Friday, March 8, 2013

It may be snowing in Texas but ...

... but it's spring in the Bay Area. That's especially true for those of us that water our gardens this time of year (not everyone does), which helps to flush out new growth and flowering. For those of us with primarily flower gardens, March-May is Christmas, Mardi Gras and the Bahamas all rolled into one, as there is an embarrassment of riches available in spring annuals. And of course the bulbs are doing their thing. I have a particular fondness for South African bulbs, so I've been enjoying the first shows put on by lachenalias, freesias, sparaxis and ferraria. We are living in our own little corner of paradise, with the mild climate and our ability, if we choose, to grow an astounding array of plants.
That said, here are a few more photos, taken today. They are, top to bottom:

Happy Generation tulip. This is a return from 2012, a rare second showing.
Sparaxis. Out of a mixed colors packet. There's always a competition in early spring as to which are more colorful, the freesias or the sparaxis.
My colorful front yard pots, with annual color in the bed behind.
Ice plants & Ipheion bulbs. A blast of early season oranges & golds with pale lilac Ipheions as contrast.

Salvia discolor. The flower is so black that it kind of disappears here, though it's not the best composition. One of the most vigorous salvias and that's saying something.
Lachenalia sp. I find cowslips, as they're known, irresistible and they're so easy to grow.
Sedum Fine Gold. A new petite-petaled sedum and I thought it might look good spilling out of this "teacup."
Camellia reticulata Winner's Circle. For the uninitiated, Camellia reticulatas are the showiest, sometimes the most flamboyant of all camellias. The flowers tend to be very large and many have ruffled petals. Case in point this new Nuccio's reticulata. Advertised as coral and it does have some of that.
Speaking of retics as we call them, here's my other one, C. Frank Hauser, still in the process of opening and thus showing the most intense hue.
Hebe evansii. Quite possibly the reddest of all the hebes, the new growth is an electric burgandy red. Don't let the color fool you; it's still tough like most shrub hebes.
Mystery bulb. I've put the word out to friends to try and ID this mystery bulb. I think it's a S. African bulb but can't pin it down. But, oh, that purple!

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