Friday, March 23, 2018

Local Spring Flower-fest

It's that time of year.  New flowers seem to appear nearly every day in my garden.

Appearing this week: noID Iris germanica, blooming on the back slope underneath the leaf of an agave (left), and Iris douglasiana 'Santa Lucia' in the front garden (right)


I wandered further afield this week to see what else is making an appearance now that our long-awaited rain has arrived.  I started my search in my own neighborhood.

Alyogyne huegelii (aka blue hibiscus)

Azalea 'George Tabor'

Beschorneria yuccoides, the first I've ever seen in bloom (or almost in bloom)

What I believe may be wild borage of some kind, growing head-high in a vacant lot

The biggest Leucospermum I've ever seen, which blooms reliably every year in this neighbor's garden

A yellow-flowered Leucospermum, planted just a few houses further up the road

A large pink-flowered Pelargonium blooming along yellow Euryops, Limonium perezii, Persicaria capitata, Cordyline and Agapanthus on a relatively steep slope.  This slope was replanted last year.


Wednesday, as a new storm was moving in, I also made a quick tour of South Coast Botanic Garden, just 5 miles away.

More of the garden's cherry trees have burst into bloom.

These trees surround the garden's amphitheater


The Wisteria vines planted along the arbors are producing their first blooms.

It'll probably be another month before the flowers thoroughly blanket the arbors


Even the desert garden has flowers.

The rains triggered the growth of California poppies and blue lupine here (while I've yet to see any sign of California poppies in my own garden)


The redesigned Mediterranean garden is studded with flowers in shades of white, orange, yellow and blue.

Top row: noID Cistus, Eschscholzia californica, and Nectarine tree blossoms
Middle row: Penstemon heterophyllus, P. eatonii, and Phlomis fruticosa
Bottom row: Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman', Trichostema lanatum, and Verbena lilacina


The new rose garden is getting ready for its grand opening in April.

The framework is in place and the roses are planted, but blooms are still relatively sparse

It'd started to rain as I photographed the roses so I didn't bother to look for name tags


And the Volunteer Garden has positively exploded in flowers.

I'm beginning to think orange California poppies go with everything

The centerpiece here is a noID Magnolia in full bloom

I don't usually like pink and red together but I liked this combination

This bed had me asking why I've never tried growing Cerastium tomentosum in my current garden

Note the Brugmansia in full bloom in the background.  The flowers on the Echium on the left were just beginning to open.  The bed on the right was full of various kinds of Pelargonium.


You may have noticed that I've paid more frequent visits to my local botanic garden of late.  Last month I started training to become a volunteer docent.  My last training session is next week.  My first 2 tours are already scheduled for April.  Ninety percent of the tours involve guiding schoolchildren, which isn't a group I've had much experience with in recent years.  One of my biggest problems has been coming up with the common names of plants and flowers as I've somehow managed to hard-wire my brain to produce the Latin names, at least for those plants I'm most familiar with.  So I've been working hard to pull common names back into my vocabulary.

Top row: Calendula (pot marigold), Crocosmia (montbretia), Dietes grandiflora (fortnight lily), and Eschscholzia (California poppy)
2nd row: noID Euphorbia (spurge), Euryops (African sunflower), Gazania (African daisy), and Gladiolus (sword lily)
3rd row: Helianthus (sunflower). Kalanchoe beharensis (felt plant), noID Narcissus (daffodil), and Nemesia  (no common name)
Last row: Oxalis (weed!), noID Pelargonium (geranium), hybrid Penstemon (beard tongue), and Papaver nudicuale (Iceland poppy)

Top row: Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Arctotis (African daisy #2), Borago (borage), and Cerastium (snow-in-summer)
2nd row: Cerinthe (honeywort), Hyacinthoides (Spanish bluebells) Limonium perezii (sea lavender), and Myosotis (forget-me-nots)
3rd row: Osteospermum (African daisy #3),  pink Iceland poppy, Persicaria capitata (knotweed), and Salvia 'Mystic Spires' (sage)
Last row: noID Salvia (sage), Scabiosa (pincushion flower), Scilla peruviana (another "Peruvian lily," actually of Spanish origin), and what used to be Solanum rantonetti (blue potato bush)


Wish me luck!

Actually, it is easier to remember this as an apricot trumpet flower tree than Handroanthus chrysostricha x impetiginosus, formerly classified as Tabebuia (and much simpler to pronounce)


Enjoy the first weekend of Spring!


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

26 comments:

  1. So many beautiful blooms! I'd have liked to see more pictures of the rose garden! there are many beautiful flowers in this post but roses completely grabbed my attention.

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    1. The rose garden was planted in the December-February time frame with new bare root roses, MDN, so they have not yet reached bloom stage in many cases. The grand opening of the new rose garden is planned for late April when there should be a better display.

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  2. That ocean of Cerastium is pretty fantastic! I've actually been pulling some California poppies out of my garden lately. I'm rearranging the front garden, adding some perennials to the areas that I had formerly filled in with self-sowing annuals. Have you ever tried growing California poppies in a pot? It might be easier to keep watered. I hope you enjoy your upcoming volunteer work as a docent!

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    1. The Cerastium always seems to look good there but then I expect the botanic garden waters that area more regularly than I water most of my garden. Still, it's worth a try. I had a decent display of California poppies last year but I guess the heavier-than-usual rain we got is what made the difference. I really wanted to use the poppies as a floral filler. The under-watered back slope was a poor choice to focus on for that given this year's skimpy rain but I did throw some seed into one of the irrigated beds earlier this month so maybe I'll get a surprise there yet.

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  3. It seems that spring has sprung in SoCal! So many lovelies. Oh, dear, I'd be terrified that school kids would be bored in a botanical garden. When my kids were younger, I led a trip to the college greenhouse and gardens. I was exhausted at the end of it and my voice was nearly shot - ha! I do remember it was helpful for each kid to have a check list of plants that they had to describe, gave them focus. The big hits were the food plants, esp. the cocoa tree pods - who doesn't love chocolate?

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    1. I shadowed 2 groups as a supplement to my formal docent training. The first consisted of 4-5 year olds (!) and the second of 3rd graders. They were all pretty engaged, although the 3rd graders surprised me as half the group had cell phones. They took photos of plants and other garden elements more than selfies, though, so that was something. I like your checklist idea for selected age groups!

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  4. What a lot of beautiful flowers and colours, many of which would happily grow in my garden. Ideas galore for me! And that leucospermum, wow! I’ve never seen one like it. The schoolchildren will be fine.....it’s amazing how well they respond to new experiences. There’s been an emphasis on gardening in some schools here in Australia and it’s been very successful.

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    1. The orange-red Leucospermum blows me away every year, Jane! I hope I can encourage kids to see gardens as magical places. The earth needs its future protectors.

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  5. Best of luck being a docent -- that is so cool!

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    1. We'll see if I have the stamina for it, Denise! I handled one area with a group of 3rd graders on a tour I was shadowing last week and my voice almost gave out. Thank goodness the norm is 2 tours a month.

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  6. CA orange poppies do go with everything! Mine are still a few weeks behind, but I can't wait until they bloom. Good luck with being a docent - that sounds orepre awesome!

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    1. I hope I manage to adjust my messages for each audience, Renee. It'll take some practice I expect.

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  7. When I gave tours to school children at the main public library in Portland as part of my job working in the Children's Library, 4th graders were my favorite. They were in that sweet spot in the middle, interested and engaged. It will be fun to see how tours of the garden go - good luck with the voice, especially being outside.

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    1. I hope I get a rhythm going with the different groups in time, Barbara. Apparently, some of the docents do focus on handling tours of children in specific age groups but I've no idea yet what my sweet spot might be.

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  8. So many beautiful flowers. I am curious what a huge, blooming, Leucospermum looks like after the blooms are faded. If you think of it I would love to see a photo sometime.

    Good luck with the new gig, I bet you’ll be fabulous! That common name / Latin name thing is hard. I recent got a talking to about my “uppity” ways with Latin....

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    1. The crazy thing with the co-called common names is that they can sound as nonsensical to kids as the Latin names - how many kids these days know what a "pincushion" looks like, for example? The chief attribute of common names in my view is that they're often easier to pronounce.

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  9. Osteospermum is now Dimorphotheca.
    Ox eye daisy instead of African daisy #3?

    Kids at Kirstenbosch love to roll down the lawn - especially if they are township kids. Huge respect and admiration for people who 'teach our children well'.

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    1. The group of 4-5 year olds I shadowed were given opportunities to run across a lawn, roll down a hill, plant a seed and mimic a growing plant, and climb over the roots of the Morton Bay Figs. I learned a lot from that tour about managing the energy and shorter attention spans of little ones.

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  10. I love the way you arranged the flowers by color. That is so pleasing to the eye. This March rain has been fabulous!

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    1. If only we could look forward to a bit more rain in April, Alys!

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  11. Oh it sounds as if you've had more of the wet stuff Kris :) Lots of fabulous colour and no doubt scent in your neighbourhood. Your voluntary work should prove most enjoyable and hopefully encourage a new generation of would be gardeners.

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    1. Unfortunately, that may well be our last rain until next fall or winter, Anna, but we can always hope for an April shower or a mid-summer tropical rainstorm. Both have been known to happen!

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  12. what an explosion of colour, wonderful! I grow Cerastium tomentosum it is reliable but does die back if not given a little summer water but otherwise looks good for a long period.

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    1. The Cerastium looks like a good way to fill in among larger plants. I'm going to pick up some plugs as soon as I can find them in my local garden center.

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  13. It's such a treat to see all your colorful flowers while I wait for color to return to my world. Being a docent at the botanic garden sounds both fun and exciting. I hope your first tours went well. -Jean

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    1. I've just played a small role while shadowing a senior docent thus far. My first real tours happen later this month.

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