Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bloom Day - December 2016

Rain is virtually certain here today so I got out early this week to snap photos for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  By contrast to gardens in colder climates, I have quite a bit of floral color.  It's chilly here (low 60sF) but we don't generally get frost.  Sadly, we also haven't gotten much in the way of rain the past few years but, with each rainstorm, I remain hopeful that the tide will turn and, in the meantime, I collect every drop I can in rain barrels.

I'll start this Bloom Day report with the plants providing the biggest floral impact.

Bauhinia x blakeana (aka Hong Kong orchid tree) flourishes when the air is moister and the temperatures are cooler

Camellia williamsii (left), a hybrid of C. japonica, is just getting started, while the Camellia sasanquas are already beginning to wane

The flowers of Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' (sold in some locations as 'Little Grapes') are small but plentiful

I suppose it's getting old but I can't help giving applause to the Grevilleas each month.  Grevillea 'Superb' (top) deserves its name.  Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' (bottom, left) also blooms almost continuously while G. 'Scarlet Sprite' (bottom, right) is a a winter bloomer.

Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl' produces sporadic blooms at intervals during the year but it goes to town during our cool season

Most of the ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are blooming now.  'Pink Blizzard' (upper right) is another consistent bloomer.  'Caliente Coral' (lower left) is a cross between ivy and zonal geranium species.

Phylica pubescens (aka Featherhead) is doing very well in a pot.  I lost 2 I planted in the backyard border in late spring to the horrific start-of-summer heatwave.

Tagetes lemmonii (aka Copper Canyon Daisy) responded almost instantly to the greater sun exposure it's getting since we trimmed a nearby tree

Although Violas struggle with the dry conditions here, I love their cheerful faces and can't help but buy some plugs every year


There were a couple of surprises from plants producing out-of-season blooms.

A stray noID Agapanthus bloom turned up recently and Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake' has produced one flower scape since I moved 2 plants a month ago, signifying a preference for its new location perhaps


Small collections of flowers are scattered throughout the garden.  I rounded them up into a few color-specific collages.

Clockwise from the upper left, white and yellow blooms include: noID Narcissus, Achillea 'Moonshine', Alstroemeria 'Claire', Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Peach', Gazania 'White Flame', and G. 'Yellow Flame' 

Orange and red blooms include: noID Antirrhinum majus, Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid', Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', red Gaillardia, Leonotis leonurus, and Papaver nudicaule

Pink blooms include, from the top left: Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink', Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Argyranthemum frutescens, Cistus x skanbergii, Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold', Correa pulchella 'Pink Eyre', noID Dianthus, and noID Schlumbergera

Blue and purple blooms include, from the left: Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa', Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick', Felicia aethiopica, Hebe 'Grace Kelly', noID Lavandula, Limonium perezii, and Osteospermum '4D Violet Ice'


I'll end with what I suspect will be the last photos of the Eustoma grandiflorum (Lisianthus), which bloomed in large numbers from May through the present.  I don't expect a reappearance until spring but, who knows, they may surprise me.

Stray blooms of the pink and yellow varieties of Eustoma grandiflorum managed to survive until December's Bloom Day, a first even here!


Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to discover what's blooming in other parts of the country and around the world.


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

24 comments:

  1. I had to laugh at the low 60's being called chilly. That's my preferred temperature range. I'd certainly prefer those temperatures right now. It's not just because I live further north and am used to colder temperatures. Lots of people here prefer warmer temperatures. I just clearly belong on the Oregon coast. So many amazing blooms in your garden. My favorite photo is the gomphrena with the purple (Leptospermum?) foliage and the contrasting chartreuse of the Coleonema. Great combination.

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    1. We're a thin-skinned lot here in coastal SoCal, Evan. You're correct about the foliage in the photo with the Gomphrena - it's Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', another of my favorite plants.

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  2. All beautiful!
    The photos of the Ivy Geraniums are my favorites
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

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    1. Ivy geraniums are surprisingly tough plants, Lea. With their semi-succulent leaves and stems, they're also moderately drought tolerant.

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  3. A beautiful showing for December, Kris! Your Grevilleas are well worth the applause. :)

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    1. I can't imagine my garden without all the Grevilleas, Amy. They're incredible plants for my climate.

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  4. Unlike the last two winters we won't be spending this Christmas in Southern California. Thanks for a look at all the color I'll be missing!

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    1. Wherever you spend the holiday, Loree, I know you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of the natural environment surrounding you.

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    1. It is, isn't it?! I have a baby Phylica in another pot - it hasn't grown much since I got it a few months ago but I expect it's invested in developing a good root system.

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  6. All your beautiful blooms are such a delight for these eyes on a cold winters day! While we are experiencing temperatures in the 20's here on Long Island, it is such a joy to see your gardens looking like summer! Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Some of the interior valleys get freezing temperatures, Lee, but ours are moderated by the marine influence. I'd be willing to trade some of our warmth for rain, though.

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  7. Amazing plentiful selection of plants. the Gazania really caught my eye.

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    1. I've fallen in love with Gazanias over the past 2 years, Patsi. They're great plants that demand very little.

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  8. BloomDay is a non-event here --it's dark when I go to work and dark when I get home, and we've had on and off rain for several days (yay!) but it's nice to have a virtual visit with your flowers.

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    1. I'd be happy to trade in some of my flowers for a little more of the rain that NorCal is getting, Kathy.

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  9. It is heartening to see all the beautiful flowers blooming in your garden - such a welcome contrast to my frozen world. :-) LOVE those pink pansies, and the gomphrena and leptospermum and... ;-D

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    1. Winter here would be perfect if only we got a bit more rain, Eliza.

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  10. Your Phylica looks great, as do all the flowers in your post.

    Still have Eustoma envy. I planted the one you gave me, and it's doing okay so far. Here the Gazanias are just waking up again, though they were not asleep all that long. Happy GBBD, and happy rain dance. May your barrels fill to their tippy-tops tonight and then overflow. :)

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    1. I hope that Eustoma lives to bloom for you next spring. The pink varieties seem much more willing to return that the blue, white and yellow varieties.

      I hope your garden is getting a good soak. The rain here has been relatively light thus far but it won't take much to top off my barrels - only the 50-gallon tank was down near empty at the start of this storm. I got home from a dinner with friends near 10pm and immediately went to work trying to fill up my plastic trugs off the rain chain.

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  11. That Bauhinia is such a gorgeous tree! It seems as if your garden is at the height of its glory right now, with so many fabulous plants. Love the little Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy' and so many others. My 'Scarlet Sprite' has buds and maybe one or two open flowers. But I forgot all about Bloom Day, so I will have to take pictures tomorrow. Time is just flying by...

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    1. I think the election threw off all our schedules, Anna. I'm cutting corners on a lot of the holiday festivities this year, trying to focus on just the most essential elements.

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  12. I keep scrolling up and down trying to decide which of your blooms is my favorite but can't choose, they're all gorgeous! When my family from Alaska comes to visit during the winter, they don't wear coats while we're all bundled up against our "cold." Sixty sounds heavenly right now as our low is predicted to be in the teens tonight. Happy belated GBBD!

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    1. As the saying goes, "everything is relative." It was 45F here this morning - from all the complaining, you'd think we were buried under a blanket of snow.

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