Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Strange Garden Visitor

The other day as I was pulling weeds (it sometimes happens!) I found this little fellow (well, fellow may be insulting as, "...in case of the terrestrial pulmonates, generally are hermaphrodites, it may also happen in some species that the sex changes during the lifetime.") on some decaying plant material.

Slugs chew ugly holes in my hostas, brugmansias, etc. and I have no problem dispatching them with haste.  However, there's something beautiful about the shells of snails that won't allow me to hurt them.  (No satisfying crunch underfoot.)  It probably helps that I see very few snails in my garden while armies of slugs have drawn battle lines along with a horrible infestation of weevils (I've sprayed expensive nematodes several times a year for the last three and they don't seem to be cutting the population back at all.  Any suggestions?
The strange part of this wildlife encounter is that I've never seen a snail with this yellow and black striping before.  The interweb says that these are banded snails and they come in a few colors.  I am more familiar with flora than fauna so I'm not sure about the identification of this one but am hoping that it's not a Mediterranean white snail that is an invasive and harmful species here as after it's time on the patio table for it's photo op.  it was set free where I found it. 
Neither as interesting or scary as Loree's  visitor, but hers probably wouldn't take so kindly to being put on a table for a photo shoot.  Just guessing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

X Didrangea 'Sandy Reed' is My Favorite Plant...This Week.

On a recent trip to Windcliff (Martha can post pictures!)  with Evan and Vicki, I acquired a lovely plant that looks very much like Dichroa febrifuga, which I grow for it's amazing blue berries.

 Dichroa febrifuga in bloom.
And Berry

X Didrangea 'Sandy Reed' in bud.

"Sandy" opening a flower.

"Sandy" after petal drop.

Here's the description from the tag, "First time offering of National arboretum introduction possessing breeder rights, with best attributes of both Hydrangea macrophylla and Dichroa febrifuga.  Flowers of this selection will be as vibrant in color at Christmas as in June.  No fooling. A wonderful new addition to woody plants. Vegetative propagation is prohibited. Don't do it."

Flowers "as vibrant in color at Christmas as in June" was too much of a temptation, it had to come home with me.  I've found no information online about this plant and have no idea about hardiness although I'm guessing it's at least as hardy as it's more tender parent,  Dichroa febrifuga, which has been perfectly happy in my garden for several years.  (Did loose one during the phormium killing winters but the others made it through.)  I'm wondering if this will also produce berries.

Click on over to Danger Garden to see the weekly favorites of garden bloggers from around the world.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Visiting Valley Nursery - You Never Know Who You'll Run Into.

Last month, Evan Bean, plant geek, Vicki Haushild, plant nut, and I went on a day trip to visit Valley Nursery, Windcliff, Dragonfly Farms, Celestial Dream Gardens, and Far Reaches Farm.  At our first stop, this fellow greeted us.

So did this one even though he as pretty well camouflaged.  The human staff here is also very friendly and it was delightful to see them especially my pal, Debbie Teashon who introduced me to Richie Steffen, curator of the Elizabeth Miller Botanical Garden, who happened to be shopping at Valley as well.

Tentacle pots made me laugh out loud!

When I see cool planters like these, I want to grab some clay and create some of my own! 

I enjoy seeing miniature gardens even though I don't feel the urge to have one in my own space.

Tiny worlds in broken pots.

Albany Wooly Bush, Adenanthos sericeus,  caught my eye with its soft foliage and red new growth. 

The jury's still out on this crested aeonium.  What do you think, is it fabulous in its weirdness or just sort of sickly looking?
 The sea bed of succulents is coming along nicely.

Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle' looks good enough to eat!

Color grouped plants, a great idea for those looking to create nice combinations in their pots or beds.

One can just get a slice of one of these groupings and have a stunning display!
While the bright colors in the first group appealed to me, this group of deeper shades and white is also gorgeous! 
Having never met Evan in Person before and only reconnecting with Vicky a month or so before the trip, I though that we might run out of things to discuss.  Was I ever wrong!  We gabbed about gardening all day like old friends - the magic of the garden blogosphere!  Here are Evan and Vicki smiling just before we put our purchases in the plant mobile to head over to Windcliff.   
I had a great time and am looking forward to more plant adventures with these characters!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Foliage Follow Up July 2014

On the day after Bloom Day each month, Pam Penick hosts foliage follow up to help us remember the importance of foliage in our gardens.   Here's what caught my eye today.

Arenaria tetraquetra  is that cute foliage or what?

Brugmansia 'Snowbank'

Brugmansia 'Miner's Claim'

Rhododendron 'Everred'  I'm looking forward to someday seeing this form a nice little round bush of gorgeous dark foliage!

Coleus provide such a nice splash of color!  If only they were evergreen...

I admired Begonia 'Gene Daniels' at Annie's Annuals last year but didn't bring one home.  Imagine how happy I was to find this one at Hortlandia this spring!

NOID hosta echoes the colors of Hydrangea 'Lemon Wave' growing in a carpet of Oxalis oregano
 Love the leaf shape of this x syneilesis (maybe between palmata and aconitifolia.)

A fun foliage combination.  Wouldn't it be nice if  you could tell where one plant ends and another begins? 

Manihot grahamii died during the cold weather in the only slightly heated glass room.  If I were a better gardener I would have disposed of the thing but since sloth is my middle name, the pot of dirt lingered and started growing.  Now that the heat of summer has arrived, this thing will take off like nobody's business.  Time to break out the fish fertilizer!
Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' glows in a shady spot. 

Dew and morning sun gilded the Cotinus.  Someone really should remove those dead branches - tomorrow.

A new Soleirolia soleirolii (A.K.A. Baby's Tears) coiffure for this guy.  He needs a name.  Do you have any ideas?  Harry?  Jerome?  Thad? Stone? Rocky?

Babies should NOT run with scissors; it leads to baby's tears!

 New leaves unfurling on Sonchus canariensis.  Neat, an eight foot tall dandelion.  Since it's not hardy here, it gets dragged inside during the coldest part of winter.  You just know that somewhere on the Canary Islands, they're laughing at us!
I hope you're enjoying your summer foliage as much as I am mine!  Click on over to Digging to see terrific foliage from gardens hither and yon!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day July 2014

July is such a floriferous month that there are too many things in bloom to post pictures of them all.  Here are a few of this months blooms in my garden.

Mitraria coccinea

The summer blooming clematis are putting on a nice show!

I've tried killing this one many times as thee blooms are a little pale and subtle for me but since it keeps coming back stronger and more covered with bloom, I'll let it stay.
 Begonias are in full swing!

As are the pelargoniums.
Calothamnus villosus AKA Silky Net Bush, another of those beautiful Australians that I love.

The once-blooming roses are finished for the year but the continual bloomers are in their glory.  Don Juan has lived in my garden for years and has excellent disease resistance!

Lily time is here again.  The flower form is delightful, colors to go with any scheme, and the fragrance of the Oriental group wafts over the warm garden mingling, in the evening with that of brugmansia and honeysuckle. The memory of these warm fragrant evenings in July is what carries me through the gray days of winter when I will  inevitably bring home a few more lily bulbs.  Somehow the sweet promise packed inside each bulb brightens my winter weary soul.  Sorry I don't remember the name of this beautiful Asiatic lily.

Or this gorgeous golden siren.

Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' is extremely fragrant and the largest of my daylilies with blooms eight inches across!

Another NOID Oriental that has formed quite an impressive clump for me.  Unfortunately, I never stake them until some have collapsed.  Bad Gardener!

Mystery daylily inherited with the house.

Looking pretty in red!
Grevillia 'Ned Kelly' makes my heart sing!

Anagallis monellii is a nice true blue. This one blooms beneath an orange and yellow Abutilon megapotamicum 'Sunset'

Here she is - Abutilon megapotamicum.  We had a bit of a freeze this winter so these were slow to recover but have now come back nicely, loving the warm weather we're experiencing!

A surprise survivor of the wither is this abutilon, a Dan Hinkley introduction.

Alstromeria.  Really, I want strong orange and red ones but these pale pink ones want to grow instead.  They must be in cahoots with that  pastel purple clematis!

One time many years ago, I planted a silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) for it's gorgeous foliage.  Each year since then, a single plant has emerged in a different part of my garden.  Usually they show up in places where they get stomped by accident and I think that game is sadly over.  This year one has come up in a perfectly safe place in a bed.  I'm hoping that perhaps there'll be more next year!


Romneya coulteri AKA Matilija Poppy loves the heat in the hellstrip and has thrown runners under the sidewalk to emerge in the lawn.  They don't like to be mowed so they don't live there long.  Say, that lawn is mostly moss all winter & these would be much nicer than grass that has to be mowed all summer...Anyone know how to organically kill lots of grass but keep the moss, violets, clover and Romneya coulteri in place?

The hummingbirds are fighting over the bee balm as usual.

Fortunately the Agastache 'Acapulco' is another nearby favorite of the little winged jewels.

The Clerodendrum trichotomum is more full of bloom this year than in any past summer. Hope this bodes well for a large crop of those beautiful metallic turquoise berries this fall!   Forgot to get a picture but it'll still be blooming next month. 
Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD on the 15th of each month!  To see what's blooming in gardens all over the world, click on over to her site and enjoy!