looking like spring again

November plum blossoms

I was confused the other day. Walking by the young plum tree, I noticed this. Flowers? In November? Apparently the plum was confused too.

After the long summer doldrums a lot in the garden is finally showing signs of waking up from its long nap. Some plants are showing new growth, others are blooming–even blooming when you don’t expect them to.

November narcissus

These paperwhite narcissus are a reliable indicator of the cooling days and nights ahead.

November Protea Pink Ice

Protea ‘Pink Ice’ coexists with the most xeric plants in the garden and stays a resilient green all year. Beginning in the fall this big shrub begins its flowers. This will go on all winter and into the spring.

November Salvia clevelandii

Salvia clevelandii‘s main flowering happens in the spring. But given the right conditions–a little supplemental water doesn’t seem to hurt–it can throw a few more flowers in the fall.

November Salvia spathacea

Ditto for Salvia spathacea. Sometimes a lot is made of the repeat-flowering abilities of some of the natives. With these two, the spring flowerings are always way more stunning, and you’ll never confuse spring for fall. But as reminders of the late winter and spring flowers ahead, they’re terrific.

November ceanothus

Another seasonally confused plant is this groundcover ceanothus. I’m only slowly now coming around to this genus. Groundcover versions like you see in the Burger King parking lot (think C. griseus ‘Yankee Point’) were all I saw for decades, but I’ve been trying to pay more attention to what other ceanothus have to offer. This one, unfortunately, is one of the Burger King-type varieties: low, flat, green all year on a low-to-moderate amount of water. It’s so inert and emphatically green it reminds me of plastic. I may never come to love this type, but fortunately there are other plants in the genus that do very different things.

November dendromecon

My campus is incorporating more natives into the landscaping, and all these photos of natives, from the salvias, down, come from an afternoon walk yesterday afternoon. Here a young plant of one of the dendromecons (either D. rigida or D. harfordii) provides an airy cloud of yellow.

November Heuchera

…and nearby one of the heucheras celebrates its spot in half-sun with occasional irrigation.

A few flowers, for sure. But it’s not really spring. We’ll need the rains to begin for that to happen.

4 thoughts on “looking like spring again”

  1. I think I’d do a small bloom in the fall if I was a plant here. Nice weather, some moisture in the air, hungry insects looking for a last meal before winter. That heuchera’s blooming pretty seriously.

  2. Yes, that’s pretty much what’s blooming (just a bit) in my garden, except I don’t have a protea. Amazing, that plant! But I seem to remember they’re not too fond of clay…

  3. James, how I envy you that Proteus. By the way, it’s not unusual, even in the North West, for cherries, plums – almost any Spring bloomer to cast up a few sporadic blooms in Fall. I guess it just proves Lincoln’s axiom about fooling some people all the time, and etc. Plants are no darn better than we are! Idiots!

  4. Yup, I’m seeing the same thing here in Northern California – mostly just a few random blooms, but still a bit surprising. Although it’s been a fall bloomer before, my brugmansia is currently covered with buds after doing nothing all summer. Now I just want them to hurry up and open before cold weather shuts them down.

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