Friday, January 29, 2016

My favorite plants this January

In contrast to other years, the stars of my winter garden have been relatively slow about showing their stuff this year.  That may be due to the colder temperatures we've experienced since December, the drought, or a combination of the two.  Whatever the case, the situation has changed over the course of the last couple of weeks.  As Loree of danger garden is back from her holiday hiatus with her monthly favorites post, it's a perfect time to show off some of the current stars of my garden.

The first is Helleborus x 'Anna's Red'.  I picked this plant up at the late, great Sperling Nursery last year principally for its pretty foliage.  As I remember, it was the last one they had, my friend having snatched up the only other one on the table.  Frankly, I didn't expect much from it as hellebores don't do particularly well here so, last week when I saw buds on the plant, I was very excited.

I enjoyed the attractive foliage all last year but the appearance of flowers put the plant over the top for me

I love the flowers even if they do insist on pointing their faces toward the ground

And look!  There are more flowers to come!


I've flaunted photos of my Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' in other posts this month but I can't help myself from doing so again.  The plant in the front garden is covered in blooms and buds.  I stopped counting after two dozen.

The buds don't show up well in this sun-saturated photo but, believe me, there are lots of them

The flowers gradually turn peachier as they mature


But that's not the only Grevillea putting on a show at the moment.  Grevillea 'Superb' is also living up to its name.

This Grevillea 'Superb' is loaded with blooms

The mature flowers of 'Superb' are longer but narrower than those of 'Peaches & Cream'


Another plant that's living up to its name is Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'.  Its winter color is showing with the development of its cones and yellow bracts.

This plant moved here with me from our former house, where it lived in a pot.  Once planted in the ground, it exploded in size.

It looks like a flower, doesn't it?

This is my second 'Wilson's Wonder'.  Planted in November 2014, it's still relatively small.


Before I end this post, I also want to give a shout out to Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'.  Its blooms may be late in arriving but it's quickly making up for lost time.

'Pink Sugar' does a good job of complementing Phormium 'Maori Queen' 

If the flowers didn't close in low light, I'd be using them regularly in vases


Despite our drought, I know I'm lucky to be able to enjoy plants like these in the middle of winter when so many other gardeners are shivering in their boots and digging cars out of snowdrifts.  Thank you Mother Nature!  Now, if you could just see your way to deliver up some rain this weekend...

Visit Loree and danger garden to see her favorite January plants and to find links to other gardeners' choices.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. It does seem oddly out of kilter seeing a hellebore in your garden... I expect to see them half covered by snow and frost! But if Anna is as robust as her sister Penny's Pink, which I have, she would survive anywhere. I hope she does well for you.

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    1. I think the hellebores do want more winter cold than coastal southern California usually provides, Jessica. Perhaps this year's colder temperatures were the tipping point.

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  2. I'm drooling over your grevilleas. So beautiful!

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    1. Grevilleas, along with Leucadendrons, are at the top of my list of favorite plant genera, Renee.

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  3. They are looking really pretty, Kris. Enjoyed them all, especially 'Wilsons Wonder', surely as aptly named as 'Superb'. My own baby 'Peaches and Cream' is finally now starting to bloom in quantity--so glad I got it--beautiful foliage as well as flowers of amazing structure.

    Shall we cross our fingers and toes for rain on Sunday? Here's hoping.

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    1. I've tried not to get my hopes up about the rain forecast but still I'm scrambling to plant what I can in the new area to take advantage of it, if it comes.

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  4. Your post brought a much-needed smile to my face on a dreary day.

    I can't say enough good things about Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'. Even here in Davis, where it's been cold and gray, it's trying to bloom.

    I have a Leucadendron 'Sunset' but I like your 'Wilson's Wonder' so much better. I see it regularly at Green Acres Nursery in Sacramento, but the plants are small and don't really scream "buy me." But now I know what its potential is.

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    1. You should definitely try 'Wilson's Wonder', Gerhard. I have at least 7 varieties of Leucadendron and a total of 10 plants (if I've counted correctly) and 'Wilson's Wonder' remains my favorite. After 2-3 years in a pot at our old house, I was shocked at how it shot up in size when I put it in the ground 5 years ago. I cut it back in late winter/early spring each year but it has no problem springing back.

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  5. Our rain today may be what you are expecting this weekend. More tomorrow ! 'Wilsons Wonder' is on my short list , but I have to be careful about where I put it. Hardy to 25 or so , and if I site it carefully it should be ok.I have things breaking dormancy right and left because the rain has kept temps mild.

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    1. I REALLY hope your rain reaches us on Sunday without pooping out on the way south as many of the prior storms have done, Kathy!

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  6. I echo Jessica's comments. I do a double take at the top of the post Kris. I was given H. Anna's Red by my mum for my birthday earlier this month. It's not often we have the same plant Kris.
    I love the Leucadendron Wilson's Wonder - that's a beauty. You must be very pleased with how it is doing now it has it's roots in the ground. I know I would be. The Grevellia - they are stunning to.
    It's snowing here right now and your post warmed me through to the bones Kris. Thank you.

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    1. Snow is a foreign concept here, Angie. It didn't get above 60F (16C) here today and we consider that cold! I worked outside most of the day planting and transplanting to take advantage of the rain we expect/hope to get tomorrow.

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  7. They're all so beautiful, I especially enjoyed the Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' photos. I must also comment on the variegated Echium I see hiding in the background of your first 'Peaches and Cream' shot...wow! Has that baby bloomed yet?

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    1. That's one happy Echium! (I have another 'Star of Madeira' but it hasn't grown nearly as large.) No blooms yet, though.

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  8. Gorgeous grevilleas, no wonder you are a bit obsessed by them, I would be if I could grow them. And you have a lovely hellebore, not what I expected to see in your garden.

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    1. I can't say I really expected to see blooms on that hellebore either. I bought another hellebore, 'Phoebe', soon after we moved in 5 years ago but it didn't bloom until last year. I celebrated by getting more in the "winter jewels" series but I expect they're going to be more like 'Phoebe' than 'Anna's Red' - it'll be years before they bloom, if that happens at all.

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  9. Hi Kris, I do admire your colorful winter garden! And also I enjoyed reading your progress report in your previous post. Your garden truly has the touch of a gardening connoisseur. Keep flaunting you Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'!

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    1. I love all Grevilleas but 'Peaches & Cream' is special!

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  10. Oh Kris I love your choices....I especially love seeing the Grevillea in your garden as much as I love seeing it in your vases.

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    1. They're beautiful plants, every one of them!

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  11. I just love those grevillea - they are stunning.
    How big does leucadendron get? How would you prune it or do you just let it go?
    Thanks for acknowledging us less fortunates in the frozen northlands! ;-)

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    1. The Leucadendrons vary quite a bit in height, Eliza. I have one dwarf ('Red Devil'), still a baby, that's said to get no bigger than 3 feet. Most, including 'Wilson's Wonder' are said to get 4-5 feet tall and wide but mine is closer to 6 feet. I have one ('Pisa') that's said to get 8 feet tall (but not as wide). I do trim them a little. When 'Wilson's Wonder' is done with its "bloom" cycle, I'll cut it back 1-2 feet.

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  12. It's hard for me to think of your garden actually having a winter season Kris, all your plants would be indoor or greenhouse specimens here. Your Hellebore looks surprisingly happy, maybe I could try some again in the new shadier part of the garden.

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  13. Fun to recognize a plant that also grows here with us Heleborus.
    Anna Red was nice! has quite a variety of Christmas roses as we call them.
    Have seen some buds in the snow.
    Best regards
    Mariana

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