not for sale to minors (november bloom day)

Things have slowed down. It’s November for godsakes. But stuff keeps happening in the garden.

Probably the most remarkable thing blooming is this, a variegated mutation of Salvia divinorum.

I noticed the variegation a few months ago and will try to propagate the part of the plant with speckled leaves. A sport partially lacking chlorophyll would be at an evolutionary disadvantage out in the wilds, but gardeners–We’re weird–we’ll propagate these runts just because they’re pretty-like.

This is probably the most dramatic of the alligatored leaves. Even though many leaves are variegated, you can see that it hasn’t stopped those parts of the plant from flowering.

Enough of the leaves, this being Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. (Thanks as usual to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly meme on every fifteenth of the month.) Let’s take a look at the flowers.

The blooms are fuzzy up-close, like some other salvias, including the Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, a dependable low-water plant that’s common in Southern California and beyond. This blossom looks very friendly in a lisping, come-hither, snaggletoothed sort of way.

Unfortunately if you’re a gardener under the age of 18 in California you can’t purchase this plant. In some other states owning a plant can buy you three years in prison. I’m sorry but all this sounds ridiculous. People sometimes complain about a government being a “nanny-state,” but many of the states where you hear that claim being made loudest are ones that are likely to ban this plant. Hey, look at the cool flowers! Look at the the cool leaves! This is obviously a plant with ornamental value, just like Gramma Olive’s opium poppies.

Flowers are scarce all around, but if you look deep enough into many plants you’ll see a few hardy holdouts still in bloom. And with winter on the way, there are a precocious winter bloomers starting to do their thing. This one’s germander sage, Salvia chamaedryoides. As far as I know, this plant the rest of those featured here are perfectly legal to grow everywhere.

Another salvia, the common but cool "Hot Lips"


Gaillardia pulchella with an appreciative honeybee
Oxalis purpurea, white form
Paperwhite narcissus
Galvezia speciosa 'Firecracker'
Galvezia juncea, a species from near-by in Mexico, a member of the snapdragon family.


And here's another local with a name change pending. Was: Isomeris arborea; Now is: Peritoma arborea. Gack.
A rare local native, something I've known as Coreopsis maritima. But in the new Jepson manual all the California species we knew as coreopsis have been moved to the genus Leptosyne. Leptosyne maritima--that one's going take a while getting used to. (Sorry for the ragged half-flower. That is all that survived the weekend rains.)
Sphaeralcea ambigua, the first blooms in a while
An orange epidendrum. I think you saw this last month
Gutierrezia californica--a wispy plant with almost no leaves and a delicate cloud of yellow flowers
San Miguel Island buckwheat, Eriogonum grande var. rubescens, definitely not peaking...
Euphorbia Diamond Frost--This hit just a few years ago and everyone was talking about it. Now...almost nothing. Interesting. Gardeners aren't fickle, are they?
Desperate, flower-starved times call for desparate measures, in this case the macro lens for these tiny creeping thyme flowers...
Gaura lindheimeri
Camellia Cleopatra, yes it was in bloom in October for that month's Bloom Day

And, finally, a few shots of everyone’s favorite this time of year, Protea Pink Ice. Happy Bloomday!

24 thoughts on “not for sale to minors (november bloom day)”

  1. Very nice protea shots. And good luck propagating that variegated Salvia! I’m not generally a big fan of variegated leaves, but even I have to admit that the variegation on that particular plant is rather charming, and all the more so because it arose spontaneously in your garden.

  2. Great photos of the salvia, I hardy ever manage to get them in focus; partly the wind which keeps them in constant motion. I don’t find any of the salvias I have as drought tolerant as they are always said to be. Christina

  3. Gardeners all over the world, even here in the tropics, have very particular liking for the variegation, whatever plant they happen to be. I love your shots and your flowers, most especially the very unusual hairy salvia flowers.

  4. You are so good at capturing the essence of delicate flowers, these images are wonderful, particularly the hallucinogenic salvia ones. And of course I am not tempted to buy one just to discover what effects it can have when ingested, I’ll buy one because it is so pretty, obviously! Though we part ways when it comes to (almost all) variegation, I am not a fan. Leaves that look paint-splashed are a no-no in my garden 😉

  5. So great to see the California flowers from the other side of the continent! That salvia is magnificent (well, they all are). And the protea, oh my.

  6. Nice shout out to the Salvia leucantha. Wasn’t certain what the effects, but see what you’re saying. Brugmansia…your next on the chopping block. Great finds for November. Yes, Proteas, always a great one to see. matti

  7. Oh my, it’s bloom day already! I totally spaced out on that, but then, my garden isn’t as amazing bloom wise as yours. Love that salvia! Maybe they do it to get a little less sun? And it does seem perfectly healthy. I had a varigated S. spatacea, but it was stunted and I had to compost it.

  8. A bit of Cheech and Chong, and more of the legal stuff. Nice variety, and the buckwheats are my favorites, as they even go a long time in frosty-morning Abq. But the protea – that is something few outside coastal Calif can pull off…nice!

    As long as the parents or older sibling of the <18 gardener get the plant, it's OK. Unless they have laws for that, too…

  9. Blooms may seem sparse in the overview, but your close-ups paint another picture entirely. I’ll go along with the majority view, praising the Protea. We only get them as cut flowers from the florist around here.

  10. The salvia’s nice, though I don’t know about the white in the leaves. It’s kind of cool, but something I appreciate for keeping things interesting rather than for any aesthetics. The protea on the other hand I can appreciate on every level. So nice.
    I think I’ll be calling it coreopsis maritima for a while. That’s a terrible new name, for a plant that I quite like.

  11. I’ve wondered myself what I’d do if I saw something that is unusual or very gardenworthy from one of our local natives, if I could somehow propagate that. Be interested to see your results! My neighbor holds down the fort on proteas and a variety of large South African and Australian plantings. We are chalk and cheese garden wise! – Your photo set looks so very SoCal – it’s something in the lightness of the light. Or in my brain maybe!

  12. The protea photo is just stunning! Your macro photos are inspiring–my early New Year’s Resolution: I will learn macro photography, I will…

    Thanks for sharing! Happy GBBD!

  13. Great photos as usual, James. I’m amazed that you can always find something in bloom throughout the year here in SoCal. Your salvias are quite fetching, especially your close-ups of the S. leucantha and shot of ‘Hot Lips.’ There are a gazillion selections, cultivars & hybrids of the S. greggii, but ‘Hot Lips’ still remains one of the perennial favs. I love growing Autumn sages in my own garden for their long bloom season, striking colors, drought tolerance, and ridiculous attractiveness to hummingbirds. Fierce battles are being fought here every day over Autumn Sage turf by these diminutive avians. So much more entertaining than a WWF pay-per-view extravaganza!

  14. Terrific protea photo. I’ve got paperwhites blooming up here as well, although I can never get used to seeing them this early.
    And I am a fan of Jepson’s manual but it will be hard going to give up saying ‘Coreopsis’. I had similar recalcitrance with Zauschneria and the interloper Epilobium.

  15. Wow, So Cal can’t be beat for year round bloom,…you have a lot blooming! Again you’ve got some that I like to look up….ones like Galvezia that have ‘flown under my radar’ ‘Course you can grow lots that I can’t here. I’m so looking forward to the buckwheats growing up. How are they managing on gopher hill? Happy Holidays!

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