Everybody loves bees visiting their garden (except those who are allergic - ouch). A variety of bees will visit your garden, especially bumblebees which are 'generalists,' but there is now "an app for that." It's the 'Wild Bee Gardens' app for the iPhone/iPad. It has expertly researched information on the great number of native bees in our Bay Area and which plants will draw them to your garden. Highly recommended.
Meanwhile spring "marches" on and finally we can now relax and accept that what we see with our eyes and what it says on the calendar somewhat matches. Now if we could only get a bit more rain ...
Here are more shots from my garden, which is in transition from late winter to early spring. Aren't we all?
Clivia miniata. To paraphrase those milk commercials -- "Got orange?" You certainly do with orange clivias. Here is one example where what they look like (primitive) matches what they are (primitive). One common misconception about clivias is that are bulbs, belonging as they do to the Amaryllis family. In fact, their leaves grow from thickening rhizomes or roots.They are closely related to Blood lilies (Haemanthus).
Acer 'Beni Maiko.' The bright red new foliage is one of the reasons I added this Japanese maple to my garden. Such a vivid color!
Impatiens congolense. This Congo Cockatoo plant is always fun to show people. First the brightly colored, waxy flowers (said to resemble a tropical bird's beak). Then the fact that the flowers sprout from the stems not, as usual for most plants, at the tips of new foliage. It likes bright shade or some morning sun and makes a great 'conversation plant.'
Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii.' Though it's still very small -- it was planted from a 4" pot -- this 'flowering maple' is growing quickly and has produced its first peach-colored flower.One curious item about Abutilons. Hummingbirds love them but don't reach for the nectar through the open part of the flower, instead of sticking their tongues under the calyx to more quickly reach the nectar.
Kalanchoe 'Flapjacks.' This kalanchoe plant almost looks like a tulip tree (Magnolia) flower from a distance. I love its smooth surface, its waxiness and of course its color.
Clematis armandii 'Snowdrift.' My new favorite plant in my garden, due to its amazing fragrance. Sweet and heady. Hard to understand why the straight species or the 'Apple Blossom' don't match this cultivar's sweet perfume but for those who like the color white and want something sweet smelling, this is the part or full sun plant to choose.
Freesia. It's unfathomable to me why freesias aren't in every garden where there's some sun. They're sweet smelling, colorful, are the easiest bulb (hell, plant) to grow and they multiply. Short of them serving you scones and lemonade I don't know what else you can ask of a plant.
Last week I posted a photo of a single Halimium flower. Here it is again, starting to multiply its blooms. I'll admit I like the three closest related of these plants -- Cistus (Rock rose), Halimium and their cross, Halimiocistus. All tough and pretty.
Dutch iris. Caught this yellow and white Dutch iris in the act of opening (hold that pose!). As Dr. Evil might say there are "One millll-yun" people who love irises.
Here's another shot of my Peacock moraeas. I just learned that there other varieties of this species that have different shades of blue or purple, with some that are striped! I will admit to being a bit of a Moraea junkie.
It's 'name that plant' time again. This is a tough one but imagine there are hundreds not dozens of these small nodding yellow flowers. It's Hermannia verticilliata and those flowers are fragrant. It stays low and kind of spills, so would be perfect for cascading over a low wall.
Here's another shot of my front yard sunny bed, with red and orange Ranunculus, a Voltage Yellow Osteospermum behind them, a Mimulus 'Jeff's Tangerine' to the left and a newly planted Phacelia campanularia to the lower right. The latter will cascade and produce a bushel of rich blue flowers.
Brachysema celsianum. Here's another shot of my curious Swan River Pea plant. This morning the red flowers seemed like Cardinals (the birds) nestling in a tree. Or perhaps red flames running along the length of the branch.
I was looking for contrast here, pairing the silvery Eriogonum giganteum with the greens of Leucospermum 'Veldfire.' Although they look a bit like seed cones, those white orbs are flowers-to-be. I'm most certainly biased but I think the Veldfire is the most spectacular of all the Pincushion shrubs.
After giving me more grief than one rightly deserves, my Abelia sp. 'Chiapis' has settled down and is blooming very nicely this spring. As I had mentioned, this Abelia is noteworthy for being a cascader and for the fragrance of its flowers.
Here's my Kalanchoe sexangularis and to the right an Echeveria variety. So, just wondering, we all know that 'sex' used in this context means 'six.' So was it a Freudian slip, the transition from 'six' to 'sex?' Just wondering ...
Hemizygia. This Plectranthus relative has gotten a good toehold and is making itself at home. True to the reports, it does indeed seem to like sun (most Plectranthus appreciate a bit of shade).
Allium schubertii. I think of this species and the similar A. cristophii as the "exploding star" ornamental alliums. So pretty!