Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April Heat Brings Out the Blooms

Considering how meager our rainfall has  been (only 7" here so far), the recent cool weather has allowed those plants that are irrigated to develop lots of flower buds, and now the heat is popping those buds like crazy. A walk around the Crescent garden and the Meadowbrook section is like stepping into an impressionist painting. 
Crescent garden California poppies. 

Crescent garden California poppies. 

Left:  Snowball viburnum. Center and Right: the Kallam garden. 

The meadowbrook brook. 

Crescent garden California poppies. 

More Crescent garden California poppies. 

Crescent garden annual wildflower display (Leigh Adams on the left there). 

Crescent garden wildflower display. 

The Meadowbrook section brook. 

Crescent garden California poppies. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Water Saving Plants for Shade


These beautiful dark green flowered plants grow no more than 2 feet tall and will bloom in bright shade with little more than once every two weeks watering once established (more if planted in a brighter area). 
Clivia nobilis

Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata

 Aspidistra elatior 'Cast Iron Plant'

This plant comes from a tough family, including Nolina and Sansaveria. In fact it is so tough and hardy it has its own song, this plant needs only a glance or two to stay healthy, and as far as water -once every two weeks or less after it's been established (about 2 years).
Aspidistra elatior

 Abutilon 'Chinese lantern'

Hardy and colorful member of the hibiscus family; best trained as an espaliered vine in shade. Water it once every one to two weeks once its established. Blooms in bright shade. 

 Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf' The 'Black headed' Aeonium

A succulent that doesn't mind some shade, its leaves are purple black with green new growth. In sun it will shrink to what looks like small drumsticks, but in shade it should remain lush looking throughout the year.,

 Asparagus meyeri 'Foxtail asparagus'

More kempt and controlled than common springeri ornamental asparagus; meyeri will do well in moderate to bright shade and need watering only once a week to week and a half. Keep vigilant however, as this one can easily grow out of bounds. 
 It lends itself to whimsy as well.

Acanthus molle  'Grecian pattern plant' 

Acanthus molle's common name refers to its ancient use as an inspiration for the decorations on greek marble columns. Like the long lasting columns the plant is tough and can thrive in relatively dark areas. It does, however, die back every summer, only to come back again in the spring. This 'resurrection' was the reason it was considered sacred by the greeks. The sacred and beautiful spike-like flowers however, do have a somewhat 'unholy' smell to some people -and remind the author of semi-spoiled milk.

 Raphis excelsa 'the Lady palm'

Not only a lady but can take an occasional dry week or two once established, not as drought tolerant as others on this list -if too deprived it will lose leaves, but sowly. 

 Amaryllis belladonna the 'Naked Lady'

Bulbs that come up every summer in the shade when nothing else is blooming -Amaryllis require once a week watering when blooming and much less when not in bloom. Does best if it gets a hint of direct sun (about 2-3 hours).
Amaryllis belladonna
Amaryllis belladonna

Spider lily (Lycoris sp.)

Lycoris sp. 

Spider lilies blooming in front of a Spider. 

Creeping fig (Ficus pumila)
This is one of the few vines that do ok in shade. Remember to cut this one back every 5 years or so; if you don't it could develop robust flowering shoots that do not cling to the wall and take up valuable space.

Ficus pumila

Snake plants (Sanseveria sp.)

Tough plants related to Aspidistra, they have the nickname 'Bachelor Plant' because they are so tough even the negligent can keep them as houseplants. They are also excellent outdoor plants and can tolerate a good amount of shade. 

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina sp.)

Normally planted in sunny areas, it will survive in bright shaded areas as well with watering only once every one to two weeks. 
Nandina sp. 

Nandina sp. 

Natal Plum (Carissa sp.)

This South African native shrub actually tolerates light shade and can be used as a hedge in bright shady areas. Once it's established it needs watering every two to four weeks in a shady area. 
Carissa sp. 

Variegated dwarf Carissa

Berberis (Mahonia) repens

This low growing, creeping ground cover can go a month without water once established. Great companion for native oaks. 

Berberis (Mahonia) repens

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

The Western redbud is an understory tree that grows natively in the Sierra Nevadas and other western mountains. It will bloom in bright, filtered shade or with several hours of direct sunlight. Once established (about two years) it can go 2-4 weeks between waterings. 


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pix From the Grounds

It's looking great out there now. These pix are from the last few days. One thing that stands out are the very early blooming Tabebuia impetiginosa trees (Pink trumpet trees) that are just spectacular all over the Arboretum. This is the earliest I have seem them blooming to this extent in the 20 years I've been here. 
Our orchid collection is starting to bloom more and more, and you can see some of them in the Tropical Greenhouse. 

The Australian section is starting to look good, with the yellow flowered Acacias leading the way. A note to the allergic (like me), Acacia pollen is a known allergen.
One of my favorite meditation spots is the bench under this Mountain White Gum; Eucalyptus dalrympleana.
Just west of the Australian section is the Canary Island exhibit. It is starting to bloom and will probably peak in a month or two.
The road to our Chinese-North American collection of trees and shrubs is flanked by these stone Korean steles.
The Kallam Garden looks good any time of the year, and now is no exception.
A yellow Chinese banana plant is blooming in front of the dark green leaves of an Aristolochia gigantea vine that is covering the old begonia greenhouse. 
This spectacular Pink trumpet tree is located just south of Ayres Hall.
A yellow flowered blooming magnolia (M. "Elizabeth") in the Meadowbrook section.
More of "Elizabeth"
Engelmann oaks on Tallac Knoll.
More Englemann's.
Yellow, wispish Palo Verde tree next to a contrasting grey Texas ranger bush.
A redwood growing next to running bamboo.
Another look at the Chinese banana bloom.

A strange looking orchid bloom in the Tropical Greenhouse.
Cacao pod.
The original permaculture garden located on the north side of the research building.
The remains of the huge Baldwin blue gum located on the north bend of the beltway road.
More Canary Island exhibit.
And even more Canary Island exhibit.
Gold coin plant in front of a Dragon tree.
The stairs to the top of Tallac Knoll.
Redbud blooming in the northern part of the Meadowbrook section.
More blooming redbud.
A respite in the tropical rainforest.
Wedding photos complete with a cast of Aloes.
A shady rest beckons under the oak tree next to the Garden for all seasons.
The San Gabriel mountains compete with a Pink trumpet tree for your awe.
A bright green Moringa tree may have trumped the mighty mountains, for now.
I'm calling this one a draw.
Wispy clouds and South African plants.
This Trumpet tree impresses near the Arboretum's entrance.
Wildflowers in the Crescent Garden.

Blooming 'Galaxy' magnolia.
A riot of color in the Meadowbrook section.
A time to contemplate redbuds.
A wall of South African plants.
San Gabriels meet South Africa.
South African Section, San Gabriel Mountains tied.