Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: I've got the blues

It's a weird time.  Election day in the US is less than a week away and, although I voted early, I'm anxious to reach the end of the long, tumultuous period of political grandstanding.  Yet, the election itself may prompt another round of ugliness.  I'm sometimes tempted to take shelter as one does in an earthquake, close my eyes, and pray for it to be over without a tragedy of some sort.  In the garden, I've got two large trees, one dead and one nearly so, scheduled for removal tomorrow, and I'm apprehensive about the impact there.  And it didn't help that this week's latest bout with Santa Ana winds triggered two more vicious wildfires in Southern California, neither of which is anywhere near containment.  A flurry of firework displays last night, sparked by the Dodgers' win in the World Series, intensified my fire-related anxiety.

Despite once again contending with poor air quality due to smoke, I've spent time in the garden off and on since the fires started early Monday morning.  What I noticed in the back garden in particular was the prominence of blue color.

The odd light levels when I took this photo of the back garden near mid-day on Monday reflected the early influence of the Silverado Fire

The bush violets, Barleria obtusa, immediately draw attention.  The plants started blooming a couple of weeks earlier than usual this year and appear to be in full bloom now.

At the time of my mid-October Bloom Day report, this Barleria obtusa next to the backyard fountain had only a handful of blooms

These photos show close-ups of the violets, accented in the area next to the fountain by another strong flush of Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) blooms

On the other side of the path that runs through the back garden there's a second large clump of bush violets.  As this one was swamping its neighbors earlier this month, I'd cut it back hard but it's flowering well anyway.

The bush violets aren't the only blues present in the back garden.  In addition to the nice flush of dark blue Eustoma grandiflorum, Salvia leucantha, Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic' and Brachyscome 'Brasco Violet' are still blooming but it's the Chihuahuan Sage, Leucophyllum laevigatum, that's giving the bush violets a run for their money.

This plant seems to produce a new flush of bloom every time the marine layer returns

Duranta repens and Salvia 'Mystic Spires' are also adding light touches of blue color in spots throughout the garden, back and front.

This is one of a number of Duranta I have that sport yellow foliage

This clump of Salvia 'Mystic Spires' has been in this very dry corner of the garden for years, blooming on its own schedule


The front garden has the blues too.

Yet another bush violet, this one backed by Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum'


The chartreuse color of Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' in the background allows the blue flowers of Lavandula multifida to stand out

This is Hypoestes aristata, aka ribbon bush.  In my former garden it grew into a 4 foot shrub but I've struggled to keep it alive here.  This one is just a foot tall.

Blue in the garden is great.  However, feeling blue isn't.  I'm hoping the change I've been sensing in the country is real and that, once the dust settles, November will mark a positive shift in the national dialogue.

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


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


24 comments:

  1. I'm right there with you. I can't imagine the alternative. Good luck with the tree removal!

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    1. Thanks Loree. I can't conceive of how to deal with the alternative outcome.

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  2. I love learning from your blog! I hope you know that reading your blog has helped me get out of those low feeling moments!
    I’ve never heard of Hypoestes aristata, however, I grow Hypoestes “Pink Polka Dot” in the landscape and allow it to self-sow. I will make sure I grow Lisianthus for 2021. I get the impression from your blog, that you planted it in spring and it continues to grow and bloom through fall. Is this typical?
    I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Tree removal is not fun. However, being able to rethink and plan the garden afterwards can be fulfilling.
    I completely understand your sentiment. On a frequent basis, I search to find things to do that I enjoy and not get wrapped up into all these events I cannot control. I have experienced more days than ever feeling down, and I find myself fighting to uplift myself, largely by cooking, checking-in on friends, and also gardening, whether it is at my home or through volunteering. I am also able to snap out of low moments by focusing on helping Rob when he gets out of his shifts. Receiving all the bulbs and some plants from Annie’s, and yet experiencing the poor air quality has been frustrating, because I find my eyes feel the burn and I cannot garden. Then, I feel selfish because this is trivial when considering what those directly affected by the fires are dealing with. In the end, I’m grateful for you, my life, and am learning to grow with these challenges. Kris, you are amazing!

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    1. Even though I've never been part of the organization, I keep thinking of AA's Serenity Prayer these days. It helps to remind me keep matters in perspective.

      Re Lisianthus, it usually doesn't become available in local garden centers until late spring or early summer here, which is frustrating as I think it's best planted earlier. Burpee's offers the plants and I put a message into them yesterday to check when they ship as it wasn't clear to me whether this was based on their fall planting schedule or their spring schedule. I haven't received a clear response from them yet, although based on my records of prior orders, it looks as though they ship late March/early April. Lisianthus is notoriously hard to grow from seed but some vendors now offer "pelleted" seed which is supposedly easier to work with. As I haven't tried that, I can't say one way or another.

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  3. This has been a very long and tedious year. Even though it has hit some harder than others I think everyone is seeing some effects on their mental health. So easy to miss the positives around us. Just have to remind ourselves this too will pass. Your bush violets have brought some joy to my day.

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    1. I'm glad, Elaine. We should all seek to buoy one another up when we can. Virtually everyone I know is having these ups and downs.

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  4. I am with you on your fears for next week, and I so hope for a good outcome, both with the election and the aftermath. It’s enough to hav to deal with the fears of the fires without having a pandemic and an election to contend with as well.
    I noted your lavender multifidia. Mine is doing quite well in its pot. I love the bush violets too.

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    1. The bush violets are a wee bit invasive, Jane, but I cut them some slack given the color and volume of their blooms.

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  5. It does appear that the blues have it in the back garden. I sure hope the big tree comes down without damage.

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    1. The tree service I use, owned by a professional arborist, does a very good job, especially taking down trees, but I've learned that there's almost always some collateral damage. I dug up three agaves from the area near the mimosa this afternoon in an effort to manage the risk.

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  6. Sorry about the latest fires, Kris, it seems CA can't seem to get a break this year. As if disease and politics aren't enough to deal with! :(
    Love your garden blues (not the other kind) and particularly Barleria - if I could grow it, I'd probably have a hedge of it!

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    1. I've heard that there's a guy who uses the Barleria as hedge material but I haven't actually seen what that looks like, Eliza. It IS one tough - and prolific - plant. It's a sneaky self-seeder too.

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  7. Is your Albizia one of the ones coming down? I know you've been struggling with keeping it alive for a while now... Still, I know it's probably emotional to take it out. Trees are such majestic presences in a garden. I remember your bush violets from last year - they are wonderful! As for the blues in general - yes, I too fear the next few months. I have a feeling tRump is like those spiteful, nightmare tenants who maliciously destroy their homes before moving out. November 3 is just the beginning. I'll keep holding my breath until January 20, I think - just in case.

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    1. I share the same perception of #45, Anna. Yes, the Albizia is one of the two trees coming down. Still more of the major branches died back this year and, when the arborist visited, he pointed out that the main trunk is now caving in on itself. Putting it off another year wouldn't change anything.

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  8. We did go off on some tangents tonight Kris, but your tree situation reminds me of Dans' chapter on privacy. I can see from the photo the houses that are in plain view that were blocked when the tree was in it's prime.So the quote from the book is 'a ten foot tree close to you does the work of a fifty foot tree in the distance'.

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    1. My spouse surprised me in opposing my plan to plant another tree in the spot near that currently occupied by the Albizia, Kathy. I hope he'll at least accept my little four-inch tree daisy on a "trial" basis without throwing a conniption fit. Even his brother told him he thought it was my call. I also hope it grows as fast as you and others thought it would ;)

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  9. Blue/purple and gold are the most striking color combination. The photo of Duranta with the yellow foliage against the green background is delicious.
    Tree removal is stressful, but so is staring at dying tree every day. I'm sure you'll be relieved afterwards, and hopefully excited to find something new to plant.
    Congrats on the Dodgers' win. May it be an omen.

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    1. I loved the way that Duranta flower and foliage looked against the background of Acacia 'Cousin Itt' too. You're right about the pain of looking at a dying tree - our kitchen window looks right out at that tree so I can't easily avert my eyes.

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  10. You have an abundance of blues Kris, and one lucky lady you are. It's hard to come by blues in a garden. I know what specimens I have are either barely visible or fleeting, and certainly nothing of that sort here at this time of year.
    It's hard to believe it's nearly November and I still have a few flowers in bloom. I never pick them at this time of year since they are so happy in the cooler weather and wilt so quickly inside. I'd much view them in the garden and leave them for the few bees still out foraging.
    I too am ready for these elections to be over. My daughter and I differ greatly in our opinions, and she can't seem to ever resist the opportunity to get in a dig. I am beginning to resent that she can't seem to allow me to have my own opinion and I'm really over all her eye rolling. This can't be over soon enough, and maybe the holidays will bring people back together. One can only hope and pray.

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    1. It's very hard when so many issues have become politicized to such an extent that positions have become entirely binary (for or against), with no discussion of areas for agreement, Cindy. I believe we have to open ourselves to talking honestly with those we care about concerning our hopes and fears in order to discover where there's common ground or, at the very least, to develop an understanding as to why we AND those we care about have differing opinions.

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  11. Oh that's a fine gathering of blues Kris. I'm very much hoping that your election sees the back of the present president and that a potential statesman takes over that mantle. When will you know the final outcome?

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    1. That's the $100,000 question, Anna! Because such a large percentage of the ballots were submitted by mail this year and the fact that they're not counted until election day, it could take a much longer time to tally them this go-round. Usually the matter is decided on the day of the election or within a day or two later but this week it could conceivably take weeks. Added to the equation is that the party currently in power is contesting both mail-in ballots and the time necessary to count them. The behavior from that quarter is sounding like that of dictators in the third world countries.

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  12. Lavender and chartreuse make a fine pair (as do Biden and Harris - wish you a peaceful transition)

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    1. A peaceful transition is what we normally expect but the current incumbent has a long history as a bad loser, as one might expect from an individual who can't even acknowledge ever in his life having failed at anything.

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