October 11, 2011
With a change in season the flowers are blooming in Norm's yard. Norm's comments are included below.
A few weeks ago, I talked about "destination" on Desert Bloom. The path winding off into the distance, the arms of the bench beckoning... yup, 'nuff said. :)
The delicate flowers of Rain Lily (Zephyranthes candida) gracing the garden after our recent rains...hence the name.
Brushing the spent blooms off of a Dwarf Katie Ruellia (Ruellia brittoniana "Katie"), getting her spiffed up for her photo, when Flo surprised me and snapped this one.
Dwarf Ruellia "Katie" (Ruellia brittoniana "Katie"), with her profusion of purple Petunia-like flowers, tight form, rich green foliage and lots of blooms throughout the year. In spite of my attempt to clean her up a bit, she really does look better in person. :)
Black Moudry Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry') with her infloresences radiating in the autumn sunlight. I love how they glow, especially when planted against a shaded background!
A close-up of the small (3/4") flowers of Sky Flower (Duranta erecta)...zillions of blossoms every year from May through November. This plant can get big, so give it room to grow, and (gulp) they're a little cold sensitive. This one froze to the ground a few years ago, but sprang right back and grew to 6 feet+ in a few months when the weather warmed back up.
The fruit is almost ripe, but until I eat them, they adorn my Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) like Christmas ornaments for months!
Ahhhh...my favorite little desert perennial/wildflower, Shrubby Dogweed (Thymophylla pentachaeta) bloomin' away, non-stop, even in December and January sometimes. My designer, Corina, much prefers the name "Golden Dyssodia", but I love the sound of "shrubby dogweed"...maybe because I think it a cute name for a cute plant...oh...and I LOVE dogs! :)
Who says you need flowers to get color?!! 3 of my favorite desert-adapted color-plants, Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida) and the oh-so-bold White Variegated Agave (Agave americana 'medio-picta'). They look great all year round...'cept for the Purple Heart, which freezes to the ground each winter then shoots back up in spring. Desert landscapes rock!
The sun-loving, floriforous Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum). You wouldn't think from these delicate (and fragrant!) blossoms that this is such a tough, drought-tolerant ground cover/perennial! Many months of blooms and I do nothing...well, other than having planted her where she'll be happy and giving her an occasional drink.
A close-up of the blooms on one of my beloved Texas Olive trees (Cordia boissieri). It shows the apparent delicacy of the paper-mache-like petals and how the throats of each bloom starts out softly yellow and ages to that gorgeous bronze tone.
Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) on the right, rich olive green with exceptionally big leaves for a desert plant, and the bold-colored Mexican Blue Palm (Brahea armata) to the left. Both are extremely drought tolerant and tough...though the ...Texas Olive is a bit cold sensitive. Hmmmm...I think I might adorn her with the old-style Christmas lights this winter (they give off some heat) in case we get a heavy cold-spell. What a cheery way to help protect a plant!
My wonderful Madam Galen Trumpet Creeper (Campsis x tagliabuana 'Madame Galen') having pretty much finished her flower show for the year...but now adorned with dozens of seed pods that look like elongated green bananas. I'll cut them off w...hen they turn brown and begin to open, lest I end up with more Trumpet Creeper than I want. :) This species gives me thousands of big red-orange flowers that attract hummingbirds from April/May through October 2nd...there's still 2 blooms open! Notice the patio behind? It faces west, so while I love this plant for her beauty and the hummers she brings, her greatest value is in the shade she gives my patio all summer long. Oh, and then she drops her leaves in winter and lets the sun shine in!
Dwarf Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila') starting her show of luxuriant inflorescences (the grass equivelent of flowers). The blossoms of ornamental grasses can so capture the sunlight and radiate spectacularly!
The first flowers of Pink Trumpet Vine, (Podranea ricasoliana), a fall bloomer, growing under the canopy of an old olive tree. Lots more flowers to come! This plant's hard to find in local nurseries, but worth the search, even if you hav...e to buy a little one online and have it mailed to you. Whattayasay, Star and Plant World...carry this plant, PLEASE! Btw, give this plant room to grow...mine is trellised to a wall, but spreads to about 15 feet wide and 12 feet tall! Trellised to the wall, she's very two-dimensional, so I can walk under her beautiful canopy. Oh, and the flowers are fragrant too! :)
Ocotillo (fouquieria splendens), leafed out from the recent rains. Tough, bold, and superbly drought tolerant, plant these (and the Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia to it's right) in the fall, and mist the canes and foliage instead of watering it at the base for the first year or so. I introduced this specimen to my garden some 15 years ago, when I found her growing as a baby on a well-site, smaller than my little finger! How time flies and babies grow up!
Silhouette of Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). See the brown twigs?...spent blossoms from the spring that the hummingbirds LOVE! Some say this an ugly plant, but the hummingbirds and I beg to differ!
Pink Oxalis (Oxalis rubra) growing under the almond trees. Dainty flowers, small, shade tolerant and tough...a great garden perennial for intimate spaces. Be aware that this bulbous plant takes a year or two to really kick in, but then rewards you with rich green foliage and LOTS of flowers. And if all that weren't enough, you can pick the flowers and chew the stems...they're nature's sweet-tarts, infused with pleasing pucker-power!
The BIG blossom of Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii). This plant has reseeded itself profusely throughout the garden...too profusely sometimes, so now I cut the mace-head-like seed pods off, so I don't have to pull and dispose of so many bab...y plants. The flowers have intoxicating fragrance, but beware...this plant is poisonous to eat. The flower show has another unusual and very cool aspect. The blossoms all open exactly at dusk, and a single plant can have dozens of the 4-inch flowers all open at once...and the entire event occurs in about 5 minutes! You can actually sit with an (insert beverage of choice here) and watch the flowers open in front of your eyes! You really can see them open, and sometimes the petals unfurl with a spring as they let loose from their tightly curled form! Sooooo cool!
Tecoma stans 'Gold Star', a heavy bloomer from May through first frost. There's lots of different species of Tecomas, and come in all sizes. This one's only about 4 feet tall, but others grow up to 12 feet in a year. They freeze back to ...the ground every winter, but then come back quick when things warm up. Because they disappear, I recommend surrounding the plant with more evergreen speices, so you don't have a big visual hole in the garden during the winter.
The cactus garden. Two different species of the genus Opuntia (the smaller is Bunny Ears or White Dot Cactus (Opuntia microdasys), the larger...well, sometimes I forget the names of all the hundreds of species of Opuntia). The spring flower show is long past, but the color continues in the bright red fruit. And soon the Ground Squirrels will be harvesting the bounty! :)
A Trichocerus hybrid cactus that has musical qualities. No, really. I discovered that if I GENTLY and CAREFULLY run my fingers up the length of the pads, it sounds like a rain-stick! Don't try this at home, and if you dare to anyway, don't hold me accountable! It's the only musical instrument I play. :)
Cape Plumbago (Plumbago capensis), a shade loving, sprawling shrub for moister garden areas... blue, blue, oh-so-BLUE! :)
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