Debra Prinzing

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Pretty in purple

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

July in Southern California dishes up a haze of purple in every hue. I recently snapped a few photos to capture the floral bounty around us.

It’s the weekend; time to be lazy and enjoy a little eye candy. So here we go:

Lavender-blue agapanthus cascades down the hillside in my neighborhood

This time of year, AGAPANTHUS takes over our “East Hills” neighborhood. Seattle gardening friends, eat your eyes and hearts out! When I first visited this neck of the woods, in spring 2006, I was blown away by the appearance — shall I say ‘explosions’? — of lavender-blue agapanthus blooms on every corner of town.

“Okay, I guess I can live here after all,” I thought. I mentioned loving this plethora of agapanthus to my friend Nan Sterman, a California native and author of California Gardener’s Guide, Vol. 2.

“Oh, Debra, they’re gas station plants!” she exclaimed.

As I’ve said before. . . one woman’s gas station plant is another woman’s rare collector plant. Imagine describing it as a commonplace “filler” for the corner convenience store! I know of a few passionate souls in Seattle who willingly forked over $15 for a 2-inch Agapanthus ‘Blue Heaven’ cultivar from Heronswood (or, elsewhere spent $20 to $40 for larger pots of this pretty purple South African native). And then. And then. Well, if my efforts were at all representative, there was the breath-holding that occurred through the wet, chilly winter months, as we pretty much realized the true-blue agapanthus wasn’t going to emerge in great shape the following spring. Like many tender perennials, well, they were pricey annuals. Or, they were in need of massive amounts of pampering, such as potting up the fleshy rhizomes and moving them indoors for the winter.