One of the most dramatic yet graceful bulbs you can plant are Dieramas. They are easy care, can live for years and they increase in clump size. Their graceful slender stems sway in the breeze and from these main stems hand wire thin, almost threadlike branches which hold danglind bells of various colors from whites to silvery pinks, to light and dark toned purples. Slender grassy foliage provides the everygreen quality of the clump and they are drought tolerant (you have to water them occasionally, but their deep roots tap into lower ground moisture). Only concern is protection from gophers, plant in wire baskets. Maintenance is a breeze too, just pluck out those dead interior stems and leaves when they dry up!
Plant size varies, but most available species can grow from 3 – 6 ft and a mature clump can have over 3 dozen bloom stalks. Quite showy in masses and so very graceful with nodding bells. Bloom lasts for at least a month, longer if you plant several species, and then they are showy again with light green seed pods, reminscent of green pearls. When ripe, these open to reveal orange seeds(wonderful for dried arrangements)
Full sun and regular water for best growth.
The summer season is upon us finally, despite today’s rains! Here we are past the glories of spring bloomers and there are plenty of other plants to carry on the floral show. Hydrangeas typically come to mind, and there is almost infinite variety among both the various species and hybrids. There are hydrangeas for sun or shade. All need water, ample amounts to give lush growth and abundant blossoms. Colors range from whites, pinks, reds, blules and purples, and now we have bicolored steril flowers as well as doubles. All like good drainage and a fertile soil. Trimming back should be done in late winter. The degree of pruning depends on the type of hydrangea you have. For sun, H. paniculata grandiflora and its cvs. are very showy plants that make a big statement in the landscape. Conical clusters of blooms bud chartreuse, open white, and age to pink. There are large and smaller growers. Pinky Winky is a favorite with large clusters on a big bush sized plant. (think of the mature size of a lilac bush). Clusters open out to perhaps almost 16″ long and they are bicolored. Buds are green open white, then age to pink, but the tip of the cluster remains white, so you have a skyrocket look to the plant in bloom. Wonderful planted in a large ggroup or mass, even in a long line in front of some other showy planting, or as a backdrop planting. A zero maintenance planting might include this with Cornus kousa flanked behind it (well, almost zero maintenance, you just touch the plants once a year to prune back)
For long displays of bloom, Abutilons are hard to beat. They grow fast, bloom on new wood and flower profusely. Bell or saucer shaped blooms come in mass quantities. Colors include ivory white, pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, deep maroon red, and variegated foliages. Quite often, the bells flowered forms are smaller growers and even heavier bearers of flowers. Some favorites inclue Mobile Pink/Pink Supreme, Tangelo, Halo, Cathy Bells, Victor Reiter, Moonchimes, Pink parasol ,White Parasol, Temple Bells, there is a double orange, and also a double pink(both rare)
Fuchsias have not been very commonly planted recently due to the presence of the fuchsia mite which disfigures new growth, Simple picking and disposing of that controls the problem and using a systemic insecticide will give a good amount of control/prevention. These shrubs bloom for a very long time. There are now new hybrids resistant to the mite and worth searching out. There are also species fuchsias which are not affected by the mite. Give them a try again. Graceful hanging blooms which hummers just love lend an air of elegance to any garden. Ample watering with good drainage, regular feedling and tip pinching to keep compact are all that is needed for a very long blooning period. Shade to seome degree is also necessary unless you are directly on the coast and have high humidity and cooler temps.