Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring Preview photos

It may still be winter on the East coast but in coastal California spring has peeked its head out. The recent rains have only coaxed more bulbs, flowers and blooming shrubs into an early show. Sometimes a photo is indeed worth a thousand words so I'll hold my tongue and share a few photos of my garden taken today. For those new to this blog, don't forget to click on the images to see them full screen size.

Agapetes serpens. I just love the flowers on this tough sun/part shade plant. Not only the color and subtle veining but the flowers are papery. Plus I love the way they 'drip' from the bottoms of the branches like red icicles.

Clivias are one of the more ancient of plants on this earth, though you wouldn't guess so from looking at them. Heaven for those of us who love easy to grow orange flowering plants.

I love the patterning on arisaemas and this A. nepenthoides is one of the prettier species. Jack-in-the-pulpit may be an overly inventive name but these aroids are the coolest thing going.

Choisya ternata. Want something easy to grow, un-fussy about conditions, long blooming (and sometimes a repeat bloomer) and oh so fragrant. Mexican mock orange as it's known fits the bill. Mine is filled with a new crop of blossom buds.

It's amazing how many people looking for a pretty plant for shade, especially one with blue flowers that won't be eaten by snails (you know who you are, Brunnera), overlook the sweet and tough Omphalodes.It makes a lovely understory planting.

So many hellebores, so little time. Here's a new one, H. Patty's Pink. Love the color and the leaves are pretty too.

Look now, quick, before this rare Moraea atropunctata vanishes (flowers stay open for only a day or two and plants don't a large number of flowers). This still isn't the best photo but it does give an idea of its otherworldly beauty. I guess it's my Moby Dick.

Another South African bulb but so much easier to grow, Gladiolus Yellow Moon is one of my current faves. S. African species glads may not be as large and colorful as the common hybrids commonly available these days but they have a delicate charm. Thanks to Alejandro for propagating this beauty.

It's always a mystery to me when vigorous and gloriously beautiful plants disappear from the trade. Count as one of those Dicentra scandens. First of all, a YELLOW bleeding heart. Second, did I mention the word vigorous? Third, it vines and will cover a small wall or a fence with ease. Barely deciduous, mine is around and blooming most of the year in our mild Oakland zone.

Sometimes leaf buds can be beautiful. One of my faves is this Clematis 'Belle of Woking,'which has fat and fuzzy leaf buds.

Everyone raise their hand who loves species tulips. This Tulipa clusiana has charm to spare and it returns faithfully every year. Now once I divide it and get the dozens of existing bulbs crammed in this one pot into the ground, it will really be happy. 

There are lots of fabulously patterned dianthus but even the straight color ones are crowd-pleasers.Plus there's the spunky bluish foliage.

This one of my favorite Sparaxis. I call it Orange creamsicle.

Here's the front bed, which is where I let especially colorful plants run wild. Right now the wow factor is being supplied by the orange and purple ranunculus.

Arctotis Sunspot. Once arctotis get going there's no stopping them. Then again, some of them are so cheerful.This variety is aptly named.

Here's my Pick of the Week selection from last Sunday - Papaver atlanticum. This semi-double form is 'Flore Pleno.' Lovely, tough, long blooming. 'Nuff said.

My bomarea just keeps on blooming, despite its small stature. I guess it has a 'propensity to be pollinated.'

Extra credits if you recognize this plant. It's Cunonia capensis, a tree from S. Africa. It has bottlebrush-like panicles of creamy, fragrant flowers but it also sports a singularly interesting stipule that looks like a butter spoon, leading to its common name "Butterspoon tree."

Here's my latest Ranunculus which, though it's called orange, is actually rose and cream colored.Ranunculus are a great way to add instant color to one's late winter garden.

My Ferreria crispa keeps blooming, producing its one of a kind flowers. So weird and yet so charming.

I never get tired of Sparaxis flowers. So colorful and so vigorous.

It's the time of year for Magnolias and my M. Alexandrina has begun to bloom. It hasn't yet reached its fullest color but it is progressing. I love the way the light shimmers off its newly opened 'tulips.'

My Clerodendron ugandense is back blooming. The darned thing is almost never out of bloom. No wonder they call it 'glory bower.'

Lithodora. Mine has survived periods of tumult in the bed where it was planted. It's found its way down to the sidewalk and is slowly spreading there. Nice!

There's something interesting -- and beautiful -- about flowers just past their prime. That's especially so for this King protea flower. Mind you, they're spectacular is almost every phase.

Speaking of Proteaceae, Leucospermums (Pincushion bushes) have that certain wow factor.The flowers are immediately recognizable.

Red and Apricot alonsoas are pretty well known but this vivid orange species is still largely undiscovered. One look at the saturated orange petals and bold yellow stamen and that fact is a bit of a mystery.

Iceplants may be common but once they get going they are, as the Irish would say, brilliant. I guess given the bright golds and oranges they produce, we'd say brilliant too.

This still isn't the perfect shot of my Melaleuca but wanted to show how laden with fuzzy flowers it is this year. Long live Aussie shrubs!

To cap the photo show, how about the wonderful, true red flowers of Euphorbia atropurpurea? This blood red reminds me a bit of a flowering quince in my garden, Chaenomeles Kurokoji. Fabulous.

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