Saturday, February 25, 2017

Almost Forgotten February Favorites

On the last Friday of the month, Loree of danger garden presents the plants currently garnering her favor and invites other bloggers to give a shout out about theirs as well.  I usually join in but yesterday I completely blanked out on the fact that February was rapidly drawing to a close, so this morning I zipped around my garden giving it a once-over and snapping some photos.

Here's a quick run through of this month's stand-outs:

My unequivocal favorite this month is Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola'.  I have 2 of these large shrubs, as you can see in the photo on the left.  One shrub was tied to the fence and has been pruned to allow passage along the narrow stairway that leads down the back slope.  The other was given much more room to spread out but, with all the rain we've had this season (over 24 inches since October 1st!), it's leaning and I'm not sure what to do about that.  At a minimum, I'll probably brace it so it doesn't fall over any further and topple down the slope.  The photo on the right gives you a good sense of how dense the flower clusters are on this plant.

The humble Calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) have started to bloom in earnest on the back slope.  I started to count the number of plants down there but gave that up when I reached 4 dozen - I suspect there are well over 6 dozen plants just in that area.  They're even coming up in an area I was using as an informal compost pile.  There were a lot of these plants last year, even dry as that winter was, but nothing like the number there are this year.  Who knew they spread like weeds?  They disappear when the temperatures soar but return with the winter rains.  I didn't plant any of these - they came with the house.

All the Osteospermum love the cooler temperatures this time of year and they appear to appreciate the rain too.  However, this group of 3 Osteospermum '4D Silver' grab my attention at every pass through the back garden.  Alstroemeria are growing up around and through these plants so things may get crowded in the coming weeks when those flowers start to bloom in earnest.

Front and center is Echium handiense 'Pride of Fuerteventura', purchased at my local botanic garden (the only place I've ever found it).  Planted this fall, it's now sporting its first blooms.  This is a dwarf Echium I've grown before and lost after a couple of years in a drier part of my garden.  This spot is more well-irrigated so I'm hoping the plant has a longer lifespan here (not that I've used any irrigation since early December).  One in a neighbor's front garden is doing spectacularly well so I'm hopeful.  Also, note the plant to the right of the Echium.  I believe this is Aristea inequalis, something I planted in 2014.  There are bloom stalks on it now for the very first time!

Limonium perezii is a very common plant here in SoCal but it's another one that grabs my attention every time I walk by.  It holds up well to both heat and drought but it's looking especially good after all our rain.  The foliage can get ratty after a few years but it's easily and inexpensively replanted from plugs.  The flowers dry well and can be used effectively in arrangements.

Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' is one of my more unusual shrubs.  Its stems twist and turn, giving it an airy quality and I love its variegated foliage.  This plant is doing well in the front border although another one, planted only 10 feet or so away, isn't nearly as happy.


And then there are the bulbs.

The gold Freesias, shown on the left, were the first to bloom but the pink, red, blue and yellow varieties are slowly making an appearance.  None of the white ones have bloomed yet, though.  These South African bulbs are the easiest ones to grow in my garden.

Ranunculus asiaticus normally struggle in my garden, probably because I don't give them as much water as they want.  That hasn't been much of an issue this year due to the rain; however, I also planted them in the raised beds in my vegetable (now cutting) garden, where I could give them more attention.  They make excellent cut flowers.

Finally, here's a fuzzy photo of Ferraria crispa, also known as Spider Iris, another South African bulb.  You can see a better photo of it here.  Planted just a couple of months ago, I didn't expect to see any blooms on it this year but this plant surprised me by producing 2 flowers this far.  They don't last long but they're interesting.  I haven't had a chance to get close and smell them - they're reputed to have an odor that some people hate but others appreciate.


That's my quick February favorite wrap-up.  Visit Loree at danger garden to see the stalwart plants that are warming her heart after a particularly nasty winter in the Pacific Northwest.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. Very nice choices. Do you have to use bait to keep the snails and slugs of the ranunculus? The Ferraria is beautimus.

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    1. I've baited half the plants in my garden but not the ranunculus. Perhaps there have been no issues there because the plants are in a raised bed. Maybe snails and slugs are lazy - or the raccoons find them easy pickings there.

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  2. Hi Kris, I always enjoy seeing you favorite plants each month. The Osteospermum '4D Silver' looks just gorgeous and I love the Spider Iris, such an interesting bloom.
    The rain has made such a change in the gardens in our area. I am so thankful for it and I am looking especially forward to the spring flush of my roses this year.
    Happy Gardening!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I hope this isn't just a one-year phenomenon with the rain, Christina.

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  3. Your favorites are wonderful, Kris, and they have great company! I especially like the combination of the Limonium with the Senecio(?) in the background, and the combination of plants around the Corokia. Ferraria crispa is such an unusual flower. I've thought about ordering one from Annie's and keeping it in the greenhouse for winter, but have controlled myself thus far.

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    1. Yes, that's Senecio vitalis in the background with the Limonium. Like the Aeonium arboreum, it's an easy filler - I just clip a piece and plant it.

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  4. It must be fabulous to walk through those Grevilleas! Your Callas are making me rethink my hesitation to plant them; I thought they would require quite a bit of water. If not, I'll want to try some. Your Limonium is wonderful - as is mine ;-) Thanks again for recommending it! And your freesias are ahead of mine! Buds but no color here... probably slowed down by our late January cold snap. Congrats on trying the Ferraria; I've only seen it in books and catalogs, please keep us posted how it does!

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    1. The Calla lilies were a huge surprise to me, Amy. Even pre-drought, I never would have thought of planting them anywhere here and certainly not at the bottom of the slope beyond the reach of the irrigation system. They clearly respond to the rain, and the more rain, the more plants it seems!

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  5. It's been a great winter for Callas, there were many in bloom in the Knight's neighborhood. The Ferraria, wow, very interesting!

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    1. It remains to be seen if the Ferraria multiplies over time to create a more robust display. I can't claim I made a careful study of the blooms but my impression is that each lasts only a couple of days at most.

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  6. Nothing beats rainwater. I irrigate too (on a slope it's a necessity, even here), but the plants never do as well as in a year with plentiful summer rain.

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    1. Summer rain is an extraordinary event here - most of our rain is confined to the winter months. Irrigation is definitely critical during our hottest months.

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  7. stand out they certainly do. What colour your have! And such exotic shapes. And I can only dream of freesias.

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    1. Freesias do best in Mediterranean climates and ours is that!

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  8. Wow, you've got a lot of beauties, some I don't recall seeing before. Of course I adore the Grevillea, but that Limonium perezii is pretty sweet too. There were so many Ranunculus at the NWFG Show, which is a good thing, I never tire of them. Oh and that Ferraria crispa, adorable! Finally, that variegated Corokia is one I've shied away from in nurseries, it seemed too brash. But seeing it with your other plants it pops, in a good way. Perhaps I need to purchase one of those...

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    1. The Corokia seems like your kind of plant, Loree! I wouldn't call it "brash" at all - the colors are rather soft.

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  9. I loved seeing your photos of those beautiful plants. It will be some time before my garden lets me see who survived the winter happily.

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    1. Although we whine about our winters as much as other gardeners do, we do get off easy for the most part in SoCal, CommonWeeder.

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  10. The grevilleas are spectacular. And has it really been 24" since October?! I've had the corokia on and off for many years but not at the moment -- I love its bright, small-leaved textured and very watery thrifty ways.

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    1. Oh, I remember your Corokia - what happened to it? Our neighbor's weather station across the street has an even higher rain total but I'm going by my husband's recalibration of our own roof top system. However you count it, it's an incredible amount of rain, especially by comparison with last year's total - even without my husband's adjustment factor, the unadjusted total is 3x the unadjusted total we measured for the entirety of last year.

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  11. What beautiful leaves it was Paeonia Cambessedesii.
    Several of the plants you have in the borders, we have as cut flowers and potted plants.
    It looks very nice in your flower beds !!
    Have a nice day
    Mariana

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    1. Our very different climate makes it easy to grow what would be greenhouse plants in your climate outside here, Mariana. I often think that what we need is a cold-house so I could grow some of what is out of reach here, like herbaceous peonies!

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  12. It goes without saying that all your February flowers are gorgeous but what really strikes me in all the photos today is the light! Like my garden, the light is suddenly saying it is spring!

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    1. With all the rain we've had, we've had much less of those sun-filled afternoons than we're used to, Christina, not that I'm complaining about the rain. The skies are gray again today and showers are possible, although we've seen none since yesterday morning.

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  13. Today I read that Ferraria smells of vanilla, and sweat.
    But gorgeous flowers!

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    1. That descriptions sounds about right based on what I've heard! I'd have had to get flat on the ground or cut the bloom to get a smell and I didn't do either.

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