Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Spring in the Distance

I know it's insane to even mention the word 'spring' when it's like -20 in most of the midwest but well to paraphrase a certain vice presidential candidate "We can see Spring from our porch here."
Speaking of the weather, we all know climate change is about to get more real - wait I think it just did in the midwest, if you believe one consequence of climate change is a greater frequency of extreme weather events - and I wanted to share that scientists keep up the work, sometimes at some personal peril, to chart what the weather is doing. We don't really need more facts do we but at least scientists continue this work and evidence keeps building.
Okay, back to something closer to home. Each one of us that gardens helps the local ecology so that's a bonus on top of the beauty that our gardens bring to our neighborhoods. I get constant feedback from passersby about that and I both love sharing that beauty and wonder AND hope that it in some small way inspires some to plant their own gardens.
Here are some photos taken today, reflecting our recent rain and mild temps.

Lachenalia tricolor. The most boisterous of my many cowslips. 

Gloxinia sylvatica Bolivian Sunset. This hardy outdoor gloxinia produces these reddish-orange tubular flowers in late winter. A welcome bit of color this time of year.

This rare garden specimen hails from the tropical climes of Oakland's Cat Town! Yes, Phoebe has become a part of my garden now.

Despite Monardellas being generally hardy I haven't always had the best of luck. But this M. odoratissima has prospered, being in continual bloom this last four months. Good news for bees and butterflies alike.

Ranunculus are one of the first bulbs to bloom and they are so plentiful in 4" pots at nurseries, that's how (and when) I add them to my garden. So far, it's an orange and a golden one but I'm sure I'll add more.

Erysimum 'Poem Mirabelle.' I love wallflowers and recommend them all the time to our Ace Garden Center customers. Tough, easy, drought tolerant and long blooming. Case closed.

Erica canaliculata 'Rosea.' I've been collecting 'heathers' of all kinds and this is the latest. Love the flowers; love the foliage.

I'm not generally a fan of pink flowers but have made an exception for this Salvia 'Pink Icicles.' Love how it forms a rounded white bract first, from which emerge vibrant pink flowers. Odd but cool.

Aloe striata. A lot of things have been early in my garden but I think this Aloe is a tad late in blooming. It's just starting to now. Though common, it's probably my favorite species of Aloe. 

Magnolia stellata. This species is always one of the earliest. This year the blooming is happening a bit in slo-mo. It may be time to help it with some bloom fertilizer, as it's in a median strip's poor soil.

Grevillea victoriae. This hard to find grevillea's flowers are a bit plainer than some but it's supposed to be a prolific bloomer and one that flowers over a much longer period.

It's Hellebore season and that means all manner of colorful Lenten roses will be adding a bit of sparkle to our winter/early spring gardens. This one is H. 'Wayne Rodderick.'

To paraphrase "Are you a Thunbergia or are you just happy to see me?" Well, both, I guess. Thunbergias (this one Arizona Red) seem to bloom whenever they feel like it. That's nearly year round for mine and I'm committing the cardinal sin of growing it in a pot!

Choisya ternata 'Sundance.' This golden mock orange took awhile to get established but it's doing very well now. It loves the reflected morning sun here.

One can't have too many Camellias - especially when you're adding reticulatas - and this one here is Francie L. variegated. It took awhile to get established but is vigorous this year.

Ditto for my Camellia Lila Naff. This is one of the reticulatas, which generally showcase ruffled petals, large flowers and an open habit.

Another retic, this one C. Bill Woodruff.' This variety from Sonoma Horticultural Nursery, is actually a huge flower, very much a double, a flaming red and curiously has three distinct sections to each flower. The way the sun caught this bloom it's hard to appreciate just how red it really is.

Passiflora parritae x tarminiana 'Oaklandia.' These 'simple' but large and colorful passion flowers have made themselves at home in my apple tree, having climbed a full 30' high. Very long blooming but sadly not sought out much by hummingbirds (though maybe I just don't see them).

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