Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: California Weird

I'll be away from my computer on Sunday, when I hope that Carol of May Dreams Gardens will allow us again to meet up in the blogosphere and visit each other's gardens. So, here's what's going on down here in Suburbia.

I thought of the title for this post when I recently mentioned at my book club that I really liked a book because it was truly weird. "Somehow, it doesn't surprise me you like weird things," said one of the other members, who, however, didn't really have a good explanation for why she thought that, and actually apologized later for saying it.

Well, truth be told, I LOVE weird things. Why be normal! So, here we have a small collection of somewhat weird plants blooming in my garden right now.
First, on the left, a picture of Aristolochia Californica (california dutchman's pipe). This beauty is growing on a trellis to the right of my front door in full shade, and the photo is what I see when I look to the left leaving the house. Lots of flowers this year, and in a while, we'll also have heart-shaped leaves. Some gardeners don't even agree this looks like a flower, but I love it. It's so weird. There's a close-up on the right.

And, speaking of weird, I just put some Asarum caudatum (Wild ginger) in the ground and was surprised to see it flowering too. Asarum grows very low to the ground, so I made the photo before I planted it (It was hard to do and the contrast isn't perfect, but you get the idea. The blossom is about 1/2 inch, and the feelers, petals, whatever it is, maybe another 1 1/2 inch. Quite an amazing sight.
Asarum grows in the redwoods and I have near my neighbor's redwood in an area that gets extra water and redwood needles. "Extra water?" you might say. "In a drought?" Well, we really want to keep those redwoods healthy, trust me, and they need water. So, I have a redwood habitat with Asarum, ferns, and Oxalis oregano (redwood sorrel), which has also started to bloom.
But the biggest surprise was my Garrya elliptica (Coast Silk Tassel). Many California gardeners lust after this beautiful smallish tree, and Country Mouse is working hard to propagate, as described in this post. I bought one at a native plant sale a year ago, or maybe 18 months, stuck it in the ground near the fence, and attached it to a trellis. My hope is to espalier it, but it seemed like a long shot because the spot is shady and relatively dry. But, after a long dry summer of neglect I saw something promising appear, and when I checked again this week, I found the most amazing tassels, almost as big as the little tree itself which is by now about 3 feet. And so, dear reader, you'll have to agree that we have a collection of weird and amazing plants this month.


Anonymous said…
I have been strolling through my garden to take pictures and make a list for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day too, today. (But will be publish only tomorrow... late this evening for you)

Here in Belgium, we had/have a rather long and cold winter, so I do not have such beautiful flowers, that look rather 'exotic' to me ;-)...

As I live near the Dutch boarder (and work in the Netherlands) I wonder where the name Dutchman's pipe comes from... (Aristolochia is called 'pijpbloem', pipe-flower, here).

Have a nice sunday!
Carol said…
The weirder the better sometimes. Thanks for sharing what's weird in your garden, very interesting.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
Gail said…
Hi! Love the weird, too...I think wild ginger really is a weird little flower..they call it Little Jug, I think...It is all over my garden and somehow manages to show up 20 feet from where it was originally planted.
happy Bloom Day!
clay and limestone
Anonymous said…
Interesting plants you have in your garden. I've never seen anything like them. Happy GBBD!
Town Mouse said…
Yes, we can grow interesting things here. I feel so lucky, and can't completely understand some neighbors who grow nothing but rosemary and primulas...