I grew these annual flowers last year and saved their seed with the hope that they would be viable — and then spring rolled around and I forgot all about them amidst the millions of other seeds that needed to be started.
So when I happened upon ready-to-go transplants, 3 for $10 at a local garden shop, I decided to splurge. They were so gorgeous last year; I had to have them in the garden again.
I have grown other salpiglossis flowers from seed, and while they were lovely, like stained glass married to a soft watercolour painting, they do not compare with the velvety softness of ‘Chocolate Royale.’ These large blooms are so rich, dark and dreamy, I half expect them to smell like a steaming glass of hot cocoa.
They don’t. But they get me every time.
They are out early this year, especially this plant, a variety named ‘Red Bells’ that I planted last spring in my own garden — it is already on its third bloom!
Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) is one of my favourite spring ephemerals and a wonderful perennial plant that thrives in full sun or part shade rock gardens. I have mine planted just at the edge of my dry bed/rock garden where dry pea gravel meets a slightly moister wood chip pathway and early morning shade is cast by the house. Pulsatilla is a good choice for dry spots underneath slightly shady trees as it seems to grow tolerant to drought once established.
I find the soft and delicate hairiness of this plant irresistible and after flowering the silky seed pods leave behind something to look as well as some seeds to help it spread.
The trip to Rancho la Puerta begins and ends at the San Diego airport. This was my first time to Southern California, and since it turned out to be cheaper (due to the New Year travel rush) to stay a few days in San Diego than fly home straight away, we took advantage to enjoy a bonus day and a half in the city.
Having now had a chance to see first hand what gardening is like in Southern California, I can say with authority that I would move there in a heartbeat to enjoy that luscious, long-season growing. I spent the last few minutes before we had to head to the airport running from one neglected front yard citrus tree to the next screaming (mostly on the inside), “Dear god, look at all of these oranges!”
If it were not for the state of traffic and poor public transportation options, I would be cranking up the Zeppelin and packing my bags right now. I can’t live in a car dependent city, never mind the fact that my stomach was in my throat every time we got on the road. Since I’m being honest, the earthquakes freak me out a bit, too.
This garden was the first I saw when we arrived at our hotel. You’ll recognize the large clumps of blooming bird of paradise (Strelitzia). It seems to grow like a weed here and I noticed that it was a public garden planting favourite. But the real show-stopper, the plant that I could almost leave my bike-riding, public transportation utopia for is the giant Dr. Suess-like Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata).
My god, that is the most phenomenal agave I have ever seen in my life! Alas, I try my best to keep my little collection of potted agaves healthy, but what I wouldn’t give to grow a massive cluster like this.
There are several benefits to living and gardening in a southern climate, but it’s the promise of a killer agave garden that gets to me most.
I need some colour today and came upon this image when randomly perusing my photo archives. Doesn’t it look like fallen Autumn leaves?
I took this photo in Thailand, at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon Herbal Garden in Rayong. Tropical trees are not my strong suit; however, I am pretty sure that what you are looking at are the discarded stamens of a Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) tree. I suppose they could also be fallen Red Powder Puff flowers (Calliandra haematocephala), but the close up photos I took indicate otherwise.
Looking back at the photos I took during our short visit to the garden, nearly all of them are of strange and unidentifiable oddities that were either up in the trees or fallen on the ground.
Later, at the gift shop, I bought some corn milk (one of several interesting beverages that I sampled on the trip) and was gifted a tomato face mask by a fellow garden writer also on the tour.
I’ve just added several photos of things I bought in Thailand to the You Grow Girl Flickr stream.
This cluster of hanging baskets photographed in the Tropical High Elevation House at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens harbours a secret. It took three trips to the room before we spotted them.