Thursday, July 22, 2010

Planet Flora

My move in the late 1980's from Illinois to southern California was a culture shock so complete I didn't even recognize the vegetation. Gone were the tame, Midwestern maples, elms and simple posies, to be replaced by palm trees and flora I recognized from Dr. Seuss.

To keep my attitude positive, I decided to think about my move not as a life-changing apocalypse but as a vacation on another planet. I've been enjoying my vacation amid exotic flora ever since.

But this flower looks familiar. I remember it from Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and even Minnesota. This or its variations must be a very American plant. Not to mention the white picket fence.

I don't know plant names. I didn't know this one back in Illinois, either. I know someone will tell me it's name in the comments and I'll say thanks in advance. No matter where I see it, though, it looks right at home.

34 comments:

Dina said...

Dr. Seuss flora! Ha, I love it!

J.J. said...

It looks like a Pansy to me.

Shell Sherree said...

Hm, reminds me of Morning Glory, but flora isn't my strong point so I'm not confident. I'll have to go back to my Dr Seuss and study up...

A charming photo, Petrea!

Laughing Boy said...

It must be a Morning Glory! They love snuggling up to fences and rocks. They also happen to be one of my favorite flowers. :]

lewi14 said...

What a nice fence. And what a beautiful bloomy composition. Very nice photo.

Birdman said...

Nice work here with white picketed fence(Americana) and that simple blue flower. So clear too.

Katie said...

Beautiful photo. I actually wondered at first if you were on vacation somewhere outside CA. I'm with the morning glory crowd.

Speedway said...

I think, the flower may be "Heavenly Blue Morning Glory."

Bellis said...

Ah, your photo brings back good memories. My mother named that blue flower Cameron because it grew wild in the rainforests of the Cameron Highlands in Malaya. A cutting she brought back rambled all over our Kuala Lumpur garden. I think it liked the name.

Your Cameron's happily sharing space with jasmine.

Petrea said...

Morning Glory. Maybe so! I remember that name from childhood. If that's the case, this may be a worldwide flower, because Shell has seen it in Australia and Bellis in Malaya. What about you, Steffen? Have you seen it in Germany? (I was on vacation in Altadena, Katie.)

Dina, it's true. Geisel lived near here and literally drew inspiration from the strange plants that grow everywhere.

Dear J.J., you're worse than I am. Even I can identify a pansy. You and I must never get lost in the woods together, we'll die eating the poison mushrooms.

Welcome, Laughing Boy! I'm glad I posted a favorite for you today.

Bellis, you figured it out. I tried looking this thing up on the web but the leaves never matched the flower.

J+P said...

Dunno … I think it looks like a variation of lynchia peculiaritus.

Karen said...

Yes, that flower is morning glory, which is actually a vine that - once started - will take over your yard. Highly invasive!

The greenery around it looks like a different plant, maybe a star jasmine?

Trish said...

you've got a morning glory there, backed by also invasive star jasmine. SJ makes me sneeze, attracts flying stinging creatures, so I try to rid myself of it. The morning glory IS invasive as well, tends to attract bumble bees and less stinging offenders and grows like kudzu. In a house we used to live in I'd hack it back in the winter by using my reciprocating saw, then dragging the vines to the street. In spring it would grow to cover a patch on the left side of the drive that was 8ft wide by 20 ft long. Didn't kill anything along the way---roses and lavendar grew just fine around the MG. Pretty easy to maintain, tho I swear you can HEAR it growing!

pasadenapio said...

Trish is correct -- it's a morning glory, and that star jasmine (which has a lovely aroma but grows out of control quickly) needs to be cut back or otherwise tamed so it doesn't strangle dear morning glory right out of existence.

Latino Heritage said...

Lovely photo. Very crisp without being too neat. I do believe it is morning glory. Walk by in the afternoon and if it is closed, if so there is no doubt what it is.

Kat said...

I agree with the morning glory suggestion; they love rock walls, climbing places, and areas that other flowers don't thrive well in. I took a photo of some of those recently in a cement alley, somehow growing up a chain link fence. They're hardy little devils!

Petrea said...

This may sound nuts but Morning Glory sounds like just the plant for me. It's pretty and it doesn't need a lot of maintenance to thrive. I've got just the place for it, too--along a rear fence where the adjoining neighbors don't have anything planted that it could kill.

Virginia said...

Oui, I'm going with Morning Glory as well. I think the vine is jasmine.
V

jb said...

It's an Avanacluia vulgaris.

I know about these things....

J.J. said...

Hon, I wouldn't die because I hate mushrooms. lol!

Petrea said...

Jasmine most definitely, Virginia. That one I know now. I have some taking over the front porch.

What is that, jb, a vulgar uncle?

J.J., we're gonna starve.

L Barlow, AIA said...

Just like the morning glorys all over the Allen entrance to the Huntington Library

Greg Sweet said...

Ipomea tricolor: Morning glory

This is considered an annual plant in most of the country, and most of the seed catalogs, but in the frost-free Mediterranean climate of Southern California it lives for years. The folks at Edison & LADWP don't like it because people plant it to scramble up the guy wires of utility poles in attempt to cover them up, but they eventually make their way onto the lines.

Morning Glory is not only in the same family as the Sweet Potato, but the same genus.

There is a pinkish-white Morning Glory that is native to California & many parts of the US. It is usually called "bind weed" because it would get so caught up in the farmer's discs that they would seize. The same can happen with horticultural Morning Glory if you try to put it into a chipper/shredder.

altadenahiker said...

I love this picture. What do you want to bet that Shell loves it, too.

Greg Sweet said...

Another California flora tid-bit: Dichondra is also in the same family (Convolvulaceae) as Morning Glory.

Alas, we don't grow Dichondra lawns anymore in California because the flea beetle pesticides were banned.

Greg Sweet said...

By the way, the majority of plant material on that fence is Trachelospermum jasminoides; Star Jasmine.

Petrea said...

Oh yeah! Now that I think of it there's a spectacular one growing in the alley behind Big 5.

Trish said...

and Greg---Dichondra also pretty much stopped growing---beetle or not...lo my father TRIED for years and gave up for some St Augustine instead. Odd that the hardy MG is related to the Dichondra that all you have to do is LOOK funny at it and it dies---yet the MG grows in spite of harshness.

and Petrea---I bet the MG would grow beautifully around the fence. might grow better in your neck of the woods---I get too much freezing most winters to maintain it. I rarely watered our MG, I often had to cut it so it wouldn't take over the neighbors driveway!

Ms M said...

wonderful photo! The flower reminds me of a morning glory, but in a nice indigo color. Unfortunately, as others have pointed out, they can take over quickly. In fact, there is some with white flowers in the back yard right now that we keep trying to get rid of.

Petrea said...

I'm having second thoughts...there's a power pole just beyond that fence.

Shell Sherree said...

{Hiker, I don't think Petrea wants to lose her money on that bet...}

Steve Scauzillo said...

I would also go with Morning Glory, like many others have said. The vine grows wild in the Monrovia hills and up at Monrovia Canyon Park.

Dina said...

Dina, it's true. Geisel lived near here and literally drew inspiration from the strange plants that grow everywhere.

Petrea, no kidding! Well, Dr. Seuss living in California, that explains a lot.

Petrea said...

Ha! When you visit your son in LA, I hope you'll set aside a little time for me. I'll take you to the Huntington and show you the desert gardens, and you'll see Dr. Seuss all over the place.