October garden retrospective

This is one of the things I like about my house. I took the photo with the HDR setting on my iPhone just before sunrise. The Giant Bird of Paradise (large leaf upper left)  will be a thing of the past when I get around to it.  For now, it's nice framing that continues the fiction of subtropical Southern California. 


I have high hopes for these interesting thistles, Cirsium occidentale (Cobweb Thistle). I purchased three from Annies and they seem to have settled in to their new location where they will provide a quick screen in summer for the ugly fence. I'd like to purchase a few more later in the planting season. Think of an artichoke with a distinctive bright red cobwebby looking flower.

Cirsium occidentale "Cobweb Thistle"

I also like that my other plants have started to grow now that the worst of the summer is over. This Calliandra has been in a pot near the study for 9 months or so. The flowers are reminiscent of a small feather duster which gives it the common name, Baja Fairy Duster.

baja fairy duster calliandra californica

I may want to move it out into the garden and bring a smaller selection back from the garden and into a pot. I've seen these sheared, but I don't like that look. Still, I may pinch it back for a bit bushier growth. It's a desert plant, so native to California but not to here.  These plants like an occasional flood of water in the summer like a desert monsoon.  Some more coastal California natives don't like any water at all in summer which is sometimes hard to resist despite my years of rigorous training.  Must. Not. Water. Fremontodendron. In. Summer. is sometimes heard through gritted teeth.

Meanwhile, over in the Manhattan Beach Botanic Garden, the Isocoma menziesii (Coast Golden Bush, Menzie's Goldenbush) was looking wonderful. It grows naturally all along the coast in PV where it's equally good looking.
Asclepias (Milkweed) also was looking good. I think this is Asclepias curasavica, not a California native.  Behind it appears to be a red fountain grass, probably invasive as well as exotic.  My local milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) isn't nearly as showy as this one, so it's no wonder this one got the nod over poor A. fascicularis.
Asclepias curasavica (milkweed) not Ca native (?)
I wish the MBBG had more natives.  It already has some, but more would be better, I think.

A small native and drought tolerant area has recently been installed over near the South Bay Adult School at Inglewood and Manhattan Beach Blvd.  At first I thought it was a purely native garden with Sycamore, Deer Grass, and Oaks.  

But then I saw this, which I think is Acacia, along with some other non-natives.  I guess it's a step in the right direction.

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