|Look! Snow flakes!|
Okay, the heat makes me a little delusional. Our temperatures have been breaking records, but not for cold or precipitation. When the Santa Ana winds blew in late last week, temperatures soared, hitting the low 90sF in some areas earlier this week. They've come down slightly today but it's still very warm. The "snow" in the photo at the top of my post is made up of flower petals from the Pyrus calleryana (ornamental pear) tree that burst into bloom this week.
|This tree in the front garden is the harbinger of spring in my garden|
|The flowers have a distinctive odor, which I addressed in a 2014 post|
These trees bloom, almost in unison, throughout the area. One day, their branches are bare and the next they're in full bloom. If past years are an indication, the flowers will disappear quickly, aided on this occasion by the heat, and the trees will quickly leaf out.
|When you see this tree in bloom in one location, you almost immediately notice it in bloom everywhere. The trees in this photo sit in my neighbor's yard, just beyond the property line.|
The heat had other impacts on my garden. When planting the former lawn area out front, I fell prey to the allure of some bi-colored Cyclamen and, having lots of space in the partially shaded area, I planted five. I knew I was taking a risk planting them this late in our winter season, especially given that the rain El Niño was expected to bring us has largely been a no-show. However, I love both the flowers and the foliage and I thought these would complement the Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' I'd already selected for this area.
|The purple and white-flowered Cyclamen planted with Heuchera 'Palace Purple'|
Even after the heat hit, the Cyclamen looked fine for a while but yesterday I found them shriveling. While the area in which they were planted gets some shade, it wasn't enough. Rather than watch them die slowly, I moved them late yesterday afternoon, relocating them to a more well-shaded area outside the living room window.
|Although the plants are partially hidden when viewed from the outdoor pathway along this bed, they show up well from inside the house. (I just couldn't get a good photo from that vantage point due to the glare.)|
I replaced the Cyclamen with Arctotis 'Opera Rose' I'd originally purchased with another area in mind. Hopefully, once the Pyrus above them leafs out, there will still be enough sun to keep these plants. At least I know they can handle heat.
|The area formerly occupied by Cyclamen, now planted out with Arctotis|
|Arctotis 'Opera Rose' does a pretty good job complementing the dark Heuchera and this variety is said to stay smaller than the 'Pink Sugar' cultivar I grow elsewhere|
The heat has had other effects on the garden. For one, my Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' has gained a decidedly red cast. The bracts normally turn red in mid-summer but it's winter "flowers" are usually predominately yellow. That's not true this February.
|In prior years, the Leucadendron "flowers" developed a reddish pink edge but nothing like the color they're showing now|
In addition, after a long wait, my Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' is finally breaking into bloom.
|G. 'Penola' blooms are about one month behind their appearances in 2014 and 2015|
Flowers are also appearing in other areas of the garden but photos of those will have to wait until Bloom Day. Temperatures here are expected to come back down the middle of next week. There's also a slight chance of rain, although I'm trying not to get my expectations raised. The forecasters say there's still a chance that southern California will get some rain out of El Niño in March or April. The current theory is that this El Niño is so big and strong, it's pushed the rain much further north than was ever anticipated. While that's helped build up the critical snow-pack in northern California, it's left SoCal parched, with the total seasonal rain to date well below normal. However, as El Niño weakens, forecasters believe it'll bring us rain. Maybe.
All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party