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!
I love almost every colour of rose, but I think pink roses are my favourite. And even though it goes against my California-native/drought-tolerant principals here in California, I couldn’t resist a few David Austin roses in my new planting schemes. This
is one of my all-time favorites, Gertrude Jekyll, planted last year and finally hitting her stride. Doesn’t she look great against the grey of the deer sage?
is a new friend, Charles Rennie Mackitosh, planted in February and about to reward me for my faith. You can take the girl out of England… 🙂
Yes, folks, this…
…is one tree. Isn’t it wonderful?
I’m not normally a fan of chrysanths (mums)…years of working as a floristry assistant have trained me to think of them as mere filler. But these:
…seen at Descanso Gardens this week, are something special!
I defy anyone not to love sweet peas. Totally girly with their delicate, pastel-coloured petals and sweet scent and completely impractical for anything other than decoration. But irresistible nonetheless. These are from my father’s garden in England.
Lavender is a versatile plant. Beautifully scented and highly decorative, it can grow in damp English climates
and hot Mediterranean ones.
It has a myriad of uses, from perfume and aromatherapy, to cakes and teas. It is popular with bees, but also repels moths. Wonderful plant!
Roses, to me, epitomize summer. By which I mean the soft, warm beauty of early summer, the summer of lush greenery and country weddings, rather than the beach picnics and scorched earth of late August. And they should be “au naturale”. Not for me the manicured specimens of hybrid teas, each in their own two square feet of bare earth; I like my roses big and blowsy, fat with fragrance, spilling over arbours and mixed with companion plants. If that offends you, move along..