Friday, January 17, 2014

Spring/Not Spring

You know things are out of whack when our weather here in Oakland is warmer in January than it sometimes is in July! Tanning salons must be taking a hit! I find the timetable of plants a most interesting study in this banana belt we live in. When we get unseasonably warm weather this time of year some plants get excited and jump ahead of schedule. I've already begun to see flowering cherries in bloom, a full month earlier than is usual. Then again, the bulbs seem to be stubbornly clinging to their normal schedule, their 'clocks' ignoring the wacky weather (Picture an older Orson Welles intoning on a wine ad 'We will sell no wine before its time'). My camellias have decided its warm enough to get serious about their blooming but my magnolias are hanging back.
That's the thing about gardening; gardens follow their own rhythms and schedules and none of us can hold our palms out and say "No, no, don't bloom now!" Well, okay fruit farmers are allowed such protests, as early blooming then a freeze can cause severe damage.
These musings aside, here are a few photos from my spring, er, winter garden.

Primula Primlet. These cute little 'Rosebud' primroses have proven very popular these last few years. They come in a variety of colors and the flowers mostly stay budded (thus the common name).

One bulb that liked the warmer weather so has opened its first flowers earlier than usual is Ferraria crispa. Yes, weird. Someone once likened their crinkly, frilly edges to that of starfish or sea anemones. Wherever your imagination takes you they are nonetheless beautiful and unique. Plus tough and prolific.

I usually post photos of my Marmalade bush flowers in full bloom but here I thought it would be a fun change of pace to shoot them as buds.

This Cosmos Double Cranberry self seeded (just the one) and also thought it was spring. 

The Ranunculus are not confused. This is their time of year and they are loving the sun. They are in a bed with the above Ferraria, various daffodils, several species of Moraeas and some Dutch iris. Much color to follow ...

I'd always wanted to plant some Saxifraga so brought home a six pack and planted them in one of median strips. Go forth and multiply!

The winter 'star' of my dwarf conifer bed is this lovely Cryptomeria japonica 'Vilmoriniana.' I say winter star because this normally light green rounded conifer acquires a reddish-rust hue to it in colder months. Sure enough, that's what mine has done.

This cool little customer is an Aloe deltoideodonta 'Sparkler.' (say that species name real fast ten times). Love the white spotting and its thick non-serrated leaves.

My Aechmea 'Little Harv' has begun to open, giving it more of a sculptural look.

This fabulous beauty is a Coelogyne Janine Banks 'Snow White.' It's not only prolific but has a sweet, subtle fragrance.

I almost killed this Kerria japonica, then made it unhappy by putting it in too much sun (garden book said "Loves sun") before putting it in its current part sun/bright shade location. Now it hardly ever goes out of bloom, despite the fact that it's supposed to be deciduous. This is the double form and for me, it's one of the most cheerful plants in my garden.

This orange Masdevallia is a reliable bloomer and I love its long 'coattails.'

I know Forget-Me-Nots are very common but they're also very cheerful.

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