Here in the Sacramento Valley, there is one constant in the summer (and that means from May until late September): The sun shines every day. You can count the number of overcast days on one hand. I’m not exaggerating!
Yesterday was one of those rare days. While the sun did come out a few times, there were long periods when we had more or less solid cloud cover. Candy Suter of Sweetstuff’s Sassy Succulents, who lives 45 minutes east of me, even reported rain. We had no such luck, but I availed myself of this special opportunity and took a bunch of photos, both in the back and the front yard. Overcast skies equal even light, which makes for much better photography than the harsh contrast of a sunny day.
There is no theme to this post, but you get to see some areas of the yard I haven’t written about in quite a while. Sit back with a cup or glass of your favorite beverage because there are a lot of photos in this post.
Woodland garden in front of the dining room window. The big bamboo is Borinda fungosa.
Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) and Hosta ‘Climax’, one of the two hostas that remain from my Big Hosta Experiment of five years ago (ironically, this one was a freebie!)
Agave ovatifolia ‘Vanzie’ (read this post for more)
One of the bamboo stock tanks. On the left: Indocalamus tessellatus. On the right: Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis', from a small division I received from Alan Lorence (It’s Not Work, It’s Gardening)
Another bamboo doing fairly well, thanks to regular watering with gray water from the kitchen sink: walking stick bamboo (Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda)
Farfugium japonicum ‘Argenteum’ and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Albostriata’)
Same plus a few agaves: Agave mitis ‘Nova’ (large blue one towards the right), Agave hiemiflora (smaller light green one on the right), Agave guiengola ‘Crème Brûlée’ (variegated one towards the top, center right)
Four potted succulents in front of the Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ in the back yard
One of the offsets from the Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’ I removed a few weeks ago in front of Sasa tsuboiana, a small groundcover bamboo
Another offset from Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’, parked temporarily in an unused raised vegetable bed next to the Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ in the back yard
Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’: given up for dead after the early December 2013 cold spell, it has made a magic comeback
Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) against the bay trees (Laurus nobilis)
This summer we installed two shade sails instead of the customary patio umbrella. It makes the area seem more spacious and yet more intimate at the same time.
My hammock seen through a potted black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)
Bamboo wind chime. I can’t get enough of the sound.
Abutilon ‘Souvenir de Bonn’
Angel wing begonias (Begonia ‘Angel Wing’) in bloom
They have been flowering for months now. What a nice surprise!
Agave petrophila, bought on Monday from Greg Starr at his presentation to the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society. The pot was made by Mark Muradian, a very talented potter (and cactus aficionado) from Fresno County.
Purple cone flowers (Echinacea purpurea ‘Kim’s Knee High’)
Passionflower vine (Passiflora × ‘Blue Eyed Susan’) near the front door
I’m happy to see a couple of flower buds on the passionflower vine!
Asian lemon bamboo (Bambusa eutuldoides 'Viridividatta') and sago palm (Cycas revoluta)
Fan aloe (Aloe plicatilis)
Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’ with colorful new growth
Mounded succulent bed next to the front door
Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’
We’ll have a bumper crop of Bearss limes this year!
All three Dioon edule ‘Palma Sola’ are flushing at the moment
LEFT: Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’ RIGHT: Aloe cryptopoda
Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’
Agave titanota ‘FO-076’ aka ‘Felipe Otero’ aka ‘Sierra Mixteca’
Agave ‘Snowglow’. Look to the left and right of it: the Yucca filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’ I removed here in October 2013 is trying to make a comeback!
Colorful tapestry outside the front yard fence
Dwarf Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire') and Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’
Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
LEFT: My favorite here is Epilobium canum 'Carmen's Grey', a selection of California fuchsia with particularly gray leaves RIGHT: White lavender, can’t remember which cultivar
‘Southern Belle’ sundrop (Calylophus drummondii ‘Southern Belle’)
‘Sonoran Emerald’ palo verde (Parkinsonia x ‘Sonoran Emerald’)
Globe artichokes no more
Agave ocahui, bought on Monday from Greg Starr at his presentation to the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society
Hardy tapioca (Manihot grahamii), ecstatic to finally have free root run. The fern is Blechnum gibbum ‘Silver Lady’, which melts into a puddle each winter.
Hardy tapioca leaf (Manihot grahamii). I love the shape!
Mixed perennials inside the front yard fence
‘Newleaze Coral’ globemallow (Sphaeralcea 'Newleaze Coral') flopped over onto the lawn
Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’
Echinacea ‘Coconut Lime’
Pink rain lilies (Zephyranthes grandiflora)
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) blooming its fool head off. The plant on the left is white sage (Salvia appiana).
The feverfew started out as a small seedling from Alan Lorence (It’s Not Work, It’s Gardening) and has exploded since I planted it in the ground