Memories of a fading summer: Shades of blue

This exotic plant is called Puya berteroniana and is actually a spring bloomer, but I couldn't resist. Large flower stalks rise out like asparagus spears that can reach 4'-6' tall, eventually bearing these bell-shaped turquoise metallic blue green blossoms. It is native to Chile and is in the Bromeliad family. This one is just off Tunnel Road. All photos: Robert Trachenberg

By Robert Trachtenberg

It is hard to believe how fast the summer went by. But it has been great having this last bit of Indian summer weather before the winter sets in. I did manage to capture a few moments of summer bloom that I wanted to share.

Echium candicans, or Pride of Madeira, this one on Shasta Road, is commonly found throughout the Bay Area. For difficult sites with steep hillsides and deer, this is a wonderful drought-tolerant plant that is long lived and produces a great show of color. This plant is very attractive to honey bees and is highly prized for its sweet flavor

Another late spring bloomer is Nigella damascena, or Love in a Mist. It is a delicate old fashioned flower that dries up in the summer but looks great in dried flower arrangements. Santa Barbara Road
This dramatic flower native to Italy is a perennial called Eryngium amethystinum, or Sea Holly. Another great option for dried flower arrangements, it blooms summer through fall and is an excellent choice for a drought-tolerant garden
I caught this Salvia ulignosa, or Bog Sage, at the tail end of its bloom, but it was the hum of the bees that caught my attention. Easy to grow and deer resistant, it gets 4'-6' tall and 4' wide, offering a wonderful blast of blue color from summer through fall.
Native to Mexico, Gentian patens, or Blue Flowered Sage, is one of many Salvia that offer a wonderful display of color. Somewhat frost-sensitive they are still worth a try. A late summer into fall bloomer, like many Salvias, this plant is a favorite of bees, butterflies and birds
The Jacaranda mimosifolia, a tree native to Brazil, is typically is not happy in our temperature zone. But in front of this south-facing house on Webster Street, it produces a massive show of color each year
Before I became passionate about plants, I was into insects. But I will need help from a Berkeleysider entomologist to identify what type of butterfly (Monarch) this is? The Bog Sage in this garden on Santa Barbara Road was covered with many types of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds
Fall is in the air

Robert Trachtenberg, a landscape designer who lives in Berkeley, is the owner of Garden Architecture. This photo essay is part of an occasional series in which Trachtenberg brings an educated eye to the beauty of the nature that surrounds us in Berkeley.