Friday, January 29, 2021

Floral Forecast

One of the many challenges posed by the pandemic, especially during the current surge, is that I don't get out much.  Basically, my only trips since mid-December have involved shopping for groceries every two weeks.  I haven't visited my local botanic garden or my local garden centers.  I also haven't done much planting, even though our cool season is generally the best time for that here.  Bulbs and tiny succulents ordered by mail, and cuttings from my own garden, have been most of what I've had to work with.  That means that material for my blog posts is limited, requiring me to pay closer attention to little developments I might've ignored in the past.  This week, I focused on emerging bulb foliage, buds, and seedlings, the prelude of the burst of color that comes in late winter/early spring here.

I planted several Hippeastrum bulbs in pots this year (one of which appears to be a dud).  They were all slower than usual to develop, perhaps because our temperatures vacillated wildly.  One 'Aphrodite' (left) has produced a bud on a short stalk while 'Lemon-Lime' (right) opened its first blooms this week.  My other Hippeastrums are planted in the ground and won't bloom for months yet (if at all).

Hippeastrum's cousin, Amaryllis belladonna, has put up foliage in multiple locations,  I moved several bulbs to a very dry corner in late December (left) and even they've sprouted.  The largest group (middle) is fighting an artichoke and other plants for space this year, while another bulb (right), planted years ago, has produced foliage for the first time on the front slope I replanted in November.  The flower stalks won'd appear until mid-summer, well after the foliage has died back.

I planted lots of Anemone coronaria corms in my cutting garden in November.  The first to emerge are those of 'Lord Lieutenant'.

The well-established Freesia next to the fountain (left) are covered in buds while those I planted this fall (right) are just a little behind.  Freesia generally blooms February through at least March here.

Ipheion uniflorum and Scilla peruviana come back every year.  The first should produce its tiny star-shaped blooms in February with the Scilla producing its much larger flowers in March.

The foliage of Dutch Iris is ungainly but the flowers are so wonderful I'm able to overlook that.  These Iris usually bloom from March through April here.

Leucospermum 'Goldie' is the first of its genus to bloom in my garden each year.  I hope to see the flowers in March through April.

Narcissi foliage is popping up all over my garden and I've already had a few blooms

I sowed several varieties of seed in the cutting garden, as well as a few spots in the larger garden.  They've progressed more slowly than I'd anticipated but some, like these of Orlaya grandiflora, are looking promising.  I didn't have Orlaya flowers until summer last year.

The Sparaxis bulb foliage is up.  Last year, most of the plants in these 2 areas produced orange flowers.  I added more bulbs this year to see if I can get more variety in the color mix.

This fall, I added 4 more Drimia maritima (aka sea squill) bulbs to the one I had on the very dry back slope.  Their foliage is already developing.  All but the original bulb have wire cages over them to prevent the raccoons from pulling them up.  The foliage of the nearby calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) has been slow to emerge, probably due to our low rainfall but a few plants are getting started at last.  I sowed California poppy seeds just before the current round of rain began - they're covered by flats to provide protection against critters.  A mass of alyssum seedlings has already emerged, which I've already thinned once.

This isn't a pretty picture but it reflects a success story of sorts.  I planted a Salvia barrelieria and 3 Verbascum chaixii purchased by mail order in December, only to have the plants eaten down to nubs overnight by a rabbit.  I covered them with upturned flats afterward and they've come back, although they still look sad.  I recovered them immediately after taking this photo.

I'll end with a photo of a very small bulb flower that made an appearance at the edge of my south side garden.

I planted a handful or Muscari armeniacum at the edge of my south side garden in January 2014.  It never thrived but each year I get one or two tiny flowers there.  You can judge how small it is by comparison to the alyssum seedlings looming above it,

That's it from me this week.  I spent several hours between rainstorms yesterday working on my street-side succulent garden.  It's raining again here (yay!) so I'll get photos of that area to share next week.  In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


24 comments:

  1. Tain for you, snow for us. Always exciting to see the bulbs emerge especially now with the long awaited rain you are getting.

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    1. We're still way below normal on rain, Elaine. We got nearly an inch from this last storm, which is good but it still only brings our seasonal total (since October 1st) to 2.73 inches. There's another small chance of rain early next week but February isn't looking especially promising overall.

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    2. My weather man is also not expecting us to get rain until March.

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    3. Our UCLA-based weather expert says rain in February is iffy but he didn't venture a prediction beyond that date. Since our rainy season usually ends in early April, we're running out of time to catch up. We don't usually see any rain between mid-April and October.

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  2. Lots of flowers ahead. :)

    Here the "Dutch" Iris are the most anticipated. The Anemones are so pretty, should try some. Are they easy? Do they come back the next year?

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    1. The anemones didn't do particularly well for me when I tried growing them in my borders and returned only in small numbers. I now grow them in the raised beds of my cutting garden, where they get more water during the growing season. Other than the extra water, they don't get any special treatment beyond an overnight soaking prior to planting. As I refresh the raised beds at the end of the cool season to plant zinnias and dahlias, I don't save the corms.

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  3. Is your local botanic garden closed to visitors, or you are just being extra cautious? I go on many neighborhood walks - masked up - just to get some fresh air and not be cooped up in my little condo.
    Very cool photo (#5) of the Ipheion and Scilla foliage, nestled between those two colorful Hebe (do you have the name for it?).
    Do you plant new narcissus bulbs every year, or are they return bloomers for you?

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    1. The local botanic garden is open but, given the situation in Los Angeles County, I've become super cautious. The Hebe you mentioned is a hybrid called 'Purple Shamrock' and it's fabulous. It stays small, although it needs regular pruning to keep it from looking scraggly. It even blooms! Unlike tulips, Narcissus returns every year here. I still haven't seen any sign of even the species tulips that bloomed in February last year...

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  4. There's lots of hiking trails in PV, but I know your knee has been bothering you so maybe that's not possible. Thank goodness you have a relatively large garden to wander in and a huge view to fight claustrophobia! Yesterday was the first time I double-masked to shop for dinner, and I'm hearing three masks is not crazy either. At least your garden looks primed for a fabulous spring!

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    1. Yes, I used to walk the nearby trails regularly before my knee started protesting. Unfortunately, the majority of walkers here don't wear masks either, although they are generally careful to distance themselves.

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  5. "That means that material for my blog posts is limited, requiring me to pay closer attention to little developments I might've ignored in the past"

    This! Yes exactly. There was a point last summer when I wondered if I would be able to continue blogging M-F, what with my exposure to new content via travel being curtailed.

    I am in awe of that Drimia maritima and wish I could grow them here. Some sources seem to think it's possible so perhaps I'll give it a try.

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    1. I'd already dropped to 3 posts a week before the pandemic hit and I've considered dropping to twice a week afterwards but, as I've tried to tackle some of the projects I've long ignored, I'm posting about more of those, even if they don't always result in great photos.

      Re the Drimia, I was surprised at just how tough it is. The bulb I planted in the fall of 2019 bloomed its first year. The area I've got them in gets no irrigation except the occasional overspray when I water the lemon tree and, since the incidents with the fire ants, I've seriously neglected even that!

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  6. I too have been missing my trips out. The trouble with buying plants online over here is that they're usually very small, or very expensive in delivery costs. Which I begrudge as most of the cost goes into the weight of wet soil!

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    1. Mail order plants are more expensive, although here you can often find more varieties online than you ever would in the garden centers so there's something of a trade-off there. The great think about the succulent orders is that they're shipped with little or no soil so the shipping charges aren't too bad. I'm about to order some daylilies that are shipped bareroot.

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  7. Drimia maritima is a new plant for me. I’ve had a look online and I think I absolutely have to have one if one is available in Australia! The leaves on your Scilla peruviana are large, much more so than mine have ever been. Have you had them a long time? Strangely enough, mine are just beginning to appear and they have spread themselves about a bit, which is a good thing, in my opinion.
    I’m pleased you’ve had some rain. It’s been hot, dry and windy here, and the hoses have been out quite a lot, despite the rain earlier this year. It doesn’t take long for the garden to dry out, especially when it’s windy.

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    1. The Drimia bulbs are HUGE, Jane, but they are tough plants for dry climates. My Scilla peruviana have been in place for more than 8 years - I probably should consider digging up the bulbs and spreading them out more.

      Wind is a persistent problem here too and, because my soil is very sandy, it dries out quickly. I planted Echium and succulent cuttings today and found the soil quite dry despite the fact we got an inch of rain just yesterday! I clearly need to add more compost in certain areas.

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  8. I enjoyed all your green even the little things. With a bloom thrown in here and there no matter how small it makes my day. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the rain of course.

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    1. That Muscari bloom was certainly small, Lisa! I walked through the garden trying to find a Freesia in bloom today but the buds are still closed up tight.

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  9. You have a nice variety of bulbs, Kris. I would like to force freesia in my sunspace, but it gets so gangly, it is tough to keep upright. Looking forward to seeing yours in bloom (and in vases) soon. Yay to more rain!

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    1. Fressias do flop, Eliza! They're best grown behind and/or between things that help hold them up.

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  10. Missing on trips out is an understatement for us too. But thank goodness for having a garden to keep us all sane in the depths of a pandemic

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    1. Yep, me too! If I ever run out of garden projects, I'm going to be in trouble.

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  11. Looking forward to seeing what happens with your sparaxis...for me they are like nasturtiums-end up orange no matter what :P

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    1. I'd previously had good luck in getting a mix of Sparaxis colors (as shown on the bag!) but that wasn't the case when I planted these two spots. Of course, I've also purchased Freesia bulbs that were supposed to be blue and all came out dark pink...

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