Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Standing, waiting, looking

This was a lemon/lime colored Kniphofia – now it’s orange. It bloomed lemon/lime all last summer, its first bloom this year was lemon/lime, now this. What’s up!? Could it be that my garden is color coordinating itself? We put up the orange shade pavilion and my Kniphofia changes color to match, odd. I must say I miss the lemon lime…

Usually when I am in the garden I’m working or hanging out on the patio with friends. Neither allows for a lot of staring at individual plants. Playing construction assistant this weekend I ended up doing quite a bit of standing, waiting and looking. I kept finding something that needed pulling or pruning but as soon as I wandered over to do it I’d be asked for a hammer, or a box of nails and I never managed to get to whatever I headed off to do. I did get to stare long and hard at the Crocosmia and notice that they are just about to bloom. I really like this stage when the pattern is so dramatic. I might have missed it if I had been buzzing around like usual.This plant is related to the Ocotillo (I believe); it has sentimental value as it was one of the first gifts I bought for my husband when we started dating. Most of the year it looks like dead sticks, but when the weather warms and rains a couple of times it sprouts happy little green leaves. I planted Caladium bulbs but gave up waiting on them after I found a couple plants for a great price while grocery shopping (how handy that the grocery store has an okay garden center too). I love the pink paint splattered leaves. It’s the type of thing I’ll decide I hate someday, but right now I love their patterns.
Earlier this spring I had the unfortunate timing to bring my Aeonium “Sunburst” outside the day before we had a hail storm. Its perfect petals (they do look like flower petals don’t they?) were trashed. No more – it’s a fast grower this time of year and has produced enough new growth to shed all the damaged petal/leaves.
While holding the ladder and praying my husband didn’t fall, I spent a great deal of time staring at the agaves, I love their dramatic patterns and shapes. They all have their own unique beauty, to honor them I’m declaring tomorrow “agave day”. Here’s an agave appetizer … to whet your appetite. This one is not from my collection; I took this picture at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. It's also the agave in the background of my blog header.


  1. Wow, when I visited your post about your front yard, I should have had more time to browse your blog. Glad you came to visit mine, it motivated me to get back here. This post is just beautiful, and I'm looking forward to the agaves.

    The Kniphofia (what a word!) may be telling you something about its dietary requirements when it changed color. I had day lilies that changed their color, and it had to do with the fact that they were deficient in magnesium and potassium. Maybe something of the sort is going on here. We do have to remember that making flowers is quite energy intensive for a plant, after all it is their method of reproduction and anyone who has been pregnant will testify to how hungry and tired they get.

  2. I know that feeling of standing waiting to be asked for the right tool or to fetch one of the several things we left where it belongs (rather than where we happen to be).

    The bright green leaves of your ocotillo relation are sweet. I've always thought there's something so amazing and renewing in seeing the leaves come out of what looks like a dried, dead stick.

    I love your idea of an official agave day! Show us lots of yours: I'll follow suit with a short post of my three (very ordinary ones) on my blog tomorrow, too.

  3. healing magic hands (sorry I just couldn't type that without putting spaces in), glad you came back for another visit! You have a very good point about the nutrition, I tend to forget about these things. Even though I've never been pregnant I certainly appreciate the analogy, perfect!

    Jane, I am so excited! I can't wait to see your agaves, and there is no such thing as an ordinary agave, at least not to me, each one is so different and beautiful. I should have thought ahead and put a note up encouraging everyone to show us their agaves, how fun! Ah well...maybe we can stretch it out for a week and everyone can eventually play along with their own agave day. What eye-candy that would be! You've got me all giddy just thinking about it...

  4. I've had a few color changes too, I wish I understood enough about what makes the changes happen so I could keep the colors where I want them (hydrangeas green not blue, peonies white not ping).
    I was surprised to see crocosmia buds already, I always thought they came later in the summer, but sure enough, mine are budding out too.
    Agave day - I should have read your blog before I wrote something this morning, I would have done an agave day. Good idea.

  5. Oh don't get me started about the Hydrangeas Megan...mine starts out green, turns blue and then a puke mauve color. Goes from great to ick. I've researched how to stop it but everything says that you can't. You can have agave day tomorrow!

  6. I made the mistake of leaving A. Sunburst unprotected one night during its first winter in the garden. It was all but gone, and has taken years to recover. Won't let it out of my sight now! Alice
    p.s. I digitized slides from the garden's early years & there are caladiums in the pics. I'd forgotten how much summery they are.


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