Garden Alphabet: California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa)
Sycamore are ubiquitous here in Southern California. If you are looking for water, ti is common to look for the sycamore, which require more water and therefore grow close to water sources, even if they aren’t obvious like a creek, river or pond. I love the eccentric arching of the sycamore limbs which twist and gnarl as they grow older. They can be very evocative of the human form in this state. Their large leaves offer abundant shade, although their spiky seed pods can be a bit of a nuisance if grown in the typical suburban garden.
This large tree grows to 35 meters in height with a trunk diameter of up to one meter. A specimen on the campus of Stanford University has a trunk girth (circumference) of 10.5 feet.The trunk generally divides into two or more large trunks splitting into many branches. The bark is an attractive patchwork of white, tawny beige, pinkish gray, and pale brown, with older bark becoming darker and peeling away. Platanus racemosa is the dominant species in the globally and state endangered sycamore-alluvial woodland habitat.
The large palmately lobedleaves may be up to 25 centimeters wide and have three or five pointed lobes. New leaves are a bright translucent green and somewhat woolly. Thedeciduous tree drops copious amounts of dry golden to orangish red leaves in the fall. The inflorescence is made up of a few spherical flower heads each around a centimeter wide. The female flower heads develop into spherical fruit clusters each made up of many hairy, maroon-red-woolly achenes. The dangling seed balls are attractive on the tree.
The tough and coarse-grained wood is difficult to split and work. It has various uses, including acting as a meat preparation block for butchers. Many small birds feed on its fruit, and several mammals eat its twigs and bark. The pollen and the hairs on leaves and flowers can be allergens for some people. New leaves are susceptible to anthracnose canker, which, when it causes a side bud to become the new leader, can create picturesque angling trunks and branches on older specimens.– Wikipedia
More information on California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa)
I was looking for a photo to illustrate today’s End of the Day blog (Spring has broken!) and happened upon this shot. I am still impressed with myself on how well this photo came out. What a striking photo of a striking iris.
This has to be the most un-Dahlia-like dahlia I have ever seen. This is a dahlia stripped to its most basic components. Certainly this is a plant for a specific place and purpose, but it did catch my eye when I saw it on Pinterest.
Honka is a Star, Single Orchid, type Dahlia. One of the most popular of its type, it has pale yellow petals and a deeper yellow disc that stand out against green foliage. Attractive to bees and gardeners alike its merits have been recognised by the RHS Award of Garden Merit. – Pheasant Acre Plants
More information on Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides:
Gerbera Daisy are ubiquitous plants here in Southern California, although usually seen as potted plants given at parties and, in the case of these daisies, as flower for our friend’s memorial service. His wife brought them by afterwards and placed them in the garden as a reminder of him. I wasn’t sure they would even grow directly in the ground, but 3 of the 4 plants I put in have returned each season since. The splash of red is a welcome addition as the blooms and foliage of our paperwhites and snowflakes start to fade at this time of year.
Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colours. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum. The flower heads can be as small as 7 cm (Gerbera mini ‘Harley’) in diameter or up to 12 cm (Gerbera ‘Golden Serena’).
Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist. They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colours.
Once of my favorite gardening shows, align with the BBC’s Gardeners World. Check it out for yourself in this YouTube video below.
From the Beechgrove web site…For most of the country, it’s waders rather than wellies that are essential kit to get gardening this spring. Beechgrove is back and Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Chris Beardshaw are raring to go no matter what the weather.In the first programme, the team take a look at some soggy, boggy gardens across the country and assess what can be done. They also deal with their own new unintended paddling pond, in the Beechgrove Fruit House.On a snowy day in February, Carole visits Dunblane to find early inspiration from the Scottish Rock Garden Club’s Early Bulb Display. This is not a competitive display; this is to encourage SRGC members to share their plants and information with others. Members bring as many pots and pans of alpines as possible to clothe the benches and it turns out that more than 90% of the species and varieties are unique. Carole chats to members and visitors, and catches the flavour of this early springtime display.Also searching for early season colour, George finds all that and more when he visits Shepherd House garden in Inveresk. Recognised as one of the best small gardens in Scotland, Shepherd House is a very personal garden of about one acre, designed by its owners Charles and Ann Fraser. The garden in February is full of aconites and iris, and swathes of hellebores. Ann has placed mirrors under the traditionally shy hellebore blooms so that we can appreciate their beautiful faces. She has also turned into a snowdrop collector, or galanthophile, after being invited to paint some snowdrop varieties. She’s got the bug and she now has a stunning collection of snowdrops of over 70 varieties, all with very different characters.
Another possibility for mine and my neighbors Southern California gardens. I have seen this out in the Palm Springs area where my sister has lived for 20+ years and it does look very attractive as part of a xeriscape environment. I am not sure if I have enough sun here in my garden, but there might be a couple of areas where it would fit. According to the Wikipedia page it can grow up to 3 meter, which might the a little large for some gardens. I don’t think I have ever seen it grow this large in the gardens where i have seen it, though.
“Blunt-leaved Senna” (and spelling variants) redirects here. This name is also used forSenna obtusifolia, a large shrub common in warm humid regions.
Senna artemisioides is a flowering plant in the familyFabaceae. It is commonly known as Silver Cassia or Feathery Cassia - although “cassia” generally refers to the largest-growingCassiinae. Some of its distinct subspecies also have common names of their own. This plant is endemic to Australia, where it is found in all mainland states and territories, except forVictoria.
This is a shrub that grows up to 3 metres in height. It has pinnate leaves with between 1 and 8 pairs of leaflets. It produces an abundance of yellow flowers in winter and spring which are about 1.5 cm in diameter, followed by 2 to 7 cm long flat green pods which age to dark brown.
The species adapts to a wide range of climatic conditions, although it is susceptible to frost, particularly when young. It prefers dry, well drained sites with full sun. As an ornamental plant, it is propagated readily from seed, which should first be soaked in boiling water.