Tom’s Garden

Growing by the Bay

Category: flowers Page 1 of 2

Brugmansia

The brugmansia is having one of its moments.

Red-flowering Currant

Red-Flowering Currant

Red-flowering Current

The genus Ribes includes currants and gooseberries (the name is derived from a Farsi word meaning “acid-tasting”). Gooseberries bear thorns but currants are thornless. Gooseberry fruits are larger and sweeter, and more often eaten raw (though birds favor the small berries of currants).

Ribes sanguineum, Red-Flowering or Pink-Flowering Currant, is native to the Western US. It produces pendant flowers that are beloved by hummers, in late winter or early spring. This one began flowering in our garden around Groundhog’s Day, that is, the cross-quarter known as Imbolc in the druidic calendar, which is the beginning of our spring here in the Bay Area. The flowers are long lasting, hanging on through our dry summer. Small blue berries appear in the fall, to the delight of birds.

I think we purchased this plant from Watershed nursery in Richmond last spring. It is now about five feet tall in a large container. In the ground it would probably get to be six to ten feet. It seems to like part sun rather than full, and is said to produce fruit even in nearly full shade. It is drought tolerant once established.

Ribes sanguineum has a bushier shape than Golden Currant, Ribes aureum, which is almost vinelike and in our garden seems happy against a fence. The red-flowering variety is also more deciduous, although this one never went fully deciduous. But the new leaves are glossier and greener, while last year’s leaves are more mottled and tend toward yellow. In some situations the plant will produce excellent fall color as the leaves turn. The leaves are fragrant.

This is a great habitat plant for Bay Area gardens, and a real beauty besides.

Iochroma cyanea ‘Royal Blue’

Iochroma cyanea 'Royal Blue'

One of the prettiest flowers in the garden. It seems to prefer a little more shade than Iochroma coccinea.

Fuschia flowers

Fuschia flowers

This fuschia plant was present on our property when we moved in. I don’t know what kind of fuschia it might be. It has suffered considerable neglect, yet has survived. It doesn’t seem susceptible to the mites that have devasted many Bay Area fuschias.*

*cf. Pam Peirce, “Fuchsias Rise Again in the Bay Area” (Pacific Horticulture).

Papaver rhoeas ‘Falling in Love’

Papaver rhoeas 'Falling in Love'

Papaver rhoeas ‘Falling in Love’

Poppy (P5172143)

Shameless.

Verbena lilacina (Lilac Verbena)

Verbena lilacina (Lilac Verbena)

With Artemisia californica (California Sagebrush), Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy), and Erigeron karvinskianus (Santa Barbara Daisy).

Gruss an Aachen rose (P5132015)

Grüss an Aachen Rose

This has been a good year so far for the Grüss an Aachen rose.

 

Aloe flower

After many years, our aloe has started to flower. I would have said it was an aloe vera, but according to SFGate, those flowers are yellow.

The plant has got rather large, and it is in a large clay pot, I think 16 inches in diameter. Here’s a picture that was taken earlier this year.

aloe

 

 

Brugmansia, detail.

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' (Angel's Trumpet).

Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’ (Angel’s Trumpet).

brugmansia

The brugmansia is flowering heavily this year.

Citrus Burst Rose

Citrus Burst rose

It might be just a few days after the solstice, but a few brave flowers are still giving their all on the Citrus Burst rose.

Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-Eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-Eyed Grass

A California native.

Papaver glaucum, Tulip Poppy

Papaver glaucum, Tulip Poppy

Iochroma cyanea ‘Royal Blue’

Iochroma cyanea 'Royal Blue'

 

Scabiosa anthemifolia detail.

Scabiosa anthemifolia

Scabiosa anthemifolia.

Scabiosa anthemifolia, Pincushion Flower.

We were delighted this morning to discover a Monarch butterfly in the garden. We hadn’t been visited by one in several years, since the great decline. The Monarchs require Asclepias — milkweed — to thrive (the larvae absorb toxic steroids, called cardenolides, which protect them from predators), and Roundup has been killing all the milkweed. But more and more people in Northern California are, like us, now growing milkweed, and I hope this visit is a sign the butterflies are on the rebound.

Today’s butterfly was particularly interested in the Scabiosa anthemifolia. Though not a California native (it hails from Africa, Europe and Asia), its nectar is popular with all sorts of our local flying critters.

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Gruss an Aachen rose flower detail.

Grüss an Aachen Rose, again

Gruss an Aachen rose flowers.

Grüss an Aachen rose flowers.

The  Grüss an Aachen rose certainly loved our wet winter. This is just a photo post. For info about this rose, see this earlier post.

 

 

Garden, 7 May 2017.

Bloomiferous

This is one of the best times of year here for flowers in the garden.

Brugmansia 'Charles 'Grimaldi'

Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’

Brugmansia 'Charles 'Grimaldi'

Brugmansia ‘Charles ‘Grimaldi’.

Not everything in the garden has to be obscure. ‘Charles Grimaldi’ is one of the most widely available cultivars of Brugmansia for a reason. It’s fragrant, attractive, and reliable. Today I enjoyed playing with photography of some of its large, trumpet-shaped flowers.

 

Brugmansia 'Charles 'Grimaldi'

Brugmansia ‘Charles ‘Grimaldi’.

Mine is growing at the property line under oak and plum trees, as well as bottlebrush and other shrubs. This is an area that gets some morning sun but it is protected from the hottest and most intense sunlight. Under these circumstances the plant has grown tall, maybe twelve feet or more. I give it occasional water during our dry summer season, but not a lot, since it seems to manage pretty well on its own — though the flowers (which are about a foot tall) will wilt a bit in hot, dry weather (but generally recover in the evening, when the fragrance is greatest). It flowers pretty much continuously, year round in my location.

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Detail of Grüss an Aachen Rose flower.

Grüss an Aachen Rose update

Grüss an Aachen Rose flower.

Grüss an Aachen Rose flower.

I’ve talked about Grüss an Aachen roses before. I don’t grow a lot of roses, but I like this one. The problem with modern roses is that they were bred strictly for flowers, and the plant and its foliage lack the nice bush form of old-fashioned roses. But after our wet winter this year, the Grüss an Aachen looks fine. It is blooming profusely, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

 

calandrinia spectabilis

Calandrinia spectabilis

Calandrinia spectabilis flower.

Calandrinia spectabilis flower.

Calandrinia spectabilis — the rare plant with no real common name (though some commercial growers are trying to brand it as Rock Purslane) — is native to the deserts of Chile. In does very well in our area. For one thing, it needs virtually no water. After five years of drought that’s a big plus, even if this last year set records for wetness. I mean, it doesn’t just manage for a while without water, it outright laughs at drought.  So it’s a great plant to put in that corner that the garden hose is hard to get to.

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Ornamental plub blossoms.

Ornamental Plum Blossoms

Ornamental plub blossoms.

Ornamental plum blossoms.

After many years of working with color professionally, I know how to remove a color cast. But I like the blue cast here, and decided to leave it.

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