Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nature's Wonders

I hope all of you are having fun in your gardens. Granted there's lots of work to do but it's fun work, right? Much more fun than doing dishes or laundry. 

I love that I've got about 2 and a half hours after work to putter in my little piece of paradise. I'm usually too tired to take on any big tasks. I'm more inclined to wander around with my camera or clippers. 

Here's what's happening this week: 

Lewisia cotyledon is a very happy camper, despite the sad looking lower leaves. 

I can't remember what this flower is called. It's a tender perennial I just purchased.
The flower color is really vibrant.
Update: It's Arctotis 'Pink Sugar Rose'

My Calendrina spectabilis is blooming. Unfortunately the blossoms are closed up
by evening. I took this photo on Saturday. 

I bought Geranium sanguineum 'Elke' at Fry Road Nursery. (See sidebar)
I love that the coloring leans more towards pink tones than purple.
This photo on the White Flower Farms' website depicts the color more accurately than my camera did.

I've got mine in a container for now. 

Last time I mentioned my friend Carol's 'Rhapsody in Blue' rose. It is so fragrant and gorgeous.
And here you can see that I'm not the only one who loves it.
Even this sleepy Bumblebee is enraptured. 

Speaking of bees, I'm not sure what kind of native bee this is
but he found respite on a Cistus blossom. I'm perfectly okay with that. 

This annual is an upgrade from the typical bluish-purple Brachyscomb.
The powers that be are marketing it as 'Radiant Magenta' which is pretty much a spot-on description.
I grew it last year and bought another one this year because it blooms and blooms. 

Check out this tiny hitchhiker with my Ledebouria cooperi. From my research, I'm thinking it's
Viola selkirkii f. variegata.  I hope I can keep it alive.
You can't really tell here but those leaves are tiny--about a 1/4 inch long. 

I don't have any proof of this but I'm wondering if, in some cases,
the colder-than-normal winter was good for my plants.
The foliage on my Tri-Color Beech is fabulous this year.

Fagus sylvatica 'Roseo-Marginata'  

My Phuopsis stylosa is starting to bloom.
This plant really stinks, literally but the flowers are so pretty that all is forgiven. 

Gladiolus communis in bloom. These guys pop up
in the strangest places now that they've made my garden
their home. 

There's a baby artichoke nestled in this gorgeous foliage. 

Another case in point regarding the extra cold winter. Check out the flowers on my
Cotinus. Never has this plant been so happy.

Clematis 'Multi-Blue' on the other hand, took a hit this past winter. It's alive and growing
but has about half as many stems as last year. Ditto for 'C. 'Niobe.' 

Lonicera x heckrottii 'Pink Lemonade' always attracts aphids with its first blooms.
Eventually  the aphids will have their fill. Or the ladybugs will eat them all,
I'm not sure which. But there will be nice flowers by mid-summer.

Sometimes we just have to work with nature.
Besides I've got 5 other varieties of Honeysuckle vines in my garden
that don't attract aphids. 

I am so NOT a bug person, but... 
On Saturday I was eating my morning toast on the patio. I looked down and saw this.
A tiny ant carrying a crumb off to feed his family.
He looks huge in this photo but he was no more than an eighth of an inch long
and that breadcrumb was as big as he is. Yet he was carrying it like a skilled soldier.
Can't you just hear him mumbling through gritted teeth,
"Hey guys, I could use some help here with this thing."  

This, my friends, is Eucalyptus nicholii coming back from the dead.
You can see the stump where I cut it off, having given up all hope of
a resurrection. Isn't nature grand? 

Another interesting feat of nature are these tiny mushrooms growing in one of my pots.
They've got such a magical presence about them that I had to get photos. 

I thought I'd share a few wider shots of the garden.
This is one of the south end island beds. 

This is the new bed that came about after we poured the new patio last August.
All the plants are kind of small but getting a foothold. 

Looking north into my new brick-terrace area that used to be lawn.
Soon I'll have a whole series of before and after photos of this area.
I'm waiting for the plants to fill in a little more. 

This is the second of the two island beds at the south end of the garden. 

This photo was taken at the opposite end of the garden. The pink Silene are really
going to town this year. I'm sure all of the neighboring plants are wishing I'd cut back those stems. 

This is Phlox glaberrima 'Triple Play' just getting ready to bloom.
I bought three 4-inch pots at Fry Road Nursery a few years ago.
Fabulous plant, even when not in bloom.
Directly behind it are several hardy Fuchsias that will eventually get taller and bloom.
And behind them, Phlox paniculata and Galega officinalis 'Lady Wilson.'

Under the Heptacodium miconiodes or "Seven-Son Flower" is a bunch of woodland goodies.
I have to water this area a lot though in the summer to keep it looking nice.
Not a very sustainable micro-culture I'm afraid. 

More chaos. Note the galvanized bucket at the bottom of the photo. 

On the far right, almost out of shot, is that same bucket. This is the far north end of the yard.
You can see just a smidgen of the fence and the neighbor's roof just above the bucket at the south end.
In the foreground is Stipa gigantea sending up its fabulous "flowers."
On the left, in front of the fence you can see the dead leaves of my
Pacific Wax Myrtle. (Myrica californica).
Finally, I'm beginning to see new growth so despite my desire to get rid of the eyesore,
I'm glad I've waited. 

I found this heart-shaped stone the other day while weeding. Cool, huh? 

Finally, yesterday while on my lunch hour, I popped over to Home Depot for some potting soil. 
I looked up in the sky and saw this. 

Yes, nature is grand! 
Have fun in your gardens. 


  1. Oh Grace, so much to comment on! I think I need a Lewisia! (if they can take my warm humid summers). I also have a Ledebouria cooperii, it in my family garden plan (though I have it in a different bed right now for shade). Love your new patio and garden. Beautiful.
    That rainbow feathered cloud is beautiful!

  2. Wow, wow, wow! So many wonders in one post! Your garden is looking fabulous and I love the chaos as that's what is reigning supreme in my garden right now. Lots of nursery visits and bringing out my plants that overwintered inside and not enough time with shovel in hand and hardly any time weeding have left my garden looking a bit undone. You're right, it's nice to have a bit of time after work to play outsied these days! I love this time of year! Thanks for sharing the wonders you've noticed!

  3. I'm savoring an image of you wandering through your magical garden, clippers in hand. A snip here, a whiff there. Thank goodness you spent at least one of those evenings with camera in hand so you could share it all with us.

  4. Your garden is looking wonderful and lush ! Hasn't the weather been perfect for gardening , or sitting around like I've been doing…planning.

  5. Beautiful, Grace! I think your mystery flower might be Gazania. I've always wanted Phuopsis in my garden...but the smell is just a bit too skunky for our tiny garden...if I ever have a bigger space, I'm so planting some!

  6. Your garden is as lovely as ever Grace. I couldn't dare grow one like that here in South Texas...too afraid of rattlesnakes. :)

    I've been gardening a little bit of everything for over seven decades and I've never learned a single Latin name for plants. I'm not sure why...unless I had too much exposure to it in church as a child I had to obey...never sure what I was obeying.

  7. That Cotyledon just took my breath away the instant the page opened. It's stunning. I also really admired the leaf coloring on your Beech and I think you are right--the winter we had may have played a role. Your garden is so beautiful Grace; it's intimate and appealing--makes you want to wander around with clippers and pruners and just be happy.

  8. Oh, one more thing I forgot. My hubby, who was a professional photographer for many years in NYC used to call cloud formations like that his "Singularities." He has a collection of them. Yours must have taken your breath away that day. Gifts. yes, yes, yes.

  9. Your garden is looking lovely, Grace! Thanks for sharing the wide shots too. I need to do that more often.

  10. I so look forward to seeing your emails in my inbox - I'm always inspired and hopeful that after only living here in Portland for a year, that someday my garden MAY resemble yours - thank you!

  11. Your garden looks beautiful - and pink! The plant in the 2nd photo could be either an Arctotis (possibly 'Ruby Creeper,' 'Pink Sugar' or a relative ) or a Gazinia, as Scott suggested. The foliage looks more like Arctotis to me.

  12. Dear, dear Grace ~ What a spectacular post from beginning to ending. Just wonderful!

    You should send your photos to wikipedia of those rainbow clouds. They are beautiful.

    Have a great day and continued happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

  13. Your garden is so beautiful! I'm sure you look around and see things you want to change but it looks perfect to me. you have great foliage color and so many plants I'm unfamiliar with......yes, gardening is fun!
    I think that beautiful brush stroke across the sky was a kiss from God to you. Happy Gardening!

  14. A rainbow in a cloud? Awesome! Your garden is looking fabulous! Quite a few of my plants are doing better than normal, too, which I can only attribute to our Arctic winter. Of course, happy plants make it easy to forget about all the ones that died. That beech is incredible! I love that two tone foliage. :o)

  15. Nature is grand for sure! Your wide garden shots are breath taking! I love everything you have going on in the foreground of your beds...just amazing! Wishing you a beautiful weekend in the garden! Nicole xo

  16. Your garden looks wonderful and full! 'Rhapsody in Blue' is a gorgeous rose. If only I didn't have deer... Oh, well. Your Stipa gigantea looks great. Mine are barely alive. I'm not sure if winter or my parents are to blame. Your "native bee" is actually a hoverfly. They mimic bees in appearance to avoid predators, but you can tell them apart by the way the eyes cover almost the entire head on the flies. They're also important pollinators and the larvae often feed on aphids. Maybe that's what cleans the aphids off your honeysuckle!

  17. This sky is awesome, Grace!
    Love your Lewisia, would like to have it in mu garden too. The clematis is pretty I love this color. Nice summery garden!

  18. Love the wider shots.
    I enjoy seeing who the plants sit next to


  19. Wow, how amazing are those sky photos?! A rainbow cloud?! So beautiful.

    So you know already that the Lewisia picture made my heart go pitter patter. :)

    The Arctosis (never heard of it) reminds me of a cross between a Gerbera and a Gazania. What a fun flower.

    That rose is stunning.

    I've never grown the Brachyscomb, but I stuck one in my mom's Mother's Day pot and one in my niece's birthday pot. I hope they do well for them. They're so dang cute.

    That Beech is amazing. I might need one of those for a pot.

    And the Phuopsis and little Gladiolas. Where have these plants of yours been all my life? You have so many things I've never even heard of. And it ain't my first day in the garden for cryin' out loud.

    My favorite posts of yours are the ones that include pictures of you "stepping back." I love seeing the whole picture.

    And now, I must hit publish so I can pin everything I want. Ha!

    My parent's are on a 2-week vacation and it's my day to go check on my mom's plants. I'm gonna haul my camera over and "Yard Crash." PLUS, there's a new tiny nursery right by her house that I've never been to. It would be silly to drive right by it and not stop, right?

    Enjoy the long weekend in the garden!

  20. Grace, I love the long (or wide?) views of your garden! Pretty, pretty, pretty! It looks like some of your plants are ahead of mine.
    Have a great Sunday!

  21. Oh Grace, what a wonderful post! Starting with that stunning Lewisia! And then Rhapsody in Blue, gorgeous! What a wonderful selection of plants you have. We've always been tempted to get a Tri Color Beech, but never did. They're so pretty when they do well. On the other hand, our Multi Blue Clematis has never looked as great as it does this year. Go figure. And thanks for including the wider shots, I need to do that more often. The closeup shots are fun to take, though, aren't they? But I think everyone is always curious about the bigger picture. LOVE your garden!

  22. Oh, and that final shot from Home Depot; excellent! Ha ha!
    I just ordered your book!!

  23. Okay my favorites are the volunteer violet (those kinds of things happening seem so magical plus it looks like a tiny orchid) and the mushrooms which make me think of Alice, and the gladiolus communis which I just found in the bulb catalog that arrived yesterday and I will try to remember to order, and then of course the dreamy cloud images-- just awesome Gracie!

  24. Oh my goodness! That rainbow/cloud is stunning! I wonder how that happens--I've never seen anything like that before. Yes, nature is grand! And the colors in your garden are gorgeous. I'm glad your Eucalyptus is coming back!

  25. Oh my! I think I have found my dream garden! This is it! When can I move in! :)
    I`m your newest follower! :)

  26. I'm glad I came to see this post, too! I love seeing both your wide views and close ups, even of an ant with a crumb. Nice shot!

    Will you be able to harvest and eat the artichoke?

    Yes, gardening is work, fun work. I've been trying to get things in order for a neighborhood garden tour this week, and that is something I was thinking about today. It is work, and I love it!


Thank you for being here! Your comments feed my soul.