Saturday, September 17, 2011

A few things in the yard that caught my eye

It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of September. Even though the thermometer still climbs into the high 80s in the afternoon, there’s a definite chill in the air in the morning, and on some trees the leaves are beginning to change color ever so slightly. One thing that remains elusive: rain. But that’s not unusual. I don’t really expect rain until mid- or late October.

Yesterday I walked through the front and backyard with my camera, and there were quite a few things that caught my eye. The flowering superstars of the summer (the rudbeckias and echinaceas, for example) are on the wane, but other plants are going strong, including my beloved succulents and bamboos. They are interesting to me all year round, which is why I have so many of them.

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Flowering maple (Abutilon x hybridum ‘Souvenir de Bonn’) reaching toward the sky. I wish it would grow bushy instead of tall and gangly, but I love the leaves and the flowers.
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Potted bamboos on the edge of our backyard patio.
From left to right: temple bamboo (Semiarundinaria fastuosa), green stripe blowgun bamboo (Bambusa dolichomerithalla ‘Green Stripe’), and yellow buddha’s belly (Bambusa ventricosa ‘Kimmei’).
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Phyllostachys aurea ‘Koi’ settling into its new home in the stock tank.
Here’s a post on this project.
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Leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’) shaded by the branches of a Chinese walking stick bamboo (Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda) growing in a half wine barrel
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Blooming lilyturf (Liriope muscari ‘Silvery Sunproof’)
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Variegated shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’). This is the second year it has bloomed. Peeking through the leaves on the left is one hosta that is actually doing OK in our climate, a cultivar called ‘Climax.’ Ironically, I got as a freebie when ordering other hosta varieties that have fared quite poorly.
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Two succulents with strappy leaves that complement each other nicely. Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’ in the pot, and Beschorneria albiflora in the ground.
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Three of my favorite plants in our front yard succulent bed:
Aloe striata (front left), Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’ (front right), Yucca recurvifolia ‘Margaritaville’ (back center).
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Ghost plants (Graptopetalum paraguayense) assuming a neat purple coloration in a mostly shady spot near the front door.
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Golden lotus banana (Musella lasiocarpa) in its third month of blooming. Notice the additional smaller flower on the left.
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A tropical harbinger of fall: Kahili ginger in bloom (Hedychium gardnerianum)
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Still my favorite bamboo: Baby Blue or Barbie bamboo (Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’) producing one ice blue culm after another. I don’t understand why this bamboo isn’t more widely available in the Bay Area and mild-winter areas of Northern California. It’s hard to beat for rate of growth and sheer beauty.

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