Friday, February 10, 2017

Spring's Promise

It's raining again this afternoon and there's more rain predicted for late next week.  The long-range forecasts suggest that rain may continue at intervals through April, which, after 5 years of drought, is almost hard to get my head around.  As rain is synonymous with winter here, that suggests a delay in spring's arrival but there's already evidence that spring isn't going to let a little rain get in the way.  Right on schedule, our local harbinger of spring, the ornamental pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) dotting public and private spaces throughout the region, are bursting into bloom, a fact I couldn't miss when I took a peek at my back slope yesterday afternoon.

The ivy and Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Magic' in the foreground mark the border between our property and that of our neighbor.  The ornamental pear trees festooned in white blooms are on the neighbor's property, providing a pretty screen.


These are messy trees but I can enjoy those on my neighbor's property without any problem.  However, I did inherit one of my own with the house and garden.  Its mess has been manageable in prior years but, despite a good pruning in early December, its litter habit has been a lot harder to deal with this year.

Our Pyrus calleryana failed to provide much in terms of foliage color this year and never dropped all its leaves but it's started its annual bloom cycle right on schedule, as indicated by my February 11, 2016 post

Perhaps all the rain we had beginning in December caused the tree to develop more or larger fruit.  Or perhaps the heavy January rains just brought more of the fruit down at one time.  You can see how it's stained the flagstones.  Keeping the fruit cleaned up (and preventing it from being tracked into the house) has become an almost daily exercise.


But the flowers on the ornamental pear aren't the only sign that spring is on the way.  Narcissi have been in bloom for a few weeks and other bulbs are now joining the chorus.

The noID Narcissi planted outside the dining and living room windows are almost bloomed out but they're still in bloom elsewhere in the garden

The first Alstroemeria flowers are just beginning to open

This and 2 other Anemone coronaria were purchased recently but the foliage of tubers planted in prior years have popped up too

Freesia foliage is everywhere but the buds on this yellow variety should be ready to release their wonderful fragrance within days


Other plants are also poised to bloom any minute.

From left to right: self-seeded borage (Borago officinalis), Echium handiense, and Veltheimia bracteata


In addition, Crassula 'Springtime' is in bloom.  Can there be any better proof that spring is in the air?



Well, how about the first sweet pea blooms?

Apparently, this pink sweet pea didn't want to miss out on Valentine's Day


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

34 comments:

  1. Your garden is a lot further along than mine only 35 miles away. Must be the proximity of the coast. That craussula is super-gorgeous. Must find some. My daffodils are cheering me on. I'll plant more next year. Rain helps.

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    1. Although my paperwhite Narcissi are blooming, none of the larger daffodils have made an appearance but the foliage is up so I'm hoping they'll develop buds and blooms soon.

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  2. The Bradford pears bloomed in November here this year along with most of the Magnolia soulangeanas around town-the latter even before the leaves had dropped. It was pretty strange. I would say my Freesias are about two weeks behind yours- I cut off a bunch of frost damaged foliage on those but fortunately not the blooms !

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    1. Every year, Kathy, I ask myself why I didn't plant more Freesias. This year I did and, with all the rain we've had, I'm hoping for a good show (even if the raccoons have dug up some of the bulbs).

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  3. So many lovely harbingers of spring! Well, except the pear. I can't stand the smell of those flowers. With all the rain you're getting this year, seems like a good opportunity to replace it with a better tree.

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    1. Maybe because our temperatures have been persistently cooler than average, the ornamental pear flowers aren't as noticeably odoriferous this year (or at least, not yet).

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  4. Spring! I'm seeing a few, much less colorful, signs here myself. Thank Goodness!

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    1. Relief will come, Loree - hopefully soon!

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  5. It's nice to see those early signs! Apart from snowdrops there's still very little here and I'm itching to do some gardening!

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    1. Winter is usually a busy time in the garden here but this season's frequent rain, while welcome, has put a damper on our activity (pun intended).

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  6. Oh how lovely to have spring in your garden. It' s snowing here. I wish it was pear blossom instead of snowflakes.

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    1. I'd probably have a heart attack if we got snow here, just from the shock. I can only remember snow falling in Los Angeles County once - when I was in the seventh grade - and it melted before it reached the ground.

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  7. Wow! A sweetpea! Our snow has mostly finished melting, just a few big piles still left around. I see very few signs of spring in my garden, but maybe I haven't looked closely enough.

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    1. I was pretty surprised by the sweet pea blooms myself, although, if the raccoons hadn't trashed the seedlings germinated from the seeds I planted in September, it's possible that I could have had a crop even earlier.

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  8. Spring is definitely farther along in the Southland than here in the Sacramento Valley. You have a lot of blooms already. We're about three weeks behind where we normally are, I would say.

    Regarding your callery pear, CUT IT DOWN. Of course that's coming from a guy who's battling callery pears for the last 20+ years. When we bought the house, we had three--two owned by the city, one owned by us. Now we're down to one city tree but it's messy, suckers profusely, doesn't produce good leaf color (it has some sort of virus), and is infested with mistle toe. And yet since it's a city tree we can't touch it.

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    1. I remember reading of your struggles with the ornamental pear. My tree doesn't sucker much - perhaps it's a different variety? It fruited more heavily and created more of a mess this year than ever before - if this becomes a norm, perhaps it will come out.

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  9. Wonderful to see your garden enjoying kind rain.

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    1. I hope you'll be getting some rain soon too, Diana! I don't know if this winter marks the end of our drought or merely a one-off phenomenon.

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  10. I think your garden is more along than mine also. Did see the first Ranunculus flower bud this morning, but the sweet peas and Freesias are nowhere close.

    Is it possible to have too many Freesias? Nah...

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    1. I'm hoping to see more white and blue Freesias this year. My past plantings seem to be heavy on yellow and pink.

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  11. Oh what fun that you get the rain !!
    Good to refill the reservoirs.
    Imagine that you have Alstroemeria that bloom in the garden! I have a great bunch of them in a vase on the kitchen table, but they are bought in a flower shop.
    best regards
    Mariana

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    1. One of the reservoirs in Northern California is overflowing! Southern California has not received nearly as much rain (or snow) but we are pleased by what we got anyway. As to the Alstroemerias, they like it here!

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  12. I am glad your rain is continuing. You and your plants must be glad of it! I can't imagine a drought that lasted for years; 3 months was about the limit for me and my garden! It is wonderful to see signs of spring. I love your Anemone coronaria!

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    1. As I recall, the drought in Texas lasted much longer than ours, although SoCal can't count itself out of the woods yet. There's more rain coming our way later this week, however.

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  13. Yippee! Those of us who won't have spring for awhile get to watch its progression, starting in other areas. Our sweet peas won't be blooming until May or June. I love that purple anemone!

    Thank you for your comment on my last post. I seem to just be doing the Wildflower Wednesdays these days.

    I watched Rachel Maddow the other day, when a dam in California was shown that has a big hole where the water comes down. Because of all the rain in the area, the lake above it is full, and the water has to be released. I am guessing you know more about what is going on there than the bit I got from it. What a mess!

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    1. That was probably the Oroville Dam in Northern California. Yesterday, the reports expressed confidence that the dam would hold despite the hole. This morning, there were reports of water coming over the top but the reports still held that the spillway would protect the surrounding population. But late this afternoon, evacuations began. I feel for the people near the dam, especially as more rain is expected near the week's end. SoCal (where I live) has had mudslides and flooded roads but nothing of the magnitude of the impacts in Northern California.

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  14. Replies
    1. Wonderful, isn't it! It was good to run into you this afternoon. It was a great lecture and I probably wouldn't have known anything about it if I hadn't read your blog post. I'm planning on attending the March meeting too and may even join C&SS.

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  15. Your spring flowers are so different to the exotic summer flowers I usually associate with you Kris; you must be enjoying your rain so much after so long a drought, I can only imagine knowing how I feel after we have rain here (and our drought only lasts two to three months).

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    1. This year's rain feels like the El Nino we expected - and didn't get - last year. We're fairly saturated now, with more rain expected Friday, but we've been saved most of the most of the ill effects associated with heavy rains here thus far. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for areas farther north.

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  16. So many things about which to be happy! Glorious blooms, the light returns, and you have continued rain.

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    1. It's a good thing the garden is offers happiness as the newscasts certainly don't!

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  17. As my garden sits buried under several feet of snow, those flowers were just what I needed to remind me that spring will come. Thanks! -Jean

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    1. It will, Jean! Spring here just operates on a different schedule. I expect you'd be happy to avoid our summers.

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