Urban Jungle

With a small deck and backyard garden, Dave and I have a limited amount of green space in our San Francisco apartment. We make up for lack of square footage with plant density, and in our mild climate, there’s always something growing and blooming. But our urban jungle really comes alive in summer. Among this season’s blooms, we have a rich red Abutilon, an intricate yellow St. John’s Wort flower, and colorful succulent blossoms.

Flowering MapleSt John's Wort flower close upSucculent flowers

Anna’s Hummingbirds have nested in the back garden for years. This female paused on our roof long enough for Dave to take her picture. Orange grains of pollen scattered around a purple African Daisy implicate a sloppy insect visitor. In the next photo, Dave captured an unidentified bug in the folds of a flower, possibly guilty of munching a petal.

Anna's Hummingbird perched on gutterPurple African daisy close upUnidentified bug on blue hibiscus petals

Bugs and birds aren’t the only ones who can find a meal in our jungle. Nasturtium leaves have a peppery taste, but we grow them for their flowers. Dave harvests our mint to make a heavenly mint syrup, a perfect sweetener for any summer beverage. Violet petals are delicious as a traditional French candy, and violet syrup is a tasty addition to desserts and cocktails.

Variegated Nasturtium flowerMint plantViolets and tiny Baby Tears plants

Among the orchids in our urban jungle, this Zygo flowers several times a year, and the Epipactis still has blooms holding on. Finally, this (non-orchid) variegated Hebe has colorful foliage all year. Maybe its purple flowers gild the lily, but in a dense urban jungle, it helps to stand out.

Zygo bloomsEpipactis flowers and leavesVariegated Hebe in bloom

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5 Comments on “Urban Jungle”

  1. Brian Says:

    Fantastic photos! You two have done great work. I was in the Bay Area earlier in the summer and it reminded of all the botanical diversity to be found outside of Zone 5. And I was a little jealous…

  2. rvmav Says:

    nice post thanks!

  3. Joy Blake Says:

    Really nice photos! Thanks.

  4. Chad C Says:

    I’ve never seen a humming bird sit still for long!

  5. nancy Says:

    lavender syrup in cocktails? maybe you should post some recipes (its just scientific curiousity, I promise!)