|Our little Californian yard (Philip says the pic looks nicer than it really is!)|
|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|
|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!|