Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A pre-spring garden

Sometimes transition periods in our gardens can be the most interesting. One of those is certainly winter to spring. Although in the milder zones of the Bay Area this transition isn't as dramatic, there's still a noticeable change coming out of the colder months. Despite our weather being all over the map recently, things are progressing. And of course, as we are tantalized with spring days like today, we begin to want spring to finally get here even quicker. But that's one nice thing about a garden with a great selection of plants. There's always something that whispers 'Spring is almost here.'

Lachenalia variety. The last of my collection to bloom, this sweet lavender-colored one is showing off its colors.

You want red? I got your red right here buster! This vibrant Echeveria gibbiflora is just about the richest red I've ever seen on this species. I'm hoping it will hold onto its color in warmer weather.

The first of my Escholtzia maritima (CA poppy). Many, many more to come, especially if we get some sun. This is one of the few CA poppies that's a perennial.

It may seem late for Calendulas but this C. Bronzed Beauty is a later blooming variety, starting in March and blooming through June.

Here and below are different colors of Sparaxis. I tell Ace customers that Freesias, Ixias and Sparaxis are kind of the holy trinity of colorful, tough, colonizing, spring blooming bulbs. 

Here's my Phlomis fruticans, filling up with flower buds and about to put on quite the show. You can treat them like salvias - they love the sun, they're very drought tolerant, they bloom over a long period and bees and butterflies like them.

This strange looking 'tower' is the bloom spike on my Kalanchoe 'Fantastic.' For some reason it has sat unopened for a good month. Waiting for warmer weather, perhaps?

Magnolia 'Alexandrina.' It's taken my specimen awhile to bloom but it's finally starting to reward my efforts. This is your classic 'tulip' magnolia. 

Speaking of Magnolias, here's example A of why people love M. stellatas. Look at those rich white, finger-shaped petals, here backlit by the sun. Wonderful!

I went a little crazy on the species tulips this year. Here's a new one T. bakeri 'Lilac Wonder.' It's a saxatilis type, with the signature two tone colors. These flowers are a really good size. Guess they're happy.

I know it's hard to see, but this white-flowering Ornithogalum's flowers are nestled within an inch of the white gravel. They're supposed to eventually reach 4-6" tall. 

Here's my vigorous Ferraria crispa 'Dark Form.' Or as I call it, my 'Chocolate Ferraria.' Love the deep maroon color and then of course the moss green crinkled edges. To paraphrase those Sara Lee commercials "Who doesn't not like Ferrarias?"

Okay, not the best photo but I'm excited to capture the first of my Helleborus 'Amethyst Gem' flowers. It's a double speckled variety that last year bloomed for a full three months.

Clematis armandii 'Snowdrift.' For my money, the most fragrant of all the C. armandii varieties. Plus the pure white flowers and the handsome leaves.

Here's a new piece of art I just added to my garden. I'm calling it my ceramic egg. It's about 15" tall and maybe 8" wide. Hey, it's almost Easter, right?

Here's the first of my Leucospermum 'Veldfire' flowers. Sensational!

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