Friday, February 15, 2019

Bloom Day - February 2019

By our standards, we've had a LOT of rain in the past month.  Our current total, calculated from the start of our rain year on October 1, 2018, is over 15 inches!  We've blown past our "old normal" annual rain total with more rain yet in the forecast before our rainy season ends in April.  As I've come to think of rain as having nearly miraculous properties, I'm surprised that the garden hasn't already exploded with blooms.  In actuality, what's blooming now is mostly on par with what I had blooming last year, when we were especially dry.  Flowering bulbs seem to be particularly slow in getting started this year but perhaps that's attributable to the fact that it's been colder here than usual this winter.  No, we can't claim to be suffering under the "polar vortex" that's affected other areas of the country but daytime temperatures consistently in the 50s are cold for us.

Note: It rained steadily for most of the past two days.  Most of these photos were taken before the last round of rain started.

The splashiest plant blooming in my garden at the moment is Echium handiense.

Critically endangered in its native habitat of the Canary Islands, this Echium does surprisingly well here on our peninsula


Much to the delight of the bees, another blue-flowered beauty, Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt', is also blooming in earnest.

Planted in 2015, this Ceanothus is finally taking on the tree-like shape I was seeking in this spot at the bottom of my back slope


The African daisies have also appeared in larger numbers with the cool, wet weather.

Arctotis 'Opera Pink'

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'

Half of the Gazanias shown here are self-sown

Osteospermums, clockwise from the upper left: '4D Silver', close-up of the same variety, 'Berry White', 'Serenity Pink', 'Spring Day', and 'Sweet Summertime Kardinal'


Camellia hybrid 'Taylor's Perfection' isn't as happy with the cold, wet weather.  Many of its heavy blooms simply drop to the ground each time it rains.

After each rainstorm I've found lots of half-opened blooms dropped on the ground


The ornamental pear, Moroccan daisies, and Breath of Heaven shrubs are blooming right on schedule.

Pyrus calleryana developed fire blight last year.  I had the blight pruned out by professionals in December but there's no guarantee it won't return. 

Pyrethropsis hosmariense (aka Moroccan daisy)

Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' (aka Breath of Heaven for its scented foliage)


Last month's Bloom Day post highlighted selected Grevilleas and Leucadendrons.  Both genera are continuing to put on a good show this month.

Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' is now in full bloom.  The flowers may be small but they're profuse.

The flowers of Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' are far more plentiful this month too

I can't seem to allow a month to go by without recognizing my ever-blooming Grevillea 'Superb'

The best of the rest of the Grevilleas in bloom, clockwise from the upper left: G. sericea, G. alpina x rosmarinifolia, 'Ned Kelly', 'Peaches & Cream', and dwarf G. rosmarinifolia

Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' surprised me this month with its luminescent flower-like bracts

I'm showing Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' again partly because I like how the Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' in the distance (right) echoes its colors from this angle


Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' may be beaten down by rain but it hasn't stopped producing its tiny flowers.

This is another plant that blooms year-round, except when cut down to a foot tall.  Even then, it recovers quickly.


In the succulent category, Aeonium arboreum is blooming in spots throughout the garden and my Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' have also produced their first flowers.

The Aeonium bloom on the left is an aberrant form.  The one on the right shows its usual shape.

When an Agave blooms, the plant dies but it goes out in style.  The bloom stalk is 5 or more feet tall.  You can see a second one in the background on the left in this photo.


As usual, I'll conclude with collages featuring some of the less prominent flowers in my garden.

Top row: Arabis alpina, Dianthus caryophyllus, and Crassula multicava,
Middle row: Freesia and Geranium 'Tiny Monster'
Bottom row: noID lavender and  Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla lily)

Top row: Begonia x hiemalis, Bryophyllum gastonis-bonnerieri, and Calliandra haematocephala
Middle row: Crassula 'Springtime', noID Cyclamen, and Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'
Bottom row: Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset', Lotus jacobaeus, and Ribes viburnifolium

Clockwise from the upper left: Euphorbia rigida, Achillea 'Moonshine', Euryops chrysanthemoides 'Sonnenschien', Phylica pubescens, noID Narcissus, and Senna artemisioides


Thanks for stopping by to see my floral parade.  For more Bloom Day posts, visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

50 comments:

  1. If nothing else were blooming, or you only showed one thing, I'd pick your "Pink Sugar" every month! It's just amazing. Thanks.

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    1. 'Pink Sugar' is a great plant, although its bloom cycle is only about 2 months long. It looks really ratty after it finishes flowering but, after a good trimming and about a month's time, the gray foliage is attractive enough to hold on to its spot for the balance of the year.

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  2. The nurseries are suddenly filled with your daisies, so you're right on track. I potted up a few Lotus berthelotii last fall and they've started to throw some blooms. That echium's habit of growth reminds me of 'Tajinaste' -- very intriguing! And you say it's naturalized in RPV?

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    1. It seems to me that the Lotus has been slow to bloom this year, Denise but, given that it wants to take over my walkways, the fault may be mine in that I'm constantly cutting the foliage back. As to Echium handiense, the IUCN Red List shows its common name as Tajinaste de Jandia. Have you seen it for sale locally? The only place I've ever run across it is on the sale tables at South Coast Botanic Garden.

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  3. After going through your blog I am missing amazing GAZANIA which I havent planted this year for spring show ,wonderful shots of lovely variation of colors of African daisies ,Its always wonderful to go through your orderly collage of flowers blooming in your region and take inspiration to grow more lovely varieties in future.

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    1. A lot of the hybrid Gazanias sold here seem to revert to solid colored specimens when they self-seed, Arun, but they're welcome nonetheless.

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  4. Every once in a while Nigel threatens (I'm pretty sure he's joking) to move us to Burbank. I don't want to trade our rain for your heat and drought, but I might be willing if I could have as many flowers as you in the winter. It would be a horrifying learning curve for me though. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous abundance.

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    1. Tell Nigel that he can commute to Burbank from Santa Monica or one of the other beach cities, Alison - or better yet, the Palos Verdes Peninsula! We live on the hotter east side of the peninsula - the west side gets the full benefit of the breeze off the ocean and is at least 10 degrees cooler in the summer so it'd be the better choice. Of course, the price of houses on that side might give Nigel a heart attack.

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  5. I completely forgot it was GBBD! Not that there is anything blooming here. But opening your post and seeing all that wonderful color surrounded by green really gave me boost!

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    1. I imagine that it's hard to look out at a deep blanket of snow and think "It's Bloom Day" Linda!

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  6. Beautiful! Rain does make the flowers grow!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

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    1. Mother Nature was VERY stingy with the rain here last year, Lea. She seems to be making up for it all at once now. It's not a big problem for my garden - at least not yet - but I'm sure the areas hit by wildfire last year aren't very happy.

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  7. Do you detect any fragrance from the Agave blooms? I've always wondered....

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    1. Luckily I saw this comment before it started raining again and my nose and I took a walk down to sniff at the Agave blooms. The blooms were high enough to make that a little difficult and my sense of smell isn't all that great but I detected not a whiff of scent.

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    2. There's no sign of bulbils either, although Agave desmettiana is a heavy pupper, at least in its younger days, so I guess I can't complain about the lack of offspring.

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  8. I always love seeing your 'garden parade' on Bloom Day. All the pretties laid out for our admiration!

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    1. What always amuses me about Bloom Day is that, as soon as I publish the post, I either find something I missed or something decides that's the moment to burst into flower. This afternoon I noticed that the first of the yellow Freesias are opening...

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  9. Moroccan daisy? Oh, that is something I need to find. It might actually do well here.

    15 inches of rain?!! You must be thrilled, but now I know where all of our rainfall has gone. I'm going to have to turn on the drip system this weekend.

    Your garden is lovely, as always.

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    1. It just started raining yet again. The odd thing about this rainy season is that the rain has been coming in prolonged bursts stretching over continuous days. I remember that we got rain like that during the so-called "March Miracle" in 1991 but I can't recall another time quite like this one. Even my relatively sandy soil is sodden.

      You should definitely look for the Moroccan daisy. It's a great plant with foliage as pretty as its flowers.

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  10. Why would they name that defenceless little plant Tiny Monster?

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    1. I think that Geranium got its cultivar name because it can be an aggressive spreader. I've got it in a few different locations and it's lived up to its reputation only in one area but, even there, I haven't found it hard to manage. The same can't be said for its cousin, Geranium incanum, which is an uncontrollable, if pretty, weed here.

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  11. Superb is what I would call all of your blooms. It is mind boggling to me how many blooms you always have. That sweet rose is so pretty. It is too bad it doesn't like the cold rain. I hope it takes off for you again after the rains.

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    1. I think we could have a bit of a wait before the rain and cold back off. The rain is back again now. We're supposed to get one day's respite and hopefully some sun tomorrow before it's back again on Sunday. I can almost see Mother Nature maniacally rubbing her hands her hands together, muttering "Be careful what you wish for."

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  12. Your flowers are superb Kris! I can't even imagine having that many varieties blooming at this time of year, and most of them I've never heard of. You are one lucky lady to have so much beauty on hand.

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    1. I am indeed lucky, Cindy! I hope spring creeps into your part of the country soon too.

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  13. Oh gosh, I'm so jealous right now! This is the best time of year to visit SoCal. (A reminder is going on my calendar. ;-) ) West Coast Echiums are so gorgeous! I love Gazanias. And I wish I could grow Camellias. Sigh. Happy GBBD!

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    1. I'd actually contend that March and April are better months here but, in terms of escaping the "polar vortex" in your part of the country, February's probably not a bad choice, Beth!

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  14. So. Many. Flowers. I love the Moroccan daisies! Those are new to me.

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    1. Spring is slowly creeping in here, Shelly. With a little more sun after all this rain we've had, I'm looking forward to an explosion of blooms over the next 2 months.

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  15. No bloomday for me this month-it won't stop raining ! We've had about 17 inches so far this season not including whatever we got today. Like you, more expected tonight and over the weekend. Your blooms look fresh and happy !

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    1. I take photos off an on during the course of the month so I relied mostly on those taken within the week preceding Bloom Day for my post this month. I did try creeping about the garden in the rain on Wednesday and Thursday but photos didn't amount to much!

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  16. Great plants all looking healthy and happy with the rain. I do have a question about the Gomphrena. I've seen so many pics of the flowers but have no idea what the actual plant looks like. Is it a low clump, a bush-type? Hard to tell.

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    1. I'd describe it as a loosely constructed mounding shrub. The stems can grow very long and they flop. The base of the plant gets somewhat woody as it matures. The stems on mine tend to weave through other plants, although it's not a vine. Annie's Annuals & Perennials, a Northern California-based retail and mail order nursery, sells it as Gomphrena decumbens "Airy Bachelor Buttons". You can see a better photo of the plant on their on-line site. It looks pinker in their photos than in mine but I'm certain it's the same plant. I've also heard that it's sold as Gomphreana 'Little Grapes' in other locations so you may want to Google it under that name for other images.

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  17. Sorry you've been having colder than usual temperatures but your garden is looking fabulous nonetheless. Shame on Taylor's Perfection for acting that way. If camellias dropped like that here in cold rain, we'd never have any. An impressive array of blooms as always.

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    1. I think it's the rain that 'Taylor's Perfection' doesn't like but I harbor the suspicion she wouldn't like snow either ;)

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  18. Your gardens are looking beautiful with all those blooms! Hopefully the weather will straighten out for you soon. Your photos just gave this gardener a much needed “green fix”! Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Today's paper reports that a weak El Nino has finally moved into the area, which could possibly boost the rain output through April, Lee. At this point we could actually use a week or more to dry out a bit.

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  19. Oh my goodness what delights. All that rain must have been a boon. How I wish I could spend some time strolling round your garden. I can see why you are so keen on grevilleas and leucadendrons. And the echium is a new one to me. In fact you always have quite a few plants I have never seen before, all so lovely.

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    1. My climate is so very different than yours, I'm surprised our plant choices overlap at all. It'll be interesting to see if the bounty of rain will prompt one or possibly both of my peonies to bloom this year.

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  20. Pleased to see your Narcissus, which is no doubt happier with the unusual cold weather than some of your other beauties. Still waiting for our earliest ones, but it may be another week yet -- a big wet system is predicted to drop 3-5 inches (!) of rain, some of which will fall as ice.

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    1. I suspect ice doesn't do any plant much good! The large-cupped daffodils are still weeks away from blooming here too.

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  21. 15 inches of rain is such a lot, Kris. You must have good drainage. If I had as much rain, I would be losing plants as we have horrid clay here and all my gardens are built up, although not as much as they could be. As always, you have a wonderful parade of pretties, so enjoyable to read about.

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    1. With today's downpour we're closing in on 16 inches of rain, Jane, almost 9 inches of which was delivered since mid-January. Even though my soil is heavy on sand, we're pretty soaked at this point. A few of my smaller succulents have suffered but otherwise there don't seem to be many ill effects (yet).

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  22. I expect that you are enjoying cool and wet Kris ..... for now :) We've had some very unusually warm for us February temperatures - both snowdrops and birds are confused. I enjoyed gazing at your blooms and am off to see if the '4D Silver' osteospernum is one that we can get hold of over here. Your close up has reeled me in.

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    1. In contrast, it's been unusually cold here, Anna, although you probably wouldn't consider the temperature especially low. It's not uncommon to have daytime temperatures in the uppers 70sF (24+C) here this time of year but we've mostly been in the mid-50sF (12C).

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  23. How interesting that you aren't seeing the explosion of flowers you were anticipating after the rain, maybe it will make more difference to the later blooms when the plant has perhaps retained some water. From your amazing show of blooms for bloom day I think you couldn't really have more, rain or not!

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    1. It's been remarkably cold here, Christina, which may account for the delayed explosion. We haven't had any really warm days for a month or more - and relatively few sunny ones either. The sun is shining today, though it's still cold.

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  24. I think it is the cooler weather also. We haven't had a "real" winter for so long. My Morocco daisies just started. Usually they get going in November.

    Fabulous flowers, Kris! Is that an Annie's Echium?

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    1. Annie's doesn't carry this particular Echium, although I did get my E. webbii from her nursery. The only place I've ever seen Echium handiense is at the South Coast Botanic Garden's spring sale (scheduled for March 30th this year).

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