Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sinister blossom of fragrant delights...

Here I've included some pictures of the ever-lovely and sinister Datura! This is the "Double Lavender" one which I picked up at Annie's. The fragrance was quite nice as well! This Datura is particularly nice when the flowers are in bud - all you see is a long tube of deep purple-black which looks as if it were ready to cast some sort of mysterious midnight spell (which it actually is, sort of)
Also on the subject of fragrance - Madia elegans is in bloom! I sited this one on the top of my little bunchgrass and wildflower slope quite a while ago. It's nice to have yellow flowers there again now that the tidy-tips (Layia platyglossa) have gone to seed - lovely straw of faded brown that rests over a hoard of dry seeds that await rain. But back to the Madia - the fragrance was surprising and difficult to describe. It was very unlike other floral scents I've so far sampled. The best description I've been able to come up with is - pineapple, with a lemony hint, overlaying a rich myrrh aroma with hints of labdanum. This is the scent in the morning, but as the day progresses it changes, taking on somewhat unpleasant, more astringent notes. This is a wonderful flower, and I'm hoping to see some reseeding! Other fragrant happenings - super-rich wonderful vanilla aroma from white heliotrope (Heliotropium aborescens "Alba"), delicate yet deeply layered florals from Clarkia brewerii, honey-bright scent from Buddlleia "Sungold", and of course all those many Salvia leaves with their varied perfumes! Which is another piece of news - I'm up to 50 different Salvia species and hybrids! In fact, it's 52 if you count the clary sage and chia which are hopefully on their way to reseeding (they're presently in flower) This moment has been a long time coming and I'm very excited to look out the window and see that bevy of varied foliar and floral forms under the sun and fog. So excited that I'm going out to look at them now!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Plants to plant...

Well, I once again got myself into mischief at Annie's. And I mail-ordered a bunch of plants. And I bought a Buddleia "Sungold". So I'm overflowing with an abundance of plant material again. I was going to put the "Sungold" Butterfly Bush in the ground but there's a possibility (how strong I'm not sure) that it could naturalize. So in the interest of the integrity of my nearby open space it will stay in a pot where I will conscientously snip away flowers before they go to seed. Some other acquisitional highlights are - an Iochroma coccinea! this genus is pretty new to me, but I do enjoy nightshades, and it should attract hummingbirds; a spectacular morning glory (see accompanying photo); and a Holodiscus discolor (Creambush) for my hill. I'm planting this Holodiscus right behind my wild rose - I envision frothy blossoms cascading above fragrant little Rosa californica blooms! But I sort of doubt it will happen this year (both plants are only about a foot tall) but then again one never does know.
In other news - I finally succeeded in succesful Ipomoea alba germination! I think it probably was damping off as a previous comment mentioned, because I forgot to water the newly planted seeds for a couple of warm days and the top layer of soil dried out. So when I went outside to check on them (another factor in their favor - they were outside) the first seed had popped out and the seed coat just slid off on its own! Further more, the cotyledons were enormous! I ended up with three happy little seedlings to festoon my garden with!
Right now my Delphinium cardinale plant is blooming. Now I've previously grown the usual garden Delphiniums with mixed results, and I really love the flowers. When they come in at work I admire all the different varieties and the flowers seem to be all sorts of variations and combinations of blues, purple-lavenders, and white. This Delphinium is much the same, but the colors are orange, red, and yellow! It's native to Southern California, and one source I looked at suggested it might range as far north as this county. I did see a blue native Delphinium once in the wild. It was at Sunol Regional Wilderness and it was quite spectacular!
So that's all for now - back to my many bags of potting soil!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hot and Smoky

It's been some time since my last posting, I think because of the excitement of my birthday followed by the trauma of the heat. And of course the air is full of smoke from all these fires - everything has a faint yellow-orange cast of light. The native plants are of course adapted to cope with all this and the exceptional heat and warm nights has encouraged my plumeria to put out a burst of fresh growth. Since the 30th of June was the day of my birth John and I celebrated by visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden (on the 1st of July) Their Montanoas were quite impressive. My M. grandiflora only gets to be about 15 ft, and is presently grown to about 5ft. But there were some Montanoas there that must of been about 30ft! I think they were mostly M. hexagona. And there were plenty of fuchsias and Salvias there in the Meso-american Cloud Forest section. I've included two pictures of this area, including an Abutilon close up. I'm presently lusting after this quite lovely Abutilon with its striking Malvaceaous (is that a word?) flowers and soft leaves. I believe the little placard said it was from Guatemala. There was also an extensive California section with a very cute quail family including some fluffy little baby quails. After a long, meandering walk and failed attempt at the Conversatory of Flowers (line too long) we returned via Highway 1, thereby avoiding the horrendousness of cross-town traffic. As lovely as the Garden is, I don't like big, noisy cities and was relieved to see the big, noisy ocean. The ocean smells much better that the city. So we made our way Half Moon Bay -ward and on the way I saw some really nice orange monkey flower (Diplacus aurantiacus) blooms and poofy sprays of creambush flowers (Holodiscus discolor).
So I guess that's about all for now. When it cools off I'll be able to go out into my garden and give a full report. Already early this morning I saw scarlet delphiniums open to the smoky light and Madia elegans on the verge sending its lovely yellow-ness outward - More petals to come!