Friday, June 11, 2021

As spring transitions into summer: Another spin through South Coast Botanic Garden

A friend and I took a spin through South Coast Botanic Garden this week.  With summer heat expected to move into the area soon, I suspect I may not be making more trips there until fall.  Frankly, the garden already wasn't looking as spiffy as it did back in April, although some areas were tidier than others.  I'll start with my favorite views.

Jacaranda trees are in bloom throughout the area but it's easier to photograph the trees at the botanic garden than it is to pull the car to the side of the road as I head down the hill into town.

Jacaranda trees signal the beginning of summer for me


I was also drawn to what I think of as the lavender field, located in the grass garden area.



Mingling with the lavender, clockwise from the upper left, are Lagerstroemia (crape myrtle trees), Salvia canariensis, and Romneya coulteri (aka Matilija poppies)

There are all sorts of critters in the garden - including birds, lizards, and squirrels - but the sheer number of rabbits we saw was a surprise.  We seemed to come across one or more at every turn.


The Desert Garden was looking pretty scruffy but some plants still stood out.

Aloe elgonica was blooming.  Few other Aloes were at this time of year.

This mass planting of Aloe vanbalenii is attractive even when it isn't blooming

Cussonia paniculata (aka mountain cabbage tree)

This was labeled as organ cactus but I'm not sure it's what's commonly called organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi).  I can't read the scientific name on the label but I think this could be Pachycereus marginatus (aka fence post cactus).

There were some interesting succulents outside the Desert Garden as well.

A dark-toned Aeonium arboreum with a noID blue-flowered Salvia made a nice combination

The white orchid cactus on the left (presumably Epiphyllum) was growing in the Desert Garden but we came across the pink one on the right was in another area laying alongside a path.

I had decidedly mixed feelings when I saw this.  The oddly pruned Kalanchoe beharensis (felt plant) was located in the children's garden.  As a representative of its species it looks terrible but the bare stems made me think of a dinosaur skeleton - it would be interesting as a structure to display Tillandsias or other succulents.

The new installation of succulents along the promenade running from the garden's Palm Circle to the rose garden appears complete but it looks a bit bare to me. Personally, I think it could use a little color in the form of drought tolerant flowering plants or gravel to help the succulents pack more punch.

Toward the end of our rounds we stopped in the shade of the Banyan Grove, one of my favorite areas of the garden, partly because it's always at least ten degrees cooler than the rest of the garden.  Although the late morning temperature was fairly pleasant the day of our walk-through, we nonetheless appreciated the area's cool shade.

The Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) create a massive shade canopy

As we headed toward the rose garden, we passed the Mediterranean Garden.

I cringed seeing kids were crawling inside the Fuller sculpture, which isn't intended as a play structure.  Their mothers appeared to be having difficulty getting them out.

The sun was exceptionally bright and the few photos I took in the rose garden were badly washed out but I'll offer an assortment of other random photos taken in spots throughout the garden that stood up better under the harsh light conditions.

Brugmansia (aka angel's trumpet)

Fuchsia Garden specimens

Salvia mexicana 'Limelight'

What we guessed is Sambucus mexicana

On our way out, we saw a passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata) in full bloom, attended by a host of Gulf Fritillary butterflies

That's it from me this week.  Enjoy your weekend!


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



20 comments:

  1. Still looks like a pleasant place to visit. I suspect many of the public gardens will be doing some serious work to catch up on maintenance this season. Don't like how the Kalanchoe beherensis was pruned. Looks more like tree torture. Enjoy your weekend.

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    1. That Kalanchoe was larger than they're generally expected to grow but then I think most people would take cuttings and start over before allowing it to get like that. I don't think it's going to develop any new growth on those bare limbs but, who knows, I could be in for a surprise.

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  2. Thanks, Kris! This was a delightful post to read. All your posts are good, of course, but for some reason this one was a perfect just before bed read.

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    1. Hopefully pretty pictures make for sweet dreams, Barbara!

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  3. A great day documented by lovely photos! The peachy-pink Brugmansia flower photo is an artistic capture!

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    1. My camera artistry is generally purely a matter of serendipity, Kay!

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  4. Thank you for the tour. At least some of the SC garden still looks pretty good. Jacarandas blooming here have less of a floral display than usual--due to winter less rain, probably.

    The black Aeoniums do look good with purple. Our in the garden a Geranium 'Rozanne' is weaving in and out of a clump of 'Zwartzkop', and it works.

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    1. The low rainfall is having a lot of impact on flowering, which is beginning more and more evident as we move into summer :( I'd love to have 'Rozanne' weave through my dark-colored Aeoniums but it doesn't survive long here, possibly due to my sandy soil. I'm hoping my Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud' comes back to create a similar effect.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your latest tour of SCBG, Kris. Jacaranda trees are so beautiful in bloom, they always wow me. The lavender beds are coming along and looking great. Your comment about it being 10º cooler under the banyans illustrates how important shade trees are in heat islands and with CC, planting more trees can make a big difference. I live in a wooded area and the trees act as air conditioners, esp. noted this time of year where the open farmland down in the valley can be 10º hotter. Even if we don't live to see a tree mature, it is a gift to future generations (like your new Gingko!).

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    1. This week, I found myself wishing I hadn't removed one of the two peppermint willows in the back border all those years ago, in my vain effort to mollify the neighbor who complained about the obstruction of "her" harbor view. If my Olearia (daisy tree) doesn't take off, I may try a crape myrtle or another smaller-sized tree. Adding one to the back slope may be in order too ;)

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  6. I share your concern about both the oddly pruned Kalanchoe beharensis and the kids playing on the sculpture. What is wrong with people!? I wonder if there's any chance of the Kalanchoe beharensis sprouting new growth along the dinosaur skelton branches?

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    1. It looks as though the Kalanchoe is still sprouting new growth, but only one the tips of the branches. They could take tip cuttings but, since the garden doesn't currently have a propagation unit (!), they should probably just buy themselves a new plant.

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  7. Your brother would have gone full blown garden cop on the moms.

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    1. It did occur to me but I've heard that the garden doesn't even want volunteers acting outside their assigned roles - and I'm not even volunteering anymore. I guess they need to hire more rangers...

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  8. I enjoyed the tour through this garden with you, Kris. I loved the prolifically flowering fuchsias, and agree about the kalanchoe. I do hope the latter manages to grow more leaves, it looks quite awful as it is, even if it could be a dinosaur skeleton! It must be difficult keeping a garden going in such adverse conditions.

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    1. I think the botanic garden needs more volunteers to help with maintenance - and propagation.

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  9. Came back to look at that Kalanchoe again. I think not enough moisture because it is holding very few leaves. It may look xeric, but mine sure isn't (and mine has a lot more leaves).

    I looked up the Wahlenbergia--looks really pretty. 'Rozanne' likes moisture, for sure.

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    1. A few Wahlenbergia stems have recently appeared so maybe I didn't manage to kill the plant after all :)

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  10. The first photo of the Jacaranda is just amazing. What an exciting time you must have had touring this lovely place, and you got a great butterfly shot.

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    1. And I got that butterfly shot without going through the garden's butterfly pavilion too!

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