Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bloom Day - May 2014

May is usually one of the very best months in the garden here.  This year, we're sitting through our second major heatwave.  The Santa Ana winds are blowing and the risk of wildfire is high.  These are conditions we generally face in September and October, not in spring.  The heat, dry air, and lack of rain has had impact on the garden.  Plants that were in full bloom last year at this time, like the Alstroemeria and the Argyranthemum, have already bloomed out.  Others, like the Iris germanica and Digitalis purpurea, have produced only sporadic bloom thus far.  I've lost a few plants and expect to lose more.  However, some plants are thriving, most notably the Agapanthus.

On May 20th last year, I posted about the arrival of masses of Agapanthus buds.  But, on this Bloom Day, the Agapanthus are already in full bloom throughout the garden.

Clumps of Agapanthus below the mimosa tree

More clumps below the California pepper trees

Clumps in the front yard

Other standouts in the backyard include:

Achillea 'Moonshine' and Salvia 'Mystic Spires'

Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum'

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

Hebe 'Patty's Purple'

Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snow Lady'

Some smaller plants showing their resilience in the backyard include:

Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin' - flowers close until the sun shines on them

Bulbine frutescens has been blooming continuously since it was planted in early March

Cotula lineariloba 'Big Yellow Moon' forms a mat from which petal-less, disk-shaped flowers spring

Hibiscus trionum, aka flower of an hour, is an annual that produces flowers that survive only a few hours

I love Nigella damascena 'African Bride' but find it hard to place because the white petals can look dingy next to bright whites

The flowers of Scorzonera hispanica smell like chocolate!

I wish I'd bought more of this cherry skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens)

The southeast side garden has taken a beating.  In addition to repeated onslaughts by raccoons, there are signs that a gopher is tunneling about there.  The sun and wind also poses challenges in that area.  Still, some plants are holding up well.

Both Acanthus mollis 'Summer Beauty' and Arthropodium cirratum would prefer a less sunny setting but they're troupers

While I was disappointed by the dwarf yellow Anigozanthos, I can't fault this red variety, which has bloomed non-stop since January

Osteospermum ecklonis '3D Silver' doesn't care for the heat but the Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon' planted from 6-packs only weeks prior to the 1st heatwave are taking the temperatures in stride

Cuphea micropetala 'Candy Corn' is supposed to grow 1-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide but this plant is nearly prostrate and is spreading far further than expected

Self-seeded Gaillardia (probably 'Goblin')

Tagetes lemmonii 'Compacta' doesn't mind the heat

In the front yard, the 'Joseph's Coat' rose which was covered with flowers last May, has already produced 2 flushes of bloom and has little to show for itself this May.  The 'Pink Meidiland' shrub roses are blooming, although not as heavily as they did last year.

Other plants are undaunted by the weather conditions.

The indefatigable Cuphea x ignea 'Starfire Pink' may swamp the roses in the front beds

Gaura lindheimeri 'Snow Fountain' has produced its first flush of blooms

Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' continues to pump out new blooms each day

Pelargonium x domesticum 'Georgia Peach' is a reliable bloomer

I caught the final blooms on the pineapple guava in the bed bordering the street.

Feijoa sellowiana grows just inside of the hedge

The vines covering the arbor between the vegetable garden and the dry garden are in full bloom.

Distictis laxiflora interwoven with Trachelospermum jasminoides

The biggest floral splashes in the dry garden are provided by the daylilies.

Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake' surrounded by the "weed" Geranium incanum

But a few other plants add subtle interest.

Bright pink Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset'

Dorycinium hirsutum, aka Hairy Canary Clover

Globularia x indubia

Groundcovers Thymus praecox 'Pink Chintz' and Teucrium chamaedrys

Finally, there's the slope, which has held up surprisingly well despite limited irrigation.

Centranthus ruber, Oenothera speciosa and Euphorbia 'Dean'Hybrid'

Those are the highlights for this exceptionally hot May Bloom Day in Southern California.  Please visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens, the host of the monthly Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, to see what's blooming in her garden and to find links to the posts of more than a hundred other contributors.


  1. Very nice as usual Kris! Despite the heat wave you still have a nice selection of blooms!

    1. Thanks! I hope I'll still have some when June's Bloom Day comes around...

  2. Your garden is filled with wonderful blooms! Gaillardia is beautiful! I love the contrast of colours on the pettals!

    1. Gaillaridia does VERY well here, Aga. In fact, you have to be certain you like where you put it because it keeps coming back.

  3. We're getting quite a lot of unseasonable heat here already as well. It makes me think we're going to have a hot summer. You have so many flowers that we can't grow here. Very pretty.

    1. We're hearing dire predictions about summer here too, Alison - most of which are focused on the wildfire threat. Re the flowers, I also admire those you grow up there in the PNW that I don't have a chance of growing here.

  4. So many wonderful flowers. The globularia, especially, caught my eye.

    This latest heat wave is causing many of my bblooms to wither much sooner than normal. Some of my rhododendrons are getting bleached or brown as soon as they open.

    1. Oh, I'm sorry to hear about the Rhododendrons, Evan - I hope they recover with the onset of cooler temperatures!

  5. I spy an agave! Everything looks so fresh and lovely in your photos, not at all like you've had the dry heat and winds you've had.

    1. I don't have a good count of my agave like someone I know but I do have quite a few now and I expect I'll get more as my focus on drought tolerance continues.

  6. You are still at least a couple of weeks ahead of me! Your Hemerocallis are such a wonderful colour; the light in your images today is so bright just as it was here yesterday, but not today!

    1. I usually take photographs in the morning light, although that can be tricky in the backyard unless we have some morning fog to reduce the intensity of the light.

  7. How did you keep that arthropodium away from the snails!? What a beautifully big clump you have. Really, Kris, you have such a rich, varied garden. If the heat knocked anything back, it doesn't show.

    1. For some reason, I don't have the problem with snails here that I had in my former garden, Denise. Maybe that's the one side benefit of regular visits by the neighborhood raccoons. I use Sluggo occasionally when I see evidence of snails and slugs but that's not often.

  8. Still getting through all the GBBD posts -- there are a lot this month. My favorites in your garden are the daylily and the globularia. You introduced me to the next plants I need to chase after, thanks.


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