Sunday, November 29, 2015

Japanese Camellia

Japanese Camellia
Camellia japonica ‘Valtevareda'
(kuh-MEE-lee-a) (juh-PON-ih-kuh)
Synonym: Common Camellia

Practicing a gardener’s optimism I dutifully ordered 12 more “hardy” Camellias for a garden in Scarsdale. The last two plantings got wiped out by the bad winters. One or two branches with a couple of weak leaves had to be considered a total loss. Since the owner really wants some outdoor Camellias I was willing to try again. This time I tried to find a warmer, more sheltered area of the garden and will be erecting burlap wind barriers and spraying with wilt pruf. My feelings are that the last batch got a little too much sun and wind in the winter.

Well I haven’t posted a black and white flower picture recently so here are two of Camellia japonica cultivars growing under glass,

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Yellow Million Bells

Yellow Million Bells

We grew a lot of annuals this year. Several weeks in the spring were devoted to procuring and planting them. Among the many species were several varieties of Calibrachoa. This used to be one of my favorite flowers but it seems that many of the new varieties are not as vigorous as they should be. The dreamy almost impossible colors are eye-catching and hard to resist at the nursery but next year we will not be buying as many.

The mounding and trailing habit are useful as is the spilling effect in containers. Million Bells grow 6-8 inches tall with a large spread. They are one of the plants that truly lives up to the phrase, “blooms May to frost”. Calibrachoa can tolerate some very cold weather and slightly more than light frost. It was the last good looking annual plant in several gardens.

Now I know that if a plant doesn’t do well it is usually not the plants fault. It’s because I failed to provide it with the ideal growing conditions. We are lucky that many of our annuals are grown in the same location every year so the soil is loose and amended. Now if the weather doesn’t cooperate there is not much you can do about that. In the case of Calibrachoa I have found that they are best grown on the dry side and lean soil.

Here is another annual flower. While I have grown the blue form for many years this is the first year we grew the pink flowered one. It really looked nice while filling it’s space up.

Pink Fan Flower
Scaevola aemula

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray.
I've been for a walk on a winter's day.”

Santa Monica Pier