I recently spent some time with my parents on Madeira. It is seriously a plant-lover’s paradise! There will be more posts at a later date, but today I want to focus on some of the crazy-looking plants I saw…
This wonderful creature is called the Mickey-Mouse bush. The yellow flowers fall off to reveal these cute red sepals, and eventually produce black fruits which give the plant its common name. Isn’t it lovely?
And this is the kapok tree. Earlier in the year it has striking red five-lobed flowers which are apparently very attractive to bats, but its main importance is the fruit: a light fibre which is used as an alternative to down as stuffing for soft toys and upholstery. I’m told that the fibres loosen and float off, to the great annoyance to residents…but to me they are just cool!
My mother loves poppies. The red ones that grow (or used to…) on the edges of English fields. The Flanders poppies that everyone wears on Remembrance Day. But then we moved to America and I saw the California version…interesting colours, attractive foliage, and even after they die they are interesting…
Grevillea is an Australian shrub, evergreen and relatively drought tolerant. I have it growing in pots in my very sunny entrance courtyard. Isn’t it amazing? And hummingbirds love it…an all-round win!
Mimosa (both kinds!)
November saw the opening of Descanso Gardens‘ Oak Woodland.
Designed around the existing lake, the project aims to showcase the native landscape of the area, a mix of oaks and other trees, California meadow and chaparral plants.
Though still very young (most of the planting was done in March), the garden promises to be a wonderful resource for gardeners looking for inspiration for xeriscaping and native planting – a must in these drought-ridden times in California…
And not just cones…piled in a beautiful bowl…