Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Top 10 January Blooms (& a Blood Moon Wednesday Vignette)

I'm joining Chloris of The Blooming Garden with a top 10 list of January blooms.  There's admittedly overlap with my Bloom Day report but in this case I've whittled down what's blooming in my garden to my current favorites.  As it was hard enough to pare down the list to 10 plants, I'm not going to even try to prioritize my choices so here they are in alphabetical order:

I use Aeonium arboreum to fill in empty spots all over the garden.  The plant is easily grown from cuttings and offers wonderful textural contrast for a wide variety of foliage plants.  As the plants age, some produce stalks bearing clusters of glowing yellow blooms.  The rosettes producing the flower stalks die afterwards but the non-blooming rosettes live on.  Right now, the yellow spires are popping up throughout my garden.

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' is off to an unusually early start this year.  I suspect this is due to our exceptionally warm winter temperatures.

Bauhinia x blakeana (aka the Hong Kong orchid tree) has been blooming almost continuously for almost 3 months now.  To my recollection, this is its best performance yet.  The only time it was without a mass of blooms was a brief period following our one and only winter rainstorm in early January.  An inch of rain stripped the tree of its open blooms but not its buds and within days of the storm's passage it was in full bloom again.  While I'm unhappy about the lack of rain, the tree is making the most of the dry conditions.

Calendula 'Bronzed Beauty' may be an odd choice for a favorite plant.  It's an annual; it's produced only a half dozen or so flowers thus far, all on short stems; and the flowers themselves are relatively small.  But I absolutely love the subtle colors of its petals.

Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection', a hybrid of C. williamsii, isn't happy about this week's high temperatures or the repetitive bouts of Santa Ana winds we've been experiencing this month but it's still pumping out blooms.  The curling dark pink edges of the petals are a response to the hot, dry conditions.  Unfortunately, I've seen this happen before.

I've long admired the delicate flowers of Saxifraga but I've never been successful in growing plants in that genus in my climate.  The sprays of tiny pink and white flowers of succulent Crassula multicava scratch that itch.  

While many of the large-flowered Grevilleas bloom year-round here, Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' blooms for a few months beginning in winter.  The blooms are small but profuse.

I planted 3 Hippeastrum papilio bulbs in a hanging basket in November.  Two of the bulbs produced bloom stalks.  (I think the third was planted too high.)  After  they've finished flowering, my plan is to transplant the bulbs to a bed outside our living room window.  I was successful in getting the bulbs to naturalize in my former garden and I'm hoping they'll appreciate this spot, where they'll be exposed to morning sun.

The colored bracts surrounding central cones of many Leucadendrons do a good job imitating flowers.  I think L. 'Wilson's Wonder' is perhaps the best of the bunch.  The green bracts turn yellow and, with sufficient sun exposure, eventually take on a pink tinge.  Last week's tree trimming provided this plant the increased sun exposure it needed to get its pink on.

After resting for several months from late summer through fall, all the Osteospermums are waking up.  While I love them all, this one, O. 'Summertime Sweet Kardinal', with its magenta flowers, is producing the most noticeable flush of bloom.


For more January bloom favorites, visit Chloris at The Blooming Garden.

Early this morning before the moon set, my husband and I got up to view the Super Blue Blood Moon.  The lunar eclipse that accompanied the supermoon began at 4:51am PST.  We were concerned that our view might be spoiled by the hills to the west of us as the moon dipped lower in the sky.  Added to that complication is the fact that, when it comes to taking nighttime photos, I've no idea of what I'm doing.  However, I did get one half-way decent photo at 5:22am before the moon disappeared from our viewing spot in the front driveway.

This is the moon setting over a house above the main road.  The large white structure always makes me think of city hall but it's a private home.  The orange cast to the moon's color, which gives it its name of "blood moon," is an effect of the eclipse.


And, since I was up, here's a bonus sunrise shot from the backyard garden:



The blood moon shot is my Wednesday Vignette.  For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

34 comments:

  1. Lots of gorgeous blooms in your garden as always. With such abundance, I can see how it would be difficult to choose only ten. Really cool moon and sunrise shots!

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    1. What's funny is that, when I walked into the garden, I wasn't sure I could even come up with 10 plants. Sometimes my inability to recognize the garden's strengths surprises even me.

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  2. Thanks for joining in with your fabulous favourites Kris. It must be difficult to whittle it down with so many goodies to choose from. As usual I covet your gorgeous grevilleas and leucadendrons. And how I would love to grow a bauhinia tree. 'Papilio'is my favourite hippeastrum too. It is nice to see a few blooms that I can enjoy here too. I have camellias in bloom in the greenhouse, but nothing as pretty as your 'Taylor's Perfection'. I shall try some C. 'Bronze Beauty'this summer too.
    What a fabulous moon shot, well worth getting up so early for such a special event.

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    1. When the alarm went off, I wasn't so convinced that getting up before 5am was such a great idea but I'm glad I did.

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  3. Great moon shots! I saw the larger than normal moon not long after it rose last night, but our winter cloud cover made seeing anything of the eclipse into a crap shoot, so I didn't bother getting up. I ordered seeds for Calendula Bronzed Beauty for my cutting garden after seeing it on your blog. I think I'll like it too.

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  4. Thank you for the moon shot, it was too cloudy here to see it.

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    1. I was afraid our view was going to be obscured too, Loree, as we had early morning haze the day before but it was surprisingly clear at 5am this morning. If it hadn't been I'd have been very irritated.

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  5. Appreciate your getting up so early to capture the super blue blood moon! Even if we'd been set to see more than a brief effect, it would have been mighty hard to get out to shoot it at 15F...

    Speaking of blue, that's one jazzy Osteospermum. If still in bloom by your daylily season (April?), it would be a great echo for one of the many red-purple cultivars with "blue" eyes, like 'Blue Mirage' or 'Lavender Blue Baby'.

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    1. The temperature was NOT a problem here, Nell - I think it was already above 60F here at 5am. Thanks for the suggestions on Osteospermum-daylily combinations. My daylilies haven't been very impressive since the drought took hold here but, if by some miracle that changes this year, maybe I'll add more next year.

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    2. No, unless your late winter forecast improves quickly and dramatically, it's certainly not the moment to plant daylilies anywhere but in your notes. Water is their best fertilizer.

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  6. I'm looking forward to seeing the moon later this evening, Kris. Down to earth, saxifraga are always a good addition to the garden. They bring out the collector in me.

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    1. There's just one species of Saxifraga that's said to grow in my location, Ian, but you can't prove the truth of that by my experience. And, of course, their water needs are an issue here too.

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  7. Good for you for rising early. These events are fun to see (and not easy to photograph). No eclipse here, but we did see a big moon at rising and setting (yes, I'm up tending the fire around 5, but true confessions, I go back to bed!).
    I always love the smorgasbord you provide on Blooms Day!

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    1. I tried to go back to bed but "a body in motion tends to stay in motion."

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  8. Since I go to work around 6am, the eclipse was my commute view.

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    1. I'm glad you commute carried you in the right direction, Kathy!

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  9. I'm amazed that you can grow Aeoniums so easily. I know they aren't really hardy here, but no matter - I kill them long before the frost does. Such lovely texture though, I keep trying. I can absolutely see why you like that little Calendula - it is lovely. Great Vignette moon too! :)

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    1. I literally have Aeonium arboreum spread throughout the garden, all products of a few cuttings a friend brought me shortly after we moved here 7 years ago. Whenever I don't know what to plant in a blank spot, I shove in Aeonium rosettes - shade or sun, watered regularly or rarely, they almost always thrive and create more of themselves.

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  10. Chris, That is the best blood moon picture I've seen. You have an incredible garden! Being involved in several gardening sites, there are people from your area who express how challenging it can be but you've managed to create wonderful flowerbeds. Not to mention, the view from your back yard is stunning.

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    1. It can be challenging, Sally, especially when our rainy season goes MIA. Just days ago, the extended forecast was showing rain during the first half of February but now it's shifted to later in the month. Even if that materializes, it looks as though it's going to be a very dry year here. Irrigation bridges the gap, until more water restrictions are put in place.

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  11. Kris, I love your picture of the red moon! All your blooms are splendid but the camellia takes the cake, even when it is not very happy about the hot dry climate. We haven't had rain in the last 2 weeks and everything looks very dry.

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  12. The picture of the red moon is just splendid! All the flowers are gorgeous but the camellia really takes the cake!

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    1. I wish I'd had a better background to show off the moon. Our local paper published photos this morning showing surfers in the foreground and the blood moon in the background - now that's a photo!

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  13. I have two arctotis in flower now. Crazy!

    I missed the moon!! Can we rewind a day and I'll make sure to get up???

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    1. Plants are VERY confused by the weather this year, Gerhard. This week, I got a newsletter from the local botanic garden encouraging a visit to see early flowering cherry trees - they're more than a month ahead of schedule.

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  14. I know what would be my top favourite in your January garden Kris, the Hong Kong orchid tree!! I don't think I've seen anything more beautiful. Love your shot of the blue,super, blue moon. We were out of the zone for the eclipse but the moon was larger than usual.

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    1. I figured that, with the trifecta of a supermoon, the 2nd full moon in a single month AND a lunar eclipse, I HAD to get up before dawn to see it, Christina, especially when the western US was said to be in store to have the best view.

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  15. Oy, I didn't even know about the moon! You got great pictures of both the moon and the sunrise.

    It's wonderful to come here and see so many flowers in early February. I think I always say this but it's worth repeating: 'Taylor's Perfection' truly is perfection.

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    1. The flowers never stop entirely here, sweetbay, although if we don't eventually get some rain, I suppose even that could change.

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  16. So many gorgeous blooms for you right now! That's too bad that you still have a lack of rain. Sheesh. The season is not over yet, so fingers crossed. That calendula...oh, I love that color too. I tried to grow it in the old garden, unsuccessfully I might add. And that moon! Wow. We got up to see it but we were fogged in. Glad you got to see it.

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    1. When it comes to rain, the extended forecasts are pretty bleak, Tamara. Things didn't look so bad at the start of the rainy season in October but the forecasters keep pushing rainstorms out further and further and rain after April is unlikely even in a good year. News of the severe drought facing South Africa, which has a Mediterranean climate like ours, adds to the anxiety.

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  17. Beautiful flowers for January, Kris. I can see why you would love that calendula, it's such a pretty color! Calendulas sadly were missing when I shopped Saturday, and I didn't get any started from seed this year - hoping I can pick some up fairly soon! I love seeing your Hippeastrum papilio in bloom too. Great shot of the blood/blue moon!

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  18. I've got seed on hand for Calendulas too and was hoping to plant some for summer flowers this spring too but the lack of rain is a concern there.

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