Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The new kind of marauder

Last week, a visitor to my garden left a calling card of sorts.  On an early morning swing by the fountain the back area, I saw this:

I haven't seen a raccoon in months and there's been none of the usual signs of their activity.  No plants have been pulled out of the ground or left shredded in pieces.  No trenches have been dug through my planting beds.  No soil has been strewn about.  But birds and squirrels aren't known to rearrange the shells in our fountain.  Conceivably, it could have been a skunk but I've never seen them rummage in the fountain either and there were no tell-tale olfactory clues.  However, thanks to a new security system, we now have a video record of intruders.  Footage of the back garden showed the culprit in the act.  I pulled a series of screen shots.

He spent a little over 7 minutes in and around the fountain.  Other than dropping a few shells on the ground and breaking a few more, he caused no damage.  Have the raccoons of old been replaced by more gentle marauders?  Or is he still learning his tradecraft?   Only time will tell I suppose.

All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, June 19, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Lisianthus, at last

I don't know if you've wondered what in heck happened to the blooms of my Eustoma grandiflorum (commonly known as Lisianthus), but I have.  However, looking back into my photographic record from last year, I found that I featured these flowers in vases for the first time in mid-June almost exactly one year ago.  So, it appears they're not actually late at all (even if they did bloom earlier in 2015).  I've just been impatient.  And I'm still impatient, as there was only one bud in full bloom on Sunday.  Under most circumstances, I'd have waited until there were more flowers before cutting any but we're in the middle of an extended heatwave and I'm going to be out of town from mid-week through the weekend so I thought I might as well enjoy the bloom while I can.  My husband is assigned to water the garden should the heat start to shrivel everything in my absence but, if the heat is severe, that may be of little help.

Despite my focus on the Eustoma, my first vase is an ensemble cast.

The white Eustoma flower is surrounded by both new blooms, like the ornamental oregano, and others on the wane, like the Arthropodium

Back view, highlighting foxglove stems that have hung on longer than I expected, especially given the rise in temperature

Top view

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Eustoma grandiflorum, Arthropodium cirratum, Ocimum 'African Blue Basil', Digitalis purpurea, Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick', Origanum 'Monterey Bay', and Tanacetum nivium

As I wandered through my garden in search of flowers, I passed the artichoke plant on the back slope.  I'd no idea what to do with the 2 long-stemmed chokes left on the plant but they were already too old to make good eating so I went ahead and cut them for a second vase.  I cut some Centranthus ruber as well while I was down there but didn't like the combination of the 2 elements so took a different tack when I assembled the arrangement.

Front view

Back view

Top view

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: 2 artichokes, Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Artemisia ludoviciana, and Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey'

The unused Centranthus flowers went into a tiny vase with one of the Zinnias just now coming into bloom.

The tiny vase sits at the kitchen sink but was impossible to photograph there due to window glare

The larger vases took their usual places in the front entry and on the dining table.

Although, there were signs that the first vase might need to be moved to a safer location when it garnered unwanted attention.

Maybe Pipig is jealous of Lisianthus?

But Pipig was soon diverted.  A foolhardy lizard ventured into her screened porch.  She brought it through the cat door into the house, prompting an on-and-off again effort on the part of all members of the household to recapture it after she dropped it - twice.  My husband and I moved various pieces of furniture and tried to motivate the lizard to leave the sanctuary it eventually found behind the bookcase bolted to the living room wall.  Meanwhile, Pipig lost interest and gave up the chase.

She looks annoyed, doesn't she?  Whether that's because she blames us for taking away her catch, or because we didn't appreciate her gift, is hard to say.

I kept up reconnaissance efforts while she took a nap.

Pipig displays her signature signal that she's done with exercise for the time being

The lizard eventually turned up in the kitchen.  After a few more failed attempts to trap it, including one that involved moving the refrigerator, it was safely captured and released back into the great outdoors (while the cat continued to sleep).

Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and other bloggers have going on for "In a Vase on Monday."

All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, June 16, 2017

Foliage Follow-up - Knitting things together

No, I don't knit, but I do use certain plants over and over again to create a sense of continuity in the garden.  Late last month, Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden wrote about her use of Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' as a unifier in her garden and asked readers whether there were plants they used as such.  Aeonium arboreum is one of mine, as is creeping thyme; however, for today's Foliage Follow-up post, I thought I'd focus on another example: Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi'.  I've previously described this plant as my "gateway" succulent, the source of my subsequent succulent plant addiction.  It was the first succulent I introduced in my former garden and the only one I brought with me to my current garden.  Like Aeonium arboreum, it's very easy to propagate.  When faced with an empty spot, I simply clip a piece and push it into the soil.

Here are some examples of how I've used it as an edging material:

I lined the patio side of this bed with Aeonium 'Kiwi and cuttings of Aeonium arboreum

Here, 'Kiwi' lines both sides of the gravel path through my dry garden

And here it lines another gravel path running between the garage and the street

Although Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder', currently flaunting its summer red foliage, was the focal point of this photo, you can see Aeonium 'Kiwi' (and A. arboreum) just alongside on the right, filling in a small gap between the chimney and the driveway

I've used it as an accent in plant beds too, as shown here:

This is a section of the succulent bed that faces the street, where I used 'Kiwi' (and yes, more A. arboreum) to accent Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' and Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'

And here it is in the succulent bed running along the top of the stacked stone wall

And I've often used it to fill out pots of succulents:

Prior to the arrival of guests last week, I replanted this hanging pot in record time with succulent cuttings, including A. 'Kiwi', 2 varieties of A. arboreum, and a noID Rhipsalis

'Kiwi' can be found in many other areas of my garden but these examples are sufficient to demonstrate my dependence on the plant (and a shorter post was called for today after the marathon post I inflicted on readers yesterday).  For more Foliage Follow-up posts, visit our host, Pam at Digging.

All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bloom Day - June 2017

While much of what was blooming last month is still blooming this month, the garden has firmly shifted into its summer mode.  We were lucky to enjoy the effects of a generous marine layer through most of May and on into June but that seems to be over.  Temperatures have risen this week but I took advantage of the cloudy skies beforehand to take loads of photos before the heat arrived.  By way of both an apology and an explanation for yet another photo-heavy Bloom Day post, I also used this event as an opportunity to test out the capabilities of the new camera I received as a recent birthday present from my husband.

This month Agapanthus and Shasta daisies are taking command of the garden.

I inherited dozens of clumps of no-name Agapanthus with the garden.  This dark blue variety sits below the mimosa tree.

These clumps of a lighter blue variety sit in the same border.  There are also white Agapanthus here and there, as well as dwarf varieties.

Shasta daisies, Leucanthemum x superbum, add sparkle throughout the garden.  This noID ruffled variety is my favorite but I have some shorter varieties with single petals too.

In sheer numbers, Agapanthus and Leucanthemum flowers dominate in both the back and front gardens but the yellow yarrow is still an attention-grabber in the back garden.

Achillea 'Moonshine', shown here with a couple of spikes for Salvia 'Mystic Spires' among the blooms

 Leonotis leonurus (aka lion's tail) is also demanding attention.

The plant in the background came with the garden and struggled throughout our drought.  I cut it back hard during the winter and it roared back to life following our heavier-than-usual winter rain.  The plant in the foreground was added in the fall.

The strong yellow and orange hues of the Achillea and Leonotis are echoed in other plants.

Anigozanthos 'Yellow Gem'

Crassula pubescens subsp. radicans with yellow flowers on foliage developing its red summer color

Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', shown with Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (left) and Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Peach' (right)

Santolina virens

The white color of the Shasta daisies is picked up by the smaller daisy flowers of Tanacetum niveum scattered about.

Tanacetum niveum surrounded by thyme, a golden ornamental oregano, Gazanias, and Eustoma grandiflorum, which seem stubbornly reluctant to bloom

With a few exceptions, flower color is generally softer in the front garden, which is also peppered with Agapanthus, Leucanthemum and Tanacetum.

Oscularia deltoides

Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Goucher'

Centaurea 'Silver Feathers'

Rosa 'Pink Meidiland', shown here with Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink'

Magnolia grandiflora

Gaura lindheimeri

Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', producing a larger number of dime-sized flowers than it's ever had before

The strongest color in the front garden has been provided by Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem', which began blooming just a day or two after May's Bloom Day post.  The flush is nearly over.

None of the 5 clumps of 'Spanish Harlem' produced more than 2 flowers in any one day

The back slope is almost devoid of any color other than green right now.  The Matilija poppies are the most notable exception.

These poppies, Romneya coulteri, move on their tall stems with the slightest breeze, making them very difficult to photograph

Scattered about, the floral workhorses of my garden, Gazanias, Grevilleas and Osteospermums, continue to produce a nearly endless supply of flowers.

These are just a few examples of the range of Gazania hybrids currently in bloom.  The beautiful pink and white flower on the left and the near-white one to its right are both volunteers.

Clockwise from the left are Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', G. 'Superb', G. alpina x rosmarinifolia, and G. 'Peaches & Cream'

Clockwise from the left are Osteospermum '4D Silver', O. '4D Purple', O. 'Berry White' (or its progeny), and O. 'Sweet Summertime Kardinal'

Am I done?  Well, no.  There are also blooms of many varieties present in smaller quantities as shown in these collages:

Top row: Aquilegia 'Spring Magic', Catananche caerulea, and Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick'
Middle row: Globularia x indubia, Nierembergia linarifolia, and Plectranthus neochilus
Bottom row: Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa', Symphyotrichum chilensis, and Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud'

Clockwise from the upper left: Arthropodium cirratum, Alstroemeria 'Claire', Digitalis purpurea 'Alba', Lagurus ovatus, Pandorea jasminoides, and Pennisetum orientale

Clockwise from the left: Tagetes lemmonii, Cotula 'Tiffendell Gold', Hemerocallis 'Double Impact', Jacobaea maritima, and Lonicera japonica

Top row: Bignonia capreolata, Bulbine 'Hallmark', and Cotyledon orbiculata
Middle row: Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', Lantana camara 'Irene', and Lobelia laxiflora
Bottom row: Pelargonium 'Tweedle Dee', Russelia 'Flamingo Park', and Rosa 'Joseph's Coat'
Clockwise from the upper left: Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset', Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', Pelargonium peltatum, Rosa 'Ebb Tide', Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy', Salvia lanceolata,  and Viola 'Pandora's Box'

Finally, barring another horrific heatwave of the type that struck on the first official day of summer last year, here's a peek at what's coming up in July:

Clockwise from the left: Albizia julibrissin, Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer', Hemerocallis 'Sammy Russell', Thymus serphyllum, and Zinnia 'Whirligig'

That's my round-up for the month of June.  Thank you for hanging on through the end.  For more June Bloom Day posts, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party