White Hydrangea

P90907KWhat ever happened to the formerly common white hydrangea? It used to one of the three standard types of hydrangea; and the other two were really variants of the same sorts of ‘pink or blue’ hydrangea that I wrote about in ‘Horridculture – True Colors‘. The few hydrangeas that are white nowadays are lacy, flat-topped, blushed . . . or anything but simple classic white.

This old fashioned simple white hydrangea is just as elegant now as it has always been. It is always white, without pretense of blue or pink. There is no point of giving it something it does not really need just to change its natural color (like those of us in the Santa Clara Valley do to make pink hydrangeas blue; or those of us in the Tualatin Valley do to make blue hydrangeas pink).

The bulky and almost spherically rounded form of this floral truss distinguishes this old fashioned type as a ‘mophead’ hydrangea. Nowadays, ‘lacecap’, ‘mountain’, ‘smooth’, ‘panicle’, ‘oakleaf’ and ‘climbing’ hydrangeas are the more popular types. There is certainly nothing wrong with contemporary types, but there is nothing wrong with the old fashioned ‘mophead’ types either.

When it is time to prune the hydrangeas this winter, we might take cuttings from this particular specimen, in order to grow a few copies of it. Pink and blue hydrangeas, which get fertilized accordingly (to maintain their desired colors), happen to suit the landscapes very nicely here, but a few more white hydrangeas would brighten the rich dark green of the forest splendidly.

Besides, the old fashioned simplicity and elegance of this old fashioned white mophead hydrangea seem to be more compatible with the old redwoods and other mature forest trees than the relative flashiness of modern cultivars that were popularized only in the past few decades.

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Six on Saturday: White (but not) Trash

 

That is, of course, a matter of perspective. Some of us might find some of the six species represented here to be trashy. Some of us might find all six to be appealing. After a slight expression of disapproval of my insensitive designation of my six pictures as ‘White Trash’ last week, I considered that I should perhaps be more tactful with my opinions this week. Then, I got over it.

These six just happen to be rather innocuous, so I have nothing too objectionable to say about them. I am actually rather fond of them. The last comment about #5 refers to the 2-in-1 graft.

1. Oregano, Oringamum vulgare, is civilly naturalized in a few spots. I let it bloom because it is rather pretty. There are plenty of unbloomed stems for anyone who wants a bit of the foliage.P90907

2. Autumn sage, Salvia greggii, with white flowers, developed within a colony that was originally of the cultivar ‘Hot Lips’. The more typical flower is blurred in the upper right background.P90907+

3. Chilean jasmine, Mandevilla laxa, is a mildly fragrant mandevilla. The fragrance is barely perceptible here. I am impressed anyway. I do not expect any fragrance at all from a mandevilla.P90907++

4. Star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, is much more fragrant, especially in abundance. I know it is common, but I like it anyway, as much for the foliage as for the fragrant bloom.P90907+++

5. Rose, Rosa spp., seems to be the all too common floribunda cultivar, ‘Iceberg’. It is grafted together with what seems to be ‘Burgundy Iceberg’, onto standards (rose trees). 2-in-1 = tacky!P90907++++

6. Oleander, Nerium oleander, to many, is even tackier. I really like it. Besides, it does so well without irrigation in the rustic or unrefined landscapes. It might be the cultivar, ‘Sister Agnes’.P90907+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Paris Daisy

60831If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. In the 1960s and 1970s, such accessorizing with Paris daisy, Argyranthemum frutescens (which was at the time, Chrysanthemum frutescens), was a fad. The white flowers with yellow centers were about two or three inches wide. Modern cultivars have smaller flowers that might be light pink or pastel yellow.

Bloom continues in phases from spring through autumn. Light shearing as each bloom phase fades promotes fuller bloom of the subsequent phase. However, if conditions are right, bloom may be nearly continuous, without much pause between phases. Unlike the tougher yellow euryops daisy, Paris daisy wants rich soil, regular watering and maybe a bit of fertilizer for best performance.

Individual plants can get three feet tall and twice as broad, but live only a few years. Lower stems that develop roots where they touch the ground can be left to grow as new plants when an original plant dies. If they do not get roots on their own, lower stems can be pressed into the soil and held down with rocks (with their leafy tips exposed) to grow roots before the parent plant deteriorates.

Snowball Bush

90424Long before hydrangea blooms with its distinctively round floral trusses of abundant small flowers, the snowball bush, Viburunum opulus ‘Roseum’, shares its own unique version of similar bloom. Although the cultivar name suggests that the bloom would be pink or red, it is exclusively white. Hydrangea will bloom later, mostly in pink or red, with some in blue or lavender, and a few in white.

The snowball blooms of snowball bush are about thee inches wide, so are smaller than those of hydrangea, and do not last quite as long. They bloom early in spring, without subsequent bloom. The two or three inch long deciduous leaves might turn surprisingly vivid orange and red before defoliating in autumn. Mature specimens easily get taller than ten feet, and might reach fifteen feet.

Snowball bush eventually develops a relaxed and unrefined style that fits nicely into woodsy landscapes. Autumn foliar color is better with full sun exposure, but a bit of partial shades promotes a slightly more open branch structure that displays the spring bloom better. Pruning should be done after bloom. Snowball bush prefers somewhat regular watering and rich soil, but is not too finicky.

Japanese Anemone

81128Here it is, three quarters of the way through November, and this Japanese anemone, Anemone hupehensis or Anemone X hybrida, is finally finishing bloom. It should have finished a month ago, but does not always stay on schedule here. Each cultivar exhibits a distinct responsiveness to the seasons, so others finished a while ago. The deciduous foliage will eventually succumb to frost.

Once they get going in a spot that they like, Japanese anemone slowly spread. Although not considered to be invasive, they can be difficult to get rid of if they creep into spots where they are not wanted. Because they bloom so late in summer and autumn, they get divided in spring. Even old colonies may never need to be divided, but can be divided if more plants are desired elsewhere.

The elegance of the foot high foliage seems contrary to its woodsy and unrefined compatibility with taller shrubbery and small trees, like rhododendrons, Japanese maples and hydrangeas. It is an excellent seasonal understory. The limber stems of the white or pale pink flowers get about twice as high as the foliage. The one and a half to two inch wide flowers are either single or double.

Japanese anemone wants rich soil, partial shade and regular watering. It can be happy in full sun exposure if it does not get too warm and dry.

Six on Saturday: Camellias on Parade

 

The camellias are STILL blooming! They may not bloom profusely, but they have been blooming for quite a while. I do not know how many different cultivars are here, but there are more than I can fit into just six pictures. There are six more for next week, although two might be the same. They are the dark pink or red camellias. For this week, we have two light pink and four white camellias. I did not get any picture of the sasanqua camellias. I have not seen reticulata camellias or any other specie here.

1. This clear pink camellia is probably my least favorite of these six, only because it is a bit too casual for my taste.P80421
2. This clear pink camellia looks more refined. I really like this form.P80421+
3. Now we have white, my favorite color, but the bright yellow stamens in the middle make this casual camellia look like a fried egg.P80421++
4. I happen to prefer this fluffier white, with less prominent stamens.P80421+++
5. Wow! This one really looks yummy!P80421++++
6. Now my favorite; so simple, and so white, although, the camellia in the previous pictures actually looks yummier!4bd5
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Baby’s Breath

80328You might think that such a popular flower would be easy to get a picture of. Baby’s breath, Gypsophila paniculata, is everywhere, and almost a standard component of the mixed bouquets found in supermarkets. However, the flowers are so small and so sparsely arranged on thin stems, that they do not look like much in pictures. This picture is a closeup of a tightly bound bundle of bloom.

As common is it is with other cut flowers, baby’s breath is quite uncommon in home gardens. It is not often available in nurseries. Seed should have been sown by about now. Baby’s breath grows something like a tumbleweed about three or even four feet high and wide. The stems look too delicate to stand so tall. The minute flowers are usually white but can be pale pink and slightly fluffier.

While blooming in summer, baby’s breath is so handsome that no one wants to cut the flowers. It is difficult to take just a few good stems to add to other cut flowers without ruining the symmetry of a well rounded plant. Some people who grow it prefer to put it out of the way, or grow it amongst other flowers to hide the disfigurement of harvest. Baby’s breath blooms better if crowded anyway.

Candytuft

80321It looks like sweet alyssum, but is not even close. The tiny white flowers and finely textured foliage work almost as well for similar uses in the landscape. In fact, the plants are most often grown as short term warm season annuals. However, candytuft, Iberis sempervirens, is really a perennial that can be cut back in autumn, regenerate through winter, and bloom for spring and early summer.

One must really examine candytuft closely to see that it is related to cole crop vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. That is why is has an odd aroma when cut back. Mature plants have the potential to get nearly a foot deep, but typically stay lower. They can spread a bit wider than a foot. Candytuft can tolerate a slight bit of shade, but prefers sunny exposure.

If planted closely together, candytuft can form a nice small scale ground cover. It mixes nicely with stones, and cascades slightly over the edges of low stone retaining walls. It is more substantial than sweet alyssum, and works better for permanent planting in borders and along walkways. The barely perceptible floral fragrance of individual plants can be quite appealing in larger volumes.

Six on Saturday: My Favorite Color II – The Sequel!

 

WHITE!

These are a few more of the flowers I get to work with. The cool season annuals will eventually be replaced with warm season annuals. The English daisies are warm season annuals that replaced cyclamen. Candytuft stays as a perennial. The viola and dianthus are sparse because of the shade from the big redwoods.

If you are easily offended, you should not read this article I wrote earlier about my favorite color: https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/white-supremacy/

1. cyclamenP80303
2. violaP80303+
3. dianthusP80303++
4. primroseP80303+++
5. English daisyP80303++++
6. candytuftP80303+++++
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: My Favorite Color

 

WHITE!

These are a few of the flowers I get to work with. I do not know any of the cultivars. Some are blooming a bit early because of the prior warm weather.

If you are easily offended, you should not read this article I wrote earlier about my favorite color: https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/white-supremacy/

1. American plumP80224
2. rhododendronP80224+
3. azaleaP80224++
4. camelliaP80224+++
5. zonal geraniumP80224++++
6. callaP80224+++++
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/