Wednesday, January 20, 2016

After the Flood

For certain parts of the Bay Area, this subject line is almost literal. A four year drought? Seems like ancient history now. The dry weather today and tomorrow is a welcome relief. Still, no one's complaining about the rain -- or the snow up in the Sierras. The birds certainly love it, especially the worm eaters, as the rains flush them to the surface for hungry robins and Flickers.
Today's photos are a mix of different things - a couple of early blooming bulbs, winter shrubs, lots of succulents and two hellebores. It's a bit of a myth that our gardens 'go to sleep' in the winter. They just change. Of course it helps to plant one's garden with four seasons in mind. And I continue to advocate 'vertical' planting -- bulbs below the ground, ground covers or low growing plants over them on the surface and taller plants above that. A little space planning yields even more abundance.
For many of us, early spring is not far off. Two good things to plant now are sweet peas and breadseed poppies. They're starting to show up at your local nursery about now. And now the photos ...

Sedum x adolphii. Or Golden Sedum as it's sometimes known. This is one sturdy succulent and it holds its color in all seasons. Seems to love the sun.

Veteran gardeners will recognize the foliage on this Hellebore. It's H. argutifolius but in this case it's the 'Pacific Frost' variety. The new foliage comes out not only speckled but a whitish-yellow color. My specimen is doing exactly that and it won't be long before it's in bloom.

I'm calling this hanging basket of mixed succulents my 'Grab bag.' Everything seems happy and they are busy spilling over the front.

Lachenalia aloides 'Orange.' This relatively new Lachenalia is happy as a clam and is smothered in pinky-orange flowers. So many Lachenalias, so little time ...

Though something was shading my Echeveria peacockii a bit I still thought it was worth sharing its milky-blue petals. The rain has not bothered it, even in a relatively tall pot.

Chaenomeles 'Fuji.' This reddish-orange flowering Quince has adjusted to its new home and is off to the races in the flowering dept. I love this genus and currently have the blood-red Kurikoji and the coral-colored Cameo as well.

The spiny leaves (and color) are a bit of a giveaway that this is a Mahonia, in this case a M. lomariifolia. It has more than a dozen young flowering stems waiting to grow and then open bright yellow flowers. It's going to be a spectacular show this year.

The big news of the day was spotting these nestled flower buds in the center of my oh-so-happy Aloe striata (Coral aloe). Can't wait for them to grow and bloom!

Another shot of my exuberant Senecio barbertonicus, as it continues to open bright yellow flowers. As noted before, this is a shrub type Senecio and could easily get to four feet.

Helleborus orientalis 'Wayne Rodderick.' One of the burgundy hellebores, this vigorous selection blooms faithfully for me every year. 

Eeek! Mouse! Well, not quite but this interesting Arum family member (Arisarum proboscideum) is commonly called 'Mousetail arum.' That's because it makes these sweet little brown and white flowers that have a long curling 'tail.' Before they appear, one is treated to these shiny, arrow-shaped leaves in great numbers.

Had to share a photo of my glass bird. I love garden art and have an assortment of garden animals and insects in all manner of forms.

Fuchsia 'Firecracker.' This variegated form of F. gartenmeister has proved tough and vigorous.

After a few fits and starts, my Begonia 'Irene Nuss' seems to have finally got a foothold. It's been leafing out this last two weeks, no doubt encouraged by the rain.

Though the lighting was a bit murky for this shot, it almost works to create a kind of foggy, winter setting for my Ribes sanguineum 'Claremont.' It's almost finished shedding its 2015 leaves and a closer look will reveal that it's budding up for its early 2016 flowering.

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