Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Showers

A rainy Easter weekend has given way to some sparkling mornings in San Jose; I love capturing the garden at these moments, as if in a single drop. And of course, there are always a few characters who want to be in the picture as well (step away from the poppy, little dude!) This is Papaver atlanticum 'Flore Pleno' or Moroccan Poppy, which I got from Annie's Annuals. (Their big spring party is this weekend, don't miss it!)

Apple blossoms are bursting on my six-variety espalier, and all of them look the same! These lovelies are 'Gala.'

The hybrid Fuchsias are back and ready to do their Fuchsia thing...

My contorted hazelnut is starting to unfurl. This is my favorite stage: the catkins are still hanging, the leaves are small and cute and you can see every twisty twig. By summer it becomes a rather lumpish creature.

The 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple in my courtyard does well in a pot; with regular water there is little summer burn, and it stays fresh and lovely until late fall. Shady protected corners are a great place for these trees, and they grow quite gracefully in large containers for years.

The new leaves of Nandina 'Firepower' are fantastic. This plant also seems to do best in a shady spot; it will get very fiery in full sun, but is much more elegant in shade. And it stays short, I've never seen it much more than two feet tall.

Ahh, Priscilla, Queen of the Redbuds. I found her tucked away at one of my nurseries, unpruned but full of potential. This early leaf stage is so fabulous, tiny, perfectly port-colored hearts appearing daily along the flower-covered branches, expanding to the size of my hand. Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy.'

One of the plants that followed me home from the Garden Show was this Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns) given to me by Robin Stockwell of Succulent Gardens...so cute!

Another Annie's Annuals treasure, this lavender Papaver setigerum will be a new cool-weather resident in the front garden, I'll let it reseed wherever it wants! More pics of this beauty to come; this was taken moments before it dropped its petals.

My single Echeveria pups from last spring have matured to full hen-and-chicks-hood. These have to be the easiest plants I know...

Cheating a little here; this picture of my Dutch Irish at their peak is from a couple of weeks ago, before I descended into the SF Flower & Garden Show. By the time the Show was over, they were too.

This, my friends, is why they call it Miscanthus 'Morning Light.'

It was a beautiful first season for my Crabapple 'Prairie Fire' a richer variation of the traditional pink-and-white variety, and therefore better suited for my strongly-colored spring garden.

Speaking of strongly-colored, Euphorbia 'Helena's Blush' is at peak bloom, and is not in the least shy about it.

The purple sage is bouncing back after a rather drab, slug-infested winter; its muted tones are nicely neutral.

Lunch! My Green Globe artichokes are small but tasty!

Yucca 'Bright Star' made it through winter beautifully, and I have a feeling my tiny little friend won't be tiny much longer...

The Meyer lemon tree is still laden with winter fruit (did I hear someone say Lemon Curd? I'm intrigued) and now it's full of bloom as well, one of the best fragrances in the garden.

And perched on top of a bulb on my string of porch lights, a new hummingbird nest, with eggs just about ready to hatch. I pay attention to the creatures that appear in my life, and recently found this explanation of a hummingbird totem:
  • Hummingbirds teach us to draw the life essence from flowers, & how to use flowers to heal & win hearts in love.
  • Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence, & how to fight in a way where no one really gets hurt.
  • Hummingbirds teach us simple courage.
  • Hummingbirds inspire us to protect the environment & to preserve old traditions that are in danger of being lost.
That works! Thanks for visiting...


  1. Very pretty Laura! My Dutch irises just started opening this week! And my globe artichokes are still hiding in the foliage! I am really digging those poppies though!

  2. As always, your photos are just SO inspiring. As are your hummingbirds....can't wait to see pics of them when they hatch!

  3. Cousin Shirley from OklaApril 7, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Love your pics! I love to take pics of plants, too, with my little inexpensive Fuji camera, and have gotten some really good ones.Sometimes I envy those who live in a different climate where more things will grow. Okla. just gets too hot, I guess, an dry?

  4. Thanks everybody, I love my little PowerShot, but I have to admit after seeing some of the nice cameras people had at the Show, I find myself looking at him and saying 'why can't YOU do that?' But then I remember that how I present the subject is just as important, and I like the story my pictures tell. I'm sure there's an upgrade in my future, but for now, he'll do fine!

  5. Lovely photos, Laura. I also believe that hummingbirds as totems stand for the ability to show endurance with grace, as these little birds fly so far each year... Another good lesson for us all. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden. Teresa

  6. What a beautiful post. I love the drops of water on everything -- so fresh. A real joy. I'm in Zurich and we are just barely seeing blossoms and dafs. I need to hike to the mtns to see the early wildflowers. I look forward to a lifestyle that lends itself to gardening -- in the meantime, I'll read your blog :) Jill

  7. Laura, you captured droplets amazingly on your pics. I always love to see your photos...lots of details. Matti