Friday, October 23, 2020

Fall Stop at South Coast Botanic Garden

I stopped by South Coast Botanic Garden again two weeks ago.  Actually, "stopped by" is a misnomer as advance reservations are still required, along with masks and social distancing.  

This sign is positioned to be viewed as soon as you enter the garden after checking in (from a distance)

My main purpose was to check on the Dahlia Garden but I took a general look around to see what's been going on since my visit in late July.  What follows are the highlights of my one hour tour.

The Japanese Garden was looking neat and tidy

There were lots of blooms in the Fuchsia Garden, leading me to wonder once again what I need to do to get these plants to bloom in my garden.  While they want shade, I think they need more light than they're getting in my shade house, especially when the extra sunscreens are up during the summer months.

This area had been cleared just before our March lockdown.  It's being designed to offer a bright spot for visitors this coming spring.


The Dahlia Garden sits directly to the right of the area under construction shown above.  The area surrounding it has changed dramatically since my last visit.

The photo on the left, taken in June, shows the Dahlia Garden as an intimate enclosed space (even if the storage shed to the rear didn't offer the best backdrop).  I took the photo on the right on October 9th.   

This area to the left of the Dahlia Garden once housed storage sheds, a greenhouse and SCBG's tram buses.  It's been cleared to make way for an exhibition area scheduled to open next year.

Exposed on three sides and now open to the two new areas under construction, the Dahlia Garden struck me as small and almost out of place

Additional dahlias had been planted to fill areas of the raised beds that had been empty on prior visits.  Unfortunately, many of the older plants were well on the road to decline.  I photographed the best of what the Dahlia Garden still had to offer at the time of my visit.

The new plants were enclosed in cages, presumably to protect them from critters

Blooming, top row were: Dahlias 'American Beauty', 'Bahama Mama' and 'Cafe au Lait'
Middle row: 'Emory Paul', 'Kelvin Floodlight' and 'Lisa Lisa'
Bottom row: 'Penhill Dark Monarch', 'Thomas Edison' and a variety I can't identify based on my records

Exiting the Dahlia Garden, I continued my rounds, starting with the Volunteer Garden. The volunteers themselves are still on hiatus, awaiting guidelines to cover their recall.

The Japanese anemones (Anemone hupehensis) were blooming en masse in a few areas

My own bush violets (Barleria obtusa) came from a fall sale at the botanic garden years ago.  If I'd seen how big it can get before I planted it, I might have been more careful about spreading it throughout my garden.

I've never grown Justicia carnea (aka flamingo flower) in my garden but whenever I see it in bloom I always wonder why.  (The short answer is that it needs more water than I give most plants outside my cutting garden.)

However, I did hunt down Tithonia diversifolia (aka Mexican sunflower tree) for my garden, although I haven't planted it out yet.  I'm almost afraid to as it obviously gets very big at maturity.

These photos are from the Vegetable Garden.  The seating area on the left is planted with herbs.  I discovered Helianthus maximilliani (right) growing in one of the raised vegetable beds.

The succulent and fern-planted Living Wall is well-maintained and always looks good

This blue potato bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii) occupies a bed on the edge of the garden's lower meadow across from the Vegetable Garden

Before the pandemic, people could often be found painting in the garden but this is the first time since March I've seen any doing that

The Desert Garden has been well-weeded since my July visit

The Rose Garden was still in serious need of deadheading but I managed a few presentable shots.  From left to right are: Rosa 'Gemini', 'Grauss an Aachen' and 'Sparkle & Shine'.

The plants in the Lavender Field had been trimmed back but the area looked good.  The desert willows (xChitalpa tashkentensis 'Morning Cloud') were still flowering.

The Mediterranean Garden wasn't looking its best but then that's normal for this time of year.  In my opinion, it could use some Australian and South African plants to give it more year-round interest.  I liked the Salvia x jamensis 'Golden Girl' growing there, though.

I only covered the front third of the garden before I ran out of time and headed back in the direction of the exit, snapping a few more photos on my way.

The silk floss trees (Ceiba speciosa) are in bloom throughout the garden right now and I'd be remiss not to show at least one.  The one shown in the top two photos (from two directions) stands along the path between the Rose Garden and the entrance area.  The photos in the bottom row show a closeup of the tree's flowers, as well as the closeups of the Dahlia 'Mystic Spirit' and Salvia leucantha that sit adjacent to the tree.

My last shot was taken in the parking lot as I walked to my car.

I believe this is also a silk floss tree.  I wish my own garden were large enough to support a tree this size.


Best wishes for a colorful weekend!  We have a slight chance of light rain in the forecast at intervals through Monday but it's nothing to bank on at this point (although that doesn't mean my hopes haven't been raised).


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

24 comments:

  1. It's so much fun to walk the paths of a botanical garden.
    I think you are correct saying the Dahlia Garden was an intimate enclosed space, some of which was lost when the shed was removed, (the limbed Yucca (?) in the background wasn't pretty either), but with time, I should hope the additional work around the Dahlia area will prove successful. I'm still salivating over Mystic Spirit... LOVE the black foliage verities.

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    1. I wish they'd consider removing that large (and now disfigured) Yucca and replacing it with something that would help to enclose the space around the Dahlia Garden. But then I'm not sure they're going to maintain the area as a Dahlia Garden next year. I was part of a very small group working on that area prior to the March lockdown but we had to turn the planting plan and the dahlia tubers over to the garden staff when the volunteers were furloughed. The area wasn't planted or maintained as we'd intended but then the staff was - and still is - stretched thin without volunteer support.

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    1. Dahlia 'Mystic Spirit' is one of the few dahlias I've seen that has really attractive foliage. The single-petaled varieties like that one are also more attractive to pollinators than the fluffier types. As I recall, we ordered some tubers of single-petaled varieties for the Dahlia Garden too but apparently they were never installed.

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  3. I'm trying to remember where the Japanese garden was... can't picture it.
    The silk floss trees are amazing... they're too big to replace the trees you are having removed? Oh, right, I forgot about the neighbor's view!
    Hope of rain is a good thing!

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    1. The Japanese Garden is usually the first stop once you step through the courtyard entrance into the garden, Eliza. It contains a tiny koi pond. The entire area is relatively small and directly adjacent to the Fuchsia Garden.

      The silk floss trees are truly huge and, yes, the view issue would definitely come into play at some point, although I don't know how quickly the trees grow. It could be that I'd be gone before their size was an issue ;)

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  4. Those dahlias are lovely even if the dahlia garden is slowing down. I especially liked the last frilly one. As for that silk tree at the end....wow! Just wow. I hope you receive the rain. We have it forecast for this weekend also.

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    1. That last filly cactus-type dahlia doesn't seem to be one of those we ordered and turned over to the garden staff when we were furloughed as volunteers so it may have been provided by one of our vendors by mistake, or perhaps purchased by the garden after-the-fact to fill the empty space. When I first visited during our ongoing furlough, only about half the tubers we'd provided had sprouted so it may be that many rotted and the garden replaced some of these.

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  5. What a delightful stroll through this garden. So many different vignettes, color, and activity. It is almost like normal.

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    1. "Almost normal" pretty much sums it up, Lisa. It's nice that the surrounding community has a resource like this.

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  6. Look at those Fuchsias! And that silk floss tree! It's somehow encouraging that even the professionals have to use caging to protect plants from critters. Sometimes it seems my entire garden is full of caging. I remember seeing a living wall like that at the Toronto Botanical Garden--just beautiful!

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    1. The volunteer group that planned this year's Dahlia Garden (which included me) had planned to use tomato cages to support the dahlias as they grew. Receipt of the required cages was confirmed before we were furloughed so I don't know what happened but the cages were never used. They used stakes rather than wire fencing to support the original plants and those haven't worked well at all, probably because they require more vigilance to maintain as the plants grow. The current cages struck me as too small for some of the larger dahlias but then none of the newer plants were labeled so it may not be an issue. The season is coming to an end as mildew sets in.

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  7. I find the best position for my Fuchsias (and I'm inland) is morning sun,afternoon shade. There are some that are more sensitive to the morning sun and we had a really hot summer so I had to move a few plants that did fine in sun til noon last year. I also find that sometimes the plants in the ground bloom better so I am trying to find suitable ground positions for some of my container Fuchsias . No rain here ! Instead we have yet another red flag warning.

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    1. I've one east-facing bed outside our living room that gets morning sun and afternoon shade that I've never tried for fuchsias, Kathy. I need to make a note to try one there next year. I probably need to move those I have in my shade house outside during summer's peak so they get more light than the plants inside too.

      We had gray skies most of the day here (and blessedly cool temperatures) but no drizzle and I'm not really counting on rain this weekend. We have a red flag warning in Sunday's forecast too, which doesn't jive with the prospect of rain.

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  8. Looks like a wonderful way to spend a day. A much needed time of respite and refreshing for the soul. Our equivalent of that right now would be to take a drive or walk to enjoy the autumn leaves. A vast difference from your climate.

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    1. We get very little in the way of fall color, Cindy. We've still had no rain either :(

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  9. Hmm... dunno, from my perspective a lot of the changes don't seem like positive ones. I do love the living wall, it always sings to me in your photos.

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    1. The garden's still getting by with minimal support as the volunteers, who did a lot of the regular maintenance, are still furloughed. At present, I think the powers that be are very focused on events to bring in traffic - it doesn't yet have a story that knits everything together.

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  10. Oh that must gave been an interesting stroll Kris. I suppose that like all gardens open to the public this year this one must be suffering from having not enough people to to do all the necessary maintenance. It looks as if there is quite a bit in the pipeline planned for next year. The loving wall is an attractive feature and the silk tree a show stealer.

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    1. There are only a small number of gardeners on staff, Anna - still just 4 as far as I know. They were heavily dependent on volunteers to perform maintenance and they've all been furloughed since March.

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  11. Thank you for the walk down memory lane! Although I’m glad others are enjoying the Living Wall, I notice it is losing some of its radial symmetry. I no longer see the large white/green Aeoniums that formed the circular arrangement towards the center. The initial installation was only in Fall 2018. : - (

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    1. I noticed the 'Sunburst' Aeoniums too, Kay. I'm fairly certain that they've been swapped out for new ones since my July visit. In my own garden, that variety can burn badly in extreme heat like that we experienced this summer and, once damaged, the rosettes don't heal, so I imagine the contractor has replaced them. With lower light conditions, it may be awhile before you see the bright yellow color 'Sunburst' is known for.

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  12. In addition, the Japanese pine in the Japanese Garden is in need of its fall pruning to maintain its shape. That is a specialized art!

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    1. I wonder if that was normally handled by volunteer staff?

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