3000 words

Since a picture is worth a thousand words…

A few pictures of my garden from earlier this year:IMG_20170508_184833Bottom center are a couple of my potted citrus trees, Oroblanco grapefruit and Moro blood orange. Right behind them are three of my potted figs. All of them have fruit now and it’s surprising to see the variety of colors, shapes and sizes of figs especially if you’re only used to store bought fresh figs which are likely Mission.

The roses are just coming into bloom, the two poppies – red and black Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ and pink Eschscholzia californica ‘Rose Chiffon’ are in peak bloom, bordered along the front by blue Penstemon heterphyllus ‘Margarita BOP’.IMG_20170614_180432A pillar of pink dipladenia ‘Pretty in Pink’, blooming in shades of pink. The flowers have an unmistakable vanilla fragrance, which does not waft, but it’s there if you inhale deeply enough. Along the front of the picture leaves aglow in the sun is my pomegranate ‘Parfianka’. This tree is surrounded by heavenly smelling Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’. The scarlet blossoms of the pomegranate are beautifully framed by the swaying wands of the lavender.IMG_20170508_184845My showpiece flower bed in front of the fountain in a riot of color with butter yellow fragrant Julia Child roses, tall and elegant magenta Agrostemma githago ‘Milas’, a short, inky dark iris ‘Wild Wings’ with velvety black falls, nonstop bloom machine Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Mesa Peach’, red geum ‘Blazing Sunset’, another prolific bloomer violet Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ and tall white Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Amelia’.

The fountain behind the bed works, probably, but after the long, long California drought, we have resisted the temptation to fill it up and turn it on again. For the flowers, I didn’t start with a color palette in mind, which is obvious! I simply bought the plants I liked and made room for them. The beds are full to bursting now and most plants need drastic thinning but I haven’t had the heart nor the energy to do it.


Woman Proposes, Gardener Disposes

Yes, we have a gardener, more of a garden-clean-up-and-lawn-mowing person really. Just easier to say “gardener”. Anyway, he is a serious-faced young man, who takes the cleaning up aspect of his job a little too seriously. Clearly, he didn’t think much of the Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ I’d planted this year. They were unceremoniously pulled out and the roots dug out with a vengeance. He said, he “thought it was a weed”. Which would have been a perfectly satisfactory explanation had the actual weeds been given the same treatment. He is a lot more benevolent towards those!

The two gaura (purchased from here) were planted this year, having received rave reviews on the online forums. They were all right. The 1 inch wide white flowers on long leafless stems were pretty. My plants seemed to have produced considerably more foliage than flowers though. I was somewhat disappointed to have them plucked out, but which gardener does not secretly relish the thought of yet more and newer plants to try?

Back to Annie’s Annuals, where gift cards are being sold at 15% off through the end of November. Alas, the gift cards are the physical ones, not e-gift cards. I couldn’t wait for them to be processed and mailed and then place my plant order. I ordered a couple of Dianthus plumarius ‘Hercules’ to occupy the places of the ill-fated gauras. I hope these live longer. The others are a lovely Campanula persicifolia or peach-leaved campanula, ‘Telham Beauty’; my first campanula, to be placed into a tight spot soon to be vacated by a struggling lavender. I also ordered a Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ for a middle of the border position.

Still going strong in mid-November, blooms of Argyranthemum frutescens.
Argyranthemum frutescens still going strong in mid-November
Lovely colors and form

I have some lovely plants, profuse bloomers, very cheery e.g. red Marguerite Daisy or Argyranthemum frutescens I bought a couple springs ago from Home Depot. It flowers throughout the year, even in winter, and appreciates a good shearing and some compost and manure dug around it’s base after flowering. However, I don’t think the nectar or the pollen of this plant appeals to bees and butterflies; I never see them hovering over it. On the other hand, plants like the Aromatic Aster Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, another Annie’s Annuals purchase which has just finished blooming, always had a buzz of activity around it – a pleasure to watch.

Single blooms of Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, fall bloomer
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, fall bloomer
Last few blooms of Symphyotrichum oblongifolium
Last few blooms loved by bees and butterflies

My garden is in the backyard and completely invisible from the front of the house; very few people actually see it. I feel little pressure to grow plants purely for GAAP – Generally Accepted Aesthetic Pleasure, and let my personal whims and fancies rule. Life in the form of the littler critters whizzing from flower to flower gives me indescribable joy. Declining bee populations are now common knowledge. Having the land and the means for new plants is impetus to grow those which provide the food these pollinators need. More and more of my purchases in recent times have been with this criterion in mind. Although, these plants usually flower for shorter periods than sterile plants and then quickly go to seed. That is an acceptable compromise.