Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bloom Day - February 2015

The last week was unseasonably hot and very, very dry.  With the Santa Ana winds blowing, some flowers withered and, in one case, simply blew away.

Just over a week ago, our Pyrus calleryana (ornamental pear tree) sprang into bloom.  Three days ago, when the Santa Ana winds began, the tree was still covered in flowers as shown here, but, as of today, the blooms have been stripped clean of the branches - the petals literally looked like falling snow as the winds blew.


Under these conditions, the hardiest plants show what they're made of.  The two genera making the biggest splash this Bloom Day are the Osteospermums and the Grevilleas.  Last month, the Osteospermums made the biggest impact but, in February, the Grevilleas are coming into their own.

Clockwise from the left: Osteospermum ecklonis 'Blue-eyed Beauty,' O. '3D Silver,' O. 'Spoon Pink,' O. 'Serenity Bronze,' and O. fruticosum

Clockwise from top left: Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' in full bloom, close up of 'Penola' flowers, G. 'Scarlet Sprite,' G. 'Peaches & Cream,' G. alpina x rosmarinifolia, and G. juniperina 'Molonglo'


The bulbs are also starting to make a show.  No daffodils have bloomed yet but other bulbs accustomed to warmer climates have.

On the left: Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake' is finishing up a cycle of sporadic blooms that started in late December; Top right: yellow and lavender Freesias; Bottom right: Sparaxis tricolor and Hippeastrum 'La Paz'


Pink and red blooms are the most prevalent.

This Alstroemeria (no ID) is always one of the first spring blooms in my garden

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' is blooming its heart out in my front garden

With rain a distant memory, the Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) is once again covered in vivid blooms

This Bilbergia nutans is looking a little sad but, after waiting 2 months for its bloom, I couldn't leave it out

The flowers of Calliandra haematocephala (aka Pink Powder Puff) don't last long but they keep on coming

Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' blooms most of the year but it puts on a big show in spring

One of the pots of Cymbidiums I virtually ignore has produced 2 floriferous bloom spikes

The delicate pinkish-white blooms of Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' have made an appearance

Hebe 'Wiri Blush' is back in bloom

This Jasminum polyanthum hangs over the fence from my neighbor's yard (shown here enveloping her Brugmansia)

A poor photograph of the beautiful Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl, which has been blooming for months


The pink and red blooms are fairly well balanced by those in shades of blue and purple.

Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon' is still going strong

This Alyogyne huegelii (aka blue Hibiscus) is new to my garden

Although the Anemone coronaria belonged with the bulbs, I thought it warranted a full-size photo of its own 

The Ceanothus hedges (no ID) have begun to bloom

Reliable Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum'

The bees love Globularia x indubia even if I haven't entirely warmed up to it

Newly planted Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' (called 'Little Grapes' elsewhere)

Trailing Lantana (no ID) has begun mingling with its neighbors

Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterfly' is another shrub that blooms virtually year-round here but the flowers are most prolific in the spring

Solanum xanti 'Mountain Pride' is a gorgeous California native


There are some orange, yellow and white blooms too (beyond those already featured among the Osteospermums, Grevilleas and bulbs).

Aloe deltoidonto has 3 blooms spikes

Argyrantemum frutescens 'Butterfly' is growing fast and blooming well

Bulbine frutescens is once again in full bloom after a couple of months of quiet

I think this is Cotyledon undulata but I'm not certain - whatever it is, it's in bloom in various areas of the garden

After innumerable attempts to photograph this California native, Isomeria arborea, this was the best I could do

Nandina domestica is usually grown for its foliage and berries but the flowers are pretty too


Last but not least, there are a few multi-colored blooms I wasn't sure how to categorize.

Abutilon metapotamicum is new to my garden - after months of admiring it on other gardeners' blogs, I finally found one

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin' is once again producing sporadic blooms

Gazania hybrid 'Kiss Me Frosty White Flame' continues to bloom


That's it for my Bloom Day round-up.  While the eastern US is covered in snow from one storm after another, spring is definitely making its presence known in coastal Southern California.  To see what's happening in other parts of the world, stop by and visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the gracious host of the monthly Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day event.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

46 comments:

  1. WOWWEE! This has to be one of your best (largest? longest?) bloom days ever. Is there anything you don't have (southland-wise)? It all looks so scrumptious. Well done, Kris! Question about 'Biokovo': I bought mine many years ago because it was supposed to have red leaves in the fall. Does yours? Mine is leafless by then coming back with the rain.

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    1. My Geranium 'Biokovo' don't generally lose all their leaves, at least not when grown in partial shade. (I recently planted some in full sun but the jury's still out on whether they'll survive summer's intensity.) While I do get a red leaf here and there in fall/winter, I've never had them all turn red either here or at our former house, where I used the plant extensively. That may be because we don't get cold enough, however.

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  2. This would be a mid-summer garden for me. Fabulous show of colour. And another reminder that I must order a Nandina. Sorry about the pear petals though.

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    1. The difference in timing is probably all due to temperature, Jessica. I expect our recent temperatures, running in the mid-80sF (29C) last week, would have felt like summer to you also.

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  3. Beautiful flowers, Kris, but I especially like that Cotyledon. Happy GBBD!

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    1. See the comment from Saurs below, Alison. My "Cotyledon" has been identified as Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi.

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  4. Wonderful selection as always Kris! Your garden looks positively summery already!

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    1. Summer seems to be a perpetual state here. If summer conditions came with rain, that would be fine...(Actually, I could also do without the nasty Santa Ana winds.)

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  5. Bellissime immagini! Soprattutto le Grevillea che qui possiamo coltivare solo in parte! Mi piacciono davvero molto! Complimenti!

    Un saluto :)

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    1. Grevilleas are becoming an obsession for me, Pontos. Thankfully, they do very well here.

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  6. I just knew your garden would not disappoint this bloom day post Kris. So many colours, incredible.
    I was at the GC yesterday and was making my way through the masses of annual plug plants they have on sale and I immediately thought of your garden. I must give some a go this year.

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    1. I try to use the smallest plants available, Angie. They may take a little longer to reach a mature size but they almost always do better for me (unless, of course, the raccoons toss them about!). Unfortunately, usually only the most common plants are available as plugs or 6-packs here.

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  7. That's a wonderful wish list for me, Kris ;-) I've got to locate some Coleonema somewhere out here. I'm not familiar with Alyogyne - that is to say, I'm looking it up now... Do you have any difficulty keeping it in bounds size-wise? And I love it that you're growing the species type Hippeastrum outdoors - not sure that would work here, but I might experiment... Any advice on that would be welcome! Looks like you've got a beautiful springtime there :)

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    1. Coleonema is a tough plant here, Amy - I hope it works for you too. The Alyogyne is new to me so I can't say much based on personal experience at this point; however, my neighbors have several of these in their garden, which are 4-5 feet tall after several years in the ground. I grew Hippeastrum in the ground at my old house very successfully in partial shade. The bulbs got huge in size over time. I planted a few here last year in a very dry area along the street. So far, these haven't shown the vigor or size of those I grew before - I suspect they'd do better with a bit more shade and more water than they're currently getting.

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  8. Oh my you have it all going on there ! All those grevillias ...I hope to have one some day if I ever get all the concrete removed from the 'hateful areas' ...happy bloom day !

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    1. Oh, I have even more Grevilleas than I showed in today's post, Kathy. They've become an obsession.

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  9. So. Much. Color!!! Wowzers! Everything just looks beautiful. I remember the Santa Ana's well - ugh. Even as a kid, I hated them and would just stay inside. I do hope you have more rain headed your way. :o)

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    1. It's looking worse and worse on the rain front, Tammy. Northern California got heavy rain last week but we got nada here and there's nothing in the extended forecast...

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  10. Wow Kris...you have so much to choose from for a vase! I know where all the flowers are now. You have heat and we have a very unusually cold winter.

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    1. The weather patterns do seem to be following more extreme patterns on the 2 sides of the country, Donna. I think it's Mother Nature's way of demanding some concessions.

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  11. That cotyledon is a Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi (sometimes classified as Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi).

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  12. I feel warmer now. If Flowering Pear (my mother had one of those) is blooming, spring can't be far behind. What a joy to see all your blossoms.

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    1. Yes, the flowering of the ornamental pear is my harbinger of spring, Jean. It always seems to burst into bloom seemingly overnight. This is the first time, I recall seeing all its flowers stripped from tree within a couple of days, though - it's almost as if we're skipping spring and heading directly into summer.

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  13. Wow, wow, wow! An embarrassment of floral riches! All of your flowers look gorgeous and I'm still madly in love with Calliandra haematocephala most likely because it's not hardy here. I've read that it takes well to pot culture and can winter happily inside a cool greenhouse. Wheels are turning in my head and making quite a racket as it's pretty rusty in there. So glad that you found Abutilon megapotamicum, I know you'll love it's nearly continuous blooms!

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    1. I was SO excited when I saw that Abutilon in the nursery - I stopped dead and thought "that's Peter's plant!" It's been horribly dry here and I live in fear that I'll go out one morning and find it withered so I keep dumping extra water on it, trying to convince it that it's living in WA!

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  14. Stop it! You're killing me with the Cymbidiums! :-)

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    1. Sorry Emily!!! Cymbidiums do grow pretty easily here, although mine need a little more attention than I've given them of late - they could use dividing and some fresh orchid mix.

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  15. I love that succulent pot with the aloe, and the powder puff as always, and I think I need a Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream' some day soon - its flowers always have me swooning.

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    1. I thought the blooms of Grevillea 'Superb' were, well, superb but 'Peaches & Cream' surprised me with the size of the blooms - they're incredible.

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  16. The warmth and sunlight shine out of your images Kris! So many lovely blooms to admire but Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' caught my eye; a little like the form of Knautia.

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    1. That Gomphrena is a great filler, Christina, and it's hardy here.

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  17. Wow - I am staggered at the fantastic amounts of plants in bloom - it's like late winter, spring and early summer all rolled into one. It is all absolutely stunning (I really like the variegated Erysimum linifolium)!!

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    1. The variegated Erysimum is a very useful garden plant, Matt. The foliage is always attractive so the blooms are almost beside the point.

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  18. What an amazing range of beautiful flowers in your February garden. Fabulous to have so much to enjoy. How I would love to wander round and look at everything up close.

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    1. Should you ever find yourself in my area, Chloris, you'd be more than welcome. Warning: visits in mid-summer can be much less pleasant than those in late winter/early spring.

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  19. Just staggering how much is in bloom for you at the moment. It is a wonderful reminder that spring and a bounty of blossoms is just around the corner for most of the rest of us (sorry, Boston!). Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. I'm sure spring is headed your way, Deb!

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  20. Go go grevillea! You've got quite the collection. And that Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', I'm not usually a fan of pink but there is something about that one. Nice show!

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    1. I have even more Grevillea than I showed in this post - 'Ned Kelly,' 'Bonfire,' and 'Superb' aren't blooming yet but they have buds! Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' has as much orange in the blooms as pink, which may be why it appeals to you (sort-of).

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  21. Fabulous February in your garden, Kris.

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  22. You have so much in bloom! I love the 'Pink Sugar' and flowering maple -- very striking. I'm sorry to hear about the hot dry winds though. That must be frustrating.

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    1. The Santa Ana winds are unpredictable but a fact of life here, sweetbay. Normally, they're not much of an issue this time of year as winter is also our rainy season but, unfortunately, we're having another dry year (just as the east is having another frigid one).

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  23. There aren't many plants that do well in both your garden and mine, but Geranium 'Biokovo' is one of them. (Actually, saying that it does well in my garden is an understatement.) This seems to be a plant that grows in an impressive range of conditions. -Jean

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    1. It was my go-to groundcover in my former, shady garden, Jean, but I've found it a little more difficult to establish in this garden.

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