Friday, April 30, 2021

The garden has its glow on

I'm always a little startled when I realize that the colors in my garden are shifting.  Blues and pinks dominated over the past couple of months.   There are still blue and pink flowers to be found but this week I noticed that my garden seems to be getting its glow on.  Yellow flowers and variegated foliage have been grabbing my attention at every turn.  The tree-sized Leucadendron 'Pisa' was the first plant to signal the color shift.

Leucadendron 'Pisa' sports silvery foliage year round but in spring it suddenly develops luminescent yellow bracts that look like flowers

From that point, I began seeing glowing color everywhere.

The flowers of Cistus 'Second Honeymoon' are more white than yellow but the plant's variegated foliage draws the eye too

The blooms of Hymenolepsis parviflora (aka Coulter bush) seem to appear all at once

This is the first time the Lomandra hystrix 'Tropic Belle' I purchased for their foliage have flowered.  The flowers are much splashier than those of other Lomandra species in my garden.

Here are some of the foliage specimens that stood out.

I have several Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope', two of which are shown here.  They've been producing fresh foliage stems.

These are two other varieties of Abelia, 'Confetti' on the left and 'Hopley's Variegated' on the right.   'Confetti' remains fairly compact while 'Hopley's' will climb to the stars if allowed to.

Although Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' has pale pink flowers, its grown mainly for its foliage color as indicated by its name.  I have several of these shrubs in both my front and back gardens.

Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' is more demure than many of the other plants I've included in this post but both the color and the texture of the foliage draw second glances from visitors

I planted almost a dozen Heuchera 'Marmalade' plants last fall.  The five I have in the front garden get more shade (and possibly more water) and they're happier than those in the back garden.

Nasella tenuissima (syn. Stipa tenuissima aka Mexican feather grass) is striking at this time of year but it also self-seeds freely so I "comb" the plumes periodically

Yucca 'Bright Star' with Coleonema 'Sunset Gold' and Nasella tenuissima in the background


All of the foliage plants shown above have been in place for some time but perhaps the more intense sunlight made the plants stand out more than they had earlier in the year.  However, in the case of the flowering plants, the sheer volume of flowers is generally what caught my eye.

Arctotis 'Large Marge' is a relatively new introduction and not yet prolific but the flowers' color could be described as fluorescent

In contrast, Cotula lineariloba 'Big Yellow Moon' spreads fast and wide

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' has both variegated foliage and sprays of attractive yellow flowers

Osteospermum 'White Flame' has been self-seeding in this area for years now and the flowers are beginning to mutate

Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' is one of the stars of my front garden.  It blooms year-round but the blooms have been heaviest this spring.

Leucospermum 'Goldie' is the most floriferous of my "pincushion" shrubs

Mimulus bifidus is the most successful of my monkey flowers

I introduced Osteospermum 'Double Moonglow' to my garden last year and it came back better still this year

 Achillea 'Moonshine' is on the brink of flowering in the back garden.  When it's in full bloom, it will draw the eye of anyone who walks through the space.

I planted this Achillea on both sides of the flagstone path and well into the wide back border to give it greater impact.  It's had buds for weeks but is only now beginning to flower.

I recently popped another Achillea 'Moonshine' into this pot outside my shade house, accompanied by a new (to me) intergeneric Argyranthemum 'Grandaisy Yellow' along with a pale yellow Petunia and a brownish coleus

It was toasty yesterday with the temperature briefly reaching 92F (33C).  Even when the temperature came down a bit, it was uncomfortable to do much in the garden, especially as the wind picked up.  It was still 80F (26C) at 9pm, which isn't a good thing.  We're expecting more of the same today with a slight cool down over the weekend.  I hope you can make the best of the weekend, regardless of your weather conditions.


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. I was a bit overwhelmed by 74° in Seattle yesterday; luckily it is raining today! We needed a good soaker.
    I love Mexican feather grass and always have one in the garden while I keep a watchful eye on it: if I had a meadow I'd use it freely. I'm interested to hear about your combing method. Cotula lineariloba 'Big Yellow Moon' is adorable although from your description it sounds like it keeps you busy... Your Mimulus bifidus has the most beautiful flowers!

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    1. Seattle's weather has always appealed to me, at least in concept. My BIL lives up that way and I've joked about putting a tiny vacation house on a corner of his property. (Actually, I'd do that in a minute if I could get my husband and his brother on board.) "Combing" Mexican Feather grass is labor intensive. Gloves are essential and it's wise to split the task over several days as the repetitive motion can lead to ganglion cysts but the process simply involves grabbing small segments of the grass near the base and pulling upward through the tips to remove the flowering seed. I also yank out sections of the dried out grass from the base rather than cutting it back.

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  2. Glowing indeed! What a great observation and series of photos. The Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' looks splendid!

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    1. That Grevillea has really come into its own. It's now a toss-up between 'Peaches & Cream' and 'Superb' as to which is the most floriferous. I dead-head both periodically and I think that's amped-up flower production. Now, if only 'Ned Kelly' would step up its game!

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  3. I have such a weakness for golden plants, so the "glow" is right up my alley! I think Stipa ichru must have reseeded, because I noticed feather grass in my garden this morning. The Big Moon cotula is lightly blooming for me too, but nothing like your patch. The coulter bush is looking very fine too.

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    1. I had MUCH more of that Cotula at one point. It runs rampant at this time of year. It's easy to pull out and cut back but leaving it unattended is a mistake as it has no mercy for the plants in its way.

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  4. Yellow and gold make the garden really pop. You have so many glorious golden plants. 92 is way too hot. I was complaining about 70 yesterday. A bit hard to take after 35. Need more time to gradually adjust.

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    1. 70F sounds wonderful to me, Elaine. Our AC automatically activated mid-morning when our indoor temperature exceeded 80F. It's 92F outside right now, which is way too hot for Arbor Day. The cool season flowers that bloomed late here this year - sweet peas, larkspur, and Nigella among others - are looking peaked.

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  5. Beautiful yellow theme! I particularly like the vignette with Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’ with the coordinating colors of Leucospermum and Euphobia ‘Sticks on Fire’. I should not complain since you are dealing with temp in the 90s, but I’m very temperature sensitive these days, and although the high was only 76 or 77, I could only work in shade yesterday. Today, it is cooler, and our weather station indicates that it is 73, but once again, I was working up a sweat even with the first day of wearing shorts. I’m happy to spend a couple of hours inside, and with the longer daylight, try to accomplish some more garden and house chores later. Wishing you cooler days/nights!

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    1. We got up to 94 at one point this afternoon, Kay. I decided to tackle a few chores regardless but was nearly melting just cutting back one shrub. I persevered with the shrub but gave up on the other tasks on my list. It's too early for this kind of heat!!!

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  6. Love that 'Pisa'. The mimulus looks so pretty mixed with its purple flowered companion.

    Cooler tomorrow, thankfully!

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    1. 'Pisa' is a winner. The heat was worse here today than yesterday and I was forced to give up my to-do list after item #1. I really hope the forecasters are right and the temperature drops 10 degrees tomorrow.

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  7. I'm loving all of the wonderful textures and colors in your garden, Kris. Combos I particularly like are the Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', Pincushion flower and Sticks on Fire; and the Lomandra hystrix 'Tropic Belle' with the striped Gazania beneath it. Your pot by the lath house looks great, too. You have great talent for combining visually appealing colors/textures.
    Hope your temps come down to more comfortable levels. Kind of hard to operate at those high temps!

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    1. We need more time to acclimate to this kind of heat, Eliza. I just read the monthly update on weatherwest.com (posted a week ago) and the forecast is bleak. The snowpack is melting at a record rate among other things.

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  8. You definitely have that golden glow going on.

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    1. I hope it lasts awhile, Lisa. The heat is on high too :(

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  9. Incredibile ogni volta che lo vedo! Hai un giardino da invidia! Questo mix di piante che coltivo qui unito a piante tropicali è sempre un piacere per gli occhi :)

    Ti auguro un buon fine settimana :)

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    1. Thank you Gabriel! My plants are not so much suitable to the tropics as they are to a Mediterranean climate. Many of them are native to South Africa and western Australia but they thrive here because coastal southern California has a similar climate to that in those parts of the world.

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  10. Such a wonderful garden. I love the Arctotis 'Large Marge'. You have quite a view from the garden too!

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  11. Marmalade' is a fabulous heuchera Kris. We could do with some of your heat. Needed a coat on to garden today. I don't know if it is my imagination but are there more ships out there than usual?

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    1. If only we could have heat and rain exchanges, Anna! You are correct that there are a LOT of ships in the harbor. The backup started with the onset of the pandemic and things don't seem to be getting any better. There had been serious staffing shortages among harbor personnel but I'm surprised that things haven't gotten better as containment of the virus has dramatically improved.

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  12. The Mexican feather grass must make you want to reach out and touch it every time you walk by - I know I would! And we actually have a plant in common - Heuchera 'Marmalade' :) I got it last year and hope it likes the shady spot it's in.

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    1. Heuchera 'Marmalade' is a beautiful thing - I don't even care if it flowers. The Mexican feather grass has a moment of absolute perfection and then it goes crazy with seedy plumes and I have to start thinning it out before it takes over the entire garden.

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