Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My Favorite Plant in the Garden This Week...

...Is Canna 'Tropicanna.'

I have it planted in frost-proof orange pots in the front garden, where its striped leaves and bright orange flowers contribute mightily to the tropical theme. One pot is visible as you approach the southeast corner of the greenhouse.

Canna 'Tropicanna' with its companions -- a couple of orange Dahlias, a bright red Bromeliad, Aloe plicatilis and a variegated Echium

Fab flowers

Couldn't you just get lost in that?

Spotty, stripey goodness

Hot foliage too!

Echium and Bromeliad foliage

Bromelaid center cup with cast-off Dahlia petals

I wish I knew the name of this gorgeous Dahlia that I bought a couple of weekends ago at Flower World

I just adore the combination of orange and magenta

The second Dahlia is a shorter bedding type Dahlia with a smaller flower in similar colors.

Fallen Dahlia petals

Aloe plicatilis in an Esther pot with orange bowling ball and glass orb from Glass Gardens Northwest

The entire combo from a different angle

The Dahlias are still in their nursery pots because they're destined to eventually live in the bed behind the Canna. But for now, they make a nice homage to the Nichols garden, which I saw during last year's Garden Bloggers Fling in San Francisco. The Nichols garden was the inspiration for many of the changes I made in my front garden this year. You can read my post about that garden here. Canna 'Tropicanna' and orange Dahlias were a mainstay of that garden.

My second 'Tropicanna' Canna is planted in a matching orange pot in a curve of the recycled concrete wall, right next to a niche planted with Sedum 'Angelina,' a concrete Buddha face and a light green glass ball that was a gift from my neighbor Mary. It's not flowering yet, but the foliage is looking so beautiful.

'Tropicanna' foliage lit by the morning sun, with the matching colors of Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' out of focus behind it

It's not the rarest of Cannas, but it's such a superb plant, I just love it! Although Cannas are hardy in the ground here, I'm going to leave these two in their pots and over-winter them inside the greenhouse. Last winter's prolonged cold knocked back my in-the-ground Cannas, to the point where they were very weakened and have barely made an appearance, just a couple of nubby leaves poked above the soil.

Here's some info about Canna 'Tropicanna.'

Height: 4-6 feet
Width: About one foot (although they do increase via offsets)
Hardiness: Zone 7b-11
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Consistent moisture, don't let it dry out

The orange pots I have them planted in do not have drainage holes. In the past I've put Cannas directly in the moving water of my back yard stream, and they've done wonderfully in that spot. They would still be there if not for the mischievous raccoons that destroy them while playing in the water, usually just as they're about to bloom.

You can also read more about 'Tropicanna' here at the plant lust website.

Loree at Danger Garden hosts the Favorite Plant in the Garden meme. You can read her current post here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Latest and Greatest in Plant Hybrids

As an attendee at the Garden Bloggers Fling (I've been to two now), my little blog and I have come to the attention of the most innovative of plant breeders and hawkers. After the Seattle Fling, I ended up on the marketeers' list for Proven Winners, and as a result, received two boxes of plants. I wrote about them the first year I got them, but then I skipped the next year. Nary a box in sight since then. BooHoo.

Despite attending a presentation for the Sunset Western Garden collection during the San Francisco Fling last year, I didn't receive any plants from them. (I would have liked one of those hardy Gardenias).

Never mind. I have my own collection of weird and wonderful hybrids.

Ever heard of Araucaria acerseminolia? No? Isn't it fab?

How about the infamous hop-flowered elderberry?

You can use it to make both beer and wine, simultaneously.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Portland Sunshine at Old House Dahlias

This past weekend Nigel and I went down to Portland and stayed overnight so that I could go on the Green on Green Garden Tour (posts to come). But first, I met a friend, Laura, who writes the blog Gravy Lessons, and we visited Old House Dahlias on Mill St. I've been so taken with orange, peach and hot pink lately, so those were the flowers that primarily caught my eye and that I focused my camera on.

Aren't they fabulous? So many petal shapes and colors. Do you grow Dahlias? I have a few.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Foliage Followup -- Quick and Dirty

For Foliage Followup I've decided to focus on my little forest of Ricinus communis 'New Zealand Purple.' For a good part of the spring and early summer they were pretty small, but they have really loved both the heat we've gotten recently, as well as the water they've been getting, cause they have just exploded in growth. This is one area, newly planted, that I set up a sprinkler on a timer for. I wanted to make sure everything got well watered in and taken care of that week when we were away in Massachusetts.

Ricinus communis 'New Zealand Purple' with Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant'

Pam at the blog Digging is the host for Foliage Followup, which takes place every month on the day after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Check out her post here where other bloggers leave links to their own foliage posts in the comments.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- August, 2014

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and therefore time for a cavalcade of flowers!

Red Dahlia grown from seed this past winter

Cupid's Dart/Catananche caerulea

Variegated Hydrangea bought last year from Cistus


Un-named Dahlia bought last weekend at Flower World

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'

Oreganum 'Kent Beauty'

Yellow Crocosmia, a gift from my friend Annette


Andropogon gerardii /Big Bluestem (you can see why it's also called turkey foot grass)

Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'

I hope these Amaranthus flowers produce lots of seeds for seedlings next year


Sedum 'Autumn Joy' starting to color up, another gift from Annette

Tall Phlox, bowing down under the weight of our recent deluge of rain

Balloon flower, showing one flower about to open, two open, and one deflated

Rudbeckia, Echinacea, and Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'

Echinacea and Coreopsis (maybe 'Red Shift')

Hydrangea quercifolia

Tricyrtis/Toad lily

My one really exuberantly flowering bed in the back garden -- this is what I see when I look out my kitchen window over the sink, while I'm washing dishes

Itea virginica (I think) (Edit: I knew as I was typing it that Itea wasn't right, but I couldn't dredge the actual name up out of the vast, empty, echoing reaches of my mind -- fortunately, blogger friends have let me know in the comments that it's Clethra alnifolia)

Hardy Fuchsia aurea

Abutilon 'Red Tiger'

Alstroemeria isabellana, another recent purchase at the Fronderosa Frolic last weekend, from Far Reaches Farm

I hope you enjoyed my very own personal flower show. I bet you have plenty blooming now too! Check out Carol Michel's blog May Dreams Gardens to see more Bloom Day posts from around the world.