Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June Gloom

Here in Los Angeles, there's a phenomenon called "June gloom." The skies stay overcast for days on end, and the weathercaster's prediction of "late night and early-morning low clouds" becomes a daily mantra.
But the dull, grey skies are a fantastic backdrop for some of the city's most beautiful blooms, starting with the gorgeous Jacaranda trees. They explode all over the city in bluish-purple profusion, and boy, do they put on a show:

This is my neighbor's tree. I don't have one; wish I did. I'm nuts about the periwinkle-colored blooms that cover their branches...
...even though they also soon cover the ground. But the mess they make is sort of pretty.

When their blossoms start to fall, they fall on everything!

June is also peak viewing time for another bluish-purple beauty, the Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile: These guys are in my front yard. The flower heads remind me of exploding fireworks:

Another plant that loves the filtered light of June gloom is the hydrangea:

Oh, how I love these big-headed beauties! My Grandmother Bliss used to grow these in front of her home, and now I do, too.

One bush's flowers can run the gamut from blue to purple to lavender to pink, and everything in between...

...but periwinkle is my favorite shade. I loooooove periwinkle...can ya tell?

I love the leaves on a hydrangea bush, too, with their fancy, pinking-shears edges.

Here's a shot of some pink blooms, just to be fair to you folks who prefer this end of the spectrum.

My "Iceberg" roses aren't so happy with the June gloom. The lack of strong sunshine has given them a nasty case of powdery mildew. It's a particularly bad year for this blight for some reason.

But because I like to go easy on using chemicals in my garden (and so does my wonderful gardener dude), we're just going to wait a few weeks. The summer heat will blast away the mildew when the sunshine comes out again. It always does.

In the meantime, I'll try to admire how mildew makes the leaves and rosebuds look like they've been coated in frost.

Iceberg roses are as common as dirt around where I live, but I do love 'em. They're worth enduring a bit of mildew for.

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