Friday Night Botanical Garden

What a palate cleanser for me--coming here after work on Fridays!

(Shhh...I come here after work every day. Some days I even come here for lunch.)

The first thing that captures my attention tonight...

Lamium + Anemone

Do you recognize the green foliage growing over the lamium? Do you know what it signifies?

Hint: The mental association I have with this plant reminds me how shocked I am to recall the summer solstice is just a couple weeks away.

Bah! Let's not linger here. Let's go to California.


Here, it's still spring.

Phacelia campanularia + Layia platyglossa

Phacelia bolanderi Chlorogalum
Allium + Mimulus Calycanthus occidentalis

Albeit late spring, as this tree's flowers would attest.

Aesculus californica

Strybing has the cv. 'Canyon Pink' too. The inflorescence is half as large, but just as fragrant.

Aesculus californica 'Canyon Pink'

No sign of any flowers yet on the Calycanthus occidentalis in my garden. These flowers smell like last night's wine.

Calycanthus occidentalis

California gives way to South Africa. I weeded this particular area of this particular bed the very first day I volunteered here at the Botanical Garden.


That was December 2005. I didn't know a single South African plant then. I had never heard of, or ever seen, Protea cynaroides.

Protea cynaroides

I didn't know what Leucospermums were, or that Restios were considered fashionable. I didn't know that geraniums were really Pelargoniums and that some have nice fragrances.

Leucospermum + restio

I didn't know about Watsonia--bulbous plants that make 5' tall flower spikes in spring and summer and want no summer water.


Watsonia Watsonia marginata

I didn't know about Wachendorfia, or the Silver Tree behind it in this picture.


I do recall reading a letter to the editor in Fine Gardening about Melianthus major sometime around then. Someone from Los Angeles wrote to say, "Excuse me, but here in southern California Melianthus reaches the eaves by the end of summer."

Melianthus major


In the cactus garden, the Agave chiapensis inflorescence is spectacular.

Agave chiapensis

The basal foliage is relatively small and compact for a tall inflorescence.

Agave chiapensis

A wider view.

Agave chiapensis

I'm generally not a Phormium lover. But I like the dark blades behind this yellow Kniphofia. So cool.


Cantua buxifolia comes in both red-flowering and yellow-flowering forms (and apparently this red+pink-flowering form). I put both the red and the yellow in my garden this year. (Yikes...)


The flowers look good, but this shrub needs some rejuvenation.


A vaguely similar plant but with bigger leaves, Iochroma cyaneum.

Iochroma cyaneum

This one's flowers seem unusually purple to me.

Iochroma cyaneum

Speaking of purple, Fagus sylvatica 'Atropurpurea' next to...

Fagus sylvatica 'Atropurpurea'

this tree which has amazing wood.


On the way out, I cut through the cloud forest where I'm momentarily entranced by Passiflora membranacea

Passiflora membranacea

And I see a little grove of Dahlia imperialis that I planted after the big storm last January is coming along well...

Dahlia imperialis

Tree dahlia is the easiest plant in the world to propagate. Just stick a piece in the ground--as long as it includes a node, you're good.

This rose is 'Jude the Obscure'. It would be a wild overstatement to say that I'm a novice when it comes to roses... So far, this is the most fragrant rose that I have ever encountered.

Rosa 'Jude the Obscure'

It's a David Austin rose, and he has this to say:
'Jude the Obscure' vies with 'Golden Celebration' for the first place as the most magnificent of the English Roses. Its flowers are very large and of incurved chalice shape. Their color is a pleasing medium yellow on the inside of the petals and a paler yellow on the outside. It has excellent, strong and almost completely disease-free growth. This rose is particularly fine in a dry climate, although it may ball in the rain.

A very strong, unusual and delicious fragrance with a fruity note reminiscent of guava and sweet white wine.
Well, I planted 'Golden Celebration at my client's house. It's nice, but if you want my opinion it's no 'Jude the Obscure'. Are you familiar with this rose? Am I wrong?

I'm so obsessed with Jude, I added two of them to my garden this year.

I'll end here tonight with Chiranthodendron pentadactlyon.

Chirantodendon pentadactylon

The bat-pollinated flowers fill with 2-3 tablespoons of sugary nectar. When I've tasted it before it reminded me of hibiscus cooler. Tonight it reminded me of the milk left in the bowl after eating a particular sugar cereal popular in the 1970s--like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, but with faint notes of nutmeg.

Chirantodendron pentadactylon


gintoino said...

Your are such a lucky guy to have such a place to go to after work. What wonderful gardens! Lots of unknown plants (to me that is)thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Chuck- the leaves with the lamium look like Japanese Anemone, and if so, somewhat forgettable- once you have them they are hard to get rid of. But when they are blooming, kinda nice.


chuck b. said...

Emma--yes, Japanese anenome it is! The flowers signify the end of summer to me. Hence, I am not thrilled to see the foliage.

Anonymous said...

Photos are great and text, too. Thanks for introducing me to a few new plants. Time to visit Strybing!
You also reminded me I wanted to try Dahlia imperialis...but never got a stick :-(
Can I buy cv 'Canyon Pink'??! wow! I love buckeye blooms - but pink - yippee.
Must research that passiflora, too. yum.

Unknown said...

You might be obsessed with Jude, but I'm obsessed with Chiranthodendron pentadactlyon! What a gorgeous flower, and the fact that you can eat the sugary nectar out of it makes it insanely cool.

Randy said...

Chuck, do you know what those stunning blue flowers are in your first few pictures of this post? I absolutely adore anything in the shade blue, and those are perhaps the most gorgeous blue flowers I have seen in some time... --Jamie

Christopher C. NC said...

That first picture could have been taken on this NC mountaintop. The unknown foliage looked familar, but I couldn't place it. I was thinking Rubus odoratus, the Thimbleberry, which looks a lot like Anemone foliage.

After that, it is a whole other world.

chuck b. said...

Cloverann, I've read about 'Canyon Pink' in books, but I've never seen it for sale--strange!

Kim, I never see that plant for sale either. I think they propagated it at the Botanical Garden recently. Maybe I should try to buy one!

Randy and Jamie, That's Phacelia campanularia, commonly called Desert Bluebell--a southern California wildflower. (And not a Lupine.)

Anonymous said...

Looks like Santa Barbara Bot Gdn has Aesculus 'Canyon Pink'??
But, a bit of a drive...

Angela Pratt said...

That red + pink Cantua is out of this world. Thanks for taking the time to post these pics. My friend Weeder and I enjoy tagging along with you (via cyberspace) to nurseries, gardens and walks around S.F.

We share your insatiable appetite for cool plants. :-)

lisa said...

Too many cool plants in this post...I feel like my head will explode! I'm with Kim-bizarre cool blooms, bat pollinated AND sugary nectar? Sign me up! I thought that foliage looked like thimbleberry too, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be growing there. I want that rose, also...but I don't think any of the David Austin roses are hardy to my zone, however I'm sure gonna research it! I get sooo many plant ideas for my "wish list" from your tours! :)

Frances, said...

The japanese anemones make you sad? Why is that? Their blooms help the fall garden become spectacular. Most of mine are Prinz Henri, dark pink. They spread like crazy, but not uncontrollable. Everything looks exciting and exotic, but none more than the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios flowers, what a metaphor.