Friday, January 19, 2018

What's up at South Coast Botanic Garden?

Curious to determine the status of the new rose garden at South Coast Botanic Garden and finding nothing on the garden's webpage or in its weekly newsletters, I decided to drop by and check things out for myself.  The garden is about 5 miles from my home and factors into my commute at least a couple of times each week so it wasn't hard to fit a visit into my schedule.

The rose garden's been under construction since last June at least and was originally targeted for completion in the fall.  The last time I dropped by in late December, it looked as though it was nearly finished but, as it turns out, it's still a work in progress.

The hardscaping appears to be complete but the area is not open to visitor traffic.  I asked a worker if he knew when the garden would be open and he indicated it would probably be sometime in April.

This is the center of the new garden looking down from a viewing platform

There's a rose-inspired metal railing with a fountain below

View to the right: there were at least 3 of the pergola structures, presumably geared to wedding ceremonies

View to the left: workers are still preparing beds and planting out roses


With the visit to the rose garden a bust, I took a wider look around.  I didn't bother to check the lake, which has been drained for some time now, but there were pretty flowers here and there.



However, the desert garden stood out as the most impressive at the moment.








The Alluaudia procera (left), aka Madagascar Ocotillo, always fascinates me.  I was also drawn to the variegated Agave vilmoriniana (upper right, aka 'Stained Glass').  Aloe arborescens (lower right) was in bloom throughout the desert garden.

The desert garden is expanding.  It seems that it's at least doubling in size but I couldn't find anything on the garden's webpage with a status or details of its development plan.


While my visit was relatively brief, I didn't leave without checking out the nursery area surrounding the gift shop.  And, as the plants are always a deal, especially with my member discount, I didn't go home empty-handed.

My purchases (left to right): Agave deserti, Crassula falcata, and Aloe striata x maculata.  My total was less than $22 with tax!


Three new plants isn't a bad way to get the weekend off to a good start.  I hope you find some treasures to take home this weekend too.



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Foliage Follow-up: Mostly succulents

I managed to get out and about with my camera yesterday morning to capture photos for Foliage Follow-up, the monthly meme hosted by Pam at Digging, but I didn't get my act together to get my post up until this morning.  Most of my shots were of succulents but I have to start with a photo of Echium candicans 'Star of Madiera'.  It doesn't usually bloom until April but it's already taking on a starring role in the front garden with its foliage alone.

'Star of Madiera' loves this spot and its variegated foliage makes a strong statement here


The succulents on the west-facing slope below the Echium are also looking good.

There are too many different species to name individually here but the star in my view is the Sedum adolphii at the center of this photo.  A lot of what I planted in this area, including the Aeonium arboreum, Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi', Kalanchoe luciae, and Senecio vitalis, were cuttings.  

The Agave attentuata at the center of this photo was also a cutting, as were the Aeonium arboreum and Oscularia deltoides (the blue-ish plant in the foreground with the violet stems).  The grass is a California native, Festuca californica.


Elsewhere in the garden, several other succulent vignettes caught my eye.

I showed another shot of this area in my recent lath house update but I love it and so will include it here too.  The plants include more of my old standbys, Senecio vitalis (rear), Aeonium arboreum (middle), and Aeonium 'Kiwi' (foreground with Crassula lycopodioides).  An Aeonium 'Sunburst' and Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty' provide touches of white.  The area could perhaps use some stronger color to contrast with all those green shades but, now that the area has greater sun exposure (due to the neighbor's removal of a dense oleander hedge), perhaps that almost invisible Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire' cutting will bulk and color up.

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' is doing a good job here dressing up 3 Hesperaloe parviflora 'Brakelights'

On the other side of the path an Agave gypsophila is trying to hold its own against 2 spreading rockroses, Cistus x skanbergii and C. 'Sunset', which have already partially swallowed up a few Euphorbia rigidia.  I may be forced to move the agave eventually but I'm still hoping that in time it'll gain sufficient size to stand up to the sprawling rockroses.

I've been telling myself I need to cut the heads off these 3 Aeonium 'Sunburst' and replant this pot but the Aeoniums are so exuberant in this spot (even if they hide most of the succulents behind them) that I haven't had the heart


I'll conclude with a look at some of the plants in my bromeliad pocket garden.  Although planted just last October, the bromeliads, most of which were pups of larger plants in pots, and their companions, many usually grown as indoor specimens, are holding up well.  Planting bromeliads in the ground is new for me but the plants are showing no apparent problems in adapting to their new setting.

The bromeliads here include Aechmea 'Mend' (the pink-edged plant), Nidularium wittrockia leopardinum, and Vriesea ospinae var gruberi.  The bright pink upright plants in the upper portion of the photo are Dracaena marginata 'Colorama'.  Other "house plants" included here are Peperomia caperata 'Rosso' and Scindapsis pictus argyraeus (aka silver splash pothos).


For more Foliage Follow-up post, visit Pam at Digging.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bloom Day & IaVoM Mash-up - January 2018

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and In a Vase on Monday are once again falling on the same date so I'm mashing the 2 posts together.

Last week, our long dry spell came to an end.  We registered just over an inch of rain here over the course of 2 days.  Unfortunately, some of the areas burned by Southern California's recent wildfires received much more, leading to horrific mudslides in Montecito in Santa Barbara County, resulting in at least 20 deaths, massive property losses, and the complete closure of a major highway connecting the northern and southern parts of the state.  This past weekend witnessed the return of the nasty Santa Ana winds, once again dropping humidity levels and raising temperatures to summer-like highs.  Yet, despite Mother Nature's turmoil and a general shortage of rainfall, the plants in my garden are blooming right on schedule.

This month's stars are the Leucadendrons.

This is Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' at its very best.  Unfortunately, a gardener mistook my larger specimen as a hedge and hacked away all its lower blooms.

Leucadendron salignum 'Chief' is also at peak winter bloom

Leucadendron 'Blush' (top) looks great when back-lit.  The same is true of L. 'Summer Red' (bottom, left).  While a little scruffy right now, the blooms of L. 'Safari Sunset' (bottom, right) are still attractive.


The Camellia sasanquas featured last month are bloomed out but Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection' has taken up the slack.

This hybrid Camillia benefits from a shady spot protected from the wind next to the garage


Two more Grevilleas are blooming, joining those that bloom most of the year.

The rosy red and white blooms of Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' are small but plentiful

I picked up this dwarf Grevillea rosmarinifolia at The Huntington Gardens last fall plant sale.  While still small, it doesn't seem shy about getting its bloom on.

Meanwhile, my other Grevilleas keep right on flowering.  Clockwise from the upper left are G. 'Superb', G. alpina x rosmarinifolia, G. 'Scarlet Sprite', G. 'Peaches & Cream', and G. 'Ned Kelly'.


Other prolific bloomers include the following:

Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick'

Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'

Ocimum hybrid known as African Blue Basil


Others plants are just getting started on their annual bloom-fests:

Flower spikes are appearing on Aeonium arboreum throughout the garden

Calliandra haematocephala is producing its first blooms but it doesn't like those drying Santa Ana winds


I've had a few surprises too:

The Billbergia nutans (Queen's Tears) I divided last year has finally graced me with a new bloom

I'm utterly captivated by the first bloom on Calendula officinalis 'Bronzed Beauty'

The Crassula multicava 'Red' I planted last year for their foliage are now producing delicate sprays of pink and white blooms

This Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) lost all its blooms after last week's rain but, as soon as the rain stopped and the temperature shot up, the show went on


Plants acquired for my new lath (shade) house are also adding color to the garden.

Top row: Anemone coronaria and 2 noID Cyclamen
Middle row: noID blue Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Shooting Star', and Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue'
Bottom row: Argyranthemum 'Go Daisy Mega White', Nemesia 'Sunshine', and noID Viola


I'll close the Bloom Day segment with a few collages of the blooms making an appearance on a smaller scale.

Clockwise from the upper left: Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt', Lantana 'Lucky White', Lavandula multifida, Leucanthemum x superbum' , Lobularia maritima, Lotus jacobaeus, Osteospermum '4D Silver', Rosmarinus 'Gold Dust' and, in in the center, Osteospermum 'Violet Frost' with noID Viola

Top row: Gaillardias 'Arizona Sun' and 'Sunset Flash' and a self-seeded Gazania
Middle row: Hunnemannia fumariifolia and 2 forms of Lotus berthelotii
Bottom row: Metrosideros collina 'Springfire, noID Narcissus, and Russelia equisetiformis 'Flamingo Park'

Clockwise from the upper left: Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard', Arbutus 'Marina', Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom,  and Osteospermums 'Berry White' and 'Summertime Sweet Kardinal'


For more Bloom Day posts, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


So what did I assemble for In a Vase on Monday?

I cut Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder', L. 'Chief', Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' and the gold and red forms of Lotus berthelotii for this vase on the dining room table

I picked up this vase featuring manicured hands at a thrift shop on an outing to Ventura with a friend on Saturday.  I filled the vase with stems of Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection', Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl' and Pyrethropsis hosmariense.


To find more IaVoM arrangements, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, January 12, 2018

The lath house gets dressed up

Since my husband finished my lath (shade) house in late December, I've been working to dress up the outside area and, to a lesser extent, have begun acquiring shade plants to be kept inside.  I've got more to do on the outside but as I have tree trimming scheduled later this month, I'm holding off on further changes until that's done.  Careful as the crew usually is, there's almost always some collateral damage.

View of the lath house after its recent embellishments

View of the space from the other direction


The most noticeable changes to the lath house exterior are the pots on either side of the door and the window boxes.

I planted the pots on either side of the lath house door with the same materials: Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue', 2 varieties of pansies, and alyssum

And I planted the 2 window boxes with duplicates too: Heuchera 'Cocomint', Nemesia 'Sunshine', Pelargonium crispum, noID pansies and more alyssum


Other changes are less noticeable in the wide shots shown above.  I transplanted 3 clumps of Agapanthus moved from elsewhere in the garden; added 2 shrubs with large white blooms (Argyranthemum 'Go Daisy Mega White') and plugs of sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and lobelia (Lobelia erinus 'Crystal Palace'); planted a flat of creeping thyme (Thymus serphyllum 'Elfin') and spread Mexican tulip poppy seeds (Hunnemannia fumariifolia).  I also spread 5 bags of wood mulch and created an informal seating area using 3 chunks of a tree trunk.

The tree trunk slices came from the peppermint willow (Agonis flexuosa) we removed years ago to address a neighbor's concerns with perceived obstructions of her view


In general, I'm satisfied with the views from inside the lath house but I still plan to do a bit of tweaking.

This view from the east-facing window is the one I'm happiest with

This view from the lath house door is the least satisfying.  I'm planning to remove the scraggly remnants of Liriope spicata, which has never looked good but refuses to die.  I'll  probably fill in with succulents.  This area is tough as it's sloped, poorly irrigated, and plants face root competition from the Arbutus 'Marina'

This is the view from the north-facing window.  The 5 Xylosma congestum shrubs we planted in the Spring of 2016 to fill in the gap in the hedge long the street are growing very slowly but, eventually (or perhaps I should say theoretically), this area will be more secluded in the future. 


Once the laurel shrubs (i.e. the Prunus laurocerasus I hesitate to call a hedge at this point) are topped off, I'll plant the area at the rear of the lath house along the property line.

The 'Golden Celebration' rose I currently have in a large pot needs more room in a sunnier spot and I'm hoping to plant it in the corner behind the lath house.  I may also add some ornamental grasses or grass-like plants along the boundary line.


I moved my orchid plants into the lath house as soon as it was completed.  I haven't gone crazy buying plants to fill the interior space (yet) but that doesn't mean I haven't already picked up some.  Most of my purchases so far have been small-sized plants that I'll pot up as they grow, assuming that they like life in the lath house.

There are a total of 9 orchid plants on the shelves on the left.  The pots in the corner section of the lower shelf contain a Cyclamen, an Iresine, and a coleus I'm trying to help limp through winter.  Two of the pots on the upper shelf on the right contain Fuchsias delivered by mail order yesterday.  (The other pot is currently empty.)

Tucked into this corner of the space are 2 small florist Hydrangeas (H. macrophylla 'Shooting Star' and a noID blue variety), Begonia 'Escargot', 2 ferns (Cyrtomium falcatum 'Rochfordianum' and Pellaea falcata), and Fuchsia procumbens


Here are close-ups of selected plants:

Top row: Gynura aurantiaca, the hydrangeas and begonia mentioned above, and 2 ferns (Belchnum brasiliense and Microsorum diversifolium)
Middle row: noID pink Cyclamen, Iresine herbstii 'Brilliantissima', and a noID white Cyclamen with Tillandsia sticta
Bottom row: Anemone coronaria planted with Ajuga 'Catlin's Giant' and Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage' (the latter found at 50% off!)


I couldn't find perfect matches among my collection of wide shot photos to compare the January 2017 view of this area with the current 2018 view but these came closest:

January 2017 view looking west toward the street (left) versus the current view (right)

The 2017 and 2018 views from the street looking east


I'm done with photos of the lath house for now.  Even the squirrel trying to forage under the bird feeders was tired of my frequent appearances trying to catch the right angles and the right light conditions.  It's time to just enjoy the space.

Mr. Squirrel and I wish you a peaceful and pleasant weekend!



All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party