Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bloom Day - March 2015

Last May, Southern California was slapped with 2 major heatwaves, breaking records and signaling an early demise for many spring blooms, while setting back some summer-blooming plants as well.  We hoped that was an anomaly but now find ourselves in the midst of a record-breaking March heatwave.

Yesterday afternoon's temperature reached 94F (34C) with near zero humidity (and my garden sits along the coast!)


I've been giving the garden extra water since the temperatures started to soar on Thursday but the plants are struggling nonetheless.  Some early spring flowers, like the Anemone coronaria, are withering in bud.  The heat is expected to hang on until mid-week.  The damage of this extraordinarily early heatwave won't be entirely evident for a few weeks but it's reasonable to expect some plant losses as even extra water can't offset the impact of the combination of unseasonable heat and Santa Ana winds.

There are a few stars in my garden this Bloom Day.  The one making the biggest splash at the moment is the perennial Ageratum corymbosum, which is far flashier than its cousin, Ageratum houstonianum.

Ageratum corymbosum produces large blooms and has interesting foliage

Ageratum houstonianum, a short-lived perennial here, does get points for a long bloom period


Two of my Grevillea are also putting on strong showings.

This Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' was purchased in a one gallon container almost a year ago and this its first bloom cycle (the larger G. 'Peaches & Cream' in the front garden has only buds right now but its been blooming off and on)

Grevillea 'Superb' is loaded with blooms and buds, which unfortunately don't show up well in my photo

From the left, Grevillea 'Superb,' G. Peaches & Cream,' and the fading blooms of G. lavandulacea 'Penola'


Many of the genera I featured in last month's Bloom Day post are still going strong.

NoID yellow Argyranthemum frutescens, A. 'Butterfly,' and A. 'Madeira Red'

Freesia in assorted colors

Gazania hybrids 'White flame' and 'New Day Yellow'

Osteospermum, clockwise from top left: trailing O. (noID) and O. hybrids 'Blue-eyed Beauty,' 'Peach Magic,' 'Zion Copper Amethyst,' 'Serenity Purple,' 'Pink Spoon,' 'Berry White,' and '3D Silver' 

Pelargonium : Top - P. hybrid 'White Lady'; Bottom, from left - P. ionidiflorum 'Pink Fairy Cascade' and 3 NoID P. peltatum


The biggest surprise was the appearance of flowers on a hedge I'd never seen bloom before but there were a few other surprises as well.

Prunus caroliniana, inherited with the house, bloomed for the first time 

Plants just beginning to bloom this month include: Top row, from left - Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin' (last year's plants, blooming again), Anigozanthos hybrid 'JoeJoe Red' and self-seeded Euphorbia' Dean's Hybrid';  Middle row - self-seeded Cerinthe major, Cynoglossum amabile and Felicia aethiopica 'Tight & Tidy'; Bottom row - Helleborus orientalis 'Phoebe' and 2 Schizanthus pinnatus from 'Star Parade' series


As a change this month, I also put together photo collages by garden area.  (This is what happens when one has to take refuge in the house to escape the heat rather than spend the weekend working in the garden.)

Flowers blooming in the front garden: Top row - Arctotis 'Pink Sugar,' Gazania 'White Flame,' and Coleonema album; Middle row - Grevillea 'Superb,' Calliandra haematocephala and Polygala fruticosa; Bottow row - Gaillardia 'Goblin,' Argyranthemum 'Butterfly' and noID Westringia 

Flowers blooming in the dry garden, clockwise from upper left: Limonium perezii, Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl,' Gomphrena decumbens, and Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink'

Flowers blooming on the slope, clockwise from the upper left left: Geranium incanum, Pelargonium 'White Lady,' P. Pink Fairy Cascade,' Zantedeschia aethiopica, and NoID Heuchera

Flowers blooming at the northern end of the backyard, clockwise from upper left: Arbutus 'Marina,' Gaillardia 'Gallo Peach,' Solanum xanti, Ceanothus (noID hedge), Hibiscus trionum, and Calliandra hybrid 'Hot Pink'

On the back patio: Bryophyllum manginii and noID Sedum

Flowers blooming in main backyard border: Top row - Alstroemeria (noID), Hebe 'Wiri Blush,' and Cynoglossum amabile; Middle row - Osteospermum '3D Silver,' O. 'Pink Spoon,' and Cerinthe major; Bottow row - Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream,' O, 'Blue-eyed Beauty' and Ipheion uniflorum

In the fountain border, clockwise from left: Dutch Iris (an early casualty of the heat), Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum,' noID Narcissus, Anagallis, and Gazania

Blooming in the bed outside the living room: Top - Ageratum corymbosum; Bottom - yellow and white Freesia and Helleborus 'Phoebe'

In bloom in the side garden: Top row - Phlomis fruticosa, Bulbine frutescens and Osteospermum 'Peach Magic'; Middle row - O. fruticosum, O. '3D Silver' and limonium perezii; Bottow row - Cistus x skanbergii, noID Hoya and Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'


That's it for this month's Bloom Day wrap-up, sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  Visit Carol to see if her Indiana garden has thawed out and to find links for the Bloom Day posts of other gardeners from all over the world.


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

36 comments:

  1. Nicely done. Time inside well spent. I can use the combination of statice and osteospermum. Back patio pots are delightful. I want.

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    1. Statice is a remarkably useful plant. Generally unfazed by heat, they grow well and bloom reliably - they do get ratty over time but, when if the dead growth defies clean-up, they're cheaply replaced by buying a 6-pack.

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  2. Incredible temperatures for March, even by your standards. So much colour in the garden and everything looking very healthy at the moment, I hope the effects of the weather are not too dire. Our climate really does seem to be changing doesn't it.

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    1. Yes, every time I hear a global climate change denier, I want to spit. I grew up in an inland area that was gradually transformed orange groves and ranches into a concrete jungle/heat sink, where the temperatures escalated year-after-year. I thought I'd escaped that environment but the problem has spread.

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  3. So many pretty flowers...and I envy you your freesias--so sniffy!

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    1. I REALLY need to plant more freesia next year - the smell alone is enough justification but they're also carefree here.

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  4. It is hard to believe you are 20 to 30 degrees warmer than we are here in Alabama. It seems you have been pushed directly into summer. That has happened to us before, so I understand how you feel when plants droop or perish prematurely because of the heat. Nevertheless, you still have so many lovely blooms.

    Today I am seeing the sun for the first time in weeks! With the mild temps, it is a great day to be out in the garden! We may yet have another frost, but spring is here. Finally!

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    1. I'm glad your weather is improving, Deb. Our horrid heat is supposed to abate mid-week and my fingers are crossed that the forecast is correct.

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  5. So many beautiful flowers there, and beautifully presented in your post. This weekend our weather has reverted to type, rainy and cold. Thanks for showing your Arbutus Marina flowers, I still regret not planting one in my front garden when I redid it. Maybe I can find a spot in the back...

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    1. The Arbutus is a truly fantastic tree, Alison - great flowers, fruit for the birds, and that wonderful red exfoliating bark. I hope you find a spot for one.

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  6. Oh Kris, that's just too hot for March! Of course looking at your garden through photos it looks just lovely, not giving any sign of how stressed things must be.

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    1. The recent reduction in my tree canopy didn't help things. Only the Dutch Iris, Anemones and Cyclamen went into immediate decline. Other flowers are drooping and dropping petals (despite extra water), though. A few, like the Solanum xanti, a California native, seem oblivious, which has me looking at expanding my complement of natives.

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  7. What an amazing selection of blooms in your garden. I don't think I have ever seen so may different flowers blooming at one time. I hope the heat doesn't ruin your spring show. We sill look like winter here.

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    1. Even before the current heatwave, we'd warmed up a lot, Jenny. I'd argue that spring arrived in January here and that now we're headed into summer.

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  8. So many spectacular blooms, despite such hot, dry weather. I do hope that the effects of this heat wave don't wreck the plants. Your Osteospermums are just fantastic - the variety on show is great to see, and that's amongst a truly spectacular variety of other flowering plants. Fingers crossed for a bit of rain!

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    1. Unfortunately, Matt, there's no rain in the foreseeable future and March generally marks the end of our rainy season. The Pacific Northwest is due some more rain - maybe at least NorCal will get some of that.

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  9. No shortage of bloominess at your house Kris ! I've tried to grow Ageratum corymbosum twice here to no avail. I think I'll try it again -I believe I overdid the shade .Yours is lush ! Ach, that heat sounds awful, hope you get some cool-down pronto !

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    1. My Ageratum corymbosum gets morning sun, afternoon shade, Kathy. I've had it on my Annie's wish list for awhile myself after failing to get cuttings to take.

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  10. When you read my post, please excuse me for complaining about the cold Kris.
    I do hope your garden doesn't suffer too much and things cool down sooner rather than later.
    You've an incredible amount of blooms right now and it's extremely odd to see a hellebore blooming alongside plants I could only dream of growing. I love the Grevillea they really are growing on me - excuse the pun. Happy Bloom Day Kris.

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    1. No apologies necessary, Angie! I'm sure people look at photos of the sunny skies in Southern California and roll their eyes at our whining but, I for one, am very nervous that these early heatwaves are becoming the norm rather than anomalies. When you factor in the drought, the situation is downright scary.

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  11. This was one of the most educational blog posts I've seen in a long time. You've got so many plants I've never heard of, Kris. I love the pinky Calandrina, and the dangling Arbutus flowers are so cool. And that Ageratum with the burgundy foliage is to die for. I hope and pray the heatwave goes far, far away and you have a pleasant spring and summer. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Grace! The Calliandra (aka pink powder puff shrub) has bloomed more this year than any other - all mine are espaliered and usually get closely sheared to keep them from taking over pathways and beds but we finally seem to have struck a balance between neatly-pruned foliage and flowers.

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  12. Jeeze! Who needs roses when you have all that?

    Horrible heat wave, but not as bad as that one back last May. It was a nasty one. Then there was half of August, all of September, and most of October...lets hope this summer isn't so bad.

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  13. I need roses! But I suspect they want better treatment than I've given them to date.

    You're right, this heatwave isn't as bad as those last May but it's March! It shouldn't be anywhere near this hot and dry in March! I hope Mother Nature gets this crap out of her system and cuts us some slack this summer. Oh, an some rain later this month and maybe next would be very nice too.

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  14. I'm so sorry about your heat wave! What a great variety of fab plants you have! I love your collages and will someday figure out how to do that! Still think your Calliandra haematocephala is the coolest thing since sliced bread!

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    1. The collages are easy, Peter - it takes just a minute. I use a free on-line app.

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  15. I can't believe it's hotter there than here, Kris - though I don't suppose that will be true come July and August! Still, you seem to be very much on the right track with so many of the plants, so hopefully adjustments for heat won't have to be too drastic. (And hopefully you WILL get some rain!) I'm loving those Osteospermum, especially Blue-eyed Beauty - what a charmer! And Limonium perezii... and Argeratum corymbosum... and...!

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    1. It would certainly be kind of Mother Nature to give us some rain after this horrid heat spell, Amy. There's none in the forecast, though. The Limonium and Osteospermum would work for you. The Ageratum needs afternoon shade, even here.

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  16. After 16 years in San Diego, and now living 20 years in Washington state, I really miss the mild winters and all the flowers you show, what a treat! I'm sorry to hear of your heat and drought, I hope summer will not be unbearable. I'm growing 4 new varieties of annual Ageratum this year but none with fantastic foliage like the corymbosum, so pretty! The hardy geraniums really perform here for me, but I lost incanum, it was a favorite. But it was not one that self-seeded, those are the ones that have taken over here.

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    1. Geranium incanum IS a weed here, Hannah, albeit a pretty one that's also sold in the local garden centers. I pull out a lot of it but, in places like the slope, where it can be hard to get things to grow, I let some of it be.

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  17. What isn't blooming in your garden Kris!? So pretty. Wouldn't it be nice to take the flowers but leave the heat? I'm glad to be slowly saying goodbye to it for another (almost) year!

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    1. I can appreciate your relief at kissing summer goodbye, Amy. Just the small touch of it we had with this recent heatwave has me dreading summer here.

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  18. I wish you could send us some of your heat and some of your amazing range of March blooms. What an abundance!

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    1. How I wish Mother Nature would spread both rain and heat a bit more evenly! The warmth that led up to the heatwave prompted blooms but the intense heat we had last week has already left death in its wake; however, if we can avoid more spring heatwaves of the kind we had last year, I expect the garden will recover quickly.

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  19. We've had it all this spring already - mini heat waves, late freezes. At least here in Central Texas we are getting a bit of rain, though areas east of here are complaining about too much rain and west of here is not getting nearly enough... It's always something!

    Your blooms are gorgeous - I'd never be able to keep track of the names the way you do. To me that is almost as impressive as your gardens! Fingers crossed the heat will abate and you'll get some late rains.

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    1. My memory is aided by a very large Excel spreadsheet I keep showing all my additions to the garden, Deb. The heat has abated - daytime temps are back in the mid-70s but, sadly, there's no rain in sight.

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