Monday, September 30, 2013

Taxonomy Tango

Coleus..some are Solenostemon, and apparently some are Plectranthus. I can't keep up.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Deannes' Bromiliads

 My friend Deanne began collecting Bromiliads a few years ago, and I can tell you she does not do things halfway. When I visited her splendid New Hampshire garden in August it was pretty clear that she has a gentle addiction going . Her artistic sensibilities  inform the design of her gardens: color palettes are just right, and  flow seamlessly from one area to another. My frankly undisciplined approach to plant shopping never seems to yield this type of cohesive result. Deanne has incorporated her Bromilaids into her borders and container groupings so that the color echoes shine..and here is my disclaimer-as I strolled around Deannes garden with my camera I never wrote down a single name--this is an anonymous Bromiliad post. Visit Deannes blog and you will most certainly get a better education.



















All of my photos of this one are out of focus, but I had to include it here anyway ..is this not outrageous ? 


Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Favorite This Week

  This week I'm honoring the lowly Ipomea 'Marguerite' , who has engulfed a large segment of the Succulent Alley . You have to give her credit for tenacity. No doubt she pines away for the good old days when she was a new and exciting selection at the garden center.



 This area really was all about the succulents, and one day it seems I turned around and there was  Marguerite , creeping relentlessly among the Agaves .


She's heading for the open garden. Who knows where it will end ?


Loree over at Danger Garden is our sponsor for this event...check it out !

Monday, September 23, 2013

Another Chapter from Maine

 I'm confident that most of us horti-philes have found ourselves smitten with one particular area of a garden we have visited, returning multiple times for just a few more shots (not a bar reference) or to bask in the presence of a design that has spoken to us ....
 I can't really explain why this area at Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens was so compelling to me. Maybe because the combinations seemed slightly unusual, featuring a few plants I don't see out here in the west , and it seemed accessible..something I might actually be able to do , even if it has to be on a smaller scale with left coast friendly substitutions. .

This is a distant view of 'my' section ..it sits at the base of this structure , not looking like much from this perspective. 



As I moved closer, the grouping started to take form.



..and look at this ! Arundo donax 'Golden Chain' with one of those very bold Pennisetums that are seldom seen here, and all the hot pink Salvia stuff going on.Verbena bonariensis stitches the quilt together. Sigh.


Closer still...look at this ! Setaria palmifolia , variegated palm grass. The plant tag was from Landcraft Environments..wouldn't you know it ? Those crinkly leaves, those white stripes...



Golden millet tucked in..


I will look at this all day. Golden millet, I am your slave.



Arundo d. Golden Chain torments me. The damn thing gets huge. Do I really need a house on my lot?





 I finally stepped away and took this from afar.. you can't possibly ignore the V. bonariensis sticking up from a field of bright chartreusey yellow Coleus in the foreground. There is not one chance in hell I could plant coleus in this sort of exposure in my climate. It would be a big sea of crispy brown. 


  One last look before I have to head back to Boston.


 If you are ever in Maine, or anywhere near Maine this garden is worth a visit. And wherever you are , consider becoming a member. Brilliantly designed gardens like this deserve our support.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This Weeks Favorite

 It's a challenge to come up with a favorite during the late summer garden-exhaustion period. The post-office WALAT (Walking Around Looking At Things) yields a laundry list of potential fall garden demolition projects. I'm going to be busy in October.

 So, my favorite plant this week is the new Restio I brought home yesterday, Ischyrolepis subverticillata.



 Hardy to 20-25 degrees, I am pushing the envelope with this one; but thanks to an employee discount This one gallon plant only cost me 6 bucks, and I expect I will have gotten at least 10 bucks worth of enjoyment out of it this fall even if it bites the dust this winter. Hell, you can't even buy a beer at the ballgame for 6 bucks, and that only lasts a half an hour-give or take 15 minutes.


Check out the fave plant action over at The Danger Garden...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Blooms


 My favorite feature of September is that it's no longer  August. Though the garden still suffers from the late summer blues, I can  recognize the softening of the light and the subtle changes that exhausted plants begin to display. Here in Northern California wine country we have several weeks before the  cool temps set in , and high 90's (or worse) heat is still an occasional visitor.

The Mystic series Dahlias have been outstanding performers in my garden- seen here is Mystic Spirit. The deep bronze foliage is still as clean as it was in spring, flowers are abundant. Stems are strong and I have never had to stake this plant. I plan to add more of the Mystics next year, though I have found that not every variety in the series is as vigorous as this one.


'Bolero' 


 I've been extremely happy with this Persicaria this year, but it clashes horribly with many other plants in it's immediate area. This fall I will replace it with P 'Golden Arrow'.



I let the last small batch or Artichokes go to flower. They add a nice touch of drama .



I think I finally found a spot that my small collection of Fuchsias feel comfortable in.




And Rooguchi continues  to bloom..


This is my Crassula coccinea from Annies; it had some rough treatment involving a squirrel and an upended container , so I was surprised that it  managed to pump out some flowers.


Be sure and head over to May Dreams , where Carol invites bloomy bloggers to share on the 15th of each month.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More From Maine


 Though I was in Maine for just a little over 24 hours during my mid-August visit, I managed to to bring home several hundred photos on my memory card. This was my second visit to The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden , and I was prepared with extra batteries, extra sd cards, and comfortable shoes. Read my post about the Childrens Garden here, and a brief recap of my previous trip to Maine here.






All the hardscaping is beautifully done here, and the stroller is led effortlessly around ponds , over bridges, with a different view from each of the discretely suggested pausing spots.




 On my last visit, these planted walls sported coleus as I recall. Loved this Thyme cluster.


The summer perennial borders were fabulous; I'm helpless when confronted with these wide swathes of color and texture. 





 The vegetable garden area was in full summer chaos.. with ornamentals tucked in for emphasis.




More to come from this outstanding garden..

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Roadside Attraction

 Nickel and Nickel is a premium Napa Valley  winery in Oakville, specializing in single vineyard wines. The buildings on the winery site are classic barns and outbuildings along with a restored  Queen Ann farmhouse dating to the 1880's , all beautifully landscaped and meticulously maintained .The story of the buildings can be read here on their website, along with information on their wines if you are so inclined.
 A few years ago, they began to garden the strip of land out side the fence that borders Highway 29. This planting has become a focal point for passers-by --it is dramatic and colorful. I often wish more winerys would copy this for a solid wall of summer gaudiness.  Daniel Thomas,  the landscape designer here, has custom seed mixes made to his order. And yes, this is all grown from seed .

Last year it was the Zinnias and Cosmos; sunflowers were added the first time for the 2013 planting. This is a no-spray garden, heavy on compost  and at least the length of a football field.The highway is no more than 10feet away, off to the left.  After frost the whole thing is disc-ed under and the spring mix is planted; tulips daffodils and poppies. And incidentally, the wine is first rate.


This was taken from inside the fence; I confess to sneaking in early Sunday morning between some bushes where the fence ended. Yes my friends, I am a blogging trespasser.



 The building peeking through the flowers middle left is Mondavi Winery, across the highway. A perspective for those of you who may have traveled here.



  The Oz shot..standing right there as the sun was coming up was mighty nice.


 Here I am standing along the highway, of which you can see a snippet the left--a perspective of the width of the beds. The planting goes some distance beyond the Palm you see on the upper right.


Sunflowers--I wish  had room for them.


A bit more trespassing.


And on the way back home..balloons !