Friday, September 18, 2020

Shade Plant Successes

I began stocking my lath (shade) house shortly after my husband completed its construction in late December 2017.  I moved my small orchid collection there immediately but other additions were haphazard.  Over time, I've scrapped some plants and added others.  The space is relatively small after all so I can't load it with every pretty shade plant I see.  Much of what I added early on wasn't particularly interesting or unusual and those items, if they survived, have slowly been dropped to make room for others.  Many represent experiments and everything must prove its worth to earn its place.

Ferns were an early focus as, with the exception of the weedy western sword fern (Polystichum munitum), most ferns don't survive long in the open areas of my garden.  Several of those I tried failed quickly even in my lath house but there are two that have earned their stripes.

Asplenium nidus, aka lasagna fern

Platycerium veitchii, a variety of staghorn fern

Begonias, particularly those grown more for their foliage than their flowers, have earned a lot of space, surprising even me.  Here are just a portion of those on display in the lath house:

Begonia 'Amberley'

Begonia 'Champagne Bubbles' was neglected and got a bit crispy a couple of months ago but it seems to be recovering.  I've got it planted in a small African violet pot, which has a water reservoir.

This begonia came without a label.  I originally guessed it was 'Nautilus Lilac' but I now think it could be 'First Blush'.

This is 'Little Darling', planted in another African violet pot

I'm very pleased with how well this unidentified Begonia looks in its Muradian pot

This is 'Palomar Prince', another begonia I thought I'd killed at one point that rebounded given time and patience

There are also a few plants grown exclusively for their foliage.

Philodendron 'Prince of Orange' was a gift.  Its stay in the lath house was intended to be temporary but it's so happy there, I haven't been able to bring myself to move it into the drier conditions of our house.

I've tried growing several fuchsias in the lath house.  I suspect they don't get enough light there as they've been disappointing thus far but I still have four that occasionally flower.  The hydrangeas haven't thrilled me either, although I still have one of those.

I've had this Hydrangea macrophylla 'Shooting Star' for many years and, although I repeatedly mistreat it, it's been very forgiving

Hoyas, which I introduced more for their foliage than for their flowers are slowly growing on me (no pun intended).

I have three of these trailing plants in the lath house (as well as one on my south patio).  Two have recently started to bloom, perhaps because I've been more conscientious about watering them this year.

Based on the heart-shaped leaves, I believe this one is Hoya kerrii.  I received it as a gift last Christmas and tucked it into a pot given to me by the same friend on another occasion.  It's still a small plant and hasn't flowered yet but it's sent a stem straight up this year as if it has something planned.

This one was sold to me without a name but, based on the variegated foliage and the occasional pink leaves it produces, I think this may be Hoya carnosa tricolor.

I also bought this one without a label.  My best guess is that it's Hoya obovata 'Splash'.

Orchids have retained a good portion of the space available in the lath hours but several are facing the possibility of eviction.  Few orchids have attractive foliage in my opinion and, while many have long-lived flowers, most don't flower very often.  A few of the smaller varieties have been especially rewarding.

I've had this one for a long time and it goes by a variety of names but I currently refer to it as Oncostele 'Wildcat'

If I had a name for this one I've lost it but I believe it's a Phalaenopsis

This is another noID Phalaenopsis.  It's been blooming for at least two months already.

I recently acquired a couple of new plants for the lath house, neither of which I've ever grown before.  The first is grown as much for its foliage as its flowers while the second is known primarily for its unusual blooms.

This was sold as Ric Rac Orchid Cactus.  Its proper name was harder to nail down as I found it listed as both Epiphyllum anguliger and Cryptocereus anthonyanus.  Still another source says that plants known by the former name have recently been reclassified as Disocactus anguliger.

This somewhat sorry looking specimen is Tacca integrifolia, aka white bat flower.  Recently received in a tiny pot by mail order, it's still settling in.  When I saw its foliage, I thought I'd been sent a Spathiphyllum by mistake but the Tacca's foliage is similar.

This is by no means a complete inventory of the contents of my lath house and, like other parts of my garden, I suspect what's there will continue to turn over with some regularity as I continue to work out what thrives  and what doesn't.

Between recent bouts with hot temperatures and poor air quality, I've accomplished very little in my garden thus far this month.  I received a mail order delivery of twelve plants on Wednesday but I've done nothing with them beyond unpacking and watering them.  If conditions improve, getting them potted or planted out will be my weekend focus.



Wherever you are, I hope conditions are favorable to do something you enjoy this weekend.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. I love your shade house and all it's residents. I think begonia foliage can easily become an obsession as they have wonderful shapes and color swirls, and I love how you match them so well with pots, clearly another opportunity for a garden center purchase. It may be late in the year for the white bat flower, but I do hope it blooms for you next year: it has the most extraordinary flower. Seattle may get some rain today or tomorrow, and not a day too soon.

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    1. Congratulations on the rain! Our prospects for rain are still a month or more away.

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  2. It's hard to believe your lath house is almost 3 years old - seems like not too long ago you were introducing it. I'm envious of your begonias - I have poor luck growing them. Could your swirly one be 'Escargot'? They are often sold here as annuals. I've tried bringing them inside in fall, but they end up going dormant or straggling along, making me wish I hadn't bothered. There is a beautiful one out there now with burgundy foliage and bright orange blooms, but I'm not going to try to save it. I'll just have to let it go... frost warning for tomorrow night, so I might lose all my annuals. Breaks my heart to see the end of the garden.

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    1. My noID begonia could be 'Escargot' or a hybrid of that variety but it has less silver in the foliage than the plant with that name I used to have. The closest online image I found was one of 'Harmony's Nautilus' but some photos of that plant look closer than others.

      Frost!!!

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  3. Many lovely plants in your shade house! The foliage Begonias are charming. Looks like it is a good environment for them. I have Epiphyllum--uh--Cryptocereus--err--Disocactus too. A scrub jay has been storing acorns in its basket.

    Not much gardening going on here either. Too hot then too smokey now too hot again. Maybe Sunday?

    Have fun with your new plants!

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    1. We didn't see any cooler temperatures today either, HB, although the air quality was nominally better. The forecasters are once again suggesting a steady cooling starting tomorrow...

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  4. Life would be so much easier if the plant names didn't keep changing. I am envious that you are able to grow all of these lovely plants outdoors year round. The fifth begonia shot is a type of escargot begonia due to it's curly inset. Very smokey here so will be indoors processing our abundant harvest of apples and tomatoes this weekend.

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    1. I'm sorry you've ended up with some of our smoky air, Elaine!

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  5. That's awesome! I remember when you added the lath house. Your Begonias and Orchids are amazing! Gardening weather is pretty nice here--highs in the 60s and 70s lately. Some plants are dying and senescing for the season, but the annuals and many fall-blooming natives are still going strong. I wish I could garden outside year-round like you can, though. :)

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    1. Well, we have our unplanned breaks on gardening due to extreme heatwaves and now poor air quality, Beth. Temperatures in the 60s and 70s sound very good to me right now. October has frequently been a hot month here in recent years.

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  6. Begonias are one of my favorite plants. I like the idea of having them in african violet pots. Great idea! The Hoya plants have intrigued me over the years. I haven't had much luck with them. They aren't available around here so I have to watch for them to pop up around the nurseries here. Fun in the shade house for sure...Have a great weekend despite the fires and smoke.

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    1. I wish there were big African violet pots, Lisa - the ones I've found only accommodate small plants ;)

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  7. What a nice look at your evolving collection, you've got some jewels in there. as of this morning our air has cleared out, we're in the good range! I hope to spend some time out in the garden cleaning up, rain permitting.

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    1. Air in the good range - that's great! So far, the best we've gotten is air in the moderate (yellow) range but that's still better than it has been. Sadly, the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest exploded in size overnight.

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  8. Your lath house looks such an inviting area Kris. If you like begonias have you come across 'My Brother Montgomery'? I hope that your air quality is improving and that you have been able to get out more and potter about in the garden. Our television news has not mentioned the fires for a few days but maybe that has been because of a recent rise in Covid cases which seems to get nearly all the coverage.

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    1. 'Brother Montgomery' is on my wishlist, Anna! Our air quality has improved and our temperatures have declined slightly this weekend, although it's not clear how long that's going to last. We still have two major fires burning in Southern California and one exploded in size again the day before yesterday so the fight isn't over. The last I heard more than 3.3 million acres has burned in California alone this year.

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  9. Thank you for your tour through your lathe house. Once again, you have inspired me to think about trying to maintain some other plants e.g. hoyas, ric-rac cactus, more exotic begonias e.g. tuberous, Rex, etc. I will be interested in talking about the best places to find containers/pots. I look forward to hearing about your new purchases from Annie’s! I’m ecstatic that today the AQI is <50 as I am sure you are. I wish you a wonderful Sunday.

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    1. I look forward to the day we can actually go plant - and container - shopping together, Kay!

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  10. Wonderful photos :) I gave my Grandad an orchid for his 95th birthday, but he sadly died a week later, so I've got the orchid now sat in my kitchen.

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    1. I'm sorry about the loss of your grandfather, Nikki. I hope he enjoyed the orchid while he had it and that now it offers a remembrance of him for you.

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  11. I loved seeing what you grow in your lath house. Gorgeous begonias. I have the ric rac epiphyllum but it hasn't bloomed yet. I hope your air quality improves soon so you can get out and enjoy your wonderful garden.

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    1. Thanks Chloris, My ric rac Epiphyllum is still very small so I imagine I have years to wait for blooms. Our air quality has improved greatly in the last 2 days - it's currently in the "moderate" category - but, as 2 major fires in Southern California continue to burn, it's not certain the air quality situation is stable yet.

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  12. Kris, your begonia collection is pretty amazing. The lath house is a beautiful and practical addition to your already wonderful garden.

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    1. I lover my lath house, Susie - I only wish it were bigger!

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  13. Where did you mail order your plants from? They appear to be well packaged and in good condition.

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    1. I got these (and most other plants I order online) from Annie's Annuals & Perennials, a nursery based on Northern California. I've been ordering from them for nearly a decade and their plants are always delivered in great shape.

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