Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday Vignette: Delightful Discoveries

We've been riding a weather roller-coaster of late.  Our rainy season, which generally begins in October and ends in April, has failed to deliver much in the way of precipitation thus far.  January's high temperatures made it feel as though we'd fast-forwarded into summer.  Then a blast of arctic air sent temperatures plummeting in February, even serving up a brief flurry of hail last week.  We finally got a bit more rain Monday night, 0.15/inch at this location, enough to warrant turning off the irrigation system, at least temporarily.  According to our roof-top weather station, our seasonal total, measured from October 1, 2017, now stands at 1.6 inches, which may end up being something for the record books, albeit not in a good way.  Under the circumstances, it's not surprising that the garden isn't as floriferous as it was last year at this time, when it benefited from heavier-than-usual rain.  But, when I look carefully, there are still beautiful flowers to be found.

This is Ferraria crispa (aka Starfish Iris), a South African bulb.  I planted at least 2 of these in December 2016 but this is the only one that survived as far as I can see.  It's not supposed to bloom until late summer or fall in this hemisphere but it bloomed last February and here it is again.  The blooms are small and short-lived but precious nonetheless.

Scilla peruviana is blooming again too!  It's a finicky bulb, which has gone years without blooming in the past but this is the second year in a row it's made an appearance.  Despite its name, it's native to the Mediterranean areas of southwestern Europe.  Apparently, it was sent to England on a ship named "The Peru," which is how it came by its name.

Ipheion uniflorum, a South American native, has produced a flower here or there for the past month but now the tiny bulbs are blooming in earnest

The noID Narcissus I planted my first year here are starting to bloom

And the Narcissus tazetta 'Geranium' bulbs I planted this past fall have produced their first flower too.  It's known for producing multiple flowers on a single stem and you can see that other flowers are preparing to push their way toward the sun in this photo.

Veltheimia bracteata, another South African bulb, has also returned to flower this year


While I may not have the blooms I had last year at this time, I know I have a larger head-start on spring than many areas of the country so I'm not complaining.  More rain is expected tomorrow night too.  My fingers are crossed that this will help keep 2018 out of the record books as the driest year on record for Los Angeles.

To close, here's a shot of a second Ferraria bloom, which opened just this morning.



For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


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

38 comments:

  1. Ferraria crispa is very sweet! Sounds like more raindancing in your future.

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    1. Raindancing is definitely on the agenda for tomorrow afternoon, Peter!

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  2. Oh, that Ferraria bloom is so cool! I wanted to hurry through reading your opening paragraph in order to find out what it was. Veltheimia is a pretty cool plant too, they were a hot item here a couple of years ago at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, but I don't think they thrive in our climate. Great pictures! Had to go back and look at that Ferraria again.

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    1. I got this Ferraria crispa from Annie's by mail order, Alison, but I've seen them offered as packaged bulbs in my local nursery on a couple of occasions. They'd probably need winter protection in your climate.

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    2. Thanks for letting me know where you got it. I went straight to Annie's website and put it on my wish list. i hope they get more.

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    3. I know I've seen Ferraria offered by other mail-order outfits but heck if I can remember which. However, if I come across another source, I'll let you know. I planted mine in mid-December 2016, which probably means I got them from Annie's in late November or early December so you may have to wait awhile on that source.

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  3. The Ferraria is so cool. (No spellchecker, not Ferraris). Our weather now comes courtesy of Siberia apparently. Mercifully dry, until the snow arrives, but mighty cold. Fingers crossed for tomorrow’s rain.

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    1. The TV weather forecaster spoke of 1-3 inches of rain coming in tomorrow night but the local forecasts are much more modest, suggesting a 2-day total of less than half an inch. But every little bit counts. Unfortunately, there's no "March Miracle" like the nearly continuous rain we got to quench a drought in 1991 expected.

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  4. That Ferraria is very special indeed, a gorgeous thing to behold. I grew S. peruviana once and loved it, but it didn't survive, alas. (Over the years, I realize I've loved and lost many times, lol!)
    Fingers crossed that more rain is headed your way.

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    1. The rain forecasts are holding strong at a 60% chance of rain tomorrow night, which believe it or not is a good sign. Most of the prior forecasts this season have disappeared like a cloud of smoke as the the date of reckoning grew closer.

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  5. The news about the lack of rain is disheartening. On the plus side, your photography is gorgeous.

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    1. Whatever happens this week and the rest of the month, it appears this is going to be another tough drought year for us in SoCal, slc, but I'll count it as a minor victory if we at least stay out of the record book this year. The driest season on record was 2006-2007 when Los Angeles got just 3.21 inches of rain between October and April.

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  6. I'm chiming in with the chorus - that Ferraria... sigh! So fabulous! I have to say, I love those Peruvian Scillas, too. I love how they gradually open. I'll do a little rain dance for you from up here too. I do wish we could share...

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    1. I was almost more surprised to see the Scilla in bloom than the Ferraria, Anna. It's always been a very unreliable bloomer here and, with rain levels so low this year, I figured there wasn't a chance it'd bloom.

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  7. When I called Lotusland to make my reservation to visit in a couple weeks I was told that they are evacuating today in advance of the storm. I was able to reserve that day and time I wanted (I'm a member so I don't have to do the guided tour thing) but she advised that I should keep informed of the weather and would be notified if they have a closure when I visit. One sure appreciates the fragility of our hillsides when 1 or 2 inches of rain is an issue.

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    1. Given the relative infrequency of rain this year, I really hope a storm doesn't happen to coincide with your visit, Kathy! I was in Santa Barbara County last weekend and saw evidence of the mudslides at one stop in Carpinteria. The mud seemed very hit or miss - Seaside Gardens was fine but an orchid seller less than half a mile away got slammed. That said, based on the latest forecasts, it does sound like the foothill areas will see more rain on Thursday than areas like mine will.

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  8. I've never hear of Ferraria before--that's incredible! That Scilla you have is unique, too. I hope you'll get some more light rain--not too fast and not too much, but just enough.

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    1. Another rainstorm like the one earlier this week would be ideal for all concerned, Beth. Monday's storm was actually described in several news reports as "well-behaved" but more rain is expected in the foothill areas with the upcoming storm, which could present issues for the burn areas.

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  9. That Ferraria! It's the second one I've seen in a week. I have to find a few!

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    1. Annie's offers the Ferraria, Gerhard. In fact, that where I got mine. However, their on-line catalog says they're currently unavailable.

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  10. It is very interesting that it is bulbs giving you the most flowers at this time of year as it is for many of us (albeit yours are more exotic) it makes me think that I should be concentrating on bulbs that will survive my summer drought and form carpets under the Mediterranean shrubs. That Iris is stunningly beautiful.

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    1. Oh, there are other flowers, like the ubiquitous Grevillea blooms, but they're same-old, same-old. The bulbs always seem like wonderful surprises when they make their appearance.

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  11. wonderful bulbs! (tho ipheion is a major pest for me...)

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  12. Wow, the Ferraria blooms are amazing. All your bulbs are wonderful in fact. Wish I could send you some of our rain. Making for a dull afternoon (and week) here.

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    1. The TV forecasters keep say the rain is coming here, Susie. In fact, folks in Montecito near the burn areas are already evacuating. The Weather Underground station closest to us has now boosted the chance of rain tonight to 80% so maybe it's really going to happen, although one decent storm isn't going to pull us back out of drought :(

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  13. Nice flowers on the Ferraria. Green flowers are so cool.

    I'm emptying my rain barrels and tubs into the driest parts of garden in anticipation of getting a little more tonight and tomorrow. What a disappointing winter it's been.

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    1. I was out distributing the rain collected on Monday in my 50-gallon tank this morning myself, HB - that tank fills almost immediately even with the slightest rain. My other 2 tanks still have plenty of capacity, another sad indicator of this sorry excuse for a rainy season.

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  14. Kris, I love that Scilla, I cannot understand how you can grow Daffodils there? Check out USA today's poll about FL voter surveys on guns, tide is turning here. Yay for rain. Send some here,it is dry as a bone.

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    1. Daffodils do surprisingly well here, Amelia. Apparently they like summer dry conditions, which is the norm here. the Florida poll is promising - Florida may pass up California in terms of gun controls before long, although I'm hoping California will also step up its game there.

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  15. That Ferraria bloom is superb, I think maybe my current favorite of all time, love at first sight since up till now I had managed to live a reasonable life without ever hearing about or seeing this flower. Good luck, Kris, with this challenging and unpredictable weather.

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    1. The Ferraria's blooms are small and don't last long, Sue, but the delight of finding a bloom now and then is worth the small space the plant occupies in the garden.

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  16. The starfish iris has such a beautiful and unique flower!

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    1. If it was just a bit more vigorous, I'd fill my garden with these bulbs!

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  17. My Veltheimia is leafing out here too, way down south.

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    1. I have 2 and, while both have leafed out, only the one has produced a flower stalk thus far. Maybe the recent cold snap slowed things down here.

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    2. Try the Veltheimia in afternoon shade, or dappled shade under trees - they are forest lilies.

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    3. That's where I have them, Diana! Maybe they're too crowded by surrounding plants or tree roots.

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