Saturday, March 2, 2019

First Flush of Spring Flowers

According to local news reports, this February was the coldest in Los Angeles since 1962.  Moreover, it was the first February on record in which our temperature never reached the 70F mark.  That might not sound too impressive to you but locals have complained mightily about it.  In my own case, I blamed what I perceived as a delay in the emergence of our early spring flowers on the colder-than-normal temperatures.  But, although temperatures rose only slightly this week, some plants have decided they've waited long enough to strut their stuff.  With new flowers showing up daily, I thought I'd share some of those producing their first flush of flowers with you to kick off the weekend.

Alyogyne huegelii (aka Blue Hibiscus) wasn't in bloom yesterday morning but these flowers were open in mid-afternoon

Auranticarpa rhombifolium isn't my favorite shrub but it's small flowers are rather pretty

The Freesias sprang into action almost all at once, starting with the blue-flowered varieties

As this clump of yellow Freesia shows, the flower stems tend to flop but their scent is delicious

I've got a nice variety of colors this year too

I used the buds of Globularia x indubia (aka Globe Daisy) in a flower arrangement last month but now the buds are mostly open

Helleborus 'Phoebe' just lifted her head this week

The Ipheion uniflorum I planted several years ago are popping up here and there

This Lavandula stoechas is relatively unobtrusive

The first of Leucospermum 'Brandi's' buds is opening and I'm excited to say that I've got the promise of many more Leucospermum flowers this year

Another no-name Narcissus is making an appearance next to the fountain

The first Sparaxis flowers also opened this week

I broke down at last and bought a few 6-packs of Violas.  Warm temperatures usually make quick work of them but, if the rain and cooler conditions continues, maybe I can hang onto them a little longer this year.


In addition, a few plants that were just getting started last month are now roaring ahead.

You may see Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' many more times before its season is over but it's so pretty right now I couldn't resist sharing this photo

Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' has been blooming for some time already but this one in the front garden is entirely covered in flowers now

The foliage of Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset' has been spreading wildly for months but the flowers are now taking off as well


More rain is falling today.  While it will further flatten the Freesias, I hope it'll continue to boost flower production in the long run.  Stay tuned...I think it's safe to say that Spring has arrived in coastal Southern California.


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

28 comments:

  1. For three days in a row it was the hottest February day on record here. I wonder if we've caught you up? However briefly!

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    1. Your may have, Jessica! I was amazed to see daffodils in bloom in UK posts before any of mine had made an entrance. I don't expect that you'll want to have temperatures exceeding ours when summer comes around, though - our peak temperature last July (110F/43C) wasn't very pleasant.

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  2. You have so many flowers! What a great start to March and Spring. I can't wait to see what our wonderfully wet winter brings this spring!

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    1. I'm glad I got outside to take photographs yesterday when we finally had a bit of sun, Renee - it's VERY soggy today with almost an inch of rain already from this current storm. I hope you're getting some of this rain too.

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  3. Glad you're getting some new flowers opening now. We've had a record cold February too, with only one day reaching 50, which is very unusual apparently, and a lot of frosty nights. That 'Amazon Sunset' Lotus is such an interesting flower, and I've seen it sold it here as an annual, but I've never tried it. Maybe this year I'll buy a few.

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    1. We certainly don't have anything on you in the winter cold department, Alison. Re Lotus 'Amazon Sunset', it and its siblings are sold as annual here too but they behave like short-lived perennials here. I'm not sure if they can handle snow and freezes but most people here seem to grow them in hanging pots, which might work for you (and possibly could over-winter in your greenhouse).

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  4. I'm about done with rain for awhile, but more is on the agenda this weekend, but at least not the flood-warning inducing deluge we got during the week.And the temps are cool so good news for the tulips which are fixin' to bloom soon !

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    1. I planted some pre-sprouted tulips and actually think they may bloom this year here too, Kathy! The current storm is delivering MUCH more rain than the last couple have done in my location. I had some work I wanted to get done in the garden myself today but, thus far, it doesn't look like we're going to get a break.

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  5. That blue Hibiscus! I don't think I've ever seen one that color and I want one. Just fabulous. You have so many flowers and varieties and colors it is overwhelming; what a joy to go out each day to pick something!

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    1. The "Blue Hibiscus" isn't a true hibiscus, Libby - it's in the Alyogyne genus. It's a native of Australia so unfortunately it may not be entirely happy in your climate.

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  6. Flowers are all wonderful. And rain for more!

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    1. We just topped 17 inches of rain as the total for the year to date (calculated from the beginning of our "rain year" on October 1st). Our average is just under 15 inches and we're not done with our rainy season yet. It's a VAST improvement over last year's paltry 3.88 inches!

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  7. WOW, just gorgeous. That blue hibiscus I have to have one of those. I’ve longed to have freesias and now I’ve got the fever all over again. Hopefully the rain will end and more flowers will bloom. Best, Kim

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    1. I found a tulip just about ready to open this afternoon! Although I bought mine pre-sprouted from my local garden center just 3-4 weeks ago, getting them to bloom here still feels like a major accomplishment.

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  8. How exciting to have all that COLOR!! I loved seeing this. It makes me think of the soon to appear color here. I can't hardly wait. I hope the rest of your weekend is as colorful.

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    1. I haven't been able to see beyond the hedge bordering my backyard border today, Lisa - we've been enveloped by a cloud all day with rain, heavy at times, off and on. Hopefully, we'll get a bit of sun tomorrow.

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  9. Oh, so lovely! Can't wait to see them in person. :)

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    1. Everything is a bit wet this morning, Eliza, but hopefully the sun will make an appearance soon.

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  10. Your success inspired me to pot up some lotus in late fall, and they are blooming now too -- mine is the yellow/red variety. But I doubt I could get them to grow in the ground as you do. That coleonema is awesome!

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    1. I really didn't expect much in the way of flowers from the Lotus when I planted it as a groundcover, Denise, but, while it's all foliage for much of the year, the number of blooms it produces once spring arrives is impressive.

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  11. Yep, coldest on record here...with a 20-30 degree difference from your cold. Lovely flowers. I’m hoping March will eventually bring a change. I can take this cold much longer.

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    1. I can imagine, Loree! I hate to admit it but the continuous rain is beginning to lessen its appeal here too.

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  12. Climates are topsy turvy and we had the warmest February on record. Having lunch outside and discarding coats is a real treat for us here. But whatever your weather you have a fabulous spring garden Kris. New to me is the Auranticarpa, the Coleonoma and those cute Globe daisies. I am always green with envy when I see your Leucadendrons. And the spreading patch of Lotus berthelotii is gorgeous, I have grown it in pots but it never looks like this. Whenever I read your posts I wish I could pop over and stroll round your garden.

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    1. The Auranticarpa (formerly classified as Pittosporum) was planted as a hedge here and it reportedly struggled to survive from the beginning. The prior owners who put it in ended up replacing most of it with Xylosma and my husband and I've taken out 4 or 5 more of the shrubs since our arrival. I think our soil is too alkaline for it to be truly happy and my attempts at treating its chlorosis haven't achieved much. Still, the flowers are pretty when the shrubs bloom.

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  13. No no not Spring, not yet! Winter has been so good. That shot of the Coleonema is gorgeous, with the bright spot of Leucodendron in the background. Finally Leucospermum flowers in your garden, congratulations and enjoy!

    I was inspired to get the Lotus 'Amazon Sunset' as well because of your beautiful examples. Mine has grown massive but no flowers yet, just the start of buds.

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    1. If some of the climate change prognosticators are correct, HB, we may have to abandon the idea of rain as purely a winter phenomenon here. According to an article I read in the LA Times, our changing climate may resemble that of Cabo San Lucas within 60 years. This year's weak El Nino also carries the prospect to an extended rainy reason this year.

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  14. I love Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset'; I wonder if it would survive in my garden, the shade of green of the foliage is gorgeous and the flowers are a great contrast. Happy spring.

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    1. Your winters seem to be colder than mine, Christina. I can't say whether or not the Lotus can tolerate freezes or snow, as we don't get either.

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