Sunday, March 15, 2020

Bloom Day - March 2020

It's been raining on and off all week.  While we haven't received as much rain as some areas of Los Angeles County, we've accumulated well over an inch in that period and I've made a major dent in refilling my rain barrels.  With our season-to-date total nearing 8 inches, we're nowhere near "normal" for the season in my location but as chances of rain remain in the forecast through the next 10 days there's a reasonable possibility of more.  Meanwhile, the impact of the novel coronavirus has put a damper of an entirely different sort on things but I'm glad to have work in the garden to fall back on as other activities are postponed or cancelled.

I hope your own garden is contributing to your morale.  Here are the highlights from mine in mid-March.

The Dutch Irises made their first appearance on Monday and more blooms open each day.  I planted more bulbs this year but the first to bloom are those that have been in the garden the longest.

Planted adjacent to the Iris, Felicia aethiopica is off to a great start

As is Scilla peruviana

Aristea inaequalis is a South African relative of the Iris.  Situated behind the fading Echium, it nearly always catches me by surprise when it blooms.

The tree-sized Ceanothus at the bottom of my back slope is mostly done blooming but the noID Ceanothus hedge in my back garden border is just getting started

All kinds of lavenders are blooming.  From left to right are: Lavandula 'Goodwin Creek', L. multifida, and L. stoechas.

Gazania, Narcissus and Freesias are blooming throughout the garden.  This photo captures them rubbing elbows.

Most of the Narcissus currently in bloom are a noID variety I planted years ago from bags picked up at my local garden center (left) but others like 'White Lion' (right) are popping up here and there

Freesias in a variety of colors are blooming all over.  They tend to flop and the persistent rain has worsened that problem.

Osteospermums, one of several plant genera referred to as African daisies, are also in bloom throughout the garden

The pink-flowered Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' have been blooming for months in the front garden but all those shrubs are blanketed in flowers now.  The white form just started its bloom cycle.

This month, the pale pink flowers of Pyrethropsis hosmariense 'Marrakech' (left) have joined the ongoing display created by the white-flowered variety (right)


Although we're a few days short of the Spring equinox, it feels like Spring here.  New blooms are surprising me almost daily.

Tulipa clusiana 'Cynthia' followed cousin 'Lady Jane' (featured in a late February post) this month.  It remains to be seen whether the bulbs will survive to bloom another year in my climate.

The biggest surprise this month was these tiny pale yellow flowers on Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'.  Grown principally as a foliage plant, these are the first flowers I've ever seen on the plants, which have been growing in my garden since 2012.

Another genus of African daisies, Arctotis, is blooming in earnest this month.  The top 2 photos show Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' and the bottom 2 show Arctotis 'Opera Pink'.

The Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) got a late start this year.  I inherited 2 of these trees with the garden.  They sucker terribly and, buffeted by winds on my moderate front slope, they don't stand up straight but they're pretty for a brief period when in bloom.

This rockroses are starting to bloom.  This one is Cistus 'Grayswood Pink'.

The pink powder puff bushes  (Calliandra haematocephala) were also slow to flower this year.  I couldn't choose between these 2 photos so I included both.

The first flowers of Leucospermum 'Goldie' are opening oh so slowly 

I've gradually removed many of the Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) I inherited with the garden as they grew woody and unshapely but this one is still putting on a nice show

Salvia africana-lutea is one of the more unusual specimens I've added to my garden over the years

The calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethopica) disappear when the weather turns warm but return to bloom anew each Spring, prompted by rain


I stuffed the remainder of the photos I took in preparation for Bloom Day into a series of color-themed collages for my own record.

Top row: Anemone 'Mistral Azzurro', Brachyscome 'Brasco Violet' (with Eriophyllum lanatum), Geranium 'Tiny Monster' and Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy'
Middle row: Ipheion uniflorum, Limonium perezii, Pericallis 'Senetti Blue' and P. 'Magic Salmon'
Bottom row: Polygala myrtifolia, Salvia 'Mystic Spires', and Viola

Top row: Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer', Aeonium arboreum, noID Crassula, and noID Echeveria
Second row: Euphorbia rigida, self-seeded Gazania, Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia, and G. 'Peaches & Cream'
Third row: Grevillea 'Superb', Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake', Justicia rizzinii, and Lantana 'Lucky Yellow'
Bottom row: Oncostele 'Wildcat', Russelia 'Flamingo Park', and Sparaxis tricolor

Top row: Anemone 'Mistral Rarity', 2 noID Alstroemerias, and Bauhinia x blakeana
Second row: Boronia crenulata, Crassula multicava, Daphne odora, and Gazania 'White Flame'
Third row: Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', G. lavandulacea 'Penola', G. 'Scarlet Sprite', and Helleborus 'Phoebe'
Bottom row: Nemesia '7th Heaven Mix', Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard', and noID Pericallis

Clockwise from the upper left: Argyranthemum frutescens 'Everest', Cymbidium 'Sussex Court No Peace', Digitalis purpurea 'Dalmatian White', Auranticarpa rhombifolium, Jasminium polyanthum, and Leucojum aestivum


I'll close with this symbol of resilience under tough conditions.  Best wishes with any challenges you face in the coming week!

Viola self-planted between paving cracks


For a look at what other gardeners have blooming in their gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, our Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day host.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

30 comments:

  1. I'm impressed by the vastness of your bloom inventory as usual Kris. It's interesting to see the tings we have in common-most notably the bulbs, I fact some of my daffodils are over now. Have you found Scilla peruviana to have wandering ways ? And blooming Cousin Itt ! Who knew ??

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    1. The Scilla hasn't wandered so much as expanded, Kathy. I should probably dig up the bulbs at the end of this season and divide them. Re 'Cousin Itt', I knew they had the capability to bloom but I'd never seen them in flower anywhere before this. I also note that only one of my 7 plants thus far has flowers.

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  2. L'Aristea è incredibile. Purtroppo non credo che reggerebbe al mio clima! Così come la Scilla peruviana che da te è fantastica! Complimenti per tutto, è perfetto :)

    Buona serata e buona settimana :)

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    1. Thank you Gabriel! I hope the Aristea gets even better with time.

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  3. The color of the Salvia africana-lutea is just so fabulous. I resisted buying them in the past, as they're most likely an annual here. But the next time I see them I think I'll make the purchase.

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    1. I was surprised to see how large that Salvia can get, Loree. My local botanic garden (where I got my plant) has several. They're huge and almost smothered in flowers at the height of their bloom. I'll have to get a photo to share.

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  4. As always, amazing blooms! As always, I'm envious of the African daisies!

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    1. African daisies of all types make a particularly big splash here in spring, Lisa, but some (notably the Osteospermums and Gazanias) also flower off and on all year. I wouldn't be without them.

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  5. You have so many amazing blooms. I love all the blue, especially the dutch iris. The powder puff is awesome - is that related to callistemon?

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    1. Interesting question, Phillip. The flowers of Callistemons and Calliandras do have similar characteristics, but I just looked them up and found they're in different families. Callistemons are in the Myrtaceae family and Calliandras are part of the Mimosaceae family.

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  6. Gosh Kris you have so much going on in your garden. I am sure you can keep busy out there. I love that Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'. Those colors!! I have never seen this plant around here. I wonder if it would work as an annual here?? Love all the flowers. I hope you get more rain. Happy GBBD.

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    1. We've been getting a little rain here and there, Lisa, most of it overnight. I'm hoping that trend continues. A larger storm is expected to move through on Tuesday too.

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  7. Your garden looks so lush, and full of happy flowers. You may not get 'rain' but the sea fog seems to satisfy them.

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    1. The fog definitely helps, Diana! We're also doing much better in the rain department this month than we did in January or February.

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  8. What an abundance of glorious blooms Kris. I love all the blues and the daisies- oh and everything. We are so lucky to have gardens to give us joy when the news gets ever more depressing.

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    1. The news is crazy-making, Chloris. As soon as I come to terms with one announcement, there's another that throws us for a loop. I just picked up notice that the Mayor of Los Angeles is closing restaurants to all but take-out traffic effective tonight.

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  9. They are all lovely and you have an amazing profusion of blooms, but that little viola at the end stole my heart.

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  10. Lots of wonderful color! The blues are my favorites, especially the Scilla peruviana!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

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  11. Truly a garden of astonishing delights, Kris. Soooo beautiful! I love your bloom day posts! <3

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    1. The posts feel like overkill to me sometimes, Eliza, but they do provide a useful record. I'm glad I can give you a Spring preview!

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  12. I love all the purple, especially the scilla peruviana! What a sweet, dear plant. Your little self-planted viola put a huge smile on my face. So appropriate for these times, keeping its safe social distance.
    Stay safe and well.

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    1. Ha! Maybe I need to change the masthead on my blog to the viola!

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  13. Love it all Kris - like a trip round a botanical garden! But most of all my heart has been snaffled by that little viola peeping out from between the cracks in the paving! What a little heroine! Stay safe in these unchartered waters, and yes, our gardens are going to be our life savers over the coming months! They are anyway!! Amanda

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    1. You're right, Amanda. This morning I was feeling very stressed (due in part to a major breakdown in Amazon Fresh's grocery delivery service) but just looking at my garden raised my spirits. Now it's raining again here, which provides a boost of a different kind.

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  14. Looking better than good, looking GREAT!

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    1. Last week's slow but steady rain, even though lighter here than I'd have liked, gave the entire garden a boost I think, HB.

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  15. Beautiful - are all your seasons this rich in blooming? OK, so you live in a botanical garden and have a staff of 20 gardeners? I am impressed with the variety, and hope some of these are "low maintenance perennials."
    -Ray

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    1. Ha! No, the floral display in late summer and early autumn when we're at our hottest and driest are far more reserved. I have a garden service that takes care of our hedges (of which we have many) but apparently they've never learned to recognize, much less pull, weeds and I don't trust them to do any pruning. Much of my garden actually consists of succulents, which require little upkeep. Our short rainy season (late October-end of March) is usually the most intense in terms of maintenance when plants that disappear during our long dry season once again grace us with their presence (along with weeds of course).

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