Tag Archives: March

the garden back home

We interrupt this brief series of looks at Dallas for a quick glance around my garden back home in San Diego. Actually I’ve been home from Texas for a while now, but I wanted to make a little better sense of the two hundred or so photos on my various devices before I posted the final selections. Until then, and until I can apply order the rest of the universe, here’s a light smattering of what’s going on.

March and April can be eyebrow-deep in flowers. But the winter rains that give a big boost to the plants haven’t arrived this year. Take these tiny chia plants (Salvia columbariae) as examples. This is some of this year’s seed-grown crop, nothing taller than two or three inches. The previous years they were closer to two to three feet tall–and stunning. Little water, big difference.

Out front, where many of the natives live, maybe 95% of the irrigation is natural rainfall. The plants would look better with supplemental water, so I sometimes wonder if I’m doing a bad PR job about natives if the garden sometimes looks a little straggly. I’m not sure whether it’s tough love on my part or just having gotten used to not needing to water. In the end the plants do seem to to pull along, and maybe that’s the more important message about the natives: They don’t always look great (how many of us do?) but they can survive without taxing the local water resources.

For the most part the following are plants, California natives and from farther afield, that came into bloom recently. A lot of the old dependables are still blooming away, oblivious to the season…

Win­nifred Gilman salvia

Verbena lilacina

An unknown lavender that self-sowed

Another view of the stinging lupine, backlit to show the little prickly hairs

Stinging Lupine: This plant is fairly well armed with tiny, unpleasant little hairs. But it's a local native that's totally dependable for a month of color.

Solanum pyracanthum: The species name of this nightshade translates into "fire thorn," pretty appropriately named. As the leaf dries the thorns are the last to lose their color.

The common gray santolina, new flowers against the dried remainders of last year's flowers. In my book, the soothing brown dried heads of flowers look lots cooler against the silver foliage than the egg-yolk yellow of the fresh blooms.

Salvia chamaedryoides

Salvia Bee's Bliss: a plant that a lot of folks rave about. It can be slow to get established, but once it gets going it's pretty tough and a great source of flowers for 2-3 months.

Phlomis monocephala

A mystery oxalis species--I lost its name. The leaves are ordinarily dark green, but the plant is dying back for the year, and the dying foliage is this subtle mottled effect.

Melianthus major, Honey Bush

Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea

Homeria collina

The silver-with-red leaved silver jabe plant, Crassula arborescens

Grapefruit flowers: kids, this is where grapefruits come from.

Geum Red Wings

Gaura lindheimeri

Sarracenia flava var. maxima, the first of the pitcher plants to have bloomed this year.

Euphorbia lambii

Eriogonum arborescens

Dichelostemma capitatum, Blue Dicks. Beautiful in the garden in huge groups, they're also really delicious for the gophers.

Desert mallow, Sphaer­al­cea ambigua

Daffodil--I think it's Ice Follies. Not many daffodil hybrids come back reliably in Southern California, but this is one of the classics.

Another look at Crassula multicava

Another crassula, C. multicava, with billowing heads of tiny flowers in winter and spring (and maybe longer if you water them more than I do).

Coreopsis maritima, our local native coreopsis, that's undergone a name change to Leptosyne maritima.

The first California poppy of the season

Blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium bellum

Thanks again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this great way for garden bloggers to find each other. It’s also a fine way to see what’s in bloom around the world. Check out all the gardens [ here ].