Friday, February 26, 2016

And the award goes to...

I don't watch the Oscars but Los Angeles is a company town and it's hard to escape the relentless coverage leading up to Sunday's event so it seemed an appropriate lead-in to a post on my favorite plants this February.  If I were giving awards to plants in my February garden, top honors would have to go to the Osteospermums.  These plants are usually at their best during the cooler months here.  The excessively warm weather we had through November slowed the start of their show and I've been concerned that our unusually warm (and dry) February would stall out their performance but such is not the case.  Osteospermum of all types are in bloom throughout the garden but I'll restrict this post to just a few.

Osteospermum 'Blue-eyed Beauty' blooms on shorter stems than many of the others in its genus but it's literally blanketed in flowers.  These were planted from 4-inch pots in December 2014 so they've aptly demonstrated their ability to handle both heat and drought conditions.

Osteospermum 'Pink Spoon', planted in February 2014, wins with its unusual flower petals

Osteospermum 'Summertime Sweet Kardinal', planted in January 2015, gets an award for top performance of a flowering plant in my dry garden.  And doesn't it complement Leucadendron 'Ebony' (on the right) beautifully? 


Some of my Grevilleas also got off to a slow start on their bloom cycle this year.

Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia may have small flowers but it puts on an impressive performance and continues to gain stature in the south side garden

Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' bloomed about a month later this year but it's no less floriferous than in prior years


I'm not going to show Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' or 'Superb' in this post.  Even though both are still blooming and will probably continue to do so off and on throughout the year, they're at risk of overexposure on this blog so they're shying away from publicity right now.  However, did you notice that birdbath-style succulent planter in the wide shot of Grevillea 'Penola' above?  I'm very impressed by the Agave titanota 'White Ice' that forms its centerpiece.

Look at that cool color, those leaf imprints and the graceful form of those thorns!


The warm weather has also brought out the blooms on our Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis).  The blooms don't last long so they surely deserve notice when they make their annual appearance.

Regrettably, the Cercis occidentalis has a poor backdrop for her publicity shot


Like every movie, every garden has valuable supporting players.  One of the most notable this month is Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold'.

I grow Coleonema 'Sunset Gold' for its chartreuse foliage color but it does a great job in the bloom category too


Like the Oscars, awards are made in many categories that contribute to the final product.  I took photos of other plants but, unlike the Oscars, I'm not going to stretch out this post with a lot of supplemental awards, yet I do want to share one more.  The award for best lighting in late afternoon goes to: Bulbine frutescens.

Making a late afternoon pass through the back garden with my camera, I couldn't help but notice how the Bulbine glowed


With that, I'll turn you over to Loree at danger garden, the host of this monthly favorite plants wrap-up.


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

34 comments:

  1. And the award for best Director, Designer and Scriptwriter goes to.. (suspense as George Clooney opens the envelope) ta daa... Kris.

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  2. Love the Osteospermum and wish mine ever looked this good.

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    1. This does seem to be the right climate for Osteospermum, Donna. I hope my new '4D Silver' makes it through the current warm spell to perform as well as its cousins.

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  3. I've got a draft post themed on the upcomimg awards, so you beat me to it! My mahogany osteo has just started to bloom too even though it's still in winter shade. Love your icy titanota.

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    1. As the saying goes, great minds think alike, Denise. I've also found that the Osteospermums like a little bit of shade. I'm still on the look-out for your lovely mahogany variety.

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  4. I love those osteospermums; I grow them as container annuals. I am very familiar with the eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis, but I had no idea it had an equally lovely western cousin. -Jean

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    1. I inherited 2 of the redbuds with the house. They were planted as understory trees here and appear to still be in their somewhat ungainly teenage stage.

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  5. So much blooming!!! My crocus just popped their heads up like little gophers to see if the coast was clear to start blooming. Several brave yellow blooms opened up. Yay! We'll be warm for a few days so I'm hoping spring is on the way. :o)

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    1. At least you and the garden weren't swept away by the tornadoes that hit Virginia. I hope the cold and other weather drama is behind you.

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  6. lovely osteospermums! I especially like the petals on "pink spoon". Mine aren't blooming yet (i'm not sure they are still alive...) but they definitely deserve an oscar in your garden!

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    1. I hope your Osteospermum are just resting, Renee!

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  7. That first photo with the Osteo and the Geranium... wow what a brilliant combination. All the sunshine in your photos makes me feel so warm. I wouldn't be lying if I said I was jealous. :) What a great antidote for the rainy day we had here today. Brilliant analogy to the Oscars. I love it.

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    1. I wish I could trade some of our warmth for your rain, Grace. We'd probably both be a lot happier!

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  8. Each and every one a deserved winner Kris! And they don't charge a six figure sum to earn your award either. No matter what the climate, this post really does prove how well a plant can look given the right conditions.

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    1. You're right, Angie - getting a plant's siting right is everything.

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  9. I couldn't help but chuckle as I read your intro and then paged down to see all those Osteospermum 'Blue-eyed Beauty' my god! Then that Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia had me drooling and your Agave titanota...simple perfection. Thanks for sharing your winners Kris!

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    1. Osteospermum 'Blue-eyed Beauty' took me by surprise, Loree. It was much less impressive in its first year in the garden. Just another lesson that patience is a virtue, I guess.

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  10. That is a great lighting effect Kris in the last shot. Everything is looking great. Gotta love those show-stopping Osteospermums.

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    1. The Osteospermum seem to be made for this climate, Susie. It's too bad that most of them don't work as cut flowers due to their insistence in closing their flowers in low light.

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  11. Those flowers are winners in anybody's book. Do they seem to draw in a lot of interested pollinators? With a mass of blooms like that you'd think they'd see a lot of bee or butterfly action.

    Things here are just getting started but with so little rain for weeks prior to one short soaking recently, I do not hold out hopes for a great display this year. Note to self: ignore all big talk about El Nino rains until/unless they actually materialize!

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    1. The Grevillea, especially 'Penola', are bee magnets and the hummingbirds like them too. I have no shortage of bees - or hummers - in general. I felt guilty cutting back their favorite 'Starfire Pink' Cuphea all at once but, in addition to the Grevillea and rosemary, the bees are going crazy over the Calliandra hematocephala (pink powder puff). The sulphur butterflies are also out in force but I haven't seen many others of their ilk yet.

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  12. Your entire garden deserves an award! I love your Osteospermum 'Blue-eyed Beauty.' I also think the Coleonema 'Sunset Gold' is a real star. I love its soft look in flower, and it complements other plants very nicely. Congratulations to all the award winners!

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    1. I've used that Coleonema in areas throughout the front and back gardens, Deb. It's chartreuse foliage color always adds a punch and the flowers are very sweet. It even has a beautiful scent, as indicated by its common name, Breath of Heaven.

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  13. The Osteospermums are spectacular! I love the different shades of purple and especially 'Blue-Eyed Beauty'. The pattern of colors in that one is very unique.

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    1. I think 'Blue-eyed Beauty' is a relatively new cultivar. I wasn't impressed with it the first year I had it but, based on this year's performance, it's welcome to stay around.

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  14. The osteospermums certainly are stars. Your grevilleas are outstanding too. I love that shot of A. titanota :)

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    1. I'm really pleased with that agave, Amy!

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  15. These are certainly popular winners! I love the Cercis... what a beauty!

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    1. The Cercis doesn't flower long (and I'd never be able to bring myself to cut the stems for a vase) but I enjoy them while I have them!

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  16. Congratulations to all the winners! They certainly deserve the recognition. Love Osteospermum and yours look especially nice! We won't see them here for quite a while yet.

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    1. The Osteospermums usually arrive earlier in "winter" here but, since their recent appearance, I've already picked up 6 plants so I'm making up for lost time.

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  17. Blue-eyed Beauty quickly became a favorite of mine from your blog, Kris - what a beautiful plant! And I'll definitely vote for the Agave titanota!

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    1. 'Blue-eyed Beauty' took a while to grow on me (no pun intended!) but it's won my heart this year. If I didn't already have an over-abundance of yellow color in my garden, I'd pick up more.

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