Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Fall Standouts

Los Angeles County authorities have posted an "extreme" red flag (fire) warning this morning and with the wind already blowing like a banshee and humidity levels dropping by the minute, work in the garden isn't a viable option.   Time to focus on some of the pretty pictures I've taken over the past two days!

With the dahlia season clearly over, my fall garden has few standouts when it comes to flowers.  There are a few notable exceptions.

This is Barleria obtusa (aka the bush violet).  I picked up a couple of plants at one of South Coast Botanic Garden's fall plant sales years ago and they've bulked up and freely self-seeded.  After showing just a few flowers last week, they've suddenly burst into bloom in my back garden.  I imagine that the clumps in my front garden will follow suit soon.

Senna bicapsularis (aka Winter Senna) also threw out a few tentative flowers before powering up a full-fledged bloom-fest

Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder' is still keeping things low-key but I appreciate every graceful flower spike it produces, as well as those fragrant quilted leaves

Persimmon 'Hachiya' obviously isn't a flower but I'm impressed that I actually have some fruit this year.  I watched a greedy squirrel scamper off carrying a whole persimmon in its mouth yesterday so I don't expect them to last long.


While making a quick round of South Coast Botanic Garden on Monday in preparation for a tour I was scheduled to conduct on Tuesday, I snapped a few photos of plants that stood out there too.

 The Silk Floss trees (Ceiba speciosa) are the most dominant features of the garden at the moment

There are still some single-petaled dahlias to be found.  I believe this one is called Dahlia 'Mystic Spirit'.

This is a very interesting vine I can't remember coming across before.  It goes by the common names of orchid vine (for the yellow orchid-like blooms shown in the photo on the left) and butterfly vine (for the lime-green butterfly-like seed pods, fading to tan as they mature, as shown more clearly on the right).  The plant's botanical name is Mascagnia macropterum (syn. Callaeum macropterum).  I recently received some seed pods from a thoughtful blogger friend and will have a go at growing it.

My guess was that this is Persicaria orientalis, which goes by the fanciful common name of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, but I'm no longer sure of that ID.  Can anyone confirm or correct this ID?  This is Antignon leptopus, aka coral vine, a native of Mexico.  Thanks for the ID, Susan!


While I was at the botanic garden I thought I'd try to grab photos of the sculptures on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as I'd captured only one during a prior visit.  All six of the LACMA sculptures have been placed in the "back 40" (acres) of the garden to entice visitors to wander deeper into the grounds.  That proved to be a longer hike than I had time for but I managed to photograph three more.

This is Firestone by Peter Voulkos

This is Trace by Nancy Graves, which is perhaps my favorite of the sculptures the garden has on display

This is One on One by Richard Artschwager.  It seems to be the odds-on favorite of children as I've never seen it without children climbing all over it.


The sculptures do seem to be increasing traffic in the back area of the garden, which is great.  Restoring/reconstructing the lake would also give the garden a major boost but that's a longer-term project on the botanic garden's master plan.

What's grabbing your attention in the garden as October comes to a close?


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

22 comments:

  1. Hi Kris, fun post! I think the pink flowered vine might be Coral Vine, esp if it's a fall bloomer. Antigonon leptopus.
    Have a great day!
    Susan

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    1. You're spot on with the pink vine ID, Susan. Thanks! That ID makes so much more sense too, as my recollection was that this is perennial in the garden.

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  2. Great photos of the botanic garden! The orchid vine that you got seeds for looks very interesting, I hope you have great success with it. There is very little in my garden capturing my interest right now. I am an avid gardener, but by October I tire of it. I know some people look for season extenders, but not me. I do faff a bit with the houseplants in the greenhouse every day, but for the most part I look forward to taking a break for a few months.

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    1. One visitor to the botanic garden commented yesterday that the orchid vine seed pods made her think of drying hydrangea petals. I think that's part of why I like it so much. Enjoy your puttering in the greenhouse, Alison - if I had one, I know I'd spend lots of time there too. Late summer is arguably our garden down time here, for those of us smart enough to take advantage of it (which I can't claim includes me).

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    2. I have that orchid vine which we more frequently call by its other common name butterfly vine here in Texas, growing on the fence. It is a volunteer, probably via seed drop from a bird, so I'm thinking it will come easy for you from seed. It's truly amazing how those seed pods look exactly like brown butterflies up close.

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    3. A Texas blogger sent me the seed pods, Sandy! As they arrived during what is the final intense period of our home remodel, I haven't yet tried to sort out the seed from the pods but I hope to get to that once the dust settles on our construction project (pun intended) and our nasty Santa Ana winds die down.

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  3. I've just been reading about the wildfires and the wind on the BBC news. It sounds terrifying. Please keep safe Kris.

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    1. Three more fires broke out in Southern California just today, Jessica. One is already quite large, and the Getty Fire that began on Monday is still only 27% contained. The situation is both frightening and exhausting but we're lucky as neither we nor family or friends are facing evacuation orders. (It'd be incredible if we got 90% through this remodel only to have the house burn, wouldn't it?!) The only immediate issue we face is the terrible air quality.

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  4. Oh, I do love that Bush Violet! Such a lovely plant. Plectranthus is another favorite.
    Hope those darned Santa Anas die down soon. The situation is CA is untenable. Stay safe. <3

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    1. The wind was intense this morning, tamped down, and then picked up again around sundown. The winds aren't bad at the moment but our humidity level is still in the single digits. The wind event should be over sometime Friday. I'm hoping that'll be the end of them at least until the rains come but there's no precipitation in the near-term forecast.

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  5. That floss tree is fantastic! Wow, what a display... I would totally grow that bush violet if I could - I just love it! We've had icy cold east winds here in Portland for the last couple of days. Temps have gone down into the 20's (gasp!). It will be a cold Halloween for all the little kids in their costumes.... Standouts in my garden is a golden leaved Persicaria which seems to take the cold in stride. Gotta love that!

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    1. There are probably more than a dozen of those silk floss trees at the botanic garden, Anna, all in bloom. They make an impressive display. Reportedly, the bush violet can handle temperatures down in the 20-25F range but, given how freely it self-seeds, I imagine you could treat it as an annual if it gets too cold during your winter months.

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  6. Love the bush violet and Zulu Wonder! Both with soft and pretty blues. Just checking in on you Kris! A

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    1. Thanks Amanda. There are more new fires burning in Southern California today but none are close to us. Our only problem is that a lot of smoke is blowing our way, making the air quality terrible. I'd hope to do some gardening this week but can't breathe easily out there at the moment.

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  7. Your flowers are so pretty. You are blessed to live somewhere where the flowers give in succession all year round. Although I'm not sure the threat of fire every fall would make it worth it for me. That has to be a scary time. I have a friend in northern CA that posted pics last night on Facebook of a fire that looked way to close for my comfort. And she had her barn burn down in the last big fire there. Hope you pass through this season soon. Wish I could send you some of the rain we are finally getting here in Ohio.

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    1. While there have always been Santa Ana wind-fueled fires here, the situation has definitely worsened over the years, Cindy. A single fire in a season was the worst that could be expected back when I was in high school, and even that wasn't an annual event. Several fires springing up in a single day, day after day, and mass evacuations is a new development. The changing climate is a factor but the practices of for-profit utilities that put profit ahead of maintenance is also a big part of it.

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  8. I immediately fell in love with your first photo, the bush violet, with its intense blue flowers.
    We have been seeing your fires on TV: they look terrifyingly intense and rapid. We have scores of fires here too, one of which has burnt over 113 000 hectares of bush, and another thought to be responsible for the death of hundreds of koalas - as if their situation isn’t bad enough. So sad.
    Good to know you’re staying safe.

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    1. We've had relatively few people die in these most recent fires, Jane, possibly because they're responding to evacuation orders more readily than in the past. So sad about the loss of koalas! We don't get much input on wild animal losses but I know at least one ID-tagged mountain lion died after being burned in a fire last year and horses have been lost too, not to speak of pets.

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  9. About all that is left in my garden now is a few zinnia blooms and after last nights freeze and heavy frost they are probably gone. Even without many blooms in your garden you still have a lot of color. I am happy to see some outlying sculptures too. This means there are no fires in your vicinity.

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    1. I've got some zinnias left too, Lisa, but, although frost isn't an issue here, they're still looking a little sad. I'm ready to take back that space for the seeds and bulbs I'd like to see in my cool-season garden.

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  10. Your Barleria sure is pretty. Hope the wind wasn't too bad for you. It wasn't as bad as we expected here.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that the winds didn't hit you hard. The winds here have been worst in the morning and again around sundown, often carrying a whiff of smoke, although nothing as bad as that from the Saddleridge fire earlier. The humidity has been in the single digits for days but it looks like it's come up some (it's at 17% now) and hopefully that trend will continue.

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