Monday, December 31

Who's Confused: Me... or Bengal Orange?

This will be the second winter that I brought 'Bengal Orange' bougainvillea into the house. Last year, I put it on a prominent spot on the plant bench... and it quickly dropped all of its leaves and looked like a cluster of dead sticks attached to a trellis. Its "play dead" act lasted until June, when it grudgingly put out new leaves after a couple of weeks outside. In spite of its sunny summer spot, though, it never did bloom.

Since it looked so uninspiring last year, this year it got tucked into a corner where it would be mostly hidden behind a large-leaf hoya on a stand, and a dark leaf rubber tree. It promptly dropped all of its leaves as expected. Imagine my surprise when it decided to throw out (tiny) leaves a month ago... and then started to bloom!

Granted, I'm using the term "bloom" lightly here. With bougainvillea, the brightly colored "flowers" are actually the bracts around the flowers, not the flowers themselves. But they do add a nice touch of color, and were a big surprise since this plant didn't bloom at all this summer.

I'm guessing that the south-facing window next to its current winter home has helped to encourage it to re-leaf and bloom, but I'm a little worried about it now. I don't want to have it go through another leaf drop and really get stressed, to the point where I lose it! It's used to having a cool, dry season in its native home, so I hope that bodes well for me being able to keep it in leaf and happy until spring.

Fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 18

Stragglers & Grasses: GBBD November 2012

Since we've finally had a couple of frosts here, the garden is mostly finished for the year.  All that I have blooming outside for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day are a few stragglers (an echinops seedling, 'Red Rocks' penstemon, and a few stalks of 'Acapulco' agastache):

Some grasses, like this miscanthus:

And a couple of lamium, like this patch of 'Purple Dragon':

Inside, the 'Blue Daze' convolvulus in a container of 'Bengal Tiger' bougainvillea decided to throw out another flush of blooms:

And one Thanksgiving cactus has decided not to wait for the holiday to put on a show:

I doubt that I will find any blooms inside in December, so this is probably it for the outside garden this season.  To find out what's blooming around the world this month, check out Carol's November Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post!

Monday, October 15

Fading Fall Flowers: GBBD October 2012

Amidst the fading fall flowers this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the freshness of this blue globe thistle seems a little out of place. That this seedling even bloomed at all this year is a tribute to the long growing season.

All of my other flower pictures show either slightly bedraggled blooms, like this dahlia...

...or vivid flowers against the fading foliage of fall:

From top to bottom, this post featured:  'Fresh Look Red' celosia, echinops ritro, 'Lady in Red' salvia seedling, blue angelonia and an unnamed lantana, verbena bonariensis, variegated sedum, chocolate eupatorium, caryopteris, and 'Hameln' pennisetum.

Also in bloom in my yard today:  Alpine strawberries, various coleus, wax begonias, 'Victoria Blue' salvia, 'Black and Blue' salvia, pineapple sage, hardy plumbago, various peppers, 'The Blues' little bluestem, 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, various pink Japanese anemones, various miscanthus, and 'Purple Dragon' lamium.

To see what's blooming around the world in various gardens today, visit Carol's October Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post!

Sunday, October 7

The Invasion Has Begun

I think that my houseplants are WAY too happy after a long summer outside. This nepenthes was almost touching the porch rail by the end of this week... and is currently grazing the living room floor in its temporary home on a plant stand:

I say temporary home because all of my houseplants are scattered around in random places, hastily brought in when the forecast for tonight dropped into the upper 30's. 

I have no idea where all of these things are going to be able to overwinter...but I just cleared a path through the jungle kitchen and I think that means it's time to call it a night. Finding better winter homes for everything will just have to wait until tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19

September Foliage Follow Up: Hot Fall Hues

It's not just the blooms who are sporting a hot color palette this fall. Foliage is following suit, starting with this interesting new "Thai" Chinese evergreen that I couldn't resist at my local garden center:

He's currently hanging out on the front porch with a few exotic friends, like a fat-leaf hoya and feathery dracaena:

Now that he's in place, I just love looking down at the progression of fun foliage on this side of the steps:

Speaking of that side of the front yard, the Japanese maple endlessly intrigues me.  For most of the day, it looks deep and cool and mysterious (as above)... but when the sun goes down, it sets the maple ablaze:

Here's a close up view of the leaves, with their tips tinged red:

Sunlight does the same thing for the carex buchannii. Except that when it's not backlit and glowing, it appears more neutral than cool-toned. This may have something to do with its planting companions, however:

Other times, cool-toned planting companions only serve to highlight the foliage heat... as shown by this dusty miller foliage against the molten backlit leaves of 'Purple Dragon' coleus:

And that pretty much covers all of the hot September foliage highlights here in my garden.  For more leaf love, check out Pam's September Foliage Follow-Up Post over at Digging.


Monday, September 17

A Hot Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2012

I wasn't quite sure where the summer went... and I'm not sure where fall is going, either!  At this rate, I might be caught up on everything by the end of the year.  (Might.)  

But these hot-colored late summer blooms aren't going to wait for me to finish anything, so I'd better enjoy them while I can! And maybe stop to appreciate this crazy pitcher plant, too:

From the top:  'New Look Red' celosia, with red pennisetum in the background.  "No Tag" lantana above a cascade of 'Silver Falls' dichondra.  The nepenthes that I planted in a self-watering hanging basket this spring--one of the best things I did in the garden this year!

Also blooming in my garden:  'Black & Blue' salvia guaranitica, multiple Japanese anemones, two types of caryopteris, 'Hameln' pennisetum, 'Red Rocks' penstemon, 'Acapulco Orange' agastache, 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, tomatillos, 'Strawberry Margarita' portulaca, 'African Blue' basil, burgundy annual salvia, 'Rotstrahlbusch' panicum, 'Sioux Blue' sorghastrum nutens, perennial plumbago, 'Victoria Blue' salvia, 'Dragonwing' begonia, Mexican heather, lonicera sempervirens, and 'Blue Daze' convolvulus.

To see more of what's in bloom around the world this week, visit the May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, August 15

A Swirl of Activity: August Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

'Sparkling Burgundy' eucomis, surrounded by a swirl of foliage.

With the wedding just past, and the honeymoon--plus an all day volleyball tournament--looming on the horizon... the eucomis isn't the only thing surrounded by a swirl of activity!  I'm writing this GBBD post on Saturday the 11th, and setting it to auto-post on the 15th... so if anyone has questions about the plants in the picture above, I'll answer them next week.  :-)

What's in bloom in my garden today:

Lonicera sempervirens, the native honeysuckle - 'Black and Blue' salvia - 'Paprika' yarrow - 'Rotstrahlbusch' panicum virgatum - New Guinea impatiens - Dragonwing begonia - Russian sage - red snapdragons - 'Hameln' pennisetum - red pennisetum - lantana - 'Blue Daze' convolvulus - burgundy salvia - all three dahlias - plumeria - Brazilian verbena - various hosta

To see what's blooming around the world today, check out the GBBD post from Carol at May Dreams Gardens!

Saturday, August 11

Introducing Two New Pairs in the Garden ;-)

I've been a little quiet in the past month, so here's a quick update on two new pairs in my garden.  The first is a little ephemeral, as you can see by the bite marks.  (I couldn't resist sampling before I snapped the pic.)

The second pair is going to be much longer lasting.  :-)

This is just a friend's cell phone pic taken off the back deck of our reception venue, so it isn't the clearest shot... but I like our smiles in this one, and we don't have our official pictures yet!  Steve had ditched his suit jacket immediately after pictures because it was about 95 degrees outside.  That amazing necklace and matching pearl earrings belonged to Steve's grandma.  My brooch bouquet is mostly made up of vintage brooches and earrings that belonged to all of our grandmas, plus gift brooches from my Mom and my boss, and a couple of special Etsy finds that have personal meaning--like a black dog to represent my gardening assistant.

It was a wonderful day all around... and we felt very lucky to have so many close family and friends join us in celebration.  :-)

Note:  I'll be back to my regular (irregular) blogging in a week or so... Steve and I are going to take a little honeymoon of sorts. It involves sleeping in, staying offline, and spending lots of quality time together doing things like hiking and biking. See you all again afterward!

Monday, July 16

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July 2012

I think I'm in denial about this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Because if it's REALLY July 15th, then it's really less than 3 weeks until my wedding day... and I feel like there's so much to be done between now and then!

But I like to keep the GBBD records each month for my own knowledge, so here's a quickie post to show what's in bloom in my yard:

A new celosia. It's too hard to resist a full, lush, 6 inch annual like this, especially when it's on clearance for $2!

One of the dahlias I hope to use in the girls' bouquets... if it's still in bloom in a few weeks!
(Note: that's my wrist on the left. Just to give you an idea of how huge this beauty is.)

Not a great photo, but I'm really excited about the first blooms on my passalong plumeria!

Red snapdragons... which are one of the flowers I used on my wedding invitation design.

This lantana has been growing strangely. Instead of branching up and out, it's spreading and staying low--almost as low as the silver dichondra! At least it's blooming...

I believe that when I was bragging about my accidentally overwintered bay laurel this spring, I mentioned being surprised that 'Black and Blue' salvia had disappeared. Well... sort of. Really, it was just hiding under the ever-encroaching oakleaf hydrangea. I cut the hydrangea back a little bit, and B&B has responded accordingly!

THREE emerging bloom stalks this year on my pineapple lily!!!
I also have three bridesmaids bouquets to make.  Coincidence?  Hmm...

Other things that are in bloom - July 2012

Annuals: 'Bonfire' begonia, 'Vista Burgundy' salvia, unnamed coral/orange portulaca, 2 different red New Guinea impatiens, red begonias, 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, ruby orach, red pennisetum, orange snapdragons, verbena bonariensis, stephanotis, 'Black and Blue' salvia gauranitica

(Holy RED, Batman! I didn't realize I had planted so much hot-colored stuff this year!)

Perennials & Shrubs:  Blue globe thistle, 'Caradonna' salvia, the deep wine yarrow whose name I can never remember, the red sedums, blue shrub clematis, Russian sage, 'Purple Dragon' lamium, catmint, 'Albury Purple' St John's wort, bronze fennel, 'Grosso' lavender

Herbs and Veggies:  All of the tomatoes, 'African Blue' basil, Thai basil, lemon verbena, all of the peppers.  Noticeably absent:  No flowers yet at all on my tomatillo!

As always... For more of what's in bloom around the world, check out Carol's July Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post over at May Dreams Gardens.  :-)

Thursday, June 28

Of All The Things I'll Lose When I Move...

... I just might miss the front yard garden the most. I have a quiet but deep appreciation for its ease.  For its undemanding nature.  

For the way it greets me with waves of grasses and sea kale when I pull up next to it after work.

For the way it catches the light and extends the beauty of the evening in exquisite jewel tones.

I don't like playing favorites, but this is really the one part of the garden that I plan to somewhat recreate--or at least keep in mind--when we move.

If you were moving away from your garden, which part would you miss the most?

Monday, June 18

Spiky and Purple Foliage Follow Up - June 2012

It's a spikey, purple foliage follow up this month in my garden!  First up:  Why should the "ornamental" gardens have all the fun?  Here's a pretty cordyline that's snuggling up to my 'Canby' raspberries in the backyard:

It was simply labeled "Tropical Foliage" and was being sold for an obscenely low amount at Home Depot... and jumped into my cart when I went to buy paint. I know, I know.  I really do try to support my local independent garden centers, but... sometimes you have to rescue cool plants at the big box stores, too.

'Sparkling Burgundy' eucomis is similarly spiky, purple and tropical-looking.  Here it picks up the warm tones of carex buchannii and 'Purple Knockout' salvia lyrata, and echoes the form of the dwarf iris at its feet, while contrasting nicely with the fine textured ponytail grass and chunky oakleaf hydrangea:

My front yard is at a bit of an angle, which is kind of fun because it adds another dimension. From some angles--like this one--you don't even see the green foliage of the foxgloves, sedums and bergenia that break up this swath of purple:

It looks like a lot of purple, but it actually looks really nice against my house--which is beige, and surrounded by cement driveways that add to the boring. From top to bottom, we're seeing purple from my Japanese maple, 'Diablo' purple ninebark, an unnamed heuchera, and 'Albury Purple' St. John's wort.

For more awesome foliage--in all colors and forms--check out Pam's Foliage Follow-Up post, here.  (And be sure to check out all the links!)