Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bloom Day - December 2018

The explosion of blooms I'd hoped for following a couple of good rainstorms haven't materialized, at least not yet.  Perhaps it's too cold and the days are too short for that; however, I still have an ample supply of flowers by comparison to many other areas within the Northern Hemisphere.  The dominant color at the moment seems to be pink.

The Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) was hit hard by our horrific July heatwave.  It was showing tentative signs of recovery last month but it's back to its old self this month.  Unfortunately, it's also on the list for a "light" trimming today when my tree service pays its annual visit.  Hopefully, they'll take care of the dead twiggy bits without costing me all its flowers.

The no ID Camellia sasanquas are in full bloom too.  There are 2 varieties in this sheltered area next to the house but both are the same pink color.  The taller variety (shown) is doing particularly well this year.

After more than 2 months of bloom, Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl' is beginning to wane but it hasn't halted flower production altogether.  It should produce a fresh cycle of bloom in the spring too.

Pentas lanceolata 'Nova' is also showing off


While pink flowers abound, blooms in other colors can also be found.

The flowers of Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' may be tiny but they're certainly plentiful, even though I cut both plants in this bed back by half less than 2 months ago

I love Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick' so much I've planted 5 more in the front garden

The Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa' here in the back garden seem to bloom on a slightly different schedule than P. fruitcosa 'Petite Butterfly' in the front garden

Not the most dramatic specimen in my garden but I'm very happy with this hybrid Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'.  It's proven to be tougher than the native California woolly blue curls in my garden.

All my Australian fuchsias are blooming but Correa 'Ivory Bells' is my favorite this month.  It looks as good in a vase as it does in the garden.


The rain did seem to jolt the African daisies awake.

This is the first Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' flower, beginning what I hope will be months of blooms

The Gazanias are providing bright spots of color throughout the back garden.  However, most of the hybrid varieties I originally planted are being replaced by simpler self-seeded varieties.

Many of the Osteospermums are also reverting.  The first 2 plants on the left are O. 'Berry White' and 'Summertime Sweet Kardinal' but the next 2 are self-seeded offspring of named varieties.  These plants get leggy and I've been cutting them all back in the hope that the next rounds of rain I pray are coming will provide an even better floral display.


Some plants have been offering color for months now.

Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' and its noID neighbor continue to provide flower facsimiles 

The Pennisetums ('Rubrum' on the left and 'Fireworks' on the right) still have feathery plumes


Other flowers are only just beginning to make an appearance.

The snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are off to a slow start in my cutting garden

I think of Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama Blue' as a summer bloomer but it's produced a lot of buds as we move toward what passes for winter here, all of which have opened one at a time thus far

Blooms on this Abelia 'Chiapas', planted on my sad back slope were a surprise, largely as I'd completely forgotten it was there.  As it's done well in a tough area with almost no attention, I think I need to try propagating it for use elsewhere.


And, not to be forgotten, there are other plants that either bloom year-round here, like the large-flowered Grevilleas, or maintain a lower profile in the garden.  I'm presenting these in my usual collection of Bloom Day collages.

Top row: Lavandula multifida, noID lavender, and Ocimum hybrid 'African Blue Basil'
Bottom row: Plectranthus neochilus, Pyrethropsis hosmariense, and Rosmarinus 'Gold Dust'

Top row: Arbutus 'Marina' (also scheduled for a trim today), Correa 'Wyn's Wonder', and Grevillea 'Ned Kelly'
Bottom row: Hebe 'Wiri Blush', Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses', and Persicaria capitata

Top row: Achillea 'Moonshine' (with shorter stems than its summer blooms), Aloe 'Rooikappie', and Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'
Middle row: Grevillea 'Superb', Phylica pubescens, and Rosa 'Joseph's Coat'
Bottom row: Russelia equisetiformis 'Flamingo Park', Senna artemisioides, and Tagetes lemmonii


For more December blooms, visit our host, Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  In recognition of the season, I'll close with a fresh spin on a traditional holiday plant.

Poinsettia 'Ice Punch' (Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Ice Punch') in my shade house


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

34 comments:

  1. A wonderful amazing variety of blooms!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Merry Christmas!

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  2. Lots of lovely flowers! The Hong Kong orchid tree is just so beautiful, I'm glad I got to see one in bloom back in 2016 at Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria.

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    1. I'm lucky the Bauhinia came with the garden. I rarely see it for sale here, which is surprising. Thankfully, it made it through its trim with a good many of its blooms intact. The same can't be said for the Arbutus.

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  3. Nice closeup of the orchid tree flower. It's so beautiful, I wish we could could grow that here. And an Abelia with purple flowers is new to me too. I have 'Kaleidoscope' which is taller and hardier, with variegated leaves and ordinary white flowers. Is 'Chiapas' worth looking for, even if I have to bring it in or grow it as an annual?

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    1. I like the purple Abelia, even if I'd utterly forgotten about it. I got mine from Annie's years ago but they don't list it (or any Abelia) anymore. PlantLust has a listing but the only provider noted was Annie's. I'll let you know if I'm successful in propagating it. I'm not particularly skillful in that department.

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  4. Happy GBBD! Your garden is very pretty in pink (and several other colors) this month. Your garden is a riot of color to my northern eyes.

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    1. It's not quire a riot of color in my eyes, Peter, but it's valued nonetheless.

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  5. It might not be an ‘explosion’ of blooms Kris, but you have a very impressive collection nevertheless. It’s hard to know how big your garden is. It seems to me that it must be quite large by virtue of the wide variety of plants you have in it, and there’s certainly a lot to look at on this GBBD. I have Erigeron ‘Seabreeze’ which looks similar to your ‘Wayne Roderick’ and I’m very pleased with it. I’m growing cuttings so I can fill up bare spots with it. I’ve never seen a poinsettia like your ‘Ice Punch’ - so Christmassy.

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    1. My garden is big by the standards of Los Angeles County, Jane - a little over half an acre - but I suspect that may not be that big by your standards. although I usually turn a cold shoulder to poinsettias, I couldn't pass up 'Ice Punch' when I saw it.

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  6. Looking forward to a VoM soon with that lovely ivory Correa! Such a tidy-looking, self-possessed plant with beautiful contrasts of leaf, branch, and bloom.

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    1. I used 'Ivory Bells' in an arrangement 2 weeks ago, Nell, and it's STILL on my dining room table. It's finally past its prime but I was impressed by how well it and its companions performed in a vase.

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  7. You have way more blooms than most of us and so many pretty ones too. Even my cold hardy blooming plants are struggling this year. Your Bauhinia is a beauty and so is that gorgeous poinsettia.

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    1. I really do know I'm lucky to have so much in bloom, Shirley. I'm just greedy for more.

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  8. Gorgeous. I especially like the Itsy Bitsy!

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    1. 'Itsy Bitsy' has proven to be a great plant, at least in this one bed in my front garden. It's into its third year and simply never stops blooming except, briefly, when I cut it back to a foot high, and even then it springs back virtually overnight.

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  9. What a lovely explosion of color. What may not seem like much to you, is pure delight to those of us with only neutral colors at hand. What a joy to see so much green and so many flowers blooming.

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    1. SoCal does have its advantages, Cindy - oh, if only regular rain were one of them!

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  10. Kris loved the pink dominated flora in your garden ...Gazania are best no fuss continuous flowering plants in any garden.That Poinsettia color is drool worthy,I wish could find the same color.
    Happy garden Bloggers Blooms day...Have a great week ahead.

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  11. Wow Kris! I love it all. Your many blooms are certainly eye candy for us northerners. Happy Bloom Day and Merry Christmas!

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  12. It is winter here which means that there are no flowers outside. It is grey and dreary most days. I don't mind this really. It is the way I am used to having winter, but, when I see all of your gorgeous blooms I turn green with envy. I see all I am missing. It makes me long for those warm days of summer and blooms of my own. Happy GBBD.

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    1. Lisa, it may surprise you to hear but I often envy the winter gardening break those of you in colder climates have. That said, I wouldn't want a really prolonged break...There must be a happy medium between our two extremes.

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  13. Wonderful flowers--pink is unexpectedly fun for December.

    I'm not a big fan of Poinsettias but that is a very striking one. Correa 'Ivory Bells' is lovely as well.

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    1. The poinsettia was a surprise. I picked it up, put it down, and repeated that sequence until it finally end up riding out of the garden center on my cart. It's the most vivid occupant of my lath house at present.

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  14. Yes, the pinks are beautiful, Kris--as are all the other blooms! A Poinsettia outdoors! I remember seeing the Leucadendrons backlit like that when I was out in SoCal--must be the autumn, and later the spring, oblique light hitting it at fascinating angles. That is a fascinating plant. :)

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    1. My next door neighbor has a huge (roof-height) poinsettia planted next to her backyard door, Beth. It's a plain old red variety but it's impressive nonetheless.

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  15. I have camellia sasanqua blooming right now too! Cool that there is overlap with me in the late fall (almost winter).

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    1. I'm lucky to have inherited these Camellias with the garden, Shelly. I suspect they've been here a long time and are deeply rooted. I think I'd have a problem getting Camellias established here now that our drought is so deeply entrenched.

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  16. "I still have an ample supply of flowers by comparison to many other areas within the Northern Hemisphere" strikes me as a wonderful bit of understatement. It's fun to see all your color when my world is white. You have Polygala (which always look to me like the propellers of single engine planes) blooming at the same time as Diana in South Africa. The Polygala species that grows wild along the side of my driveway will bloom six months from now.

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    1. I've always thought blankets of snow look pretty, Jean, but then I've also never had to live with them on an extended basis. The Polygalas (I have 2 species) bloom off and on throughout the year, with their heaviest flower production occurring in spring here too.

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