Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nicer than it really is?

I don't know whether there's such a thing as blogger's block but I seem to have run into a large chunk of it. After a busy garden visiting summer, all the excitement of our voyage over, the gardens of New York and then Vancouver, suddenly my mental storeroom of  topics to write about is bare! I haven't been anywhere this week, not seen any new gardens and am still waiting for my November copy of The Garden to arrive from the UK. No inspiration!

Our little Californian yard (Philip says the pic looks nicer than it really is!)
Nevertheless I'll take the horticultural famine as an opportunity to update you on my little yard here. Despite my earlier misgivings, its actually quite colourful at the moment. The potted bougainvilleas that are on their final warning seem to have heard my threats and are starting to produce some colour. At least one is reprieved and next year we'll prune it more regularly to try and get a bushier habit. The others may well be giveaways, so if any local gardener is reading this and fancies giving a home to some orphan bougainvilleas, do contact me.

The orange bougainvillea has a stay of execution!

Lantanas are great plants and flower almost continuously throughout the winter. The humming birds also feed on them regularly which is another great reason for growing them. The two-tone flowers have always fascinated me and it is only recently that I discovered that it is a device whereby the plant can indicate which flowers need pollinating.

Lantana 'Monike' and Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'

Each year I plant up a large terracotta pot outside the front door for winter colour and it always seems strange that at this time of the year I can plant a selection of species that would normally be regarded as summer only in the UK. In the winter here it is necessary to avoid the most tender of plants such as Impatiens, Zinnias, Begonia and Coleus but with frost a very rare occurrence a wide range of plants is possible. The garden centres are full of petunias, snapdragons, pansies, pelargoniums and lots of patio plants.

Winter colour with the  Hamelia tucked into the centre

I am particularly pleased with the lemon yellow petunias which seem to be thriving, as does the orange Million Bells. I've never been very successful with these in the past. In the centre is a plant called Hamelia patens which I was particularly delighted to find available locally. It looks a bit a bit like that triphylla fuchsia called 'Thalia'. I saw it in Central Park, New York some weeks ago and had no idea what it was. Its a great addition as its also very attractive to humming birds.

Hamelia - the one I first saw a few weeks ago
Our pink trumpet vine, Podranea ricasoliana, which I have enthused about before, continues to flower and give pleasure to us and the humming birds. It also proved to be a great attraction to aphids again this year and as I was a little late spraying, it is rather a sticky mess this year. I prefer not to spray but aphids do seem to devastate this. Incidentally, the queen palm in the background of the following picture doesn't seem totally happy and is struggling to unfold the new fronds. The last frond refused to open completely and had to be removed.

Pink trumpet vine & our queen palm (top left). The taller palms are Washingtonia outside our yard.

Today has been different in that autumn has finally asserted itself with a cooler, slightly windy day and a shower of rain - the first for many months! The temperature is due to drop too. Earlier in the week in was 95F (35C)  and by Saturday its forecasted to plummet  to 67F (19C). Yes - its all relative but I'm sure you are all sympathetic at the thought of me suffering in such a chilly climate! S'cuse me - I'm off to put a blanket on the bed!

RAIN - a rarity here!

1 comment:

  1. Going through your photos has reminded me of summer rather than autumn funny enough. But then again we do have cool summers....

    That lounger looks so inviting btw and so does your yard! I'm sure more inspiration will come your way soon :)