There's so much happening in the garden now that it feels impossible to either pick certain areas to focus on, or try to show everything and do it justice. The recent rains have helped a lot. Many plants grew a lot with the added moisture. Hopefully that will have been enough to establish many things and reduce my watering worries. Heat waves are not good for anxious gardeners with beds full of new plants.
So, to go with my random posting schedule, here's some random photos.
Mitraria coccinea is gearing up for a long bloom season. These are just the forerunners, not quite open yet. Mine is growing in a 5-gallon pot on the patio, but someday I'll plant it in the ground. It just probably won't be in my current garden.
Dyckia choristaminea 'Frazzle Dazzle' is sending up a bloom spike! I've been watching this for weeks already, waiting for it to be grow enough to be worth showing.
I think the Penstemon pinifolius are still picking up steam. Not all of my plants are even blooming yet. It's so wonderful to see them bloom at all. Before the fence went up, the deer would always mow them down just as the bloom stalks were rising up, and the plants just wouldn't bother to try again. I've been amazed by their performance in horrible, compacted clay soil, though perhaps their roots are sticking to the layer of decomposed mulch under the fresher mulch you can see in the background.
Bright yellow new growth marks Podocarpus alpinus 'County Park Fire'. It's toned down a little from the orange and red tones that were mixed in with the yellow earlier. In the background is Molinia caerulea 'Variegata', and a bit of wild vetch of some sort. I'm fairly certain it's native. It's all over in around the edge of the woods and in clearings around here. It's another "weed" I've decided to tolerate, to a point. It's almost impossible to pull the root out, so I've decided to enjoy the pretty purple flowers (which the bees LOVE) and the nitrogen-fixing benefits. When it gets too rambunctious, I just rip out the offending excess.
Despite the coming heat, and partly because of it, I did some planting this weekend. To the left of this Cotinus 'Grace' is a tiny Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Valley Queen' (trust me, it's there), and to the right is Grevillea 'Poorinda Leane', only a little bigger.
Another new bed this weekend, containing a Grevillea victoriae 'UBC', Olearia macrodonta, and two Pittosporum tobira 'Tall 'n' Tough'. It's a good thing all the plants in these two beds are relatively fast-growing.
The path on the south end of the house is beautiful in the evening with the sun lighting up foliage and the fragrant blooms of lemon daylilies. You may also be able to see some darker patches in the mulch on the right, where I've planted some things to hopefully fill in that bed. Additions include Bupleurum spinosum, Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum, and Santolina 'Lemon Queen'. It's always a bit of an experiment to see what will take the clay soil in this bed, especially during winter when the near end can get rather wet. But I've already had some surprising successes, so I'm cautiously optimistic.
Calceolaria integrifolia 'Kentish Hero' is such a gorgeous dark orange-red.
I wasn't sure if this Scleranthus uniflorus would take off after tearing it in half and planting it early last fall, but it seems to be doing well. And I love the fine texture and green color next to the woolly grey leaves of Calceolaria arachnifera, which is also loading up with buds.
Another cool ground cover I'm happy to see showing visible growth, Azorella trifurcata 'Nana'. At least, that's what the label said. Not sure if the correct genus is Bolax or Azorella, or something else!
Smoky purple new growth on Eucalyptus neglecta. I've been putting this off, but now that this little tree is growing well, I should cut it down so that it can resprout with an upright leader, instead of these horizontal branches that the deer left after nipping off the original leader. That's the advice I was given, rather than trying to train one of these branches up.
I'm still delighting in the new growth on this Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea', though I'll admit I'm impatient to see it covering a big section of the deer fence along the road.
It's not all sunshine, here. My big, beautiful Glumicalyx goseloides suffered some heavy die-out after (I think) the heat last summer. You can still see some yellow stems. I'm going to try an annual sheering regimen, as with plants like lavenders, to see if this helps prevent future die-outs.
I finally planted my Abutilon megapotamicum in the ground. I brought this plant back with me from North Carolina as a very sad, partially-rooted start, and then potted it up in really horrible potting soil with hardly any nutrients and no water-retention. Last summer I switched out the potting soil for something better and it responded well. This year it's even started blooming! It was still suffering from chlorosis in the container though, so I decided to risk planting it in the ground.
It's in the same bed as this Alstroemeria 'Glory of the Andes'. I may regret planting this vigorous perennial in such loose soil. It's already spread to about two feet, from the gallon container I planted last summer.
It seems like Stinky (Dracunculus vulgaris) should have opened by now. The bract seems a little stunted, which may be keeping it from opening normally. That's what you get for trying to come in January and getting frosted, dummy!
This is the Heptacodium miconioides I purchased from the discount section at Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland last year. It barely had any leaves on it. Now look at it! And I even cut it down about half-way a few weeks ago, removing some awkward limbs. Some of those shoots you see are three feet long! Rescue plants can be some of the most rewarding.
My first Kniphofia of the season. This small, dark-flowered one is way ahead of the others of the same seed strain growing nearby.
But that might have something to do with the fact that they're being eaten by Cistus 'Snowfire'. When did that happen! Blink and this fast-growing shrub will have engulfed its neighbors.
I love seeing Epipactus gigantea 'Serpentine Night' with the blue foliage of Andromeda polifolia 'Blue Ice' in the background.
Rhododendron 'Fastuosum Flore Pleno' is one of my last rhodies to bloom. Almost all of the others are looking rather shabby by now. I have a couple others that I think will bloom later, once they reach blooming size.
Cyclamen purpurascens is staring to bloom already! Actually, the first flowers appeared almost as the Cyclamen coum were ending. If these continue like last summer, they will keep blooming through the C. hederifolium bloom season in fall. Meanwhile, I've been checking the fat seedpods tucked under the foliage to see if they're ready to spread around the garden, and maybe share if I'm feeling generous.
The first fuchsia bloom of the year in my garden, 'Delta Sarah'. This one got a head start, spending winter in the greenhouse. It was planted out in April, or was it March. Spring has flown by!