With several days above 80 degrees this week, it’s feeling like spring. And surveying the garden, it’s looking like spring too.
Lest any of you in the lands of blizzards and crazy snowfall think I’m gloating, let me show you one of the many weed patches around the garden. Yes we have lots of spring flowers already. But we also have lots of zones around that look like this. But enough of this unpleasantness. On to some flowers!
The first things anyone walking up to the house will notice are the two ginormous flowering spikes of the Agave attenuata. They’re a pretty common plant around town, but their seven or eight foot flowering spikes from November to February or March cannot fail to impress. If the blooms were coral pink or violet you almost might call the plant gaudy, but they’re a quiet icy greenish-white. Gaudy, but in a subtle way.
The number of California native plants in the garden keeps growing. Their two most common spring flower colors seem to be bright yellow and lavender, a combination that can stand my teeth on edge, so I tried to tone down the clashes with some plants with in-between shades of bloom. Apricot is a great peace-maker color, and I’ve used a golden chuparosa, Justicia californica ‘Tecate Gold’ and apricot mallow, Abutilon palmeri.
But still, there’s lots of yellow around: Bladderpod (Peritoma/Isomeris/Cleome arborea), our local coastal coreopsis (Leptosyne maritima), plus aeoniums from the Azores or Africa.
And there’s plenty in the lavender category: the very first (and really early) flower of Salvia ‘Winifred Gilman’, the prolific prostrate black sage (Salvia mellifera repens), “blue” dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) and blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) that reseeds itself at the edge of the veggie garden.
And a few others:
This is my first contribution in many many months to the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Thanks for hosting, Carol. Check out what’s flowering around the garden blog world [here] !
18 thoughts on “almost spring”
Trouble in paradise – weeds!
Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!
Thanks, Lea. I enjoyed sampling your GBBD photos, too!
Wow! You have so much–beautiful and interesting plants. Typical Californian, you can grow anything. 🙂
Thanks, Tina. There’s definitely lots to choose from out here. But it’s a real stunt for us to be able to pull off lilacs or rhododendrons. Rest assured there are lots of things we cannot grow.
You’ve certainly hit on the biggest drawback for us gardeners who live in subtropical climates – we never get a break from those darned weeds! Fungus and disease are also always waiting to rear their ugly heads. Oh, well, every gardener must have something to complain about. It’s in our DNA. Happy Bloom Day!
Is perfection to much to ask for? I suppose a large swath of the country would love to be able to complain about weeds this time of year! I look forward to the dry summer when the weeds only come up where I water.
Crassula multicava is ours, and I’ve discovered after I lost my plants, that it really likes shade. Another one to add to my wish list. I’m harvesting seed from the Californian poppies I found in the new garden – nice mix of colours ranging from almost yellow to russet.
I suspected the crassula might have come from your neighborhood of the world. My large patch thrived under the late protea in dry open shade. Now that there’s lots more sun, I’m expecting it to look more challenged during the warmer parts of the year. Do your California poppies behave themselves? I know they’re considered invasive some places like Chile.
80 degrees is high summer in my book. We are feeling quite balmy in the 60’s. Love seeing the flowers that love the heat.
Hey, they balmy 60s are pretty nice too! Some friends were in PDX recently for a conference. Most had traveled from colder places and were basking in the warmth, Portland flowers and all…
Hi James, I am from Southern California too! (Pasadena to be exact.) What going on with the 80+ degree weather we had? So crazy. My garden doesn’t know what to do. I wanted to say I love your plant database. I do the same thing in an excel spreadsheet, but now I am jealous of your more high-tech version on your blog! 🙂 Looking forward to reading more over your blog and seeing what’s blooming down in your neck of the woods.
Hi Danielle, nice of you to stop by! Yes, neither the plants nor the humans know exactly how to deal with this heat. Doing deep watering in February seems all wrong! I will say that maintaining the plant list online is lots more work than Excel would have been. AND you don’t have to expose to the world all the plants you’ve killed!
The photo caption near the top, referring to “dessert mallow,” amused me. I guess marshmallow would count as a “dessert mallow.”
I like your Baja feather duster. I’d definitely want to grow some of those if I lived as near to Baja as you do. Also, I envy you for your success with the bush anemone. I keep trying to grow that, but I haven’t gotten one to grow more than a foot tall before dying.
Thanks for catching the typo, Gayle! Desert, dessert… it’s all good in my book! Even though my carpenteria flowers a certain amount, I’m on the edge of taking it out. The plant is more brown than green most of the year and is not a pretty sight, even with flowers on it. The feather duster, however, is much more suited to this piece of land south of stereotypical Southern California.
Hi James, what a pleasure to see all those Californian bloomers. Plants from your part of the world often seem to do well here, so I’m always on the lookout … I like your variety of salvias. I tried mimulus a while back, but it wasn’t happy.
Many native gardens out here have mimulus because it has such bright and colorful flowers. It’s a fickle plant, though, and looks scraggly as often as it looks good in a garden setting. I definitely grow it for the flowers and not for the scrappy plant!
It’s so nice to see that it is spring somewhere. Your flowers are a welcome sight and give me hope that spring will come here, too. (I’m happy to wait on the weeds, though!) This week, we had no new snow, temperatures “soared” up above 30F twice, and — for the first time in many weeks — the snow pack has shrunk a bit rather than grown.
Snow is a wondrous thing: the delicate flakes in the air, the soft squeaky crunch of it underfoot, the way it draws white lines against dark, wet wood when it lingers on the tops of branches. But, to this Californian, the most wonder-invoking thing about it is that people continue to live in its domain! Why, Jean, why? I’m sending you warm thoughts and hopes for an earlier spring than expected.