09 Aug 2010

UC Davis Arboretum – Ruth Risdon Storer Garden Visit – A Few Summer Blooms

Sea Holly Eryngium planum and honey bee

[Sea Holly –  Eryngium planum and honey bee]

To some, it’s a weed, to others, it’s a stellar performer with many advantages in the yard and in the vase.  With its deep periwinkle color, dramatic form and interesting texture, sea holly can transform an average bouquet into a distinct one!  To punch-up bouquets, add it last so you can avoid the sharp bracts, and place them high so the star shape can crown the design.  You can also remove the bracts to emphasize a globe shape.  As for growing, they are very drought tolerant and attract lots of honey bees.

crinum hybrid

[Crinum hybrid]

Crinum lilies can seem delicate, but really they are sturdy sun lovers.

agaave artichoke bloom

[Artichoke agave – Agave parrasana ]

In bloom, the artichoke agave is like a two in one–  an artichoke and asparagus– artiparagus.   The dramatic five-foot bloom dominated the garden.  Perhaps, less obvious, but so inherent in its form is the spiral.

brazillian plume flower

[Fountain-like plume of Justicia carnea – Brazillian plume flower]

This plant will definitely be added to my yard “collection” as soon as I can get my hands on it!

Unfortunately, while a student at UC Davis, I only experienced about a quarter of the arboretum.  Everything was a blur as I rushed to class. Most exposure I had was cutting through the coastal redwoods, dodging waterfowl around Spafford Lake or stomping across the Mondavi foot bridge.  There’s so much I missed.  Some goals (when you let them) just completely absorb your life that way.

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