Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Rain Effects (and Wednesday Vignette)

More often than not, our short rainy season comes to an abrupt end in March.  While the 2017-2018 winter season doesn't appear to have set a new low as the driest on record in Los Angeles, it's right up there near the top (bottom?) of the list.  Our roof-top weather station shows that our seasonal total (October 1st to the present) is a paltry 3.59 inches, more than 11 inches short of "normal."  Still, we got a good soaking here last week and the garden is showing its gratitude.

This area of the back garden on the south side of the house has exploded in color, thanks mainly to Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset' and Leucospermum 'Goldie'.  It's my Wednesday Vignette.  (For more, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.)

Close-ups of each.  The Lotus were planted from plugs in May 2016, while the Leucospermum was added in early December last year.


I'm very happy that I've finally had Leucospermum bloom in my garden.  In addition to 'Goldie', two other plants have buds (not counting the 'Spider Hybrid' I recently bought already in bloom).

Leucospermum 'Brandi', planted in March 2016, has its very first flower buds!

Although this small plant looks like it's taken a beating, L. 'Spider', planted late last year, also has some tiny buds


But the Leucospermums aren't the only plants showing promise after the March rainstorms.

The snapdragons I grew from seed are finally starting to bloom

This artichoke is returning for its 4th year on the back slope.  It looks as though all the new artichoke plugs I planted in the fall are also coming along.

After complaining for weeks about the failure of my hellebores to blooms, H. 'Anna's Red' suddenly appears poised to do just that

Lavandula stoechas 'Anouk Deep Rose' is blooming in the front garden for the first time since it was planted in September 2016

Romneya coulteri (Matilija poppy) on the back slope has buds

And the 'Joseph's Coat' climber, usually the first rose to bloom in my garden, is getting close to doing so


However, a few new blooms, while pretty, have fallen short of expectations.

This appears to be yet another mislabeled bulb.  Sold as Iris germanica 'Autumn Circus', it looks nothing like it was supposed to (as shown here)

Narcissus 'British Gamble' also falls short of the mark (as shown here)

and this picotee Ranunculus is more reddish pink than pink and white


The calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica), while very late, are finally beginning to bloom here and there but the California poppies are complete no-shows thus far.  So early spring is a mixed bag this year.  I enjoy the season regardless, although I admit I wouldn't mind a bit more rain...


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


34 comments:

  1. I imagine an entire carpet of that Lotus growing in MY garden... turning a bit green over here... Wow, it is beautiful! I'm sorry you've had such a dry winter, but like you said - your garden has responded fabulously to the most recent rain. I hope you get a few more decent soaks before the power of the death star takes over... Fingers crossed for you and the rest of California!

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    1. The extended forecast currently shows a slight chance of light rain on 2 days during the first half of April, Anna, but those predictions are notoriously unreliable. That forecast has already appeared, disappeared and reappeared a few times since I first noted it last month.

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    2. I mirror that dance with you - as I watch for rain promised around the 11th. Or not. ??

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    3. I checked the weather outlook again this afternoon as the first rain here was forecast for April 6th/7th. One weather service is now showing no rain whatsoever for all of April, May or June. However, the other service I usually consult, which only shows projections for the following week, still shows the possibility of rain Thursday night into Friday. As I've already been drawing down on the contents of my rain tanks, I was really hoping for rain to top them back off. I'll remain hopeful that both of us get some rain, Diana. The situation in Cape Town is getting a LOT more coverage here of late, at least in California, which faces some of the same challenges due to climate change.

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  2. What a bummer about that Iris. I love the carpet of Lotus, what a great color. And Hooray about your Hellebore! I have a fair number of British Gamble in my front garden, none of which are open yet. I'm trying to remember if they age to pink. I don't remember that, but it's possible, I suppose, that the cup on yours will turn pink in a few days.

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    1. Yes, I was annoyed about that Iris as I have a blue, white and yellow color scheme going in that area. I'll probably move and eventually replace it. I was pleased to see that hellebore come through. Now I'm wondering if any of the others will make an appearance.

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  3. Kris, things are looking great in your garden, can't wait to see the buds of that 'Joseph's Coat' fully open! it's a gorgeous cultivar.

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    1. 'Joseph's Coat's is probably the best bloomer among my small rose collection, MDN. I think it really likes growing up against the warm stone of the chimney there.

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  4. Very envious! I know, I know the lack of rain is not a good thing...but oh, you have SO much blooming now! Snapdragons are one of my very favorite annuals. And the Lotus, well, just lovely. Here's hoping you just might get a few more inches...maybe??

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    1. Snapdragons usually succumb quickly to rust here but I'm hopeful that, in growing them from seed, they may be tougher this year. Rain in April isn't the norm here but it does happen! The extended forecast into April shows 2 chances of light rain but those predictions aren't very solid.

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  5. Your garden is looking wonderful,Kris, and that Lotus is the star of the show. Even the falling-short-of-expectations plants look pretty. Sending positive thoughts for more rain.....

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    1. Thanks Jane! There are a couple prospects for light rain in early April but I try not to get too invested in the possibility until the clouds pile in. Our temperature got up near 80F (26C) today!

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  6. Wow, that Lotus is gorgeous. I had no idea there was anything but the water kind. So much to learn...

    My experience with "pink" daffodils has been that there's a window of about a half day during their bloom when the cups approach peachy-pink, and only if conditions are perfect: good moisture while developing, warm sun but not actual heat, etc. My father went in heavily for them during the last few years of his life, and a few seasons of observing them here didn't win me over. A friend who gratefully accepted them grows them much better than I did, and a few come close to pink for that half-day; the cups start out a hot orange, then age to salmon pink. Some very light, high shade is helpful if spring sun and heat are strong. I did give in to some 'Katie Heath' a few years ago when they uncharacteristically appeared in the Brent&Becky's end-of-season sale, and love them despite being pink no longer than any of the others, because I'm so find of the triandrus form.

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    1. I've got a scattering of 'Katie Heath' too. Their color was better than 'British Gamble' but then they bloomed earlier, when temperatures were cooler. Our temperatures are climbing again now.

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  7. The Spanish lavender looks *so* happy, and those ?Osteospermum around it are perfect, subtle echoes. Your garden never lacks for vignettes!

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    1. The flowers blooming around that Spanish lavender are actually Gazanias, another of the so-called "African daisies," all of which usually do well here.

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  8. Still, much looking wonderfully vibrant after the rain. Love the backlit Lotus!

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    1. I couldn't resist tucking in the close-up of the Lotus, Eliza. The flower demanded it!

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  9. Very nice Kris ! I am plagued by snails on my artichoke -I have to be constantly vigilant. The damn things just ruin the foliage.

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    1. The raccoons seem to keep the snail and slug population in my garden relatively low, Kathy. In my case, it's the gruesome earwigs that infest my artichokes. I now carry a bucket of soapy water with me whenever I harvest chokes - it's amazing how fast an army of earwigs can travel up one's arm!

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  10. That first photo, with the Lotus berthelotii, is amazing. I’ve grown that plant but what you have is on a while different level...

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    1. 'Amazon Sunset' is noticeably more vigorous in my garden than the gold forms like 'Flashbulb', Loree.

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  11. Although I complain about our lack of rain; we have torrents in comparison to you, especially in the last couple of weeks. It seems we both have issues with mislabelled plants; I at least know I can return to my old supplier at least until the effects of Brexit kick in!! Enjoy spring Kris, I know how hard summer can be.

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    1. The rain total this year has been especially depressing, Christina. It makes me wonder whether measuring it as carefully as we're currently doing is a good idea or just demoralizing.

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  12. These flowers are all so pretty!
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  13. What a gorgeous spring garden! I'm glad your artichokes are producing once again. I love your snapdragons. I've had mixed results with them, but I've never tried them from seed. Perhaps I'll give that a try next year.

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    1. I love snapdragons, Alys, but they've always been a magnet for rust here. It gets so bad so fast that I usually end up pulling the plants out long before they're finished blooming. So far, my plants grown from seed are pristine but it remains to be seen whether that'll last.

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  14. So pretty! The Autumn Circus iris is a mystery! 'British Gamble' darkens up a bit as it ages.

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    1. 'Autumn Circus'is going to have to move but I'm not sure where. I should probably stick to Pacific Iris as I'm having much too much trouble getting bearded Iris established.

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  15. Lovely blooms and oh wow, the lotus is fantastic, I have never seen it covered in flowers like that. I have never grown ranunculus but looking at yours I think I had better start. Something else for a pot in the greenhouse.

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    1. That Lotus has been very satisfying here, at least as long as the new-to-the-garden bunnies can be kept away from the new plants. (For some reason, they ognore the more established plants.) Ranunculus are a somewhat expensive annual here but they do make great cut flowers.

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  16. I've always admired your Joseph's Coat rose. It looks especially beautiful next to the stone chimney. I've read that there are two forms in the trade, one healthy and one not, but I don't think either would thrive in the muggy Southeast.

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    1. That's too bad, sweetbay. 'Joseph's Coat' is probably the happiest rose in my entire garden. I think growing up against the warm stone of the chimney is of benefit to it.

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