Saturday, March 4, 2023

Wait ten minutes

 As the saying goes, if you don't like the weather in the Bay Area these days, wait ten minutes and it will change. And, umm, weren't we in the middle of a long drought? Not anymore. Hello snow pack!

In any case, here are a few photos from my early spring garden. As befitting my one-of-everything garden, the photos cover a wide ground. Enjoy.

This is actually my neighbor's patch of daffodils, putting on quite the show.

I love blue Ipheions. Easy to grow, they naturalize and that robins egg blue color is fab.

Here's an explanation for a situation that sometimes puzzles gardeners. They buy a mix of different colored freesias but several years later, some or all of them suddenly look like the ones in this photo. The answer? The freesias have reverted to their original species form. There is one consolation - the species ones tend to be even more intensely fragrant.

Magnolia 'Butterflies.' This creamy yellow flowering magnolia is a beauty.

Just when you think you know Grevilleas, along comes one like this G. 'Molongo' with its bunches of small pale orange flowers. This guy has prospered despite being left in a container.

Kudos to those who can ID this shrub. It's Dodonea sinuolata. It has unusual flowers and seedpods, looking nothing like the more common hop bush.

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles species) are one of the great winter blooming shrubs. The small flowers appear in great numbers in mid-winter and colors range from white to soft pink, coral and red.

Unlike most Centaureas, this C. gymnocarpa forms a large shrub. And as you can see, it holds onto its gorgeous silver tones.

The first of my daffodils to bloom this year were the smaller-flowered but intensely fragrant Doubles Mix. Just intensely sweet smelling.

One of the earliest of our common bulbs to bloom, Ranunculus offers peony-like blooms in a wide range of colors.

The color here is from pansies but that serrated leafy plant in the center is a breadseed poppy. Famous for their extravagant flowers held on 4' high stems, these beauts also produce distinctive seedpods.

Osteospermums (African daisy) seem to bloom almost year round in our climate. Sturdy, not fussy about soil, drought tolerant once established, they are almost the perfect flower.

The star of my winter garden is undoubtedly this Grevillea Poorinda 'Blondie.' It has produced an abundance of golden-orange flowering slender cones. The flowers stay open a  long while too.

A new daffodil this year, one just beginning its show.

A bit hidden amongst other taller plants, this Magnolia stellata is peeking out to grab some sun.

Sometimes nursery customers think I'm kidding when I give them the common name for Claytonia siberica. It's Miner's lettuce and yes, the leaves are edible and the story has it that those panning for gold ate this plant for its nutrition.

Chamaecyparis 'Golden Surprise.' Not sure where the golden part comes in but I love the soft, feathery blue foliage on this new addition to my garden.

I'm not sure of this succulent's ID but I love its sturdy upright form and purple tones.

Agave pygmaea. Love the rich blues on this low growing agave.

Bronze fennel. I'm mainly growing this fennel to attract Anise Swallowtail butterflies but it's kind of pretty on its own.

Abelia 'Kaleidoscope.' I had to cut this lovely shrub nearly to the ground due to our house being painted but it has returned looking ever so lovely.

Lachenalia tricolor. One of my favorite South African 'cowslips.'

Begonia maculata 'Wightii'. A new addition, I have yet to find a place in the ground for it.

Speaking of new additions, here's a new variegated leaf Tricyrtis. This toad lily loves bright shade.

I've long forgotten the name of this orchid but it blooms faithfully every year.

Camellia 'Lila Naff.' I love the creamy pink color on this variety.

Camellia 'Francie L'. The variegated flowers on this sturdy camellia open each with its own patterns.

Ribes 'Claremont.' One of the best selling flowering currants. A magnet for hummingbirds!

Two Billbergias, one a variegated yellow and green and the other a dusky gray.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Spring beckons

 Though it's winter in most of the country, we gardeners in the Bay Area are already getting a taste of spring with the occasional warm day. That and all the rain has flushed forth new growth and, especially for those of us who have planted lots of spring bulbs, that advent of spring has clearly started. So, here is a visual preview of the spring-to-come.

Oxalis White Pillow. It just keeps getting bigger, forming a perfect dome.

The following 2 photos are of a daffodil mix called Doubles. They are composed of smaller flowers that are intensely fragrant. They're the first variety of many in my garden to bloom.

Here are two photos of my new Grevillea Poorinda Blondie. The panicles aren't as large as some grevilleas but they are a lovely peachy-gold color.

Salvia dorisiana. The leaves on this vigorous sage offer a delicious fruity fragrance.

Though small, the flowers on Salvia discolor are as close to black as any bloom out there.

It's the season for Magnolias. Here's a flower on my M. stellata. They remind me of fingers.

Here are two photos of a white flowering Helleborus orientalis. Very pretty.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Mops'. Showing its burnished gold winter color.

Shamrock oxalis. This winter blooming oxalis has taken over a front yard bed.

Erica caniculata 'Rosea'. This guy went crazy with its blooming this year.

This mixed succulent bowl is gradually drying out from all our recent rains.

Lachenalia tricolor. One of the earliest blooming of my many cowslips.

Begonia rex variety. Mine is looking a bit worse for the wear but has stayed evergreen this winter.

Camellia 'Lila Naff'. I love that creamy pink color!

Camellia 'Anticipation Variegated'. One of my favorite camellias.

One of my many Neoregelias (bromeliad).

And another shot of my world famous - okay I'm kidding - Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web.'

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Back in the Saddle

 Well, it's been a challenging year for this gardener but after major alterations needed in the late summer, the garden is slowly rounding into form. Of course January is a sleepy month so today's return to sharing photos of the garden rightly focuses on foliage, not flowers. That said, here is a sampling of my winter garden.

My Geranium harveyi continues to spread and look great doing so. It is one happy plant!

The same can be said for my seasonal Oxalis 'White Pillow'. Easy, easy, easy.

Eriogonum grande rubescens. This red CA buckwheat is also happy as a clam and even has its first flowers forming.

Rhodocoma capensis. This restio continues to look good and soften the stucco walls and cement steps.

My Leucospermum 'Veldfire' is budding up and looks ready to put on a fabulous late February show.

This walkway bed is full of spring blooming bulbs, most notably Freesias, Sparaxis, Ipheions and Dutch Iris.

My two Ericas, the E. speciosa shown above and the floriferous E. caniculata 'Rosea' below, are getting a jump on spring.

Can't recall the variety name of this white Aloe but it has two small bloom spikes filling up with flower buds.

A relatively new addition, this Grevillea Poorinda 'Blondie' is already loading up with budded panicles.

The shrub version of a bottlebrush tree, this Callistemon viminalis is in bloom this month.

It took awhile but my Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' has finally filled out and is looking good.

Hmm, I guess there IS more in bloom than I thought. This Loropetalum 'Purple Majesty' is either late or early in the blooming dept.

I've lost my tag for this purple-stemmed succulent but it is prospering, even under a fir tree.

Right next to it is a small collection of bromeliads. Their deep colors are due in part to the nice southern sun they're picking up.

A new addition to my extensive conifer garden, this Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Surprise' has lovely and soft foliage.

Two more conifers. On the left is a Pinus coulteri and on the right, a Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest.'

My bronze fennel is rebounding nicely, while in front, the clumps of the bulb Babiana are forming nicely.

Though still small, my Hardenbergia violacea is in bloom. So pretty!

And last but certainly not least, one of the earliest of my camellias, C. Francie L. variegated, has produced its first rich rose bud.

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