Not a trick question -- okay maybe it is -- but a comment on the unseasonably warm days we're having. Those of us in the Bay Area are of course already dusting off our rain dance boots as we need much much more rain. Or to be more precise, the Sierras need much much more snow.
I'm a little short on inspiration (of the gardening variety) or perspiration (to write something substantial about a plant), so today the sharing is of the visual kind. That is, more photos of my garden, though of course I always add little tidbits about each of the plants displayed. I'm trying to expand some of those tidbits, as the occasion warrants.
Winter has come to equal succulents in many people's gardens. It's not just that winter is the 'off' season but that many succulents are at their best in the colder months. Here's a shot of my Aeonium 'Suncups' (suitably enjoying the sun).
Just winter color, these pansies, but they complement the chartreuse foliage of the newly emerging Filipendula.
When I planted my Trachelium 'Hamer Pandora' it was green for the longest time. Hmm. But in the last few weeks the foliage has turned its characteristic bronzy-purple. Long before the hydrangea-like heads of purple flowers appear, I get to enjoy this distinctive foliage.
Though just starting to rebloom, this Erysimum 'Winter Sorbet' has put out its initial multi-colored blooms.
I'm now calling my Oxalis penduncularis "The Octopus" for its gangly curving branches, each topped with a ball of bright green leaves.
My Chamelaucium has decided to test the waters by opening a few of its many flower buds. I didn't get this photo quite in perfect focus but it was so pretty I decided to include it.
I'm now engaged in a kind of death stare match with my Puya, daring it to finally bloom after eight years. So, yeah, it's a contest of wills at this point.
I'm loving my Melianthus pectinatus these days. Not just because it finally flowered after so many years but due to the singular, lush foliage. This plant, which I never knew needed a steady supply of water, is an example of needing to pay attention to each plant's individual needs.
On the other end of the spectrum we have my fourth succulent bowl. It's newly planted so the plants are still small. Contrast that with succulent bowl #3 below. Over a year old now, it's a study in the growth rates of different types of succulents. The big guy in the middle is an Aeonium lancerottense and I knew it was going to get big. It'll be transplanted into the ground this spring.
Heliotropium 'Alba.' As I share regularly with customers, the white heliotrope is far more fragrant than the purple one. It's supposed to be longer lived as well. I love the textured leaves, as well as the dainty white flowers. Noses (as it pertains to smelling these flowers) fall into two camps -- talcum powder or vanilla. Which are you?
Speaking of plants with a 'food' connection, here's a shot of my delicate Camellia 'Buttermint.' Though it is supposed to exude a light fragrance (it doesn't for me) I think the butter part of the name refers to its subtle yellow center.
Here's a new photo of my O.R. (original rhodie). It really is this vivid fuchsia color. Lots of rhodies have a paler color as part of the flower but this one is a solid pink throughout.
Want a 'winter' shot? Here's one -- my Coral Bark maple's red stems shown off to good effect against the grey stucco wall.
Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue.' If your first reaction is "An hydrangea flower in January" and your second reaction is "This is a Nikko BLUE?" there is an explanation. I left this 'dying' flower on the bare plant and it gradually 'faded' to a soft pink. Sometimes 'death' can be interesting, even pretty, to photograph (when it comes to deciduous plants that is).
Here's the walkway leading back from the front area towards the studio apts in back. It gives you an idea of the narrow spaces I have to work with here.
Ferraria crispa. I had my first flower open yesterday but it was a bit small and the light wasn't right. So I raided my archives and found a photo of the flower from last year's blooming. What can you say, they're just spectacular flowers -- weird, cool, unique, impossible (who in the Making a Flower committee in the Nature Hall dreamt this one up?) and perhaps most unlikely of all it's hardy and a prolific bloomer.
Echinacea 'Summer Sky.' Okay, it's not summer and the sky isn't this color so ... wait ... okay, I've got nothing. Someone had clearly had a few drinks in naming this one. But it's a pretty flower nonetheless and it's a nectar rich plant so bees adore it.
Sphaeralcea munroana. This is a low growing, mounding globe mallow. This shot is from two years ago when it was in full bloom. Why here now? I had to replace it last year and for the first few months it looked like it would die. But it's settled in now and I see some flower buds so I am thrilled to have one of my favorite plants back.