It's been ridiculously dry here in coastal Southern California. Other than one light rainstorm in mid-November, which delivered just a twentieth of an inch of rain in this location, we've had no rain and, without much in the way of a marine layer, humidity levels have been very low on average. Plants that usually bounce back in the fall are lagging, even though I'm still running our irrigation system. The long-term forecast isn't very promising either. The latest update I read suggests that dry conditions in Southern California may continue through January.
It's cool here but we don't normally get freezes so there are still plenty of flowers, if not as many as I'd like to see. At this time of year, I truly appreciate the plants that bloom year-round so I'll start off with those those this month.
|I don't think I've ever given Gomphrena decembens 'Itsy Bitsy' the starring role in a Bloom Day post so that's long overdue. The flowers might be small but they're certainly plentiful.|
|I can always count on the large-flowered Grevilleas when everything else is in decline.|
Top row - Grevilleas 'Moonlight' and 'Ned Kelly'
Middle row - two views of Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'
Bottom row - two views of the well-named Grevillea 'Superb'
|A close-up of hybrid Cuphea 'Starfire Pink'. I have 10 of these shrubs in my garden. They need to be pruned back hard at least once a year but I never cut them all back at the same time as I fear the bees and hummingbirds wouldn't forgive me.|
Many of the plants that were blooming last month are continuing to put on a good show.
|Correas 'Ivory Bells', 'Pink Eyre', and 'Sister Dawn'|
|Most of the Gazanias in my garden are now self-sown offspring of those I introduced years ago|
|Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' makes the most of the light in the fall garden|
|Tagetes lemmonii (aka copper Canyon Daisy) is starting to get lanky but I'll give it a bit more time before I cut it back|
Some of the usual cool-season bloomers are making a splash right on schedule despite our dry conditions.
|Two of the Aloes that have developed bloom spikes are 'Safari Sunrise' (left) and hybrid vanbalenii x ferox (right)|
|Blooms are back on the Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana), although most are way above my head|
|Calliandra haematocephala (aka pink powder puff) was used as a foundation plant in several spots by a prior owner of our property. All are regularly sheared within an inch of their lives but one or two manage to produce some blooms every year at this time.|
|Two varieties of Camellia sasanqua in similar colors were planted by a prior owner under the roof eave on the north side of the house. This is one of these.|
|This, lower-growing form, is the other. I've no names for either cultivar.|
|I've had Cyclamen in my shade house for years but I admit that I refreshed the plants in this pot this year and moved the older specimens to a shady border|
|I introduced Mahonia x media 'Charity' in 2016 and it's finally gained some substance|
|I'm incapable to resisting the allure of Violas and always end up buying plugs at some point even though they're thirstier than most of my plants|
|I planted several Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light' in 2016 for their foliage but they do produce tiny white flowers in the fall|
The biggest surprise this December was a very late-blooming milkweed I'd thought was long gone.
|I planted three Asclepias cancellata years ago and thought all were gone until this one bloomed when the butterflies have moved along. The bees seem to like the plant, though. (Aphids too.)|
Another surprise was a bloom spike on my xMangave 'Silver Fox'.
|Over the last several years, I've accumulated more Mangaves (intergeneric hybrids of Manfreda and various Agaves) than I can count off-hand, most purchased as small specimens. 'Silver Fox' is the first to produce a bloom spike but it's taking its time to flower. Agaves are monocarpic but Manfredas aren't. It remains to be seen which parent 'Silver Fox' will emulate.|
And to conclude this post, here are my usual scavenger hunt finds, organized into color collages.
|Top row - Eustoma grandiflorum (still producing blooms now and then!), Felicia aethiopica, and Lavandula multifida|
Middle row - Limonium perezii (early or late?), Osteospermum 'Violet Ice', and Polygala fruticosa
Bottom row - Primula x polyantha, noID Scaevola, and Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic'
|Top row - Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Argyranthemum 'Angelic Giant Pink', and Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid'|
Middle row - Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' and Osteospermums 'Berry White' and noID pink
Bottom row - Pelargonium peltatum 'Flamingo', Pentas lanceolata, and Persicaria capitata
|Dianthus 'Dash White', Lantana 'Lucky White', and self-seeded Osteospermum|
|Burgundy Pelargonium peltatum and Penstemon mexicali 'Mini Red Bells'|
|Top row - Argyranthemum 'Yellow Beauty', Euryops chrysanthemoides 'Sonnenschein', and Osteospermum 'Double Moonglow'|
Middle row - Primula x polyantha, Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', and Leonotis leonurus
Bottom row - Osteospermum 'Zion Copper Amethyst' and Zauschneria californica
Thanks, as always, to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for organizing this monthly bloomfest. For more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, visit her here.
All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
I thoroughly enjoyed your Bloom Day post! I have been especially enjoy your color collages. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I am also thoroughly enjoying some of the plants I have acquired because of either your blog or our conversations including Arctotis ‘Pink Sugar’; Gomphrena ‘Airy Bachelor Buttons’ from Annies; and my three Cuphea 'Starfire Pink' which as you had said, continuously bloom. The hummingbird meticulously checks out several of the small flowers with each visit. One day, I hope to have the various Correa’s you have. I have seen ‘Wyn’s Wonder’ which has attractive variegated leaves. I also enjoy violas and pansies with their “happy faces.”
The winds kicked-up yesterday afternoon here but it is calm now. I wish you a wonderful Tuesday and week!
Correa 'Wyn's Wonder' is the only one of the three varieties I have that I've seen offered annually in 4-inch pots in our chain garden center in Torrance, Kay. That's the best buy. The other varieties are harder to come by. I think I've only seen 'Sister Dawn' sold at Seaside in Carpinteria.Delete
Thank you, Kris. I had no idea you could find it in 4” pots. I will look for it. I would like to try ‘Wyn’s Wonder’ in a hanging basket.Delete
Make it a BIG basket, Kay. In my experience, the plant needs to gain some size before you'll see blooms.Delete
Bloomfest indeed, the best!ReplyDelete
I simply can't worry about drought anymore. My worry gear wore out. If we are forced to get rid of everything that needs irrigation, I will.
I understand that feeling, HB. I suspect we're going to see cycles of bad and good rain years for the indefinite future. I'd love to get a Texas-sized cistern to store more water in the good years but space is a major roadblock.Delete
Winter or not, you have a lot going on in the garden. What always startles me is finding those plants that do equally well in your climate and in mine (Seattle, such as Camellia, primroses and Mahonia. Gazania on the other hand is an annual for me it will be gone with the first sustained freeze; I was disappointed when rabbits devoured most every bloom this summer. As usual, I'm enamored with Bauhinia and the 'shocking' colors of Osteospermum 'Zion Copper Amethyst'!ReplyDelete
Rabbits DO seem to love Gazania flowers. Luckily for us, rabbits are usually a temporary problem only in early spring - the coyotes quickly cull their numbers. Like violas, primroses are temporary flowers I cave and buy in 6-packs in the fall most years but they aren't generally long-lived here. All but one of my Camellias were established by prior owners before persistent drought conditions dictated more discretion in the choice of plants. I planted one Camellia, 'Taylor's Perfection', within a month of moving here because I had lots of Camellias in my former garden and loved them so. I can't imagine planting more here under current circumstances. On the other hand, Mahonia 'Charity' seems to handle water restrictions quite well!Delete
Lovely flowers and garden! We have the opposite of your weather: Wet, wet, wet! In fact precipitation records in October, November, and probably December.ReplyDelete
We have drought more frequently than plentiful rain. Unfortunately, it seems this is going to be a year of drought. I wish you could send us your excess!Delete
Your color mosaics are incredible! I love the purples best. I'm always drawn to the things I can't have, like the Pink Sugar. I think every time it's the Pink Sugar!ReplyDelete
I love Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Lisa. It's better planted out during our cool season but of course you can never get the plants then. Those I planted in late spring this year are only now beefing up. They get scruffy after their peak bloom period in late spring/early summer but, rather than yanking them, I've discovered that they respond well to being cut back fairly hard.Delete
Like a breath of fresh air for this flower-starved northern dweller. Beautiful!ReplyDelete
Appealing as I find the idea of a brief winter pause on gardening. Eliza, I don't think I could handle the long break you have to deal with!Delete
I'm sorry to hear about your rain situation. We will have our next rain tomorrow.No more hoses dragging for me til at least April. We have had days in the 60's and nights in the 30s-it's created some odd plant behavior. M. 'Silver Fox' blooming ! Mine is still in a pot but I plan to move into the ground in spring.ReplyDelete
It was rather a shock to see a bloom stalk develop on Mangave 'Silver Fox', Kathy. This particular Mangave looks more like an agave than some but I hope it doesn't behave like that parent after it blooms.Delete
Spectacular blooms, I love the colorful osteospermum blooms and ascelpias blooms are extraordinary.It would be my pleasure if you join my link up party related to gardening here at http://jaipurgardening.blogspot.com/2020/12/chrysanthemums.htmlReplyDelete
The milkweed shouldn't be blooming at this time of year, Arun, but the weather here has confused many of my plants - while temperatures are definitely cooler, especially at night, we have had a lot of fairly warm, spring-like, days too.Delete
It is delightful seeing these delicate colorful blooms on this cold snowy morning here. I love cyclamen. I am going to try a pot full. Surely if you can grow them I can. Happy GBBD.ReplyDelete
Cyclamen grows happily even inside and only needs a light-filled perch to bloom. I hope you find one you can enjoy through the winter months, Lisa.Delete
I know you live in a frost free zone but I am always amazed at the number of flowers in your garden, even in a drought.ReplyDelete
I love the purple of gomphrena ‘Itsy Bitsy’. I even love the name, as that was the nickname of one of my cats.
I always enjoy your collages arranged by color. They’re so beautiful!
Thanks sweetbay. That Gomphrena is sold under different names, 'Itsy Bitsy', 'Little Grapes' and even "Airy Bachelor's Buttons", but, whatever you call it, it's a winner.Delete
Grevillea are such a game changer for our gardens. I'm a little dismayed to find 'Silver Fox' in bloom, wondering what it will do to its gorgeous outline. I'm with Hoov about the waiting-for-rain thing: nice if it comes, but the garden must go on without it. Though I keep a hose handy for containers and to wash off the serial bouts of soot and ash. That little gomphrena was one of the first plants I blogged about, way back when! I grew it like a vine...ReplyDelete
That Gomphrena does have a line-like growth pattern but I've found it isn't at all obedient about where it climbs, Denise. I've heard different things about what to expect from Mangave 'Silver Fox' so I'm in a wait-and-see mode.Delete
Grevilleas and correas for the win in my eyes! Although I do always enjoy seeing your Bauhinia x blakeana in flower.ReplyDelete
I wish I could find more Correas at local garden centers, Loree. 'Wyn's Wonder' is relatively easy to find but I don't even see 'Ivory Bells' for sale often, much less 'Dawn in Santa Cruz', 'Sister Dawn' or 'Canberra Bells'.Delete
Such wonderful photos! I especially love the Gazanias.ReplyDelete
All we've had is rain for days, weeks... it seems never-ending. I'll send some your way!
Oh, how I wish you could, Nikki!Delete
What a marvelous display - just in time for Christmas! Who needs decorations when you have THAT!ReplyDelete
Years ago I was enchanted by windowboxes filled with Cyclamen. In Monaco.ReplyDelete
I'd have thought they'd grow for you in South Africa too, Diana. They need shade to survive here. My mother used to have them growing in pots on her kitchen table.Delete
Oh my Kris...your blooms are all gorgeous and I always admire the creativity you put into your posts with the collages. I love them all, but the Osteospermum 'Zion Copper Amethyst' especially caught my eye!ReplyDelete
The color of that Osteospermum flower makes it one of my favorites, too, Lee. I wish it worked as a cut flower but the single-petaled Osteospermums close under low light conditions inside.Delete