For those of us who like to be outdoors, be it in our garden or in nature, the lengthening of days in late spring is the true gift of the season. Rather than coming in at 5 pm, we can if our schedules allow, putter in our gardens till six, seven or even eventually eight. Apart from that joyful addition, it allows us to get things done indoors, and wander out in the garden later in the day, even if that's just to water.
Here are more photos from my mid-April garden. For me, April is kind of a magical month. I still have some late spring bulbs in bloom, as well as late winter blooming shrubs like grevilleas. But as well, it's the high season for spring annuals, especially natives. And deciduous perennials have reappeared. It is a gourmet feast almost too overwhelming. Almost.
Here's a more representative shot of what is so charming about Agapetes serpens. The papery flowers hang like little red icicles underneath the branches. Not sure why this tough shrub isn't more popular in the trade.
The 'birth' of a leaf. Here a new leaf emerges, all crinkly edges, on a Begonia 'Gene Daniels.'
Though it doesn't regularly flower, the variegated form of Philadelphus coronarius is still awfully pretty. Very 'fresh' looking!
Campanula punctata. These lovely bell-shaped campanulas have a pink spotting on the inside, which for some reason to me looks like someone sprayed pink confectioner's sugar inside.
Abelia 'Kaleidoscope.' Some variegated varieties can be weak compared to the species but no such problem with this Abelia. It's been vigorous and in only its second year is well established and filling out.
What the heck is this, some may ask? It's a Centaurea montana 'Black Sprite.' One of the oddest and yet most beautiful flowers in my garden.
Plant lovers will instantly recognize this Salpiglossis. Although this genus isn't a reliable perennial, this variety has come back strong from last year. Red and gold - very royal!
Here's visual proof that Dicentra scandens is not a "fragile" plant. Now in its third year in the ground, it's in the process of taking over the East facing house wall. Pure yellow flowers are already appearing and soon it will be smothered in them.
One of my favorite plants (and I have over 500), this Stachys albotomentosa is better known as the 7-Up plant. It's true, the leaves do smell remarkably like the refreshing drink. And the coral flowers are exceptionally pretty too.
Laurentia axillaris. Known as Blue Stars for, well, the bluish star-shaped flowers. Prolific and tougher than it looks, this semi-deciduous perennial is just a pure delight. Very airy and scandent.
Though I haven't got it in the ground yet, this Eriogonum 'Shasta Sulphur' is already blooming. Like other CA Buckwheats it is tough and a terrific plant for pollinators.
Wild onion. What's that saying -- "A weed is only a plant you don't want in the garden?" That would be true for this common weed. I leave a few to flower, loving the clusters of simple white flowers.
Breadseed poppy fans will recognize this variety as one of the 'peonies.' This one is Papaver 'Flemish Antique.' Just ridiculously crammed with petals and a close examination reveals the patterning on each leaf. Exhibit 4834 of how grand Nature is.
Here's another shot of my variegated Nicandra, this time showing the flower. I honestly don't know why gardeners don't go bonkers over this plant. Beautiful variegated foliage, pretty lavender flowers. Tough. Easy to grow. Reseeds.
What was once lost has now been found. That saying could apply to Tweedia caerulea. It's slowly finding its way back into the market. It's also tough, deer resistant (part of the milkweed family, including those distinctive seedpods) and very pretty.
Here's my specimen of the latest sensation, Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame.' It's just getting going, this is its first spike after starting as a 4" plant. I'll need to repot it soon!
Mollie Rinestone sweet pea. More pink and less pearly than Annie's photo has it but nonetheless still pretty.
Cotinus 'Royal Purple.' I have it planted as a street tree and it's made itself at home. There's nothing quite like the "puffs of smoke" flower clusters.
Clematis 'HF Young.' One of the larger clematis flowers, mine has struggled to survive as a street vine. I keep accidentally pruning away an older branch and it's planted in crappy soil but somehow it's survived.
Calandrinia flowers are just such a ridiculously saturated fuchsia color that the camera just freaks out trying to capture the flower correctly. Have a friend with a black thumb? Buy and plant a Calandrinia for them and watch it amaze them.
Berberis 'Orange Rocket.' I never was much of a barberry fan but this specimen has won me over.
Bees love Gilias and so I didn't need to herd a honeybee over to this G. capitata flower. Industrious little guys.
Papaver atlanticum. This Moroccan poppy has been as advertised. Tough, long blooming and drought tolerant. Nothing quite its crinkled tangerine flowers!
Lathyrus 'Blue Vein.' Umm, no blue veins but that doesn't detract from the coral beauty of its flowers.
My Choisya 'Sundance' has lived up to its name, flushing out pure golden new growth. And it's finally going to bloom in its third year.
Though the sun in this shot somewhat robs these Anomatheca flowers of their true color, you get an idea here of their reddish-coral color. An iris relative, it likes moist shade. It's a prolific reseeder, which is perfect for my shady raised bed.
Speaking of golden foliage, Jasminum 'Fiona Sunrise' offers the most lovely golden yellow tones in spring. Still haven't been able to get it to flower though.
Finally, my Lime Sarracenia has put up new flowers. This one has yet to open, looking like a little alien pod. I think I'll have to add a few more American Pitcher plants to my collection.