Monday, January 18, 2021

In a Vase on Monday: A few new blooms

I didn't discover many new flowers during my Bloom Day scavenger hunt but, after a few days of unseasonably warm-hot weather, more flowers made an appearance.  Friday's temperature hit 88F (31C) and Saturday and Sunday were only nominally cooler.  The forecast calls for steadily cooler conditions as the week progresses and there's even a chance of rain next week.  While I remain hopeful, I'm not going to get too invested in the possibility of rain yet as that prospect already appears to be drifting away.

The new floral addition, Senna artemisioides, has wispy foliage and small yellow flowers, which are barely visible here

Back view: I tried copying Amelia, The Shrub Queen, this week by curling Phormium leaves (a trick she performed using bromeliad leaves) but they quickly started uncurling themselves.  Next time, I'll try dampening the leaves and leaving them tightly curled at least overnight.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Phormium 'Ed Carman', Senna artemisioides, Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite', and Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'

The second arrangement has two floral elements that didn't appear in my Bloom Day post.

The new blooms here were provided by Echium handiense and Grevillea sericea.  Both are a couple of weeks ahead of their usual bloom schedules.

Back view: I selected the foliage of Pittosporum 'Silver Magic' as my foliage filler as it has a tinge of pink

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Echium handiense, Grevillea sericea, Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl', and Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Magic'

To be truthful, I'm not enamored with either of this week's arrangements but finding new blooms in the garden cheered me up considerably nonetheless.  Fingers are crossed that this week goes well for our nation.

For more IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Sunday, January 17, 2021

We have a winner! 'Fearless Gardening' Giveaway

Loree Bohl's book, Fearless Gardening: Be Bold, Break the Rules, and Grow What You Love, has generated a lot of interest since its January 5th release.  I offered a review of the book in my post on January 6th and  announced a giveaway, sponsored by Timber Press.  The winner, selected at random, will receive a copy of Loree's book and also The Art of Gardening by R. William Thomas. 

The names of those meeting the eligibility requirements  went into a hat and I had my husband pull out a slip.  I'm pleased to announce that Laura is the winner!  Laura, please email me at with your full name and address.  Upon receipt, I'll pass Timber Press my request to mail the books to you.  To everyone else, I hope you'll purchase Loree's book online or in your local bookstore - it deserves a place on your bookshelf!

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bloom Day - January 2021

This Bloom Day compilation was the result of a scavenger hunt.  While there are still some splashy blooms in my garden, most of what's out there is little bits of this and that.  As I usually gather those in collages organized by color, this month I thought I'd organize the entire post according to color.

I'll start with the reds for no other reason than the fact that Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' is suddenly covered in tiny red flowers.

The flowers of Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' always strike me as more rosy-red than scarlet but maybe whomever named the plant was fond of alliteration

As you may know, Leucadendron "flowers" are actually colorful bracts surrounding cones but I wouldn't have much of a January Bloom Day post without Leucadendrons like 'Safari Sunset' shown here

The rest of the red flowers include, clockwise from the upper left: Calliandra haematocephala, Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', Metrosideros collina 'Springfire', Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola', and burgundy Pelargonium peltatum

I'll follow with the pink flowers as they're the largest group at present.

The foliage of Argyranthemum frutescens 'Giant Angelic Pink' is literally smothered in blooms

The Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) is loaded with flowers this month too

At a glance, the tiny flowers of Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' may look white but they're actually a very pale pink

I needed two collages to cover the rest of the pink blooms.  Clockwise from the upper left: Arbutus 'Marina', Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', the first bloom of Cistus 'Grayswood Pink', noID Camellia sasanqua, and Camellia x williamsii 'Taylor's Perfection'

The rest of the pinks, top row: noID Alstroemeria and Correa 'Sister Dawn'
Middle row: noID Cyclamen, dwarf Grevillea rosmarinifolia, and Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'
Bottom row: noID Pericallis (aka florist's cineraria) and Persicaria capitata

Next up are the oranges.

Aloe vanbalenii x ferox (I was alarmed when I noticed what looked like white blotches on the Aloe's foliage but thankfully these were simply effects of sunlight when the photo was taken)

This is another of the small-flowered Grevilleas in my garden, Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia.  Like the other small-flowered varieties, it blooms for only a couple of months each year.

In contrast, large-flowered Grevillea 'Superb' blooms continuously year-round

Other plants with orange flowers include, clockwise from the left: Dermatobotrys saundersii, Osteospermum 'Zion Copper Amethyst', Bryophyllum (Kalanchoe) fedtschenkoi, and Cuphea 'Vermillionaire'

Yellow flowers are up next.

Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' also blooms year-round

This Leucadenron salignum 'Chief' is another of those that produces flower-like bracts

but, in my opinion, the winner in the floral imitator category is Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'

Clockwise from the left are: Aeonium arboreum, Leucadendron 'Summer Red', Argyranthemum frutescens 'Beauty Yellow', and a mix of Gazania, most self-sown

I've relatively few white flowers at the moment.

The closest thing to a star among my white-flowered plants are these noID paperwhite Narcissi that came with the garden

Clockwise from the upper left, in the also-ran category are: noID Antirrhinum majus, Argyranthemum frutescens (returning to bloom a second year), Dianthus 'Dash White', Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum', and Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light'

The blue/purple flowers bring us to the end.

I have a lot of rosemary in other areas but this variegated Rosmarinus 'Gold Dust' in my back garden is my favorite 

Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' is another year-round bloomer here

Top row: noID Ceanothus, Felicia aethiopica, and Hebe 'Grace Kelly' (which has lost much of its variegation)
Middle row: Osteopsermum '4D Silver', noID Scaevola, and Polygala fruticosa
Bottom row: Teucrium fruticans (from a seedling collected from a friend's garden in January 2019), Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic' and noID Viola

For more on what's flowering in gardens across the country and in other parts of the world, check in with Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the architect behind the monthly event that is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wide Shots - January 2021

One month blends into another and, as is the case for many of us these days, I lose track of time.  I completely forgot my own eighth blog anniversary late last month and only belatedly remembered that it was time for my quarterly wide shots post, which I use to track the general changes in my garden that otherwise can get lost among all the close-up photos.

I'll start as usual in my back garden looking out toward the Los Angeles harbor.

I've cut back a lot of plants, most notably the bush violets (Barleria obtusa) that were threatening to swamp plants adjacent to the fountain, as well as others in the back border.  You can see bulb foliage coming up around the fountain now.

View from the back patio looking north

View from the northeast end of the house looking back toward the main patio

View from the main patio looking south.  Although there are a lot of empty spots in the beds on both sides of the flagstone path, it doesn't look bad from this vantage point.  The Echium handiense on the foreground on the left already has bloom spikes as our weather turns unseasonably warm.  We could reach 80F (26C) before the week's end.

View from the south end of the back garden looking north.  The most obvious change since my October wide shots post is that the mimosa tree (Alibizia julibrissin) is gone.  Its planned replacement, a Ginkgo, isn't available at my local garden center yet.

The south side garden is next up.  The area looks a lot different to me since the removal of the dead native Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) along the property line.  I planted a new tree, Olearia albida (aka tree daisy), just inside the hedge that runs along the perimeter but it's still too small to be seen in a wide shot.

This view of the south side garden looking west is one of my favorite garden views

The loss of the Toyon is most evident in this view from the area outside the "catio" looking southeast.  Hopefully, the tree daisy will someday screen those scruffy trees in the distance and the neighbor's house.

View of the south side garden looking east.  Last week, I cut back the two vines growing up the arbor, a Wisteria on the left and a Clematis on the right.

Next we'll move into the front garden but, instead of continuing along the main level, we'll dip down to the lower level where my lath (shade) house sits.

I cleared the slope on the right in November and replanted it, mostly with small succulent specimens, some cut from elsewhere in my garden and others received by mail order

View of the same area looking east

The area shown above sits next to the road that runs through our neighborhood so we'll take a quick look at the bed running parallel to the street now.

My husband cut back the Agave 'Blue Flame' on the right as it had spilled out into the street.  I cleaned out various dead succulents and planted a couple of things I had in reserve.  I'm thinking of removing some of the iceplant (Delosperma) on the far right in order to plant some of the 'Blue Flame' pups I pulled out of another area.

The barely visible stick in the back is a Mexican sunflower tree (Tithonia diversifolia) I cut back after transplanting.  The specimen grown in the local botanic garden is cut back hard each year but I'm not confident this one will spring back the way larger specimens do.  The blue plant in front is an Agave colorata I dug out of the back garden before we had the dying mimosa tree removed.  I had a larger specimen but it wasn't as symmetrical as this one so I left it in the driveway with a sign as another of my giveaways and, despite its weight and sharp spikes, it was gone in the morning.

Walking back up the street to the driveway, we face the front entrance to the house.

I pruned the shrub roses and cut back the overgrown Cuphea 'Starfire Pink' shrubs in the front beds this week.  The two Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' shrubs on either side of the front walk have been harder to manage than I'd hoped - every time I cut them back, they almost instantly produce a couple feet of new growth.

I still need to cut back the California lavender (Lavandula multifida).  I'll wait another month to cut back the Pennisetum 'Rubrum'.

This is a closer view of the succulent bed that runs from the driveway back to the lath house

View from near the front door looking southwest

View from the south end of the main level of the front garden looking north.  Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' (sited next to Grevillea 'Superb') is flaunting its colorful yellow bracts.

View from the north end of the house looking southwest

A poor photo of the bed on the west side of the garage looking toward house.  After removing an ungainly self-seeded sweet pea bush (Polygala fruticosa), I planted three Verbascum and one Salvia in the area below the ornamental pear tree last month only to have rabbits eat the plants to nubs overnight.  I covered what was left with overturned plastic flats in an effort to save what remained.

I'm planning to renovate this succulent bed next to the garage (again) soon

On the other side of the garage is the cutting garden, which currently doesn't have much to say for itself.

The Anemone corms I planted in early November are well on their way but most of the other bulbs planted and seeds sown later in November have yet to do much.  The plastic flats provide seedlings with protection from critters.

Next up is the north side garden, which I cleaned out in December, leaving a lot of blank spots I'm anxious to fill when it's safe to do a little plant shopping again.

Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' is just starting to bloom

Continuing down that gravel path shown in the last photo takes us down to the back slope, still largely neglected on my part.

I had plans for the back slope I never implemented last year.  A few run-ins with fire ants significantly reduced the time I spent down there.

As we've had very little rain - just 1.2 inches since the start of our "rain year" on October 1st - I need to get down there and water by hand if I'm going to have much of anything survive

That's a wrap for this quarter's wide shots.  If we're lucky enough to get more rain before our rainy season ends, April's update should be significantly more colorful.

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party