Tag Archives: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

almost spring

The view from the front sidewalk, with yellow deerweed, violet gilia, pink arctotis, red aloe.
The view from the front sidewalk, with yellow deerweed, violet gilia, pink arctotis, red aloe.

With several days above 80 degrees this week, it’s feeling like spring. And surveying the garden, it’s looking like spring too.

With rain come the weeds. Everywhere.
With rain come the weeds. Everywhere.
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!

Agave attenuata bloom spike that landed on the aloe
Agave attenuata bloom spike that landed on the aloe

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.

Closer view of the end of one of the agave bloom spikes.
Closer view of the end of one of the agave bloom spikes.

An apricot-gold selection of chuparosa, a plant that's usually scarlet red
An apricot-gold selection of chuparosa, a plant that’s usually scarlet red
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.
Mellow apricot-yellow tones of desert mallow  coexist with lavender-flowered plants, like Salvia 'Bee's Bliss' here in the background
Mellow apricot-yellow tones of desert mallow coexist with lavender-flowered plants, like Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ here in the background

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.

Leptosyne (Coreopsis) maritima
Leptosyne (Coreopsis) maritima
Peritoma arborea
Peritoma arborea
Aeonium from the Azores, also representing yellow
Aeonium from the eastern Atlantic, also representing yellow

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.

First blooms on Salvia winifred Gilman
First blooms on Salvia winifred Gilman
The rambunctious black sage
The rambunctious black sage
Blue dicks, looking pretty lavender to me
Blue dicks, looking pretty lavender to me
Blue-eyed grass, really more lavender than blue in this form, looking great next to chard
Blue-eyed grass, really more lavender than blue in this form, looking great next to chard

And a few others:

Carpenteria californica
Carpenteria californica

The flowers of miner's lettuce
The flowers of miner’s lettuce

Ceanothus 'South Coast Blue'
Ceanothus ‘South Coast Blue’

Baja fairy duster
Baja fairy duster

Hummingbird sage
Hummingbird sage
Crassula multicava, from somewhere other than California
Crassula multicava, from somewhere other than California

Galvezia juncea 'Gran Canon' from Baja
Galvezia juncea ‘Gran Canon’ from Baja

Galvezia speciosa 'Firecracker', from California's Channel Islands
Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker’, from California’s Channel Islands

Monkey flower (mimulus)
Monkey flower (mimulus)

Flowering, but it's a weed, buttonweed, Cotula australis
Flowering, but it’s a weed, buttonweed, Cotula australis–you can’t escape them this time of year!

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] !

hades called, wants its heat back

What a scorcher. Yesterday, while driving around, doing some shopping, I noticed the dashboard thermometer was reading 108 degrees. Gack.

It felt it.

The humans were sweltering and the garden wasn’t exactly exalting in the heat. Add to the heat my recent battles with gophers and you have a garden with some pretty rough-looking tableaux. Here’s a peek at a California fuchsia (Epilobium ‘Route 66’) seen through a chaparral currant (Ribers indecorum) that has defoliated itself in self-defense against the heat, dryness, and having its roots chewed by gopehrs.


Route 66 is the first thing you notice walking up the front steps, and it’s probably the star of the September garden right now. Ignore the dying foliage nearby.

Brown is one of the dominant colors today. Lavender is blooming, but there are way more dead flower heads than new ones. Still pretty.

Same goes for the San Miguel Island buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens).

In the herb/veggie universe the fennel is going strong, but it’s also going brown. I skeletonized the image even further.

There are a few unglamorous typical California garden plants keeping the blooming going. The bougainvillea might as well be made out of plastic. Here it seems to bloom unless it freezes back or meets an electrified pair of hedge trimmers. This is a planting of two different double-flowered kinds, a magenta one and a whitish one that’s tinted with magenta.

Kahili ginger is probably the most charismatic flowering plant right now in the back garden. Ginger-scented early mornings or nights under the stars give you something to look forward to during a season that’s usually more gray and brown than green.

Gaillardia pulchella started out life as a plant or two from the nursery. It doth spread a bit.

Beyond the big and splashy, there’s a fair amount in bloom if you look closely. Here are a few random blooms, shown mostly as closeups because the plants in general are feeling the season change.





Going down the photos on the left:

  • Yucca elephantipes
  • Yellow waterlily
  • Arctotis
  • Salvia nemerosa ‘Snow Hills’
  • Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’
  • Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea
  • Gutierrezia california
  • Galvezia speciosa–no the phot isn’t upsdie-down; this is a strangely long single pendant branch on a plant on the roof deck 8 feet above
  • Orange epidendrum orchid
  • Clerodendrum ugandense, butterfly bush
  • Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, dwarf plumbago

A couple of other sights in the garden:

A potted Stapelia gigantea approaching full bloom.

The flower does has a bit of a dead meat odor, especially up close.

Even closer…

Abundant buds on the stapelia. More stinkiness on the way. Ah to be a carrion-obsessed fly in this garden.

And a final photo: Not a fly but a dragonfly visiting the pond. Taking a break from the heat.

Thanks as always to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Click [ here ] to see what everyone else has to share!


We begin this month’s episode of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day with the rare lavender-flowered California coffeeberry. Well, actually, there is no such thing and I’m making it up, using one of the older trick in the gardener’s book.

The flowers come from Verbena bonariensis, a tall, stemmy plant that sends it flowers up through any plants around it, making them appear as if they’re blooming with the verbena’s flowers.

The coffeeberry’s flowers are much more nondescript to humans. On the recent garden tour I spoke to a homeowner who was wishing that she hadn’t planted her coffeeberries so close to paths because the bugs seem to go crazy over its blooms, more so than just about any other native plant. Here we have the humble blooms of Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Eve Case.’

The rest of the garden is definitely slowing down. The last few months have been high spring, but you can feel summer’s presence in the lengthening days and the plants slowing down their growth and flower production.

Fortunately some plants choose this time to begin flowering. White sage, Salvia apiana, is one of them.

San Miguel Island buckwheat, Eriogonum rubescens var. rubescens, just getting going.

Winnifred Gilman Cleveland sage, close to its peak.

Gutierrezia californica, California matchweed. It’s not a usual home garden plant, but it has delicate and tiny yellow flowers and miniature leaves that contrast nicely against larger, more substantial plants.

Saint Catherine’s lace, Eriogonum giganteum, probably the most stunning buckwheat. That’s “stunning” in buckwheat-speak, meaning it’s spectacular in a really humble way. Here it is, holding its own against a phlomis from Turkey, P. monocephala.

A closer look at the phlomis above.

We also have a pretty heavy flowering of Island bush snapdragon, Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker.’ Looking close, you can definitely make out its family resemblance to the common garden snappers.

A close look at the “rat-tail” floral structures of Verbena lilacina. This species has coloration identical to the verbena that opened this post, but it’s more shrubby, and comes from Baja, not Brazil.

Clarkia rubi­cunda ssp. blasdalei helps extend the flowering into late spring.

If you let your California poppies go to seed, you’ll likely have little scenes like this, young poppy plants sending out their first blooms–not always in the best of places, but there are usually enough of them that some will be coming up where you’d like them.

On the carnivorous plants we have some new blooms. This is a sundew, Drosera filiformis, “Florida Giant.”

And buds on another sundew Drosera capensis, white form.

The pitcher plants, however, are slowing down their flower production, just as the plants start to put out the amazing pitchers that make us want to grow them. These are the intensely raspberry-scented blooms of the ancestral form of Sarracenia rubra var. gulfensis.

During a couple weeks in later spring the orchid cactus, epiphyllums, go crazy with flowers. There’s really nothing orchid-like to their flowers, and their common names is just a piece of wayward marketing. But dang they’re spectacular in their gaudy, tacky, over-the-top-ness. These plants are John’s obsession. Unfortunately he’s not big on plant labels, so here I can only offer you the most generic plant names:

“White epiphyllum”

“A different white epiphyllum,” a plant in total full bloom

A close inspection of the above, Epiphyllum albus differentus

“Red epiphyllum”

“Magenta epiphyllum”

To conclude I’ll share this first flower of the local red columbine, Aquilegia formosa, a species that I’ve always enjoyed but haven’t grown in 10-15 years. Here it is, returned to the garden at last (courtesy last fall’s native plant society sale). Welcome home. You were missed.

That’s a lot of what’s blooming in my garden. Check out dozens of other gardens [ here ] over at May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts the monthly bloom day meme on the 15th of each month. Thanks as always, Carol!

more than last month

After posting on Nasher Sculpture Center’s Sculpture garden–very much a rarefied 1%er’s kind of garden–it’s really comforting to return to the garden I call home. It’s April 15 in this 99%er’s garden, and time for this months Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day meme, hosted of Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Every time I do one of these posts I worry that I’m showing you the same things. But since I stare at these plants for hours on end I hope you don’t mind the repeat appearances of some of the things that are still blooming. But in addition to the forever bloomers there are a lot of new things starting up this month.

Here’s an overview of the irrigated raised bed. There’s a native coyote bush in the back that I raised from seed, and it seems fine with this somewhat moist location. In front of it are some blooming exotics: a potted Euphorbia lambii with its chartreuse flowers, an Arctotis hybrid “Big Magenta” in the lower left, Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ to the right and a honey bush (Melianthus major) in the background, right, with its dark red bracts.

Euphorbia lambii detail.

There’s a lot from California (or very nearby) in bloom:

Verbena lilacina (from nearby in Mexico)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) livening up the edges of the veggie plantings.

Some of the last flowers on the black sage, Salvia mellifera.

Takes 1-3 of Salvia clevelandii ‘Winnifred Gilman.”

A red monkeyflower seedling from a cultivar that died a couple of years ago.

The local stinging lupine, Lupinus hirsutissimus.

The local coastal sea daisy, previously called a coreopsis, I’m trying to get used to its new name, Leptosyne maritima.

Another ex-coreopsis, Leptosyne gigantea.

The local bladderpod, Isomeris arborea, with one of its bladder-like seedpods to the right.

Island alum root doesn’t so incredibly well for me. I suspect that I’m not watering it enough to make it bloom like mad like I’ve seen it do locally.

A fremontia that we have in East County, Fremontodendron mexicanum. It’s a plant that’s been imprisoned in a gallon pot from a plant sale last fall, waiting until I figure out where to put a really big plant.

The giant island buckwheat (Eriogonum giganteum) in bud. Last year the gophers got to it. I thought it was doomed. Looks like it’s pulling through.

San Miguel Island buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescens).

A succulent dudleya that you find out in the eastern parts of the county, Dudleya saxosa ssp. aloides.

Carpenteria california, in bloom since December.

The California poppies started up last month. They’re close to peaking.

This plant, a spreading form of chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) known as ‘Nicholas.”

And from other places we have:

Verbena bonariensis.

An unknown red aloe or aloe hybrid.

Three takes on santolina, S. chamaecyparissus, more in bloom than last month.

The rose geranium in the herb garden is a total monster. Pretty in lavender-pink, though. And it’s pretty easy to pull up.

Yah, yah, yah, this protea all over again…

You’re witness to the final moments of this Mexican evening primrose. It’s a noxious weed in the garden, and I pulled it up five seconds after I put down the camera.

Nile, oblivious to all my weeding and survey work in the garden.

Another weedy plant, Homeria collina. Not nearly as bad as the previous one, so it usually gets to live and reproduce in my garden unless it comes up in a seriously bad spot.

Fortnight iris, Dietes iridioides. Another pretty but really weedy plant. It’s still coming up from seed left by plants a decade ago. This is a flower on the one plant that gets to live.

A couple of takes on blooming graptopetalums.

Silver jade, Crassula argentea, just coming into bloom.

But of the exotics, the most splashy right now are the American pitcher plants, the sarracenia. These carnivorous plants have leaves modified into the bug-catching tubes that are often mistaken for flowers. But you’ll see the floppy mop-top flowers that these guys produce.

S. alata and flowers.

A natural hybrid, S. ‘Leah Wilkerson,” flowers and new pitcher.

A hybrid of S. flava by S. oreophila. The pitchers are just opening, and will turn a much more intense combination of red and yellow.

Happy Bloomday, every’all. For more gardens check out Carol’s April 2012 Bloomday post [ right here ].

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 ].

january bloomday

Happy January Bloom Day, folks!

Lots of pictures this month.

Okay I cheated, with some multiples of the same plant mixed in. But a big dose of perky orange in the dead of winter seemed morally acceptable.

I guess it’s a typical Southern California January, with some ever-bloomers mixed in with the winter-flowering plants or last of the fall plants. You can hover over an image above to get the name, but here’s a quick rundown on the January backbone plants.

Some plants that say “California” but are from other places:

Aloe arborescens

A. andongensis

A. bainesii

Kalanchoe tubiflora

Jade plant, Crassula ovata

Salvia divinorum

S. Hot Lips

Protea ‘Pink Ice’



Oxalis purpurea

…and the really noxious

Oxalis pes-caprae

California natives:

Coreopsis maritima

C. gigantea

Ribes indecorum

Gutierrezia californica

Carpenteria californica

Mimulus aurantiacus

Isomeris arborea

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Galvezia speciosa

Verbena lilacina

Salvia mellifera

Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’

Salvia spathacea

There are also a few other things in bloom that didn’t make it into the mix, things like ‘Dr. Hurd’ manzanita, but you get the idea…

Thanks as always to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Check out the January post to see what the rest of the world looks like in the middle of January [ here ]

october bloom day

This santolina sums up the state of the garden pretty well. Peak flowering was in the past or hasn’t started up yet, but I’m enjoying where it’s at right now. This particular plant bloomed four months ago, but I liked the dead flower heads so much that I’ve left them on the plant.

California fuchsia, Epilobium ‘Route 66’ peaked about 6 weeks ago.

We actually had some significant rain–0.4 inches–last week. It was appreciated, but it also knocked off some of the plant’s flowers.

But it still looks pretty good. Here it is giving a little shade and color contrast to a chalk dudleya.

Bladderpod (Isomeris arborea) is a reliable bloomer for the times of year when most of the other natives have stopped blooming. It’s never covered with flowers, but there always seem to be a few on each of the ends on its branches.

Not peak monkeyflower season, either. This is all that’s blooming right now. One flower.

Corethrogyne filaginifolia is another reliable plant for this difficult time of year.

And you can always count on the grasses. This is purple three-awn, Aristida purpurea.

Among the non-natives this stapelia (S. gigantea) pretty much owns the garden with its big floppy flowers that smell of dead meat. Charming, disgusting and weird. I don’t apologize for it anymore.

You know things are slow when you show pictures of rosemary blooming. I’ll apologize for that, however.

But there’s a ltitle bit more…

Oxalis bowiei
Don't put too much stock in plant names. White flowers, species name of Oxalis purpurea...
Salvia Hot Lips
Clerodendrum myricoides, butterfly bush
A pink Gaura lindheimeri that either volunteered or came up in a spot where I forgot planting it. That happens sometimes...
The ever-blooming orange epidendrum, an orchid that's definitely not a prima donna assoluta
Camellia Cleopatra, one of the garden's clear signals: fall is here


And there are a few other things:
Yellow waterlilies
A red aloe I’m forgetting the name of…
Red epidendrum
Gaillardia pulchella
A big magenta bougainvillea
A somewhat pampered orchid: Vanda roeblingiana

Hopefully autumn is bringing great things to all your gardens. Ongoing thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Take a look at who’s got what blooming all around the world: [ link ]

visiting crestridge

For today’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day I’m doing something a little different. My garden looks a lot like it has in recent posts, so I thought I’d take you along on a tour last weekend of Crestridge Ecological Preserve, in San Diego County, a little over half an hour from the coast. The flowers were out in force.

One of the interesting narratives of this place is how a landscape responds to being burned. This preserve and many of the homes around it burned intensely in the big 2003 Cedar Fire. A lot of the homes nearby with their new tile roofs and crisp, new stucco look like they’ve been rebuilt out of the ashes.

Same goes for the plants. The Engelmann oaks that help define the character of the preserve burned. But many are bouncing back. Really, if it weren’t for the burned snags it’d be hard to guess that this area was cinders seven and a half years ago.

The Preserve features a small visitor kiosk designed by James T. Hubbell, the county’s best known proponent of organic architecture. Wood post-and-beam construction with straw-bale infill makes up the walls of the one-room space. Floors are a mix of flagstone and tile mosaics. Very groovy.

Around the kiosk is a native plant garden funded by a grant by the local CNPS chapter. Unlike the landscape around it, this garden receives some irrigation to keep it looking more garden-like. But today the garden extended seamless into the surrounding landscape.

The floral highlight of the trip is the the preserve’s stand of the rare Lakeside ceanothus, Ceanothus cyaneus. It’s vivid, dark color and big floral heads make it what must be one of the most spectacular of the ceanothus species. It’s not particularly garden tolerant, but given perfect drainage and no water once established, it might hang around for a few years and stop traffic passing by your garden.

On this trip we saw this lilac, as well as late-blooming examples of the much more common but less spectacular Ramona lilac, Ceanothus tomentosus, and some intergrades that look like they’re the love children of these two species.

Below is a little gallery of the visit. Hover on any image for a label of the plant. Click to see the entire image.

Check out what’s happening in gardens around the world in the other Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts hosted by Carol, of May Dreams Gardens. As always, thanks, Carol!

from the desert to the coast

Sunday I went for a little plant walk out to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It’s been a good year for desert flowers, but it’s not one of those spectacular seasons when the ground pulsates purple with sand verbena or gold with brittlebush. Some of the ocotillo were in bloom, and the desert agaves like this one (Agave deserti) were sending up their pink and green stalks.

Lots else was in bloom. But as I review the photos from the trips I’m finding that I’m staring at a pile of images of plants I don’t know the names of. I’ll share more of the pictures than this first one once I get them a little better organized and the plants matched up with my list of names.

Since it’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day I’ll share with you some plants from my garden that I do know the names of. Some of these are old friends that have been blooming for a while, and I’ve been sharing over past Bloom Days. But a lot of these are just coming into bloom for the first time this year.

I thought the blooms on this carpenteria were finished a month ago, but the plant has surprised me with a robust bloom spurt, bigger than the first one.

Unlike the carpenteria, this old friend, the tree coreopsis, won't be blooming again for another nine or ten months.

Many of these plants survive in the garden with minimal added water. The climate in this area is dry in a coastal-influenced sort of way. I might water once or twice a month in the summer, but the frequent morning overcast and occasional fog helps keep the plants hydrated. Additionally the plants in the garden have enjoyed a slighter higher than average rainfall so thoughts of the dry summer ahead aren’t in the minds of these plants. Spring is here.

This Salvia Bee's Bliss has been in the ground for over two years, but only now is it starting to take off.

Black sage, Salvia mellifera.

The local annual chia, Salvia carduaceae, with the exotic Phlomis monocephala in the background. The chia is one of the coastal plants that also can get to be pretty common in parts of the desert.

Here's another combination of plants, the lavender pink of the stinging lupine with the strident gold of the crassula relative behind it. The contrast is pretty strident to my taste, but hey, spring isn't all about subtle plays of one color against another...

Last month I showed this orange mimulus seedling. That time I got it in focus.
From the same parents that lived in this bed comes this other monkeyflower, this one velvety red with almost black detailing.

And here's another velvety red mimulus seedling. You might confuse it for the previous one, but the flowers are subtly different.

Nuttall's milkvetch, looking full and flowery, close to its seasonal peak.

Verbena lilacina looks better for me with a little more added water than some of the plants around it. But it survives even when I forget.

The pale Verbena lilacina 'Paseo Rancho' was just starting to bloom last month. It's starting to wake up for the spring.

Some parts of the garden get treated to more frequent watering.

This California buttercup, Ranunculus california, comes up reliably every year in an area of the garden where lawn meets unwatered gravel.

Blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium bellum, appreciates a moister spot as well.

Geum Red Wings, a pretty, informal plant.
Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea, is a California plant from moister places than my garden. Even in semi-shade it looks best with water two or three times a month.

And these last two of these go about as far from desert plants as you can get without getting aquatic plants. Both of these grow in my bog gardens, with their feet in standing water most of the year.

Sarracenia flava var. maxima is one one of the first plants in the bog to put out flowers. The common description of the scent is 'cat piss,' but I think that's a little too harsh a description. The flowers are nice, but most people grow these for the pitcher-shaped leaves.

A couple more sarracenias, a different S. flava in the back, and a hybrid of S. flava and S. alata up front.

Head over to Carol’s blog, May Dreams Gardens, to check out all the other bloggers celebrating Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

february bloom day

I’ve just returned from a week away and haven’t had a chance to inventory everything that’s blooming this month. Besides, you’ve seen a lot of it already. Here are a few snapshots from today of what’s new or what’s changed.

Carpenteria california was looking great for the last two months. Now, the petals are all dropping, and this is as close to anything resembling a flower left on the plant.

I keep thinking the narcissus are finished blooming, but I found this yellow one blooming beneath the jade plant. Bulbs--you gotta love how they're these little surprise that pop up where you forgot you planted them...

This verbena lilacena was blooming last month, but it's looking even better now.

Here's the pale Paseo Rancho clone of the previous verbena.

Stinging lupine, Lupinus hirsutissimus. No, the photo isn't upside down. For some reason the plant is. It started growing up, and then did a U-turn and headed for the ground like an errant missile. I somehow suspect gophers had something to do with it.

Here's an upright spike of the previous lupine...

Spharulcea ambigua, desert mallow, starting to bloom.

Looking very much like the previous mallow, this is S. munroana. For some reason this species is supposed to be a better garden plant than the previous speceis. In my gardne the plants are virtually identical, and if anything the basic desert mallow does better for me.

A seedling of a Mimulus aurantiacus hybrid. Its color is definitely lighter than the scarlet ones found locally.

Ranunculus californicus

Bulbinella frutescens(?)--Edit, February 25: Actually, according to Oscar Clarke, it's Bulbine bulbosa. Thanks for the assistance with the ID!

Euphorbia lambii

Blue dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum

Rose-scented geranium (pelargonium)

Among the edibles in bloom, this is rhubarb. This is my first attempt at growing this plant that supposedly doesn't like anything warmer than Zone 8. I'm not sure that I really like rhubarb, but I was curious to see how it would do, particularly since my local trusty nursery was selling it.

Flowers on another plant--apricot--that likes colder climates than mine. Unlike rhubarb, I know that I love apricots, but I really can't grow them well. This year, maybe because November was so insanely cold, the tree so far has a few dozen flowers on it. Still, I won't count my apricots until they're picked.

Astragalus nuttallii starting to come into its own. Some species are called locoweed, and not much more than two pounds is supposedly enough to kill an average cow. Don't think less of me when I tell you that one of the reasons I planted this species was to see if it might help me control the gophers. I can't say it's done anything to reduce their numbers.

Not everything is peaking, of course. Here's chalk dudleya in bud. Check back in a month or two to see it in bloom.

Thanks as usual to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this fun garden blogger meme. Take a look [ here ] at what else is blooming in other gardens around the country, around the world.

My prediction: a lot of the colder-climate gardeners will be posting on the Valentine’s Day flowers they gave or received. I hope you all had a god one. Middle age has struck and I don’t look so hot in my Cupid outfit anymore. You’ll have to settle for flowers delivered this way…