Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shiny Glass Objects

I recently went to the Chihuly exhibit at the DeYoung museum. And although this may not seem plant-related it actually is (as are most things with me when you get down to it) According to the signs one of the artist's influences was his mother's flower garden and I was impressed by the botanical-esque dynamism of the sculptures. Furthering my enjoyment of this exhibit was also my strong attraction to shiny green objects. I have included some of my favorite examples in the accompanying photos. There have been several botanical gardens that featured his artwork, where it nestled amongst the plants. And in another part of the museum I found flowering trees in a mural from Teotihuacan (again, photo included.) I think I actually recognize some of these, but I'm not sure.
It's been hot the last day or two, so I've been staying inside. But I did get my pre-dawn watering in for those that needed it. The Salvia involucrata just began to bloom and the Madia elegans is still going strong! And last week I snuck off to Annie's for a quick plant grab and procured a Brugmansia sanguinea. It was incredibly robust for a plant in a 4 inch pot (or for any size pot, really) with three little branches coming off and oodles of solanaceous leaves. I transplanted up to 1 gallon pot till I find a suitable larger pot. I also got some other exciting little plants, including some Penstemons!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Before and after

Here's the garden pictures - these were taken (hopefully from more or less the same vantage point) in October of 2007 and then again last week. I would think it's self-evident which is "before" and which is "after" but if you get stuck just give yourself some time, maybe have a cup of tea while you're trying to figure it out. It'll come to you, eventually.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nectar Seekers

Well, after a nice spell of cool fogginess the heat is beginning again. At least the Plumerias look happy. I'm my usual heat-wilted self. At any rate there is a lot flowering and I had several hummingbird visits today. The little flying creatures visited about 8 different Salvias, some oregano, a hummingbird fuchsia, a sunflower, and I think I saw it grab a gnat out of the air. I've never seen a hummingbird go after a sunflower before but the little bird spent quite a bit of time with the flowers - maybe it was plucking off insects? Not sure, but the little sucker was busy. I think two different ones visited - a male and female Anna's, possibly. But it was a hard to get a good id because of the angle of light, despite the fact that they were within a foot away from me! I could see the pollen dusting the little feathered heads and the pollen on the beak - very exciting! In other news my moonflowers are in the ground and still growing. I hope this signals a new chapter in my Ipomoea luck! I also repotted a couple of epiphyllums today and did my usual sniffing of native Salvia leaves, and reading of books while sitting in the garden. The next post promises much excitement - before and after photos of the garden! Just as soon as Mom downloads the pictures!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bonus plants!

I thought in this post that I would address the issue of bonus plants. These are the little seedling plants that pop up in the nursery pot along with the intended plant being sold. Sometimes the extra plant is just an invasive weedy type you'd rather be rid of, but occasionally they are not. I recently came across a particularly nice example at the Regional Parks Botanical Garden - a fully grown orange-flowered Mimulus cardinalis along with a fully grown Salvia sonomensis (the intended plant)! A fellow plant purchaser there had found a pot with about 4 or 5 extra little natives popping up! These little bonuses are one of those small yet wondrous joys in life. I also came across a tiny yellow flowered Calceolaria in an Agastache rupestris from Annie's - both exquisite plants! I think nurseries should encourage these free-seeding lovelies - I was ambivalent about buying the Agastache until I saw that mysterious extra plant peeping over the edge of the pot. It wasn't even blooming yet, and I didn't identify until I had it at home and in flower. I try to do my own part in this - at work I stick all the fallen Tradescantia pieces into other houseplants. These often root on their own, but I ensure success by tucking the stem snugly under the soil.
In addition to these exciting blooms another truly eventful floral happening began a few days ago - my Mirabilis longiflora bloomed for the first time! These flowers start to open at about 5:50 pm and in about 40 minutes they're completely open. They are fragrant - a sweet nocturnal scent, with faint floral notes. I'm also guessing they're moth-pollinated, due to the very long floral tube that I suspect only a moth's tongue could plumb the depths of! I will try to get a picture up soon. There's also a second wave of Salvia blooms beginning - the hummingbirds are zipping with delight at the bounty of nectar!