Thursday, September 2, 2010

Snowy Flowers to Cool Late Season Summers

For those folks who have spent the last couple of days cursing the sun and its hot, hot rays, this post I dedicate to you.  To temper the heat, cool your jets with these white blooming natives.  Feel that icy chill as you witness the massive snowball otherwise known as Eriogonum giganteum 'St. Catherine's Lace'.  Growing to 10 feet wide in one year (from a 5 gallon container, but still!), this beauty covers herself with layers of snowflakes for the longer months of the summer. 


If you manage not to cut all the flowers for arrangements (looks so pretty with roses), the blooms age gradually to a pinkish rust.  Despite the aging flowers, the bees continue their frantic visits.

Can't even deal with being in the sun?  This shady lady will give you the shivers.  Walk towards the Clematis ligusticifolia in bloom and the sweet scent hits about 10 feet away.  Standing next to it, the fragrance is intoxicating.  Oh, heavenly!

The sweet little flowers have a magical look close up- as if they'll spin in circles and fly away!  Stand back, and you're in for a breathtaking view.  Take a snip of one and keep it by the bed in a small vase.  Sigh.  Inhale the scent.  Repeat.  I'd love a mixologist to design a cocktail based on this flower.

So for all you foggy folks out there hiding out until our Summer (finally, Summer!) retreats into cooler Autumn days, I hope I've offered a little solace for a blazing afternoon.


  1. oh, wow, you weren't kidding! the eriogonum is huge!

  2. I can't wait for yours to grow in, especially with the pink Abutilon behind it!

  3. I was in Almaden nursery today after reading your blog, and I saw a St. Catherine's Lace in a small 2" pot for $5 and just had to have it. I don't know how long it will take to grow to full size but for that price I can wait!

    My old school was called St Catherine's so it's of special significance to me.

    Thanks so much for all the helpful tips and ideas you continuously post on your blog.

  4. How do you keep your St. Catherine's Lace from flopping over? Mine is so sprawly.

  5. I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have enjoyed it very much.

    Coincidentally, I am reading a book called "Carter Beats the Devil" - s sort-of mystery set in the 20s and a key part of the action is centered around Idora Park.

    Since I had never heard of your company or the original park, it was fun to have these two come together in such propinquity.


    Susan Krzywicki

  6. Oh! I love this snowy flowers! Wish I can also have that in my garden. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting!


  7. Byddi that's wonderful! It just all came together, didn't it? I love it when that happens! Perfect time for planting, too.

    Lisa, when the plants are young they can have a hard time holding up the long flower stalks- when it's bigger it will equalize.

    Susan thanks for recommending the book! I've been meaning to read it for ages- so glad you found me and decided to drop by! Now I've got another great native blog to check in on.

    Thanks, Yumi! I doubt many of the plants here would do well where you are, but I know you guys have some fabulous flowers that I would never be able to grow, too!

  8. Hmmm...I've got three-year old plants that are still caving in under the weight of their flowers.

    I wonder if I would kill those plants by moving them from West Oakland to East Oakland this winter? We're being forced to move from our studio, and I want to take some of my garden with me.

  9. Hmmm. Lisa, is your plant not in full sun? I wonder if it's over-reaching to find its dose of vitamin D. The roots of these guys are super fragile and hair-like so transplanting could be difficult. But if you won't be able to enjoy them otherwise it's worth a shot. Just dig down as much as you can to preserve the rootball- maybe get your hands on a 15 gallon plastic container for transport (I have a couple if you want one) And good luck!!