple have great mountain views. Your local botanic garden looks great, especially that vertical living wall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see some of your local public gardens featured in future blog posts, Alison. I hope you're able to capture a clear view of the mountains this weekend too. Happy tours to you!

      Delete
  2. The living wall has clearly loved this moist winter and longer-than-usual cool spring and early summer. Now begins its sterner test, but it's much more likely to make it with such a great start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Nell - summer will be a key test for the garden's Living Wall. By comparison to last year (when the heat here hit 110F on July 5th), this has been a remarkably pleasant summer thus far but it's heating up now...

      Delete
  3. It took me a second look to realize that the Tithonia diversifolia is the *tree* in the first image. Wow; that's even cooler than the living wall. How old is that one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know exactly how long that Tithonia has been there. Until I became a docent, I didn't visit the garden often during the hot summer months so the shrub/tree wasn't on my radar screen. The trunk looks VERY well established. The staff cuts the shrub down to about a foot or two tall late in the year but it springs back quickly. Assuming that I get the seeds to germinate, I'd envisioned planting it in my street-side bed (once my Agave desmettiana have completed their bloom-to-death cycle) but the botanic garden's specimen is almost as wide as it is tall, which would be problematic - I expect it might literally stop traffic.

      Delete
  4. The living wall is indeed looking great - such a lovely design. And I love the lavender meadow, I expect it will be even better next year. The intensity of the sun really comes through these shots, whew, it looks hot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lavender field was my primary focus. I wasn't overly impressed with it in concept when it was first planted but I love it now. And it smells fantastic in the heat.

      Delete
  5. Looks like a beautiful and inspiring place to visit. All your photos look so hot. It has been so horribly hot and humid here for so long, and I'm over it.
    I'm sure it gets much hotter out there. At least maybe you don't have the humidity to make it more bearable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While our humidity levels have increased somewhat in recent years, I don't expect we have anything on you, Cindy. We're still known for our dry heat. Rain in summer is almost unknown. Dry and dusty is how it looks and feels.

      Delete
  6. That wall looks better than I have ever seen it in your posts. What a neat place. I bet you get lots of ideas from there. It will be in the 90's the next few days. Typical around here. I just hope the rain valve hasn't been turned off for the whole month. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hotter in your part of the country than mine, Lisa! We're hovering in the low to mid-80s right now. Whether we'll shoot up higher may depend on how long the morning marine layer manages to hang on each day.

      Delete
  7. I find the hot days of summer challenging but visiting local botanic/public gardens (with a plethora of staff) help to re-motivate me to up my game and carry on. thanks for a great tour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are far more volunteers than employees at SCBG. They seem to handle most of the basic maintenance. At the height of summer vacation season, I've noticed that there's a backlog in the deadheading department ;)

      Delete
  8. The SCBG looks really good. That miracle winter we had...! Deadheading roses is really quite meditative. I always get a feeling of accomplishment from it. Gloves are a must, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need more volunteers intent on the meditative deadheading, HB. Actually, I've been thinking maybe I should switch from docent duties to maintenance activities...

      Delete
  9. The SCBG is gorgeous. I really like the living wall and the lavender field with the crepe myrtles. And the Tithonia diversifolia is incredible! I have never seen anything quite like that. I hope you can find a place to plant those seeds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking this morning that I should plant the Tithonia, if only to pass the plant off to my brother. It'd make a statement in front of his yellow house.

      Delete
  10. I love that living wall, and of course the Birds of Paradise. I don't think I've ever been to this botanic garden, so now it will go on my bucket list. Thanks for the tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SCBG didn't receive much publicity until recently but staffers are trying to change that. Although I lived within 15 miles of the garden for decades, I don't think I visited until a few years before I moved into my current house. Now of course, I'm there quite regularly!

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!