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Showing posts from December, 2011

Diminuendo: a year comes to an end....

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Of course, the beginning and end of years is (or are) highly artificial boundaries. Nature never sleeps really...although our long winter (already several months slogging with five or six sizeable snows) does imply a sort of pause. Time to reflect. I naturally begin with a glimpse of my home rock garden, which gives me so much delight and which will be blooming gloriously again in a few months...nay! Weeks! (The first flowers always manage to peek out in January after all!)



Peering backward through the calendar year, and slogging in reverse alphabetical order, I can count my blessings phytologically, as it were. Each group of plants seems to embody some quality or feature. Veronicas seem to ratchet a bit up every year: most are very fine indeed, and some are simply divine like Veronica bombycina var. bolgardagensis. My British and European friends tell me this is not an outdoor plant for them, which gives me an extra measure of pride. I planted a husky plant of Veronica densiflora ou…

For we are most artistically caged

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California is a lovely cage indeed! The view from Kristen McNany's lovely home in Palos Verdes where my girlfriend Jan is staying right now. Jan has never not spent Xmas in California, and this year is no exception. She called tonight to say there was another fabulous sunset (I took this one two weeks ago already). Los Angeles has more than its share of glorious sunsets this time of year.


Our view from Debra Lee Baldwin's wonderful guest quarters in Escondido. The Baldwin's made Jan and me feel utterly at home and Debra more than dazzled us with her garden, the gardens of two of the leading designers of San Diego and a sampling of nurseries a stone's throw from her house including the one below. The Escondido to Vista area has to be the succulent equivalent of Heaven: I can't imagine another place on earth with so many extensive and fabulous nurseries of all sorts, but especially for succulents.



Another of our wonderful California hostesses was Robin Parer, the un…

Geranium magniflorum: underappreciated and then some...

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Few plants are more useful in the garden than geraniums. I have patches of geranium I planted decades ago that cheerfully persist with little fuss or bother, providing masses of flowers in season, often with a second season of fall color and of course months and months of just plain great foliage. I just spent a few days with Robin Parer, the proprietor of Geraniaceae, and I shall blog about her wonderful nursery anon (once I download the images) but my visit with her reminded me of this amazing South African gem: Geranium magniflorum. If you click on that hyperlink you will see that this plant is being promoted by Plant Select, and several of the nearly sixty cooperating wholesale nurseries produce it...well, I believe they do. There's this little problem you see...



Despite the fact that this plant is incredibly cold hardy (South African pedigree notwithstanding: it's tough as nails!)...despite the fact that it has the most finely dissected foliage of a lustrous green that i…