Friday, December 15, 2017

Bloom Day - December 2017

I pushed off my holiday preparations this year and, as I'm now feeling the crunch, I didn't have as much time to commit to my usual Bloom Day recordkeeping this month.  The exceptionally dry, windy weather we've been experiencing didn't help matters either.  In the interest of expediency, I relied in large part on photos I've taken here and there during December and have thrown a lot of these into collages.

I'll start off as usual with the plants delivering the biggest or most unexpected punches of color.

While the Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) has been producing flowers since September, I don't think I've ever seen it covered by as many flowers as it has this month.  I'd thought it preferred moist air but, given that this month has been anything but moist, I guess I was wrong.  I took the photo on the left on Sunday when a sunset set the clouds aglow.  The close-up photo on the right was taken under sunny skies 2 days ago.

Camellia sasanqua does NOT appreciate single-digit humidity levels.  While blooms shrivel in record time once they open, it's a testimonial to the protection provided by this area tucked against the north side of the house that they bloom at all.  I've no IDs for these cultivars, which came with the house.

I picked up this new-to-me shrub, Dermatobotrys saundersii, at the Huntington Gardens fall plant sale based solely on its leaves and the description on its plant tag.  Within weeks of planting it in this large pot, it began dropping all its leaves.  I was sure I'd killed it until the lovely coral flowers and new set of leaves shown here began to appear.

Lotus jacobaeus has grown dramatically since I planted it from a 4-inch pot in July.  I've been surprised at how well it stood up to the dry winds we've experienced over the past 2 weeks.

Metrosideros collina 'Springfire' surprised me by blooming in December, when I expected blooms in, well, spring!  Planted in February of this year, it's still small.  At maturity, it should reach 12 feet tall (or taller).


A few plants paid unexpected return visits this month too.

My Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflora) pooped out earlier than usual this year but a few blue blooms and a single pink one offered unexpected encores in December

I've also had a smattering of rose blooms this month.  From left to right: 'Joseph's Coat', 'Medallion' and a noID white variety


Here are some collages, organized by color, of other plants that managed to produce blooms despite our unusually warm, windy and arid December weather.

Top row: Erigeron glauca 'Wayne Roderick', Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', and Helleborus 'Blue Lady'
Middle row: Lobelia erinus 'Crystal Palace', Ocimum hybrid 'African Blue Basil', and Osteospermum '4D Silver'
Bottom row: Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa', Tibouchina urvilleana, and Viola 'Matrix Midnight Glow'

Top row: Arbutus 'Marina', Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', and Argyranthemum frutescens
Middle row: Correa pulchella 'Pink Eyre', Cuphea 'Starfire Pink' (with a monarch butterfly), and Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'
Bottow row: Osteospermum 'Berry White', Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard', and Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom'

Top row: Argyranthemum frutescens 'Go Daisy Mega White', flowers of Asparagus fern, and Gaillardia 'Fanfare Citronella'
Middle row: Lantana 'Lucky White', Leucanthemum x superbum, and Mandevillea 'Sun Parasol Apricot'
Bottom row: noID Osteospermum, Tagetes lemmonii, and primrose yellow Viola

Top row: Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer', Bignonia capreolata, and Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun'
Middle row: Grevilleas 'Ned Kelly', 'Superb', and 'Peaches & Cream'
Bottom row: Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia, G. 'Scarlet Sprite', and Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem'

Various succulents are also throwing up blooms, including (clockwise from the upper left): Aloe deltoideodonta, Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid', Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi, Echeveria 'Serrana' and Faucaria tigrina


I'll close with a shot of my largest Pennisetum, no longer at its prime but still showing off its inflorescences.

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum', still catching the sunlight beautifully in the front garden


Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts.


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

28 comments:

  1. Oh Kris, your garden makes me feel all summery! That Lotus jacobaeus is a knockout. I need to find one in the spring and hope it gets to blooming size before next winter.

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    1. It would feel like summer to you here at the moment too no doubt, Loree, albeit not our version of summer but rather the milder version characteristic of the PNW. I got my Lotus jacobaeus from Annie's by mail order.

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  2. Oh that California abundance... What Loree said - I just can't believe those black flowers. Same with the Bauhinia - it gets me every time you show it... so very beautiful. The recovery of your Dermatobotrys is remarkable, and enforces my belief that given enough time, we can all do better. So glad you didn't ditch it when it lost all its leaves!

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    1. The Bauhinia looks particularly good this month, Anna. I'm trying to remember the lesson presented by the Dermatobotrys when I look at my very disappointing Mahonia 'Charity'...

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  3. Such a treat to see all your flowers, Kris. With a foot of snow and temps in the single digits, I really appreciate the infusion of warmth they bring. :)

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    1. And here I'd love some of your precipitation, Eliza, although perhaps not in its coldest form!

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  4. Kris your garden looks gorgeous! always so full of flowers! I guess this is the second spring we have in warm climates (we both are fortunate with that)Your Camellia is really beautiful,pity the dry climate makes the blooms shrivell too fast.. I have that problem with roses now but my camellias bloom in winter which is very wet here. I love that Bignonia capreolata! I almost bought one some days ago but the plants were too big to fit in the car! I want to have one because hummingbirds and bees love those flowers. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Be careful if you plant a Bignonia capreolata, MDN. I inherited this one with the garden and it's a monster. It's spread into the 2 neighboring gardens - one neighbor seems to like it (I believe she planted it herself before the property lines were clarified many years before we purchased the property) and the other neighbor simply has his gardeners chop it back as necessary. I planted Bignonia in my former garden and learned firsthand how difficult it is to control. I said I'd never plant it again, only to arrive here and find one already in place.

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  5. Roses! Daylilies! I envy your abundance. You may not have as much time for record-keeping, but you still have way more going on in your garden than the rest of the country.

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    1. Well, both the roses and the 'Spanish Harlem' daylily blooms have been sporadic. Roses generally do have a "second spring" flush here but that daylily is an anomaly, like the errant Agapanthus blooms that sometimes make an appearance at this time of year.

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  6. Oh my gosh, I'm so jealous! I can't imagine having all these blooms going strong this time of year--so gorgeous. You've shared so many beauties, I don't know where to start, but 'Springfire' is pretty special, as are the roses. Luscious...

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    1. Southern California does have its advantages, like year-round gardening, but then our weather also has its dark side as represented by the Santa Ana winds and their attendant fires. I fear we're heading back into a drought, at least in the southern part of the state.

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  7. Hi Kris, I love the way you arrange the collages by colour, like you do your vases. As for the incredible number of flowers in your garden - I'm trying not to be jealous! (and succeeding a little ...)

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    1. Most of what's in the collages represent a few flowers here and there, Sue, but the warmer-than-usual December weather does seem to have made a difference in the floral output this month.

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  8. Looks like a summer BD report to me!

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    1. Feels a bit too much like summer too, doesn't it?! At least we have some marine layer and higher humidity here this morning, even if it's temporary.

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  9. A wealth of beauty, as usual. Always enjoy your GBBD flower reviews and bouquets.

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  10. Dermatobotrys saundersii is lovely. Can't believe how much you have blooming now!

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    1. We don't freeze or get snow, Susie. Unfortunately, at the moment we're not getting any rain either, which doesn't bode especially well for the future.

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  11. At this cold and wet time of the year, I dream of living in your climate. You can have some of our rain. Seems like your garden is always full to overflowing with amazing blooms.

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    1. If you can deliver the rain transfer, Peter, I have an air mattress with your name on it.

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  12. Even if you said, they are picked from here and there, they are all beautiful and so plenty! Merry Christmas

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    1. That's California for you, Andrea! Best wishes for a merry Christmas to you too!

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  13. Your gardens are beautiful Kris and remind me of summertime here in the northeast. I so enjoyed the visit! Happy holidays to you and yours!

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    1. Thanks Lee! Best wishes for happy holidays to you and your family as well!

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  14. Now I'm really envious. What an abundance of gorgeousness for December. The bahinia against the pink sky looks magical.
    I am having trouble finding 10 blooms for December in my garden. December is the dreariest month.

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    1. Believe it or not, the color in December is sometimes better than this. I think the plants are confused by the continuous shifts between unseasonably warm weather and more normal temperatures this year. The fact that we've had almost no rain is also a factor.

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