Blooms and Foliage for August 2014

Better late than never…. right? Our lazy, empty-nest summer is coming to a screeching halt this Saturday, when the kids come back after having spent the summer with the grandparents. Hubbs and I have delved into various projects of our choosing – often things that have waited years to get done. It feels fantastic to check them off our still rather long list! So forgive me, if I’m also a few days late with the monthly garden reports. Be sure to visit Carol at May Dreams Garden and Pam Penick at Digging to see what delights in other August gardens the world over. Here’s what’s going on in mine:

My latest acquisition is a hardy Hibiscus with the most sumptuous black foliage. The tag had it to be a cultivar with deep red flowers called 'Midnight Marvel'. Go figure - the first flower opened pink. I guess, as so many others, this too had been mislabeled. Instead, it is likely a variety called Summer Storm. I really think the universe is conspiring to change my aversion to baby pink. I considered taking it back, but it is growing on me. I like the flaming red center a lot! And the foliage is to die for.

My latest acquisition is a hardy Hibiscus with the most sumptuous black foliage. The tag had it to be a cultivar with deep red flowers called ‘Midnight Marvel’. Go figure – the first (and every one after that) flower opened pink. Damn! I guess, as so many others, this too had been mislabeled. Instead, it is likely a variety called Summer Storm. I really think the universe is conspiring to change my aversion to baby pink. I considered taking it back, but it is growing on me. I like the flaming red center a lot! And the foliage is to die for.

See what I mean? It's pretty cool...

See what I mean? It’s pretty cool…

My Chang fuchsia has been blooming non-stop for months. I fell for its unusually fleshy little flowers. They somehow feel a lot more succulent than "regular" fuchsias. And they are an orangey red that I really like.

My Chang fuchsia has been blooming non-stop for months. I fell for its unusually fleshy little flowers. They somehow feel a lot more succulent to the touch than “regular” fuchsias. And they are an orangey red that I really like.

My Abyssinian banana is getting taller by the day. I love its colors!

My Abyssinian banana is getting taller by the day. I love its colors!

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Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf' looking good in the early morning light.

Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’ looking good in the early morning light.

A lone flower of Clematis henryii in stark contrast to the foliage of Canna australis.

A lone flower of Clematis henryii in stark contrast to the foliage of Canna australis.

A closeup of a rose - Twilight Zone. I'm not usually easily swayed by roses, but I fell for this one. It was both its color and its fragrance that won me over. Delicious!

A closeup of a rose – Twilight Zone. I’m not usually easily swayed by roses, but I fell for this one. It was both its color and its fragrance that won me over. Delicious!

I can at least pretend I'm in the tropics, right? I love my fan palm.

I can at least pretend I’m in the tropics, right? I love the leafy fronds of my Trachycarpus.

Feeling a little dwarfed by Papyrus 'King Tut'.

Feeling a little dwarfed by Papyrus ‘King Tut’.

Sometimes it really feels like a jungle...

Sometimes I feel a little like Thumbelina.

The grapes are ripening.

The grapes are ripening.

More pretty leaves. Echium cancans, Kniphofia, and Salvia argentea.

More pretty leaves. Echium candicans, Kniphofia, and Salvia argentea.

An octopus aloe with a couple of likeminded ground covers.

An octopus aloe with a couple of likeminded ground covers.

I really love the prehistoric foliar texture of this Begonia. It's like I imagine the skin of a T-rex to be. Can't help touching it!

I really love the prehistoric, reptilian foliar texture of this Begonia. It’s like I imagine the skin of a T-rex to be. Can’t help touching it. Funny – if it was a an actual snake, I’d run!

Speaking of which – I was working on an experiment in the side yard, and mentioned my snake phobia to my neighbor. Always the trickster, one day when I came out, I found a rubber snake curled up around one of my unplanted pots. I had seen the glint in my neighbor’s eye, so I was prepared for a prank, and didn’t freak out. Instead, I draped it over a panel he had leaning against his wall. It had the desired effect – he jumped a foot when he turned the corner! Ha! Revenge! We are now, once again, a rubber snake free back yard – as far as I know. More on my side yard experiment in a future post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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12 Responses to Blooms and Foliage for August 2014

  1. Heather says:

    Oh, your grapes! Those are the coolest thing ever.

    • annamadeit says:

      They are actually quite tasty! The seeds are rather large, though. I thought the’d be popular with the birds, but not so. Last year I made a syrup with them instead, and it turned out rather well. 🙂

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    Funny story about your neighbor’s prank with the snake, and yours that did him one better! I love all your rich colors and bold foliage.

  3. linda says:

    I like the pink with that brown/black foliage; and I love roses … love it all !

  4. You have such an interesting range of plants in your garden. I love that beautiful Hibiscus, and the photo of those rose petals is so pretty.

  5. Everything looks fabulous! That begonia does has very cool foliage but I’ll take it over a snake any day. Your grapes are so perfect they look fake. :o)

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Tammy! Yeah, me too. I’m really trying to work on that phobia, but to no avail. They get me every time – I think I must have been a mouse in a former life, or something… 😉

  6. Wow, delicious photos. I had to laugh when you mentioned the universe conspiring to soften you to pink flowers. I am a pink fanatic and love that hibiscus. I’d gladly take it off your hands if we lived closer. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Grace, little by little, it is winning me over – if not in its most babyesque shades. But yes, that Hibiscus is scrumptious. Still haven’t found a spot for it, though… not sure I can meet its sun req’s without confining it to a pot. Next time you are near Portland, give me a shout. Pretty sure you could give it a more deserving home than I. 🙂

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