Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Montanoa abloom!

It's been some time since I last posted and in that time much has bloomed, grown and dropped Autumn leaves. The Montanoa grandiflora (which has topped out at about six feet in its' first season) has started to bloom. Unfortunately in order to sniff the lovely chocolate/vanilla fragrance I have to get up on a steep slope and twist myself and the plant around into some rather unnatural directions. I'm hoping that a closer branch will soon bloom, thereby solving the contortional problems. The Mesoamerican Salvias are in an impossible to describe frenzy of bloom. Purples, pink, and reds everywhere! The Salvia involucrata in particular is sprawling all over, sending out the unique rosebud inflorescenses in every direction! Of course there's a lot more but I can't recall everything right now, and it's dark now so looking outside won't help. Though I certainly shouldn't forget the natives! I'm trying to grow some wildflowers from last year's seeds (Layia platglossa, a Collinsia, and Clarkia) we'll see how it pans out. And my lovely Summer-dormant Polypodium ferns have renewed with the rain, sending out their green fiddleheads. Also awakened are a Calochortus, a couple Delphiniums, and a Dodacatheon I forgot was there! It's nice to see everything growing, I'm just waiting for more rain. Amongst the non-Natives my little Mandrakes (Mandragora officinarum) and Asphodel (Asphodelus albus) were also dormant during Summer but have sent out leaves and are growing strongly. These needed not just the rain but the cooler weather to really get started! Well, I'll try to get pictures up later (I've already forgotten how to get pictures off the camera - I knew this would happen)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tale of an Abutilon

It took awhile to get this post on, as Mom had to show me how to get the pictures off of the digital camera. It seems like a suspiciously simple process but will no doubt confuse me when I go to do it myself. But the whole point is that I wanted to introduce this Abutilon to my faithful readers. These plants are commonly known as flowering maples and are in the Mallow family (Malvaceae). As those of you closest to me will know I have been having a lot of Mallow related botanical experiences in the past year or so and this is one of them. This plant, Abutilon striatum, had been on my wish list at Annie's for some time. Therefore one can imagine my excitement when I found a flat of these little plants there before they had even been listed as available on-line! So I picked out a little 4 inch pot containing a plant that was about 7 inches tall and planted it in a large pot. This was in mid-July and the plant has grown about one foot per month since then. Huge, brilliantly green palmate leaves began to unfold one after the other - smooth and delightful leaves! And about three weeks ago it began to bloom - spectacular, as you can see! Of course the whole time it was growing I worried - the Summer sun would hit the plant in the morning and it would wilt (I started shading it with the shed door), I was afraid it wouldn't bloom in the pot, and worried I wouldn't like the flowers. But my fears were unfounded and once it roots settled in it stopped wilting. It now gets only about an hour or two of sun per day on the uppermost portion of the plant, the rest is entirely in the shade and it seems happy. So there it is - an exciting tale of a very satisfactory plant adventure!